Oklahoma Book Awards

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The Oklahoma Book Awards

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A Celebration of Oklahoma Books and Authors

The 2017 Oklahoma Center for the Book‘s 28th annual Oklahoma Book Awards will be held April 8, 2017, at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Museum in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma Book Award Honorees for 2017

At the Oklahoma Book Award ceremony, Dr. George Henderson and Ralph Marsh will be recognized as honorees. Dr. Henderson, author and scholar, will receive the Arrell Gibson Award for Lifetime Achievement. Mr. Marsh will be posthumously honored with the Ralph Ellison Award for his work as author and journalist.

2017 Oklahoma Book Award Finalists

The following books have been selected as finalists in Oklahoma Book Award Competition.  The books are listed in alphabetical order according to the last name of the lead author, illustrator, designer, and/or photographer. Winners in each category will be announced at the Oklahoma Book Awards ceremony.

For more information, email Connie G. Armstrong, Executive Director, Oklahoma Center for the Book, 200 NE 18 St, Oklahoma City, OK 73105–3205, or call 405/522-3383.


Aging Out by Alton Carter
The RoadRunner Press

Seeking Cassandra by Lutricia Clifton
Holiday House

My Friend Maggie by Hannah E. Harrison
Dial Books/Penguin Random House

Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks
Lee & Low Books

The Night the Mice Sang by Marla F. Jones
Doodle and Peck Publishing

Dust Storm by Jane McKellips
Oklahoma Heritage Association Publishing

Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer
Sterling Publishing


My Friend Maggie, illustrated by Hannah E. Harrison
Dial Books/Penguin Random House

4th & Boston: Heart of the Magic Empire, designed by Douglas Miller
Mullerhaus Legacy

Portrait of Route 66: Images from the Curt Teich Postcard Archives
book design by Julie Rushing; cover design by Anthony Roberts
University of Oklahoma Press

Picher, Oklahoma: Catastrophe, Memory, and Trauma
book design by Julie Rushing; photography by Todd Stewart
University of Oklahoma Press

My Name is James Madison Hemings, illustrated by Terry Widener
Schwartz & Wade/Penguin Random House


The Wantland Files by Lara Bernhardt
Admission Press

Challengers of the Dust by William Bernhardt
This Land Press

Scalp Dance by Lu Clifton
Five Star

Three Weeks in Washington by Luana Ehrlich
Potter’s Word Publishing

Beulah’s House of Prayer by Cynthia A. Graham
Brick Mantel Books

The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan
William Morrow/Harper Collins

For the Record by Regina Jennings
Bethany House Publishers

I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows
Henry Holt and Company

Hell Bay by Will Thomas
Minotaur Books

The Wandering Tree by Daniel Wimberley
Design Vault


Ma Barker: America’s Most Wanted Mother by Howard Kazanjian and Chris Enss
Two Dot/Rowman & Littlefield

4th and Boston: Heart of the Magic Empire by Douglas Miller and Steve Gerkin
Mullerhaus Legacy

The Red River Bridge War: A Texas-Oklahoma Border Battle by Rusty Williams
Texas A&M University Press

Right Down the Middle: The Ralph Terry Story by Ralph Terry with John Wooley
Mullerhaus Legacy


The Murder of Crows and Other Quirky Poems by Kevin Acers
CreateSpace—Kevin Acers publisher

Strong Medicine by Sly Alley
Village Books Press

Celestial Bodies by Laura Apol
Leaf Press

My Salvaged Heart: Story of a Cautious Courtship by Nathan Brown
Mezcalita Press

If Earth Can Find Its Orbit by Karen Coody Cooper
Soddenbank Press

Driving Without a License by Janine Joseph
Alice James Books

Arachnid Verve by Shauna Osborn
Mongrel Empire Press

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 If you missed last year’s Oklahoma Book Awards, you can still check out the 2016 winners and finalists.

Also view the 2015 winners and finalists.

See the full list of all previous Oklahoma Book Award winners and special recognitions.

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Eligibility for the Oklahoma Book Awards

  • Any individual, organization, or company may enter in any appropriate category.
  • Books considered for this award must have an Oklahoma-based theme, or entrants (authors, illustrators, or designers) must live or have lived in Oklahoma.
  • Books must have been published between January 1 and December 31, of the preceding year. (For example, books eligible for the 2017 award would be published between January 1 and December 31, 2016.)
  • Books—hardcover or paperback—entered in previous Oklahoma Book Award competitions are not eligible.
  • Entries are forwarded to judges upon receipt—please enter as soon as possible.


  • Typically, entries must be received by around the 10th day of January (exact dates will be available on the most recent prospectus or entry form, available for download).
  • Finalists will be notified in February.
  • Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony which typically occurs around the second week of March.


A panel of judges will consider all entries. Judges will grant awards at their discretion. Panel members represent a range of expertise in the writing and publishing fields covered by the award categories. Entries in all categories (except the design/illustration category) are principally judged on the quality of writing, with organization and interpretation also playing a role in the decision.

Special Notes

  • $25 entry fee is required for each category entered.
  • Entrants will be responsible for all shipping charges—collect shipments will be refused.
  • The awards committee reserves the right to change the category of an entry.
  • No award will be given in categories where fewer than five entries have been submitted.

Oklahoma Collection