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Literary Arts has announced the finalists for this year’s 30th annual Oregon Book Awards, with 37 writers from across the state shortlisted in seven different categories.

Subjects reflect 2017’s weighty atmosphere, ranging from war to food sustainability, and predatory animals to dystopian futures.

The fiction competition is fierce this year between acclaimed writers with major publishers. Award-winning journalist Omar El Akkad was shortlisted for his debut novel, American War. He's up against mechanic-cum-author Wayne Harrison, whose Wrench and Other Stories earned the New American Fiction Prize; Victor Lodato, whose stories and essays have been published by the New Yorker, the New York Times, Granta, and Best American Short Stories; Matthew Robinson, who won the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship for fiction; and Lidia Yuknavitch, who took home two Oregon Book Awards in 2016 and won the Reader’s Choice Award in 2012.

Non-fiction contenders are G.A. Bradshaw, Peter Ames Carlin, Edward Hershey, Gary Leiser, and Lee van der Voo. Shortlisted poets are manuel arturo abreu, Samiya Bashir, Allison Cobb, Stephen Lackaye, and Ed Skoog.

Winners will be announced on April 30 at the Gerding Theater at a ceremony hosted by Renée Watson, an award-wining YA author and social activist raised in Portland. Here's the full list of nominees and literary fellowship recipients: 

KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTION
Judges: Eowyn Ivey, Shanthi Sekaran, Justin Tussing
Omar El Akkad of Portland, American War (Knopf)
Wayne Harrison of Springfield, Wrench and Other Stories (New American Press)
Victor Lodato of Ashland, Edgar and Lucy (St. Martin’s Press)
Matthew Robinson of Portland, The Horse Latitudes (Propeller Books)
Lidia Yuknavitch of Milwaukie, The Book of Joan (HarperCollins)  

STAFFORD/HALL AWARD FOR POETRY
Judges: Chris Abani, Laura Kasischke, D.A. Powell
manuel arturo abreu of Portland, transtrender (Quimérica Books)
Samiya Bashir of Portland, Field Theories (Nightboat Books)
Allison Cobb of Portland, After We All Died (Ahasahta Press)
Stephen Lackaye of Beaverton, Self-Portrait in Dystopian Landscape (Unicorn Press)
Ed Skoog of Portland, Run the Red Lights (Copper Canyon Press) 

FRANCES FULLER VICTOR AWARD FOR GENERAL NONFICTION
Judges: Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, Peter Cozzens, Bridget Quinn
G.A. Bradshaw of Jacksonville, Carnivore Minds: Who These Fearsome Animals Really Are (Yale University Press)
Peter Ames Carlin of Portland, Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon (Henry Holt and Company)
Edward Hershey of Portland, The Scorekeeper (Joy Media LLC)
Gary Leiser of Sisters, Prostitution in the Eastern Mediterranean World: The Economics of Sex in the Late Antique and Medieval Middle East (I.B. Tauris)
Lee van der Voo of Portland, The Fish Market (St. Martin’s Press)
   
SARAH WINNEMUCCA AWARD FOR CREATIVE NONFICTION
Judges: Stephen Church, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Lia Purpua 
Michael Copperman of Eugene, Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta (University Press of Mississippi)   
Tracy Daugherty of Corvallis, Let Us Build Us a City (University of Georgia Press)   
Aaron Gilbreath of Portland, Everything We Don’t Know (Curbside Splendor Publishing)
Mike Lankford of Bend, Becoming Leonardo: An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo Da Vinci (Melville House Publishing)  
Elena Passarello of Corvallis, Animals Strike Curious Poses (Sarabande Books)

ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Judges: Jessixa Bagley, Bryan Collier, Marisa de Jesús Paolicelli  
Patricia Bailey of Klamath Falls, The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan (Albert Whitman & Company)  
Kurt Cyrus of McMinnville, Shake a Leg, Egg! (Beach Lane Books)
Diane Rios of Portland, Bridge of the Gods (She Writes Press)
Elizabeth Rusch of Portland, The Music of Life (Atheneum Books)
Cynthia Rylant of Portland, Life (Beach Lane Books) 

LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE
Judges: Rachel DeWoskin, Lamar Giles, Jennifer Longo 
Kenn Amdahl of Eugene, Jumper and the Apple Crate (Clearwater Publishing Company)
Kelly Garrett of Portland, The Last to Die (Poisoned Pen Press)  
Fonda Lee of Portland, Exo (Scholastic)  
Paula Stokes of Portland, This is How it Happened  (Harper Teen)
Laini Taylor of Portland, Strange the Dreamer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

AWARD FOR GRAPHIC LITERATURE
Judges: Hillary Chute, Amy Kurzweil, Kristen Radtke
Jonathan Case of Portland, The New Deal (Dark Horse Comics) 
Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin of Portland, Bandette Volume 3: The House of the Green Mask(Dark Horse Comics)   
Kelly Sue DeConnick of Portland, Bitch Planet Volume 2: President Bitch (Image Comics)  
Barry Deutsch of Portland, Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish (Amulet Books)   
Nicole J. Georges of Portland, Fetch: How A Bad Dog Brought Me Home (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

SPECIAL AWARDS:
In addition to recognizing the finest achievements of Oregon authors in several genres, Literary Arts recognizes individual contributions with the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award and the Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award.  

The Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award 
Tracey Daugherty and Marjorie Sandor of Corvallis

The Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award
Carmen T. Bernier-Grand of Portland

2018 Reader’s Choice Award
Judges: You!

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