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Oklahoma Book Award finalists

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Thirty-five books have been chosen as finalists in the 30th annual Oklahoma Book Award competition. Winners in the categories of fiction, poetry, design/illustration, children/young adult and non-fiction will be announced at the Oklahoma Book Awards banquet on April 12 at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book, the awards recognize books written in 2018 by Oklahomans or about Oklahoma. Of the 35 finalists, 20 are by authors, poets, book designers and illustrators who currently live in Oklahoma. This year’s competition drew 125 entries.

In addition to the literary awards, the Oklahoma Center for the Book will present the 2019 Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award to award-winning novelist William Bernhardt of Choctaw, whom “Library Journal” has called “the master of the courtroom drama.”

Bernhardt is the author of 47 books, including the bestselling Ben Kincaid series; the historical novels “Challengers of the Dust” and ”Nemesis;” two books of poetry (“The White Bird” and “The Ocean’s Edge”) and the Red Sneaker books on fiction writing.

Bernhardt founded the Red Sneaker Writers Center to mentor aspiring writers. The Center hosts an annual writers conference, small-group seminars, a monthly newsletter, a phone app and a bi-weekly podcast. More than three dozen of Bernhardt’s students have subsequently affiliated with major publishing houses.

He is also the owner of Balkan Press, which publishes poetry and fiction as well as the literary journal “Conclave.” He has published many new authors as well as prominent authors like Pulitzer-Prize-winner N. Scott Momaday.

Bernhardt has been nominated for the Oklahoma Book Award 18 times in three different categories, and has won the award in fiction twice for ”Perfect Justice“ (1995) and “Dark Justice” (2000).

Finalists for the 2019 Oklahoma Book Award are:

CHILDREN/YOUNG ADULT

“Friends Stick Together,” by Hannah E. Harrison of Ada, and published by Penguin Random House.

“Afterimage,” by Naomi Hughes of Shawnee, and published by Page Street Publishing.

“The Little Red Fort,” by Brenda Maier of Glenpool, and published by Scholastic Press.

“Legends of the Lost Causes,” by Brad McLelland of Ponca City and Louis Sylvester of Lewiston, Idaho, and published by Henry Holt and Company.

"We Are Grateful Otsaliheliga,” by Traci Sorell of Wagoner, and published by Charlesbridge Publishing.

“Skeleton Tree,” by Kim Ventrella of Oklahoma City, and published by Scholastic Press.

DESIGN/ILLUSTRATION/PHOTOGRAPHY

“Little Loksi,” illustrated by Eli Corbin of Durant, and published by White Dog Press.

“A Chickasaw Historical Atlas,” designed by Gentry Fisher of Ada, and published by Chickasaw Press.

“Friends Stick Together,” illustrated by Hannah E. Harrison of Ada, and published by Penguin Random House.

“Love Can Be,” book design by Christopher Lee of Oklahoma City; cover design by Steven Walker of Norman; cover photography by Joel Sartore of Lincoln, Neb.; and illustrations by J.J. Ritchey of Norman; and published by Kirkpatrick Foundation.

“Centering Modernism: J.Jay McVicker and Postwar American Art,” cover and interior design by Tony Roberts of Norman; interior design also by Cleo Vastardis of Oklahoma City, and published by University of Oklahoma Press.

“Visions of the Tallgrass,” photography by Harvey Payne of Pawhuska, and book design by Julie Rushing of Norman, and published by University of Oklahoma Press.

“Will Rogers: Our American Legend,” illustrated by Mike Wimmer of Savannah, Ga., and published by Oklahoma Hall of Fame Publishing.

FICTION

“November Road,” by Lou Berney of Oklahoma City, and published by William Morrow/Harper Collins.

“Forty Dead Men,” by Donis Casey of Tempe, Ariz., and published by Poisoned Pen Press.

“The Horned Owl,” by Lu Clifton of Davis, Ill., and published by Two Shadows Books.

“Undercurrents,” by Mary Anna Evans of Washington, OK, and published by Poisoned Pen Press.

“Betrayal at the Buffalo Ranch,” by Sara Sue Hoklotubbe of Pagosa Springs, Colo., and published by University of Arizona Press.

“Flying Jenny,” by Theasa Tuohy of Brooklyn, N.Y., and published by Akashic Books.

“Death of a Rainmaker,” by Laurie Loewenstein of Columbia, Md., and published by Akashic Books.

NON-FICTION

“Boom Town,” by Sam Anderson of Beacon, N.Y., and published by Crown.

“The Next American City,” by Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, and published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

“Finding Pax: One Woman’s Journey for the Love of Her Wooden Boat,” by Kaci Cronkhite of Townsend, Wash., and published by Adlard Coles, Bloomsbury Publishing.

“Bobby BlueJacket: The Tribe, The Joint, The Tulsa Underworld,” by Michael P. Daley of Chicago, Ill., and published by First to Knock Publisher.

“Alfalfa Bill: A Life in Politics,” by Robert L. Dorman of Edmond, and published by University of Oklahoma Press.

“Drawing Fire: A Pawnee, Artist, and Thunderbird in World War II,” by the late Brummett Echohawk of Pawnee, with Mark R. Ellenbarger of Ft. Worth, Texas, and published by University Press of Kansas.

“1889: The Boomer Movement, The Land Run and Early Oklahoma City,” by Michael J. Hightower of Charlottesville, Va., and published by University of Oklahoma Press.

“Prairie Power: Student Activism, Counterculture, and Backlash in Oklahoma 1962-1972,” by Sarah Eppler Janda of Lawton, and published by University of Oklahoma Press.

“Ned Christie: The Creation of an Outlaw and Cherokee Hero,” by Devon A. Mihesuah of Baldwin City, Kan., and published by University of Oklahoma Press.

POETRY

“Nothing but the Blood,” by Laura Apol of Lyons, Mich., and published by Michigan State University Press.

“The Shadow Cast,” by Julane Borth of Oklahoma City, and published by Julane Borth Publisher.

“Not a Prodigal,” by Sharon Edge Martin of Oilton, and published by Village Books Press.

“Dark Sister,” by Linda Rodriguez of Kansas City, Mo., and published by Mammoth Publications.

“Red Riding Hood’s Sister,” by Sarah Webb of Burnet, Texas., and published by Purple Flag Press.

“The Last Blue Sky,” by Ron Wallace of Durant, and published by TJMF Publishing.

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