2018 Oklahoma Book Awards

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About the 2018 Oklahoma Book Awards

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On April 7, 2018, authors, poets, illustrators, designers, publishers, and avid readers came together for a night to celebrate some of Oklahoma’s most talented literary standouts. George Nigh, former Oklahoma Governor, led the evening as the master of ceremonies. The 2018 Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to award-winning American Indian author, storyteller/performer Tim Tingle, a member of the Choctaw Nation. The Glenda Carlile Distinguished Service Award was presented to Ken Hada, professor at East Central University, for founding and directing the annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival in Ada, now in its 13th year.

The evening would not have been possible without the generous support of the sponsors. Shakespearean sponsors were Dunlap Codding, The RoadRunner Press honoring Tim Tingle, Chickasaw Press and White Dog Press. The Hemingway sponsors were Bob Burke for Oklahoma Hall of Fame Publishing, the Pioneer Library System and Lynn MacIntosh and Rudy Ellis.

The event is sponsored each year by the Oklahoma Center for the Book in the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, a state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and the Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book. The awards recognize books written the previous year by Oklahomans or about Oklahoma.

View photos from the 29th Annual Oklahoma Book Awards on Flickr.

2018 Winners



Angie Debo Daughter of the Praire: with Excerpts from her Childhood Diary

Angie Debo: Daughter of the Prairie
Patricia Loughlin
Oklahoma Hall of Fame Publishing

Utilizing excerpts from the subject’s childhood diary, Loughlin provides an inspiring account of the life of Angie Debo, the first woman to receive a PhD in history from the University of Oklahoma. The book chronicles Debo’s early years, coming to Marshall, Oklahoma Territory, with her parents, growing up on a farm and going to the local school. The author also explains the historical significance of Debo, who served as a teacher, curator, pastor, librarian, historian, and author. Loughlin is a professor of history and chair of the history department at the University of Central Oklahoma. Her book Hidden Treasures of the American West: Muriel H. Wright, Angie Debo, and Alice Marriott won the 2006 Directors Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. She resides in Stillwater, Oklahoma.



Killers-of-the-Flower-MoonKillers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
David Grann

In this chilling account of one of the most heinous crimes in American history, Grann utilizes both old research and startling new evidence to examine the Osage murders that took place in the 1920s. Moreover, Grann explains that those who initially attempted to investigate the crimes were murdered as well. As a result, the newly formed Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, took over the investigation. Hoover eventually assigned the investigation to Tom White, a former Texas Ranger, who ultimately began to unravel one of the nation’s greatest conspiracies. Grann is a staff writer at the New Yorker. He lives in New York City.



The Robson Ranch: Hard Work and Family Ties Laura Hyde designThe Robson Ranch: Hard Work and Family Ties
Laura Hyde design
Müllerhaus Legacy

Attention to detail is evident throughout this heavily illustrated and stylized coffee table book that celebrates the history of one of the most successful ranches in the Sooner State. There is an unmistakable care in the overall presentation that draws the reader in. Photographs and other illustrations are presented as full page, background for text or titles, and arranged as found objects (with delicate shadow effects). Typefaces are chosen with a balance of stylishness and readability. Graphic artist Hyde received the 2016 Oklahoma Book Award in design. She lives in Tulsa.



Marmie: A Mouse on Main Street Janet Skates illustrationMarmie: A Mouse on Main Street
Janet Skates illustration
The Museum Broken Arrow

Skates illustrates the story of museum mouse Marmie, who takes readers on a walk down Broken Arrow’s Main Street. The novel blending of historical photographs, whimsical drawing, and Skates’ colorful painting testifies to an inviting imagination, attracting readers of all ages. Painter Skates has a studio and gallery in Broken Arrow. If you visit her you will probably catch her listening to music; “I have over 100 Pandora stations and listen to thousands of songs every month. I’m a junkie.”



Renegade (and Other Poems) Ron Wallace

Renegade (and Other Poems)
Ron Wallace
TJMF Publishing

Wallace’s latest poems are wise, authentic, seemingly effortless, and colored with the observations that can only come from years of observing. A three-time winner of the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation Best Book of Poetry Award and a Pushcart Prize nominee, he is also now a four-time finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award.  His work has been featured in numerous literary journals and other publications. A native of Durant, Wallace is an adjunct professor of English at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.



The Bridge Troll Murders Sheldon RussellThe Bridge Troll Murders
Sheldon Russell
The RoadRunner Press

In this latest Hook Runyon mystery, rail yard bull Runyon is dealing with the constraints of a new office job and the presence of a young aspiring criminologist from back east. Soon he learns a local runaway is found dead sixty miles down the railroad track under a bridge marked as a safe hobo camp. Before the tragic news hits the local papers, Runyon must find out what happened. Russell is an award-winning author. His books include The Yard Dog and the Insane Train. Dreams to Dust: A Tale of the Oklahoma Land Rush won the 2006 Langum Prize for Historical Literature and the 2007 Oklahoma Book Award for fiction. He lives with his wife in Waynoka, Oklahoma.



Survivor Tree by Gaye Sanders

Presented by the Awards Committee of the Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book Board of Directors for works of special merit.

The Survivor Tree
Gaye Sanders
The RoadRunner Press

In this heartwarming and inspiring story, an American elm recounts its life to the young reader, beginning from the time a loving family planted it in Oklahoma City almost a century ago. The tree explains how time brings about changes in life, as it witnessed the original family move away, its own growth and aging, and the ever developing cityscape that now encompassed it. The tree describes the events of April 19, 1995, when a horrible explosion took place at the Alfred P. Murrah building, and how the people of Oklahoma and the nation rallied to the aid of those most affected, including the charred, battered tree. While some argued to cut it down, many came to its rescue. A year later, when the tree puts on a new leaf, “The Survivor Tree” becomes the symbol of hope and strength to all who visit it. Sanders, a fourth grade teacher, lives in Yukon, Oklahoma.



See the complete list of 2018 Oklahoma Book Award finalists.

 View the 2017 winners and finalists.

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

See eligibility requirements.