Washington State Book Awards finalists for 2017!

Take a look at this lineup of stellar authors from Washington state! These 32 books, published in 2016, are finalists in the 2017 Washington State Book Awards. Find the full list later in this blog post, or if you’re itching to place holds right away, check out the WSBA 2017 finalists in adult categories and finalists in the four books for youth categories in our catalog.

Winners will be announced at the awards celebration on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Central Library downtown. Lots of awards ceremonies are pricey affairs, but ours is free and open to everyone. There’s even a post-awards reception (also free and open to all!), book sales, and book signing.

And here is the list of finalists, otherwise known as books you want to read and authors you want to know:


  • The Solace of Monsters by Laurie Blauner, of Seattle (Leapfrog Press)
  • Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang, of Bellevue (Vintage Books)
  • Barkskins by Annie Proulx, of Jefferson County (Scribner)
  • Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, of Seattle (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Daredevils by Shawn Vestal, of Spokane (Penguin Press)


  • Hardly War by Don Mee Choi, of Seattle (Wave Books)
  • My, My, My, My, My by Tara Hardy, of Seattle (Write Bloody Publishing)
  • Imaginary Vessels by Paisley Rekdal, who was born in Washington state and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah (Copper Canyon Press)
  • Blood Song by Michael Schmeltzer, of Seattle (Two Sylvias Press)
  • Wintering by Megan Snyder-Camp, of Seattle (Tupelo Press)


  • Inside: One Woman’s Journey through the Inside Passage by Susan Marie Conrad, of Arlington (Epicenter Press)
  • An Earlier Life by Brenda Miller, of Bellingham (Judith Kitchen’s Ovenbird Books)
  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West, of Seattle (Hachette Books)
  • My Old Man and the Mountain by Leif Whittaker, of Bellingham (Mountaineers Books)


  •  The Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan, of Seattle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson, of Seattle (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness by Eli Sanders, of Seattle (Viking / Penguin Random House)
  • Turning Homeward: Restoring Hope and Nature in the Urban Wild by Adrienne Ross Scanlan, of Seattle (Mountaineers Books)
  • Seawomen of Iceland by Margaret Willson, of Seattle (University of Washington Press)


  • Thunder Boy Jr. written by Sherman Alexie, of Seattle, and illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Little, Brown Books for Children)
  • A Ticket to the Pennant: A Tale of Baseball in Seattle  written by Mark Holtzen, of Seattle, and illustrated by John Skewes, of Seattle (Little Bigfoot, an imprint of Sasquatch Books)
  • Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko written by David Jacobson, of Seattle with translation by Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi, and  illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri (Chin Music Press)
  • Journey: Based on the True Story of OR7, the Most Famous Wolf in the West illustrated by Robin James, of Snohomish, and written by Emma Bland Smith (Little Bigfoot, an imprint of Sasquatch Books)                              


  • Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton of Tacoma (Tundra Books)
  • Zach and Lucy and the Museum of Natural Wonders written by the Pifferson Sisters,  Jennifer Bradbury, of Burlington, and Stephanie Guerra, of Seattle (Simon Spotlight, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
  • Quackers by Liz Wong, of Edmonds (Alfred A. Knopf)


  • Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire by Sundee T. Frazier, of Renton (Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic)
  • Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart, of Cashmere (Scholastic Press)
  • Audacity Jones to the Rescue by Kirby Larson, of Kenmore (Scholastic Press)


  • Useless Bay by M.J. Beaufrand, of Seattle (Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams)
  • Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti, of Seattle (Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
  • Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo, of Mercer Island (Random House)

Our panel of judges read 192 submissions in eight categories for this year’s awards. As an administrator for the book awards, I had the honor of sitting in on their judging sessions and I was struck by the thoughtful, in-depth discussions they had. It’s a big commitment to be a judge on an awards panel, and we’re extremely grateful to our judges for the adult categories (Linda Andrews, English Instructor, Walla Walla Community College; Lisa Bitney, Branch Manager, Tacoma Public Library; Pam Cady, Manager, University Book Store; and Lisa Gresham, Collection Support Manager, Whatcom County Library System) and our judges in the youth categories (Sheri Boggs, Youth Collection Development Librarian, Spokane County Library District; Tom Brown, Librarian, Seattle Public Schools; Raina Sedore, Youth Services Librarian, Timberland Library System).

Come downtown to the celebration on October 14!

The Washington State Book Awards is a program of the Washington Center for the Book, which is now a partnership of The Seattle Public Library and Washington State Library. The awards are funded by The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

~ Linda J.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: