Finalists Announced for 82nd California Book Awards

Poetry, Young Adult, Juvenile, First Fiction, Fiction, and Nonfiction


SAN FRANCISCO – April 15, 2013 – The Commonwealth Club is pleased to announce this year’s finalists for the California Book Awards.  During the week of April 29th, winners in all six categories – poetry, young adult, juvenile, first fiction, fiction, and nonfiction – as well as two special categories – Notable Contribution to Publishing and Californians – will be announced to the public. Book lovers from around the state will gather on Thursday, June 6, at 6pm at 595 Market Street, 2nd floor, in San Francisco to recognize the winners at a special program and reception.  For tickets, go to or call our box office at 415/597-6700/6705.

The California Book Awards jury director, Mary Ellen Hannibal, said that “California’s literary tradition is alive and well was in ample evidence this year – the book jury read hundreds of submissions across multiple categories.  We absorbed, we compared, we argued, we deliberated, and we came up with a vibrant group of finalists.  Although we will decide on winners, to be announced April 30, the truth is that all these finalists are fine books and deserve special praise.”

The 82nd Annual California Book Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday June 6, 2013 at 6 pm at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market Street in San Francisco. Once again, this year’s awards presentation is being sponsored by Bank of the West. The event is open to the public. A gourmet hors d’oeuvres and wine reception will begin at 5:00 p.m. and the awards presentation will follow at 6 p.m. A book-signing and dessert reception will take place immediately following the ceremony.

FINALISTS for the 82nd Annual California Book Awards for books published in 2012: 


“Sea and Fog” by: Etel Adnan

“Journey to the Sun” by: Brent Cunningham

“After Urgency” by: Rusty Morrison

“Citizen” by: Aaron Shurin

“Hurrah’s Nest” by: Arisa White


Out of Reach by: Carrie Arcos

Grave Mercy by: Robin LaFevers

Second Chance Summer by: Morgan Matson

A Soldier’s Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero by: Marissa Moss

Who Could That Be at This Hour? All the Wrong Questions, Book One by: Lemony Snicket


The One and Only Ivan by: Katherine Applegate

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by: Christy Hale

The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by: Joanne Rocklin

The Seven Tales of Trinket by: Shelley Moore Thomas

Baby Bear Sees Blue by: Ashley Wolff
A Partial History of Lost Causes by: Jennifer DuBois

A Working Theory of Love by: Scott Hutchins

Masha’allah and Other Stories by: Mariah K. Young

Monstress by: Lysley Tenorio

Telegraph Avenue by: Michael Chabon

A Hologram for the King by: Dave Eggers

The Orphan Master’s Son by: Adam Johnson


Zoobiquity by: Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers

The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by: Anne-Marie O’Connor

God’s Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital, and A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by: Victoria Sweet

Beyond Nature’s Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History by: Nancy C. Unger

History of the California Book Awards:

Since 1931, the California Book Awards have honored the exceptional literary merit of California writers and publishers. Each year a select jury considers hundreds of books from around the state in search of the very best in literary achievement.

Eligible books must be written while the author is a resident in California, and must be published during the year under consideration.

The California Book Awards have often been on the vanguard, honoring previously unknown authors who go on to garner national acclaim.

John Steinbeck received three gold medals – for Tortilla Flat in 1935, In Dubious Battle (1936) and The Grapes of Wrath (1939).
Last year’s winners include: Giovanni Singleton, Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino, Alice LaPlante, Héctor Tobar, Joanne Rocklin, David Rains Wallace.

Founded in 1903, The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum, with more than 18,000 members.

The Club hosts speeches, debates and discussions on topics of regional, national and international interest.