Literary Arts announced the finalists for the 2023 Oregon Book Awards the morning of Tuesday, January 24. A panel of non-Oregon judges selected 34 titles from across the state, highlighted in categories of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, creative nonfiction, children’s literature, YA, and drama. Additionally, this year’s awards include two for literary legacies, honoring the Pulitzer Prize–nominated poet Gary Miranda and the celebrated children’s author Dawn Prochovnic.
Standouts include Emme Lund, whose debut novel, The Boy with a Bird in His Chest, discusses themes of interstitial space in society through the narrative of a boy navigating the challenges of living with a java sparrow in his chest. Dane Liu’s autobiographical picture book, Friends Are Friends, Forever tells the author’s own immigration story.
Emmy-nominated screenwriter and novelist Jon Raymond’s latest title, Denial, stands to bring the author his second Ken Kesey Award for Fiction.
Lidia Yuknavitch’s Thrust, a time-travel novel set in 2085, could bring the Portland author her fourth Oregon Book Award. Casey Parks, a onetime Oregonian reporter now covering gender and family issue for the Washington Post, is nominated for her memoir/journalistic report of a story of queer history in the South that the New York Times called “at once dewy-eyed and diligent, capricious and capacious, empathetic and exacting.”
Luke Burbank, host of the live public radio show Live Wire and a contributor to This American Life, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, CBS Sunday Morning, and others, will host the ceremony.
7:30–9 P.M. Mon, Apr 3 | Portland Center Stage at The Armory, $12–65.
Check out the full list of nominees below.
Ken Kesey Award for Fiction
- Sindya Bhanoo of Corvallis, Seeking Fortune Elsewhere: Stories
- Cai Emmons of Eugene, Sinking Islands
- Emme Lund of Portland, The Boy with Bird in His Chest
- Jon Raymond of Portland, Denial
- Lidia Yuknavitch of Otis, Thrust
Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry
- Matthew Dickman of Portland, Husbandry
- Michele Glazer of Portland, fretwork
- Janice Lee of Portland, Separation Anxiety
- Amy Miller of Ashland, Astronauts
- Eric Tran of Portland, Mouth, Sugar, and Smoke
Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction
- Anita Hannig of Portland, The Day I Die: The Untold Story of Assisted Dying in America
- Lauren Kessler of Eugene, Free: Two years, Six Lives, and the Long Journey Home
- Leah Sottile of Portland, When the Moon Turns to Blood
- Deb Vanasse of Warrenton, Roar of the Sea: Treachery, Obsession, and Alaska’s Most Valuable Wildlife
- David H. Wilson Jr. of Portland, Northern Paiutes of the Malheur: High Desert Reckoning in Oregon Country
Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction
- Laurie Easter of Portland, All the Leavings
- Garrett Hongo of Eugene, The Perfect Sound: A Memoir in Stereo
- Lora Lafayette of Portland, Possums Run Amok: A True Tale Told Slant
- Casey Parks of Portland, Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery
- Ann Stinson of Portland, The Ground at My Feet: Sustaining a Family and a Forest
Eloise Jarvis McGraw Award for Children’s Literature
- Zoey Abbott of Portland, Pig and Horse and the Something Scary
- Cathy Camper of Portland, Arab Arab All Year Long!
- Dane Liu of Portland, Friends Are Friends, Forever
- Trudy Ludwig of Portland, Brave Every Day
- Carrie Tillotson of Tigard, Counting to Bananas: A Mostly Rhyming Fruit Book
Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature
- Waka T. Brown of West Linn, Dream, Annie, Dream
- Jonathan Case of Portland, Little Monarchs
- Susan Hill Long of Portland, The Care and Keeping of Freddy
- Jenn Reese of Portland, Every Bird a Prince
- Sonja Thomas of Portland, Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence
Angus Bowmer Award for Drama
- Sara Jean Accuardi of Portland, The Storyteller
- E. M. Lewis of Monitor, Dorothy's Dictionary
- Rich Rubin of Portland, Russian Troll
- C. S. Whitcomb of Wilsonville, Acting Counsel
The Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award
- Gary Miranda of Portland
The Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award
- Dawn Prochovnic of Portland