Shoreline author Ijeoma Oluo’s national bestseller, “So You Want to Talk About Race,” is among the winners of the 2019 Washington State Book Awards, announced Saturday evening in a ceremony at Seattle Public Library’s Central Library. This is the 53rd year of the program, formerly called the Governor’s Writers Awards.
Oluo’s book, which examines issues of race in America and offers guidelines for discussion, took the prize for nonfiction. Seattle author Nicola Griffith’s “So Lucky,” a novel in which the main character examines what it means to be ill in an able-bodied society, won for fiction.
Other categories were won by Paul Souders of Seattle, for “Arctic Solitaire” (biography/memoir); Laura Da’ of Newcastle, for “Instruments of the True Measure” (poetry); Suzanne Kaufman of Seattle, for “All are Welcome” (picture books); Ben Clanton of Tacoma, for “Peanut Butter and Jelly” (books for readers ages 6 and up); Ben Guterson of North Bend, for “Winterhouse” (middle grade); and Joy McCullough of Seattle, for “Blood Water Paint” (young adult).
Two panels of judges (one for adult books, one for youth categories), made up of librarians and booksellers, reviewed a total of 337 entries this year. To be eligible, authors must be a current resident who has lived in the area for at least three years, or have lived in Washington state as a primary residence for more than five years.