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Emerging Writers Win Oregon Book Awards

Read more from G&A: The Contest Blog

A blog from: Poets & Writers Magazine

Posted by Prize Reporter on 10.27.09

The annual Oregon Book Awards, honoring works by in-state authors, were awarded last night to Portland writers Matthew Dickman and Jon Raymond. Dickman received the Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry for All-American Poem (American Poetry Review), and Raymond received the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction for Livability: Stories (Bloomsbury). Both writers, though early in their careers, are no strangers to recognition of their work.

Dickman, who won for his debut collection, recently received the ten-thousand-dollar Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University. He was chosen for the Stafford/Hall Award by the winner of Claremont's 2009 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, Matthea Harvey. Dickman's book came into publication as part of another award, the Honickman First Book Prize from the American Poetry Review, and also received the May Sarton Poetry Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008 along with four other emerging poets.

Raymond, whose debut story collection was selected by Robert Olmstead for the Kesey Award, has two film credits to his name, both based on stories from the book. Wendy and Lucy, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, was adapted from his story "Train Choir," and Old Joy, a 2006 Sundance feature starring innovative musician Will Oldham, finds its origins in the story of the same title. Raymond is also the author of a novel, The Half-Life (Bloomsbury, 2004).

The finalists for the poetry award are Alicia Cohen for Debts and Obligations (O Books), Endi Bogue Hartigan for One Sun Storm (Center for Literary Publishing), Andrew Michael Roberts for something has to happen next (University of Iowa Press), and Crystal Williams for Troubled Tongues (Lotus Press).

The finalists in fiction are Miriam Gershow for The Local News (Spiegel & Grau), Gina Ochsner for The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight (Portobello Books), Barbara Pope for Cezanne's Quarry (Pegasus Books), and Leslie What for Crazy Love: Stories (Wordcraft of Oregon).

An award in creative nonfiction was also given to state attorney general John Kroger for his memoir Convictions: A Prosecutor's Battles Against Mafia Killers, Drug Kingpins, and Enron Thieves (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The finalists were Bibi Gaston for The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries, and Her Granddaughter's Search for Home (William Morrow), Debra Gwartney for Live Through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and Floyd Skloot for The Wink of Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer's Life (University of Nebraska Press). Ted Conover was the judge.

The award winners will be promoted in libraries and bookstores and offered a chance to participate in the Oregon Book Awards Author Tour.

Below is a trailer for Wendy and Lucy, cowritten by Raymond.

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