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In Memory of a Banyan Tree: Poems of the Outside World: 1985 to 2022
Three Wooden Trunks
The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems
September 14, 2016



The Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library announces the finalists in eight categories for the 2016 Washington State Book Awards for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2015. This is the 50th year of the program, formerly called the Governor’s Writers Awards.

Winners will be announced at the awards celebration, held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Central Library, Microsoft Auditorium, 1000 Fourth Ave. The awards program will feature emcee Frances McCue, an award-winning poet and arts administrator who received the Washington State Book Award for poetry in 2011 for “The Bled.” The program also features brief readings from 2016 winning titles. A reception and book signing will follow in the Living Room on Level 3 of the Central Library. The awards and celebration are sponsored by The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

A book award is given based on the strength of the publication’s literary merit, lasting importance and overall quality to an author who was born in Washington state or is a current resident and has maintained residence here for at least three years.

The 2016 Washington State Book Award finalists are:


  • “Black River” by S.M. Hulse, of Spokane (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • “Language Arts” by Stephanie Kallos, of North Seattle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • “Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley” by Ann Pancake, of Seattle (Counterpoint)
  • “American Copper” by Shann Ray, of Spokane (Unbridled Books)
  • “The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac” by Sharma Shields, of Spokane (Henry Holt)



  • “88 Maps” by Rob Carney, who was born in Washington state and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah (Lost Horse Press)
  • “Tributaries” by Laura Da’, of Newcastle (University of Arizona Press)
  • “Her Animals” by Emily Johnston, of Seattle (Hummingbird Press)
  • “Reconnaissance” by Carl Phillips, who was born in Washington state and now lives in St. Louis, Missouri (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • “Hive” by Christina Stoddard, who was born in Washington state and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee (University of Wisconsin Press)



  • “Wondering Who You Are” by Sonya Lea, of Seattle (Tin House Books)
  • “Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax” by Michael N. McGregor, who was born in Washington state and now lives in Portland, Oregon (Fordham University Press)
  • “Road Trip” by Mark Rozema, of Shoreline (Red Hen Press)
  • “Reclaimers” by Ana Maria Spagna, of Stehekin (University of Washington Press)
  • “Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family to Grow” by Tara Austen Weaver, of Phinney Ridge in Seattle (Ballantine Books)


History/General Nonfiction

  • “The Triumph of Seeds” by Thor Hanson, of Friday Harbor (Basic Books)
  • “Ozette: Excavating a Makah Whaling Village” by Ruth Kirk, of Lacey (University of Washington Press)
  • “Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson, of Seattle (Crown Publishers)
  • “Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us” by David Neiwert, of Ballard in Seattle (Overlook Press)
  • “Ancient Places: People and Landscape in the Emerging Northwest” by Jack Nisbet, of Spokane (Sasquatch Books)



Picture Book

  • “Boats for Papa” written and illustrated by Jessixa Bagley, of Queen Anne in Seattle (Roaring Brook Press)
  • “Strictly No Elephants” written by Lisa Mantchev, who lives on the Olympic Peninsula, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster)
  • “Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah” written by Laurie Ann Thompson, of Bellevue, illustrated by Sean Qualls (Schwartz & Wade/Random House Children’s Books)


Books for Early Readers (ages 6 to 8)

  • “Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer” by Kelly Jones, of Shoreline (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • “Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat” by Deborah Underwood, who was born in Washington state and now lives in San Francisco, California (Dial Books)


Books for Middle Readers (ages 9 to 12)

  • “Waiting for Unicorns” by Beth Hautala, who was born in Washington state and now lives in Deerwood, Minnesota (Philomel Books)
  • “Red Butterfly” by A.L. Sonnichsen, of Kennewick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)


Books for Young Adults (ages 13 to 18)

  • “The Game of Love and Death” by Martha Brockenbrough, of Madrona in Seattle (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books)
  • “Ruthless” by Carolyn Lee Adams, who was born in Washington state and now lives in South Carolina (Simon Pulse)


The authors of the award-winning books, as well as the illustrator of the picture book, will receive a $500 honorarium, thanks to the generous support of The Seattle Public Library Foundation, Eulalie and Carlo Scandiuzzi and The Elliott Bay Book Company.


The jury for the adult awards included Linda Andrews, instructor, English, Walla Walla Community College; Lisa Bitney, adult services librarian, Tacoma Public Library; Pam Cady, manager, University Book Store; Lisa Gresham, collection support manager, Whatcom County Library System; and Paul Hanson, general manager, Village Books.

The jury for the Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Awards included Thomas Brown, librarian, Laurelhurst Elementary School in Seattle; Judy Hobbs, retired children’s book buyer, Third Place Books; and Carmine Rau, children’s librarian, Kitsap Regional Library.

(For more information, contact Linda Johns, Public Service Programs and Events Manager, at 206-386-4142,