Oregon authors working in children’s and young adult literature, fiction, general and creative nonfiction, graphic literature and poetry will be honored next month when the Portland nonprofit Literary Arts presents the 2022 Oregon Book Awards.
Literary Arts on Monday announced the finalists for the awards, including a rare twofer — Portland author April Henry had two of her young adult thrillers named as finalists.
The winners will be announced in a live, in-person ceremony hosted by Portland author Kesha Ajose Fisher, the 2020 Oregon Book Award winner for fiction, on April 25 at The Armory in the Pearl District. The awards ceremony is returning to Portland Center Stage’s main stage after two years as a radio broadcast due to the pandemic.
Literary Arts will also bestow a special award in honor of “outstanding, long-term support of Oregon’s literary community.”
Here are the finalists:
Eloise Jarvis McGraw Award for Children’s Literature
Waka T. Brown of West Linn, “While I Was Away”: In this memoir, a Kansas middle schooler is sent to live with her grandmother in Tokyo to improve her Japanese.
Cathy Camper of Portland, “Ten Ways to Hear Snow”: A girl and her grandmother enjoy a cozy winter day in this picture book.
Jennie Englund of Ashland, “Taylor Before and After”: In this coming-of-age novel, an accident upends an eighth-grader’s life.
Gabi Snyder of Corvallis, “Listen”: A picture book about a child taking in a multitude of sounds while going through her day.
Tracy Subisak of Portland, “Jenny Mei Is Sad”: This picture book is an ode to true friendship, the kind that perseveres on days that are not so fun.
Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature
JC Geiger of Eugene, “The Great Big One”: A novel set on the Oregon coast about kids, friendship, belonging, and music.
Courtney Gould of Salem, “The Dead and the Dark”: Teenagers vanish from an Oregon town in this paranormal thriller.
April Henry of Portland, “Eyes of the Forest”: When a fantasy author disappears, a young fan tries to rescue him in this mystery thriller.
April Henry of Portland, “Playing with Fire”: This survival thriller is based on the 2017 Eagle Creek fire.
Deborah Hopkinson of West Linn, “We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance”: This nonfiction book features the stories of about a dozen Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands, Germany, France and Poland.
Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction
David Biespiel of Portland, “A Place of Exodus: Home, Memory, and Texas”: A Portland poet’s memoir focuses on his coming of age in the Jewish community of Meyerland in Houston.
Allison Cobb of Portland, “Plastic: An Autobiography”: An interrogation of the role and influence of plastic in our lives.
Mary Emerick of Joseph, “The Last Layer of the Ocean: Kayaking through Love and Loss on Alaska’s Wild Coast”: A wistful memoir in which a kayak ranger navigates both a new home and a new marriage.
Aaron Gilbreath of Portland, “The Heart of California: Exploring the San Joaquin Valley”: Part road trip, part historical narrative about an underappreciated region.
Tina Ontiveros of Hood River, “rough house: a memoir”: A look back at growing up amid abuse and poverty in Pacific Northwest lumber towns.
Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction
Bryna Goodman of Eugene, “The Suicide of Miss Xi: Democracy and Disenchantment in the Chinese Republic”: A University of Oregon historian examines a scandal that exposed fault lines in democratic populism in 1920s urban China.
Jacob Darwin Hamblin of Corvallis, “The Wretched Atom: America’s Global Gamble with Peaceful Nuclear Technology”: An Oregon State historian recounts the United States’ attempts to promote civilian atomic energy.
Annelise Heinz of Portland, “Mahjong: A Chinese Game and the Making of Modern American Culture”: A University of Oregon historian looks at mahjong’s history in the United States.
Kenneth I. Helphand of Eugene, “Hops: Historic Photographs of the Oregon Hopscape”: An expansive, inclusive look at hops workers in Oregon in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Kathleen Dean Moore of Corvallis, “Earth’s Wild Music: Celebrating and Defending the Songs of the Natural World”: This essay collection focuses on the natural sounds we risk losing.
Award for Graphic Literature
Breena Bard of Portland, “Trespassers: A Graphic Novel”: Two girls meet at a lake in the summer and stumble into a mystery involving an abandoned house and the couple who once lived there.
Cat Farris of Portland, “The Ghoul Next Door”: This middle grade book focuses on a forbidden friendship.
Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber of Portland, “Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen?”: Superman’s best friend, Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen, roams the weird dimension of the DC Comics universe.
Sarah Mirk of Portland, “Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison”: A collection of illustrated interviews challenges the official narrative about those held at Guantanamo Bay.
Aron Nels Steinke of Portland, “Field Trip: A Graphic Novel (Mr. Wolf’s Class #4)”: In the fourth installment of the children’s series about an elementary school teacher and his students, the class heads to a forest.
Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry
Irene Cooper of Bend, “spare change”: A debut collection that speaks to grief.
Emily Kendal Frey of Portland, “LOVABILITY”: Relationships and their dynamics are at the core of this collection.
Jessica (Tyner) Mehta of Hillsboro, “When We Talk of Stolen Sisters: New and Revised Poems”: A retrospective, of sorts.
Dao Strom of Portland, “Instrument”: This experimental collection is as much visual art as poetry and comes with a complementary album.
Zachary Schomburg of Portland, “Fjords vol. 2″: Prose poetry that reads like dreams.
Ken Kesey Award for Fiction
Callum Angus of Portland, “A Natural History of Transition”: A story collection in which change is a constant for transgender people.
Omar El Akkad of West Linn, “What Strange Paradise”: As a young boy flees war, a teenage girl he meets at random is the only person willing to help him.
Tracey Lange of Bend, “We Are the Brennans”: An Irish Catholic family is torn apart by secrets.
AE Osworth of Portland, “We Are Watching Eliza Bright”: An elite coder becomes a symbol of toxic workplace culture.
Chris Stuck of Portland, “Give My Love to the Savages”: A collection of stories about Black experiences in America.
The Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award
This special award goes to Cynthia Whitcomb, a Wilsonville screenwriter, playwright and writing teacher who has served as president of the Willamette Writers.
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