About the Oregon Book Awards
Oregon Book Awards are available for original work published or produced in the following categories:
- Poetry, including chapbooks of more than 20 pages in length.
- Novel, minimum 40,000 words.
- Short Fiction, including collections and anthologies.
- General Nonfiction, such as biography, history, sciences, nature writing, landscape writing and criticism.
- Creative Nonfiction, such as autobiography, memoir and personal essay.
- Children’s Literature, including poetry, fiction and nonfiction. This includes easy readers and picture-books.
- Young Adult Literature, including poetry, fiction and nonfiction.
- Drama, including full-length and one-act plays; radio, television and screenplays; and one-person productions that are published, or have had a staged reading or full production in a theatre or other official venue. (Note: the Drama award is biennial and will be given in 2015.)
- Graphic Literature
In addition to financial support, the program produces the Oregon Book Awards Author Tour, which connects writers and readers throughout the state with readings, classroom visits, and workshops.
Awards are named to honor Oregon’s literary community
Out of state judges determine the finalists and winners in each category.
Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry
William Stafford (1914-1993) is the author of more than 50 books and a recipient of the National Book Award for Traveling Through the Dark. After serving as Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress in 1970, he was named Oregon’s Poet Laureate in 1975.
Remembered as the “Emily Dickinson of Oregon,” the reclusive Hazel Hall (1886-1924) was wheelchair-bound from the age of twelve in her Northwest Portland home. Her books include Curtains, Walkers and Cry of Time.
Ken Kesey Award for Fiction
Ken Kesey (1935-2001) is best known for his novels One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion. He was a finalist for the 1987 Oregon Book Award in Literary Nonfiction for Demon Box and the 1993 Oregon Book Award in Fiction for Sailor Song. The state of Oregon honored him with a Distinguished Service Award in 1978; Literary Arts awarded him the C.E.S. Wood Retrospective Award in 1993.
Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction
Frances Fuller Victor (1826-1902) spent 35 years traveling throughout Oregon, interviewing pioneers and writing the history of the Northwest. Her works include The River of the West, Early Indian Wars of Oregon and All Over Oregon and Washington.
Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction
Sarah Winnemucca (1844-1891) left her native Nevada when the federal government relocated the Paiute to a reservation in Malheur, Oregon. The daughter of a Paiute tribal leader, she became an official interpreter to the U.S. military and an outspoken supporter of Native American rights in Washington, D.C. Her influential book, Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims, remains a significant historical and political account.
Angus L. Bowmer Award for Drama
Angus Bowmer founded the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His enthusiasm and determination led to an increase in festival attendance, from 500 people in 1935 to more than 320,000 by the late 1980s. He directed 30 productions and performed 32 Shakespearean roles in 43 stagings at the festival.
Pacific Northwest College of Art Graphic Literature Award
In 2011, with the support of the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Literary Arts established a new award for graphic literature.
Eloise Jarvis McGraw Award for Children’s Literature
Eloise McGraw’s (1915-2000) books for children include The Striped Ships, which received an Oregon Book Award in 1992, and The Moorchild, which received an Oregon Book Award and a Newbery Award in 1997.
Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature
This award was created in 1999 by friends and family to honor a devoted lover of literature, Leslie Bradshaw (1952-1998). Bradshaw was well known within her community for sharing a passion for reading and love of a good story. She inspired many children at Beaver Acres Elementary School in Beaverton to become engaged with books.