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Finalists for the 87th Annual California Book Awards Competition Announced

Awards Ceremony: Monday, June 11, 2018 at 6 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO – (March 28, 2018) The Commonwealth Club has announced this year’s finalists for the California Book Awards.  Book lovers from around the state will gather on Monday, June 11, at 6 pm at 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco to recognize the winners at a special program and reception.  For tickets, call (415) 597-6700.  

“The California Book Awards boasts several stellar features,” commented Award Jury Chair, Mary Ellen Hannibal.  “The first, of course, is an array of outstanding works by historians, novelists, poets, illustrators, and story-tellers who reflect our world back to us in creative and new ways.  Another amazing attribute is the jury itself.”

The California Book Awards jury is made up of published authors, award-winning editors, highly experienced librarians, and college professors who spend the better part of five months carefully reading, reading, and, well…reading.  “Our jury is proactive as well,” Hannibal remarked.  “We go out of our way to seek offerings from small presses that may not have heard of the award.  We usually get a winner or two from an unlikely source.”  Hannibal counseled interested readers not to wait for the winners to be announced, however.  “Start reading now!” she said.  “All the finalists are good.  They are the cream of a very healthy crop.”

The award winners are expected to be announced by the jury by June 1, 2018.  The 87th Annual California Book Awards ceremony will take place Monday, June 11, 2018 at 6 pm at the Commonwealth Club, 110 The Embarcadero in San Francisco. The event is open to the public. Books from award winning authors will be sold and available for book-signing immediately after the ceremony.


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 in 1936 and The Grapes of Wrath in 1939.  Recent award winners include Adam Johnson, Jared Diamond, Karen Fowler, Kay Ryan, Bill Vollman, Joyce Maynard, Andrew Sean Greer, Yiyun Li, Adrienne Rich, Chalmers Johnson, Richard Rodriguez, Michael Chabon, Philip Levine, Rebecca Solnit, Galen Rowell, Jonathan Lethem, Peter Orner and Kevin Starr.
Founded in 1903, The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum, with more than 25,000 members. The Club hosts speeches, debates and discussions on topics of regional, national and international interest. 

Youtube Video: 87TH Annual CBA FINALISTS:

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All They Will Call You, Tim Z. Hernandez, University of Arizona Press

Color of Law, Richard Rothstein, Liveright/W.W. Norton & Company

Doomsday Machine, Daniel Ellsberg, Bloomsbury Publishing

Far Away Brothers, Lauren Markham, Crown

Glass House, Brian Alexander, St. Martin’s Press


Less, Andrew Sean Greer, Lee Boudreux Books

Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Cassava Republic Press

So Much Blue, Percival Everett, Graywolf Press

The Age of Perpetual Light, Josh Weil, Grove Press

The Refugees, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Grove Press


After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again, Dan Santat, Roaring Brook Press

Maya Lin: Thinking With Her Hands, Susan Goldman Rubin, Chronicle Books

Short, Holly Goldberg Sloan, Dial Books for Young Readers, an Imprint of Penguin Young Readers

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse, Mac Barnett (author) and Jon Klassen (illustrator), Candlewick Press

First Fiction

Goodbye, Vitamin, Rachel Khong, Henry Holt and Co.

Large Animals, Jess Arndt, Catapult

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth, Lindsey Lee Johnson, Random House

What We Lose, Zinzi Clemmons, Viking/PRH

Young Adult

The 57 Bus, Dashka Slater, MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group

We Are Okay, Nina Lacour, Dutton Books for Young Readers, an Imprint Penguin Young Readers

What Girls Are Made Of, Elana K. Arnold, Carol rhoda Lab, an Imprint of Lerner Publishing Group


Heaven Is All Goodbyes, Tongo Eisen-Martin, City Lights Publishers

Holy Ghost, David Brazil, City Lights Publishers

I Love It Though, Alli Warren, Nightboat Books

Invocation to Daughters, Barbara Jane Reyes, City Lights Publishers

Tony Greene Era, Kevin Killian, Wonder