Categories include:
Poetry, Young Adult, Juvenile, First Fiction, Fiction, and Nonfiction
Winners announced: week of April 11, 2011
Awards Ceremony: Thursday June 2, 2011 at 6 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO – (March 16, 2011) The Commonwealth Club has announced this year’s finalists for the California Book Awards. During the week of April 11th, winners in all six categories – poetry, young adult, juvenile, first fiction, fiction, and nonfiction – will be announced to the public. Later on, book lovers from around the state will gather on Thursday, June 2 at 6 pm at 595 Market Street, 2nd floor, in San Francisco to recognize the winners at a special program and reception. For tickets, call 415/597-6705/6706.

"Once again, we wanted to highlight all of our wonderful nominees and their works,” said Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO of the Commonwealth Club. “Although we are only able to choose one winner in every category, all of the books that are being considered should be recognized as works of special note – again, in time for spring and summer reading.”

Commonwealth Club Literary Director Wendy Wanderman, who organizes the competition, commented, “This year’s finalists continue to represent the rich diversity of talented writers who live here in California. As always, we received so many great submissions for this year’s awards, it was truly a struggle for our committee of jurors to narrow it down.”

The 80th Annual California Book Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 6 pm at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market Street in San Francisco. This year’s awards presentation is once again 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 5:15 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.



Suck on the Marrow, by Camille T. Dungy

SKY = EMPTY. by Judy Halebsky

Diwata, by Barbara Jane Reyes

Mortal Geography, by Alexandra Teague

Phantom Noise, by Brian Turner


The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba, by Nancy Farmer

Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs, by Margarita Engle

The Things a Brother Knows, by Dana Reinhardt

Bruiser, by Neal Shusterman


Grandma’s Gloves, by Cecil Castellucci, Illustrations by Julia Denos

Sparky: The Life and Art of Charles Schulz, by Beverly Gherman

From North to South, by René Colato Lainez, Illustrations by Joe Cepeda

The Extraordinary Mark Twain, by Barbara Kerley, Illustrations by Edwin Fotheringham

Half Spoon of Rice, by Icy Smith, Illustrations by Sopaul Nhem


Quiet as they Come, by Angie Chau

Breathin, In Dust, by Tim Z. Hernandez

The Lost Books of the Odyssey, by Zachary Mason

Death Is Not an Option: Stories, by Suzanne Rivecca



City of Veils, by Zoe Ferraris

In Envy Country: Stories, by Joan Frank

Model Home, by Eric Puchner

The True Memoirs of Little K., by Adrienne Sharp

I Hotel, by Karen Tei Yamashita


Charlie Chan, by Yunte Huang

The Harvard Psychedelic Club, by Don Lattin

Deep Blue Home, by Julia Whitty

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 Yiyun Li, Kay Ryan, Bill Vollmann, Joyce Maynard, Andrew Sean Greer, Chris Abani, Adrienne Rich, Chalmers Johnson, Richard Rodriguez, Michael Chabon, Philip Levine, Adam Hochschild, Rebecca Solnit, and Kevin Starr.

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.