Literary Arts' 26th annual book awards ceremony puts the spotlight on Oregon's literary community. Award categories named for Oregon authors such as Ken Kesey and William Stafford include fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction, young adult and children's books. Most of the finalists live in the Portland area, but Ashland, Eugene, Salem and Waldport are home to creative types. It’s always fun to scan the list of publishers -- small presses are well-represented: Black Ocean, Traprock Books and Small Doggies Press, to name a few.
Oregon has a rich literary heritage that goes back to the early 1800’s. The publication of the journals of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1814, followed by exploration, travel and pioneer accounts dominated the first years of literature. If you’d like to embark on a survey of Oregon’s literary history, start with Literary Oregon, 100 Books 1800-2000, a booklist created by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission and the Oregon State Library.
The Oregon Center for the Book at the State Library maintains the impressive Oregon Authors Website. It's easy to use! Browse by author's name, city, genre and year published. It also includes a very complete list of Oregon publishers.
More than a stodgy directory of government officials, the online Oregon Blue Book includes an Oregon Authors Book Guide. Click on an author's name and view a preview of their best-known book - nifty! Find more in-depth biographies of Oregon authors in the Oregon Encyclopedia. Don’t see the author you’re looking for? Write an entry and OE staff will add it to the knowledge universe.
Looking for Oregon authors in the library catalog? Be prepared to do some creative searching. Because the subject heading Authors, American – Northwest, Pacific includes Oregon and other states (Washington, Montana, Idaho and British Columbia), do a keyword search for Oregon author (or Portland author) to zero in. Cross-check your search with the Oregon Authors Website's listings or use Literature Resource Center to verify an author’s place of birth or residence.
Sample works by the 2013 Oregon Book Awards finalists and discover some new authors to follow.