Gold Medals Awarded to:
Karen Tei Yamashita’s I Hotel for FICTION
Yunte Huang’s Charlie Chan for NONFICTION
Alexandra Teague’s Mortal Geography for POETRY

Awards Ceremony: Thursday June 2, 2011 at 6 p.m.
Sponsored by Bank of the West

SAN FRANCISCO – (June 2, 2011) The Commonwealth Club has announced this year’s winners of the California Book Awards. 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. Master of Ceremonies for the event will be Jack Boulware, co-founder and co-director of Litquake and the author of Gimme Something Better. For tickets, call 415/597-6705/6706.

"We were so excited by all of the wonderful submissions we had this year," noted President and CEO of The Commonwealth Club Dr. Gloria Duffy. "As always, we were overwhelmed by California's remarkable writing talent and are truly looking forward to acknowledging the judges’ choices."

Added Wendy Wanderman, literary director of the Club, “It truly was challenging to pick the best of the best this year. We are so lucky to have such a diverse writing pool in the Golden State. We are proud to honor all of those who submitted their works and the winners who were selected."

“We are pleased to support this celebration for The Commonwealth Club of California’s 80th Annual California Book Awards,” said Paul Wible, Head of Bank of the West’s National Finance Group. “As a 137-year-old California bank with a commitment to education and literacy, we are proud to help showcase our state’s outstanding literary talent.”

The 80th Annual California Book Awards ceremony will take place 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 5:00 p.m., followed by the awards presentation at 6 p.m. A book-signing and dessert reception will take place immediately after the ceremony.

80th Commonwealth Club California Book Awards Winners:

Gold Medals
Alexandra Teague, Mortal Geography. Published by Persea

Yunte Huang, Charlie Chan. Published by W. W. Norton & Co

First Fiction:
Zachary Mason, The Lost Books of the Odyssey: A Novel. Published by Picador

Karen Tei Yamashita, I Hotel. Published by Coffee House Press

Cecil Castellucci, Grandma’s Gloves. With illustrations by Julia Denos. Published by Candlewick

Young Adult:
Dana Reinhardt, The Things a Brother Knows. Published by Wendy Lamb Books

Contribution to Publishing:
University of California Press, Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 1; Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith and other editors of the Mark Twain Project

Laura Cunningham, A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California. Published by Heyday Books

Silver Medals
Don Lattin, The Harvard Psychedelic Club. Published by HarperOne

Eric Puchner, Model Home. Published by Scribner

Camille T. Dungy, Suck on the Marrow. Published by Red Hen Press

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 Jared Diamond, 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, 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.