When the winners of the 2022 Washington State Book Awards are announced today, books set in or focused on the Pacific Northwest are sure to be among the winners.
The awards–given out by the Washington Center for the Book (an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book, administered by the Washington State Library)–are intended only to honor “outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2021,” whatever their subject matter. But, of course, many Washington authors choose to write about this fascinating and beautiful part of the world.
This year’s list of finalists includes more than a dozen books that touch in some way on the Northwest. (My count is based on what I could determine by reading each book’s description, so there may be more.)
While the awards are “based on the strength of the publication’s literary merit, lasting importance and overall quality,” the judges all come from Washington, so having your book set in the Northwest can’t hurt, right?
Here’s a list of the Northwest-related finalists, some of which I’ll be reviewing on the WNW site in the coming weeks (just click on the title for a description):
2022 WSBA FINALISTS–BOOKS FOR ADULTS
- “Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism” by Elsa Sjunneson, of Seattle (S&S/Simon Element)
- “Crossing the River: Seven Stories That Saved My Life” by Carol Smith, of Seattle (Harry N. Abrams)
- “The Other Mothers: Two Women’s Journey to Find the Family That Was Always Theirs” by Jennifer Berney, of Olympia (Sourcebooks)
- “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration” written by Frank Abe of Seattle and Tamiko Nimura of Tacoma; artwork by Ross Ishikawa of Seattle and Matt Sasaki of Edmonds (Chin Music Press)
- “White Magic: Essays” by Elissa Washuta, enrolled member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe (Tin House Books)
- “The Ex Talk” by Rachel Lynn Solomon, of Seattle (Berkley)
- “Legends of the North Cascades” by Jonathan Evison, of Bainbridge Island (Algonquin Books)
- “What Comes After” by JoAnne Tompkins, of Port Townsend (Riverhead Books)
- “Coming Home to Nez Perce Country: The Niim̕ipuu Campaign to Repatriate Their Exploited Heritage” by Trevor James Bond, of Pullman (Washington State University Press)
- “Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II” by Daniel James Brown, of Redmond (Viking)
- “Fear No Man: Don James, the ’91 Huskies, and the Seven-year Quest for A National Football Championship” by Mike Gastineau, of Whidbey Island (University of Washington Press)
- “Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West” by Blaine Harden, of Seattle (Penguin Books)
- “Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home” written by Lynda Mapes, of Seattle (Braided River and The Seattle Times)
- “Skid Road: on the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City” by Josephine Ensign, of Seattle (Johns Hopkins University Press)
- “Broken by Water: Salish Sea Years” by Gary Thompson, of Friday Harbor, San Juan County (Turning Point)
- “Stray Birds” by Andrew Robin, of Lopez Island, San Juan County (Kelson Books)
2022 WSBA FINALISTS–BOOKS FOR YOUTH
- “1, 2, 3 Salish Sea: A Pacific Northwest Counting Book” written and illustrated by Nikki McClure, of Olympia (Little Bigfoot)
Books for Young Readers
- “Mighty Inside” by Sundee Frazier, of Renton (Levine Querido)
- “Orca Rescue: The True Story of an Orphaned Orca Named Springer” written by Donna Sandstrom, of Seattle; illustrated by Sarah Burwash (Kids Can Press)
For a full list of this year’s finalists and more about this year’s awards, including judges, click here.
Sept. 14 Postscript: Here’s the list of the winners, along with links for ordering them: Edmonds Bookshop.
Congratulations to all of these fine writers, both finalists and award winners!