Press Release from…
595 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94105
Contacts: Riki Rafner, 415.597.6712
Arvi Kaur
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         
Finalists Announced for 81st Annual California Book Awards

Categories include:
Poetry, Young Adult, Juvenile,
First Fiction, Fiction, and Nonfiction

Winners announced: week of April 23, 2012
Awards Ceremony: Thursday June 7, 2012 at 6 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO – (March 20, 2012)  The Commonwealth Club has announced this year’s finalists for the California Book Awards.  During the week of April 23rd, 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 7, at 6pm 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.

"We are very excited about this year’s nominations for best books,” said Commonwealth Club Literary Director Wendy Wanderman.  “We received so many outstanding submissions this year. It was extraordinarily challenging to select those we thought particularly worthy of mention as they were all just that good.  In fact, in my opinion, they are all deserving of being placed on our spring and summer reading lists.”

The 81st Annual California Book Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 7, 2012 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.


Waifs and Strays by: Micah Ballard
Smith Blue by: Camille T. Dungy
Open Winter by: Rae Gouirand
Journal of American Foreign Policy by: Jeff Hoffman
Ascension by: Giovanni Singleton

Why We Broke Up by: Daniel Handler, Illus: Maira Kalman
The Apothecary by: Maile Meloy
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by: Ransom Riggs
Wonderstruck by: Brian Selznick
Dragons of Silk by: Laurence Yep

The Bravest Woman in America by: Marissa Moss, Illus: Andrea U’Ren
Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans By and Illus: Kadir Nelson
Lucky for Good by: Susan Patron, Illus: Erin McGuire
One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by: Joanne Rocklin
Breaking Stalin’s Nose by and Illus: Eugene Yelchin            
Power Ballads by: Will Boast
Turn of Mind by: Alice LaPlante
The Oracle ofStamboul by: Michael David Lukas

The Great Night by: Chris Adrian
Love and Shame and Love by: Peter Orner
You are Free by: Danzy Senna
The Barbarian Nurseries by: Héctor Tobar
The Pale King by: David Foster Wallace

Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities in the World’s Richest Museum by: Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino        
The Ecstasy of Influence: nonfictions, Jonathan Lethem
Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America by: Richard White


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.

About Bank of the West
Founded in 1874, $62.4 billion-asset Bank of the West (, member FDIC and equal housing lender, offers a full range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 700 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, one of the world's largest and best rated banks* with nearly 200,000 employees in 80 countries.
*Rated AA- by Standard & Poor’s as of October 14, 2011.

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