2023 Washington State Book Award Finalists Announced!

Sara Peté/ September 5, 2023/ Uncategorized, Washington authors, Washington State Book Awards

text reads: CONGRATULATIONS to the 2023 Washington State Book Award Finalists! There are images of two stacks of the books, the Washington Center for the Book logo and a Washington State Book Award logo that shows an outline of the state of Washington with the words "Washington State Book Awards" in a seal.

a collage of images of all 30 book covers for the 2023 WSBA finalists

The Washington Center for the Book (an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book administered by Washington State Library) has selected 30 finalists in seven categories for the 2023 Washington State Book Awards (WSBA) for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2022. This is the 57th year of the program, formerly called the Governor’s Writers Awards.

A winner in each category will be announced on Sept. 26, 2023.


Creative Nonfiction/Memoir
Fearlessly Different by Mickey Rowe of Seattle
(Rowman & Littlefield)
Ma and Me: A Memoir by Putsata Reang of Burien
Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe of Tacoma
(Counterpoint Press)
Where the Language Lives: Vi Hilbert and the Gift of Lushootseed by Janet Yoder of Seattle
(Girl Friday Books) 

The Angel of Rome and Other Stories by Jess Walter of Spokane
The Final Case by David Guterson of Bainbridge Island
(Alfred A. Knopf)
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree of Spokane
(Tor Books)
Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu of Seattle
(Tin House)
Never Meant to Meet You by Alli Frank and Asha Youmans of Seattle
(Montlake, Seattle)

General Nonfiction/Biography
I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times by Mónica Guzmán of Seattle
(BenBella Books, Inc.)
Northwest Know-How: Beaches by Rena Priest of Bellingham
(Sasquatch Books)
Of Blood and Sweat: Black Lives and the Making of White Power and Wealth by Clyde W. Ford of Bellingham
(Amistad Press, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
Ten Tomatoes that Changed the World: A History by William Alexander of Bainbridge Island
(Grand Central Publishing)
The Wok: Recipes and Techniques by J. Kenji López-Alt of Seattle
(W.W. Norton & Company)

banana [ ] by Paul Hlava Ceballos of Seattle
(University of Pittsburgh Press)
Cipota Under the Moon by Claudia Castro Luna of Seattle
(Tia Chucha Press, distributed by Northwestern University Press)
Contemplations by Scott Oki of Bellevue
(o-kaisha Publishing)
The Necessity of Wildfire by Caitlin Scarano of Bellingham
We Had Our Reasons by Ruiz Ricardo of Seattle
(Pulley Press | Poetry From Rural America)
When I Was the Wind by Hannah Lee Jones of Port Townsend
(June Road Press)


Picture Books
The Birders: An Unexpected Encounter in the Northwest Woods by Rob Albanese of Seattle
(Sasquatch Books)
How to Hug a Pufferfish by Ellie Peterson of Kirkland
(Roaring Brook Press)
Old Wood Boat by Nikki McClure of Olympia and the Salish Sea
(Candlewick Press)
Working Boats: An Inside Look at Ten Amazing Watercraft by Tom Crestodina of Bellingham
(Sasquatch Books)

Books for Young Readers
Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone by Tae Keller of Seattle
(Random House)
Narwhalicorn and Jelly by Ben Clanton of Seattle
(Tundra Books)
Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence by Sonja Thomas of Vancouver
(Aladdin/Simon & Schuster)

Books for Young Adult Readers
Howl by Shaun David Hutchinson of Seattle
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
The Language of Seabirds by Will Taylor of Seattle
(Scholastic Press)
The Turning Pointe by Vanessa L. Torres of Olympia
(Knopf/Random House Children’s Books)


The Washington State Book Awards are presented by the Washington Center for the Book (an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book administered by Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State). The 2023 awards are administered by Sara Peté, Director of the Washington Center for the Book.

These awards honor outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2022. An award is given based on the strength of the publication’s literary merit, lasting importance and overall quality to an author who is a current resident of Washington state. For the 2023 book awards, judges read and evaluated 242 books. 

Submissions for the 2024 awards cycle are being accepted at this time. For more information, see the Washington Center for the Book’s website.

2023 WSBA Judges are librarians, authors, and independent booksellers.

Judges for adult titles:
Heather Carruth, Librarian, Ritzville Public Library
Andrea Y. Griffith, Owner, Browsers Bookshop
Sarah Jaffa, Librarian, Kitsap Regional Library
Valerie McBeth, Librarian, Northwest Indian College Library
Tiffany Midge, Author and 2020 WSBA Finalist

Judges for youth titles:
Lauren Kessel, Teacher-Librarian, Kent Elementary School
Jane López-Santillana, Librarian, Sno-Isle Libraries
Avery Mead, Teacher-Librarian, East Valley High School Library

Washington State Book Awards in the News
The 2023 Washington State Book Awards Finalists = Your Fall Reading List
509-raised author up for regional award
Here are the 2023 Washington State Book Award nominees 

Washington State Book Awards on Digital Display

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