The Washington Center for the Book announced the winners in eight categories for the 2020 Washington State Book Awards (WSBA) for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2019. This is the 54th year of the program, formerly called the Governor's Writers Awards.

Winners of the 2020 WSBA awards were announced Friday, Sept. 25, 2020.



  • "Deep River" by Karl Marlantes, of Duvall (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Creative Nonfiction

  • "Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy” by Eric Liu, of Seattle (Sasquatch Books)

General Nonfiction

  • "The Big Thaw: Ancient Carbon, Modern Science, and a Race to Save the World” by Eric Scigliano, of Seattle (Braided River / Mountaineers Books)


  • "The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story” by Aaron Bobrow-Strain, of Walla Walla (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


  • "Nightingale” by Paisley Rekdal, formerly of Seattle now lives in Salt Lake City, UT (Copper Canyon Press)



Picture Book

  • "Flora Forager ABC" by Bridget Beth Collins, of Seattle (Little Bigfoot)

Books for Young Readers

  • "Growing Up Gorilla: How a Zoo Baby Brought Her Family Together" by Clare Hodgson Meeker, of Friday Harbor (Lerner Publishing Group)

Books for Young Adult Readers

  • "Slay" by Brittney Morris, of Seattle (Simon & Schuster)



The WSBA is a program of the Washington Center for the Book, a partnership of The Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Library (a division of the Office of the Secretary of State). The awards are administered by Linda Johns of The Seattle Public Library and Sara Peté of the Washington State Library. This year's awards program is supported by a grant from the Amazon Literary Partnership. Each category’s winner will receive a $500 honorarium.

These awards honor outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2019. An award is given based on the strength of the publication's literary merit, lasting importance and overall quality to an author who is a current resident of Washington state and has maintained residence here for at least three years or previously lived in Washington state for at least five years. For the 2020 WSBA, judges read and evaluated 242 books. 

Submissions for the 2021 awards cycle are not being accepted at this time. For more information, see the Washington Center for the Book's website.



Judges for adults titles:

  • Kerry Halls, Manager, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane
  • Kalani Kapahua, Off-site Events Manager, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park
  • Zola Mumford, Reference and Instruction Librarian, North Seattle College Library
  • Betsey Stahler, Collection Development Manager, North Central Regional Library
  • Jenna Zarzycki, Adult Services Librarian, King County Library System

Judges for youth titles:

  • Tamar Clarke, Teen Services Coordinator, Whatcom County Library System
  • Christopher Robert, Librarian, Seattle Public Schools
  • Janelle Smith, owner, Wishing Tree Books, Spokane