The Washington Center for the Book has selected 39 finalists in eight categories for the 2019 Washington State Book Awards (WSBA) for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2018. This is the 53rd year of the program, formerly called the Governor's Writers Awards.

Finalists will be honored and winners announced at a ceremony hosted by Paul Constant of Seattle Review of Books from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 1, Microsoft Auditorium, 206-386-4636. A reception and book signing will follow in the Norcliffe Foundation Living Room on Level 3. The event is free and open to all.



  • "The Best Bad Things" by Katrina Carrasco, of Seattle (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • "The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore" by Kim Fu, of Seattle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • "So Lucky" by Nicola Griffith, of Seattle (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • "Night Hawks" by Charles Johnson, of Seattle (Scribner/Simon & Schuster)
  • "Winter Sisters" by Robin Oliveira, of Seattle (Viking)


  • "What We Do" by Michele Bombardier, of Bainbridge Island (Kelsay Press)
  • "The Book of Sharks" by Rob Carney, formerly of Washington (Black Lawrence Press)
  • "Instruments of the True Measure" by Laura Da’, of Newcastle (University of Arizona Press)
  • "Between Darkness and Trust" by Lorraine Ferra, of Port Townsend (Moonpath Press)
  • "The Slow Art" by Sierra Golden, of Seattle (Bear Star Press)



  • "Guts" by Janet Buttenweiser, of Seattle (Vine Leaves Press)
  • "The Shame of Losing" by Sarah Cannon, of Edmonds (Red Hen Press)
  • "Nothing Good Can Come from This" by Kristi Coulter, of Seattle (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • "The Seminarian" by Patrick Parr, of Bellevue (Chicago Review Press)
  • "Arctic Solitaire" by Paul Souders, of Seattle (Mountaineers Books)



  • "A False Report" by Ken Armstrong, of Seattle (Crown)
  • "Like a Mother" by Angela Garbes, of Seattle (Harper Wave / HarperCollins)
  • "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo, of Shoreline (Seal Press)
  • "Our Native Bees" by Paige Embry, of Seattle (Timber Press)
  • "Uplake" by Ana Maria Spagna, of Stehekin (University of Washington Press)



Picture Books

  • "Summer Supper" illustrated by Mike Austin, of Seattle, and written by Rubin Pfeffer (Random House)
  • "The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael" by Bonny Becker, of Seattle, and illustrated by Mark Fearing (Candlewick Press)
  • "Something Smells" by Blake Liliane Hellman, of Seattle, and illustrated by Steven Henry, of Seattle (Simon & Schuster)
  • "All Are Welcome" illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman, of Seattle, and written by Alexandra Penfold (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • "Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse" illustrated by Corinna Luyken, of Olympia, and written by Marcy Campbell (Dial Books)
  • "Trevor" illustrated by Amy Hevron, of Seattle, and written by Jim Averbeck (Roaring Brook Press)


Books for Young Readers (ages 6 to 8)

  • "King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth" by Dori Hillestad Butler, of Kirkland (Peachtree Press)
  • "Peanut Butter and Jelly" by Ben Clanton, of Tacoma (Tundra Books)
  • "The Sasquatch and the Lumberjack" by Crix Sheridan, of Seattle (Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch Books)


Books for Middle Grade Readers (ages 8 to 12)

  • "Winterhouse" by Ben Guterson, of North Bend (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt)
  • "The Ostrich and Other Lost Things" by Beth Hautala, formerly of Bellingham (Philomel Books)
  • "Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas" by Dav Pilkey, of western Washington (Graphix/Scholastic Inc.)
  • "Wish Upon a Sleepover" by Suzanne Selfors, of Bainbridge Island (Imprint/Macmillan)


Books for Young Adult Readers (ages 13 and up)

  • "Unpresidented" by Martha Brockenbrough, of Seattle (Feiwel & Friends)
  • "A Heart in a Body in the World" by Deb Caletti, of Kenmore (Simon & Schuster)
  • "I Am Still Alive" by Kate Alice Marshall, of Seattle (Viking Books for Young Readers)
  • "Blood Water Paint" by Joy McCullough, of Seattle (Dutton Books for Young Readers)
  • "Fast Backward" by David Patneaude, of Woodinville (Koehler Books)
  • "The Price Guide to the Occult" by Leslye Walton, of Seattle (Candlewick Press)



The WSBA is a program of the Washington Center for the Book, a partnership of The Seattle Public Library and 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 2018. 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 2019 WSBA, judges read and evaluated 239 books. 

The submissions deadline for the 2020 WSBA is December 2, 2019. For more information, see the Washington Center for the Book's website.



Judges for the books for adults were: Kelly Evert (Village Books, Bellingham), Kalani Kapahua (Third Place Books), Zola Mumford (librarian, North Seattle College), Brian Soneda (retired librarian) and Jenna Zarzycki (librarian, King County Library System).

Judges for the books for youth were: Sheri Boggs (Spokane County Library District), Chris Robert (Seattle Public Schools) and Janelle Smith (Wishing Tree Books, Spokane).