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Literary Arts announces 2024 Oregon Book Awards finalists

Winners in seven categories will be announced April 8 during a ceremony in Portland. In addition, Ellen Waterston of Bend will be recognized for her contributions to the state's literary scene.

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Poet and children's book author Kwame Alexander will host the 2024 Oregon Book Awards on April 8 in Portland. Photo by: Harlin Miller Photography
Poet and children’s book author Kwame Alexander will host the 2024 Oregon Book Awards on April 8 in Portland. Photo by: Harlin Miller Photography

Literary Arts released the names of finalists for the 2024 Oregon Book Awards on Tuesday, and the bookshelf of nominees contains volumes ranging from nonfiction takes on backyard chickens and the temperate rainforest, to a novel in which a retired librarian finds a community of peers in a senior center, to a young adult story about a wild horse trying to find his way home. 

The winners will be announced April 8 at the Oregon Book Awards Ceremony, to be held in the Portland Center Stage Armory. Poet and children’s author Kwame Alexander will host. Tickets range from $12 to $65, and are available here.  

Ellen Waterston of Bend will be honored for her contributions to the Oregon literary scene with the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award. Waterston is the founder of the Writing Ranch retreat and workshops and the Waterston Desert Writing Prize, given annually to a nonfiction book proposal that examines the role of deserts in the human narrative.

In addition, Literary Arts will present the Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award, and the C.E.S. Wood Award at the April ceremony.

Finalists announced Tuesday are: 

KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTION 

  • Patrick deWitt of Portland, The Librarianist  
  • Marcelle Heath of Portland, Is That All There Is?  
  • Lydia Kiesling of Portland, Mobility  
  • Rachel King of Portland, Bratwurst Haven: Stories  
  • Jen Wheeler of Portland, The Light on Farallon Island  

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STAFFORD/HALL AWARD FOR POETRY 

  • Stephanie Adams-Santos of Hillsboro, Dream of Xibalba  
  • Jessica E. Johnson of Portland, Metabolics  
  • Daniela Naomi Molnar of Portland, CHORUS  
  • Sara Quinn Rivara of Portland, Little Beast  
  • Rebecca Wadlinger of Portland, Terror, Terrible, Terrific  

FRANCES FULLER VICTOR AWARD FOR GENERAL NONFICTION

  • Jessica Applegate and Paul Koberstein of Portland, Canopy of Titans: The Life and Times of the Great North American Temperate Rainforest 
  • Steven C. Beda of Eugene, Strong Winds & Widow Makers: Workers, Nature, and Environmental Conflict in Pacific Northwest Timber Country 
  • Tove Danovich of Milwaukie, Under the Henfluence: Inside the World of Backyard Chickens and the People Who Love Them 
  • Jacob Mikanowski of Portland, Goodbye, Eastern Europe: An Intimate History of a Divided Land 
  • Josephine Woolington of Portland, Where We Call Home: Lands, Seas, and Skies of the Pacific Northwest

SARAH WINNEMUCCA AWARD FOR CREATIVE NONFICTION  

  • Erica Berry of Portland, Wolfish: Wolf, Self, and the Stories We Tell About Fear  
  • Erika Bolstad of Portland, Windfall: The Prairie Woman Who Lost Her Way and the Great-Granddaughter Who Found Her  
  • Lauren Fleshman of Bend, Good for a Girl: A Woman Running in a Man’s World  
  • Alyssa Graybeal of Astoria, Floppy: Tales of a Genetic Freak of Nature at the End of the World  
  • Steven Moore of Portland, The Distance From Slaughter County: Lessons From Flyover Country  

ELOISE JARVIS McGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE 

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  • Valerie Coulman of Medford, Dragons on the Inside (And Other Big Feelings)  
  • Nora Ericson of Portland, Too Early  
  • Linda Meanus of Warm Springs, My Name is Lamoosh  
  • Stephanie Shaw of McMinnville, All By Myself 
  • C. E. Winters of Hillsboro, Cut!: How Lotte Reiniger and a Pair of Scissors Revolutionized Animation  

LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR MIDDLE GRADE AND YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE  

  • Cindy Baldwin of Hillsboro, No Matter the Distance  
  • Waka T. Brown of West Linn, The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura  
  • Courtney Gould of Salem, Where Echoes Die 
  • April Henry of Portland, Girl Forgotten  
  • Rosanne Parry of Portland, A Horse Named Sky  

AWARD FOR GRAPHIC LITERATURE (BIENNIAL) 

  • Matthew Bogart and Jesse Holden of Portland, Incredible Doom: Volume 2  
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick of Portland, Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons  
  • Greg Means of Lake Oswego, Asylum  
  • David F. Walker of Portland, Bitter Root Omnibus  
  • Kerilynn Wilson of Oregon City, The Faint of Heart  

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Karen Pate worked 29 years as an editor at The Oregonian, most of that time overseeing community news and features in Washington and Clackamas counties. She’s written about storytellers and banjo players, English-language bookstores in Paris and horses who starred in movies. Her work has appeared in The Oregonian, Oregon Magazine, Reed Magazine and various equestrian publications. She wandered into journalism after studying creative writing at Reed College. Karen lives in Portland and has a job that lets her travel around the state, tagging along after racehorses.

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