Six East Side writers – four of them from Spokane – are finalists for the Washington State Book Awards, the Washington Center for the Book announced on Friday.
The Spokane nominees are Bruce Holbert, Tod Marshall, Mary Cronk Farrell and Greg Gordon. Joining them are Moses Lake native Heather Brittain Bergstrom, who now lives in California, and Richland writer Maureen McQuerry.
Holbert (pictured above) and Bergstrom are finalists in the fiction category, he for “The Hour of Lead,” she for “Steal the North.”
Holbert’s novel, his second, was released in July 2014 from Counterpoint Press. The work of historical fiction centers on Matt Lawson, whose family life is marred by tragedy and who struggles to find love. It’s a tough story where the landscape – Eastern Washington’s coulees, scablands, and wheat fields – is as much a character as any person. Bergstrom’s book touches on questions of faith and family when a teenage girl is sent to stay in Eastern Washington with an aunt and uncle she never knew.
The other finalists in the fiction category are “A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain” by Adrianne Harun of Port Townsend; “The Iron Sickle” by Seattle’s Martin Limon; and “The Dismal Science” by Peter Mountford, also of Seattle.
Holbert, a teacher at Mount Spokane High School, is also the author of the 2012 novel “Lonesome Animals.”
Marshall (above), who teaches at Gonzaga University, is a finalist in the poetry category for his acclaimed collection, “Bugle.” It’s a tough collection, as Rich Smith noted in a review for Poetry Northwest: “Here and throughout, Marshall tries to use poetry to redeem humankind’s brutality, reaching back to the old masters for formal guidance. But when he plies his trade, he finds that we don’t deserve redemption. We bludgeon the natural world with our fear of death, and we’ll continue to do so as long as that fear maintains.” "Bugle" is his third poetry collection.
Other finalists in the poetry category are “Hourglass Museum” by Kelli Russell Agodon of Kingston; “In Orbit” by the late Kim-An Lieberman of Seattle; and “The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse” (Copper Canyon Press) by Red Pine, of Port Townsend.
In the books for young adults category, Farrell (below) earned an nod for “Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific.” A Junior Library Guild selection, the book tells the story of Army and Navy nurses caught up in the war in the Pacific.
Farrell’s fellow finalists are three Seattle authors: “Between Two Worlds” by Katherine Kirkpatrick; “Six Feet Over It” by Jennifer Longo; and “The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender” by Leslye Walton.
In the history/general nonfiction section, Gonzaga University’s Gordon earned a nod for “When Money Grew on Trees: A.B. Hammond and the Age of the Timber Baron.” He’s up against “In Season: Culinary Adventures of a Pacific Northwest Chef” by Greg Atkinson of Bainbridge Island; “The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby” by William Dietrich of Anacortes; “Mary Randlett Portraits” by Frances McCue of Seattle; and “Trying Home: The Rise and Fall of an Anarchist Utopia on Puget Sound” by Tacoma’s Justin Wadland.
McQuerry’s “Time Out of Time: Book One: Beyond the Door,” is a finalist in the middle readers category, along with “Phoebe and Her Unicorn” by Dana Simpson of Des Moines, and “Ken Jennings’ Junior Genius Guides: Maps and Geography” by Seattle “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings.
The awards will be presented on Oct. 10 at the Seattle Central Library. For more information, visit www.spl.org/audiences/adults/washington-state-book-awards.
An acting career for Martin?
Entertainment Weekly reported this week that “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin has a cameo in an upcoming episode of the SyFy zombie series “Z Nation,” which is filmed in Spokane.
Martin, who was in town this summer for Sasquan, the international science-fiction convention, took some time to appear as a zombie in the series’ eighth episode of the new season. As EW reports, the zombie Martin is being held captive by the Collector, who keeps celebrity zombies.
The second season of “Z Nation” debuts today at 10 p.m. Catch the premiere on the big screen starting at 8 p.m. at the Garland Theater. There will be a costume contest and actors from the show will be on hand. Admission is $10, with proceeds to benefit KRYS Thin Air Community Radio.
Writers are heading to GU
Gonzaga University’s Visiting Writers Series will kick off Oct. 1 with a presentation by Kimberly Meyer, whose latest is “The Book of Wanderings,” released in March.
In it, Meyer writes about her travels with her daughter, Ellie, as the two women form a tighter bond and face their futures and their pasts.
Meyer has been heard on “This American Life” and has had her nonfiction featured in The Southern Review, Ecotone, Best American Travel Writing 2012 and Agni. (Oct. 1, Cataldo Globe Room, 7:30 pm.)
The rest of the schedule follows.
Oct. 28: “What is Eco-poetry: a forum and reading,” featuring Roger Dunsmore, Megan Kaminski, Linda Russo, and Derek Sheffield. (7:30 p.m., Cataldo Globe Room, with a forum at 2:10 p.m. in the Foley Library Writing Center, moderated by Eastern Washington University’s Paul Lindholdt)
Nov. 19: Rattawut Lapcharoensap, whose stories have appeared in Granta and Zoetrope. His first collection, “Sightseeing,” was released in 2005. (7:30 p.m., Cataldo Globe Room)
Jan. 27: Manuel Gonzales, the author of “The Miniature Wife and Other Stories” (Riverhead) and the forthcoming novel, “The Regional Office is Under Attack.” (7:30 p.m., Cataldo Globe Room)
Feb. 16: Tony Hoagland, whose five volumes of poetry are “Application for Release from the Dream” (being released this fall), “Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty,” “Sweet Ruin,” “Donkey Gospel,” and “What Narcissism Means to Me,” all from Graywolf Press. (7:30 p.m., Hemmingson Ballroom)
March Robyn Schiff, the author of the poetry collections “Revolver” and “Worth.” A third collection, from Penguin, is due out in 2016. (7:30 p.m., Wolff Auditorium).
The series is organized by Tod Marshall, and presented by the GU English, religious studies and environmental studies departments, the Unity and Multicultural Education Center, Spokane Falls Community College and the Davenport Hotel.