The prized pieces include fiction about an Eastern Washington family plagued by violence; an essay collection that includes memories of Seattle in 1974; and the details of an anarchist utopia on Puget Sound.

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Lit Life

Winners of the 2015 Washington State Book Awards include fiction about an Eastern Washington family plagued by violence, an essay collection that includes memories of Seattle in 1974, a history of an anarchist utopia on Puget Sound and the story of an unusual birthday present.

The awards are administered by the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library. These winners received their awards Saturday night at the library:


“The Hour of Lead” by Bruce Holbert (Counterpoint Press). Holbert, of Nine Mile Falls, Spokane County, set this bleak but powerful novel in the ranch country of Eastern Washington, telling the story of a family dogged by decades of violence and duplicity.


“Bugle” by Tod Marshall (Canarium Books). A poetry collection by a Spokane author considers nature, music and the ups and downs of being human.

“The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse,” translated by Red Pine(Copper Canyon Press). Translations of poetry by a 14th-century Buddhist monk who became a mountain hermit, presented in a bilingual Chinese-English edition. The translator lives in Port Townsend.


“Loitering: New and Collected Essays” by Charles D’Ambrosio(Tin House Books). D’Ambrosio, who grew up in Seattle and now lives in Iowa City, Iowa, draws on his upbringing and familiarity with Seattle to write about how it was four decades ago, plus essays on J.D. Salinger, suicide and other topics. D’Ambrosio is on the faculty of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is a previous winner for his short-story collection “The Dead Fish Museum” (2007).

History/general nonfiction

“Trying Home: The Rise and Fall of an Anarchist Utopia on Puget Sound” by Justin Wadland(Oregon State University Press). This book by a Tacoma writer chronicles the history of a community of freethinkers that flourished for a time on the Key Peninsula in southern Puget Sound.

Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Winners

Picture book

“Two Speckled Eggs,” written and illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann (Candlewick Press). A girl learns what it means to be different when she invites all the girls in her class to a birthday party, and one guest brings an unusual present. Mann lives on Bainbridge Island.

Books for middle readers (ages 9 to 12)

“Phoebe and Her Unicorn” by Dana Simpson(Andrews McMeel Publishing). A young girl skips a rock across a pond, hits a unicorn in the face and gets a wish. Simpson is from Des Moines.

Books for young adults (ages 13 to 18)

“The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender” by Leslye Walton(Candlewick Press). A Seattle girl born with wings ponders her own predicament and that of her ancestors, who were all unlucky in love. Walton lives in Seattle.

Winners receive a $500 honorarium. They were chosen by two sets of jurors.

The jury for the adult awards included Linda Andrews, instructor in English, Walla Walla Community College; Lisa Bitney, adult-services librarian, Tacoma Public Library; Lisa Gresham, collection support manager, Whatcom County Library System; Paul Hanson, general manager of Village Books in Bellingham; and Jamil Zaidi, former bookseller, buyer and assistant manager at Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Co.

The jury for the Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Awards included Judy Hobbs, a retired children’s book buyer at Third Place Books; Carmine Rau, children’s librarian at Bainbridge Public Library; and Amy Young, teacher and librarian at Seattle’s View Ridge Elementary.