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11/19/10



For Immediate Release
Contact: Connie Armstrong
Executive Director
(405) 522-3383



Twenty-second Annual Oklahoma Book Award Competition Begins

Rilla Askew is Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Entries are now being accepted for the twenty-second annual Oklahoma Book Award competition. The deadline for entering is January 7, 2011, according to the Oklahoma Center for the Book in the Oklahoma Department of Libraries.

The Oklahoma Book Award program is designed to recognize and promote Oklahoma's working writers as well as outstanding books about the state. Entries are being sought in five categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children/young adult, and design/illustration.

To qualify, books must have been published between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010. In addition, the author must reside or have resided in Oklahoma, or the book must have an Oklahoma theme. Finalists in each category will be selected and announced in early March; winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on April 9, 2011, at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Museum in Oklahoma City.

In addition to the five categories listed, the board of directors of the Oklahoma Center for the Book presents the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for a body of work contributing to Oklahoma’s literary heritage. The award was named for Norman, Oklahoma, historian Arrell Gibson, who served as the first president of the Oklahoma Center for the Book. The 2011 recipient is Rilla Askew

Born in Oklahoma’s San Bois Mountains, Askew grew up in Bartlesville and spent her early adulthood in Tahlequah. She moved to New York City to pursue an acting career, but soon turned her efforts to writing. She is the author of several books including The Mercy Seat, nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dublin IMPAC Prize, and recipient of both the Oklahoma Book Award and the Western Heritage Award in 1998; Fire in Beulah, winner of the American Book Award and the Myers Book Award; and Harpsong, recipient of the Oklahoma book Award and the Western Heritage Award, the WILLA Award from Women Writing the West, and the Violet Crown Award from the Writers League of Texas.

Previous Gibson Book Award winners include mystery novelist Tony Hillerman; Librarian of Congress Emeritus Daniel Boorstin; Newbery Award winner Harold Keith; Savoie Lottinville, who served as director of the University of Oklahoma Press for thirty years; Hugo Award winning science fiction writer R.A. Lafferty; Kiowa poet and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist N. Scott Momaday; historian John Hope Franklin; Tulsa children/young adult author S. E. Hinton; Norman novelist Jack Bickham; Tulsa author and award winning reporter Michael Wallis; children’s author Bill Wallace; Joyce Carol Thomas who writes adult and children’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry; the University of Oklahoma’s renowned literary journal World Literature Today and its programs; Native American poet Joy Harjo; mystery writer Carolyn Hart; science fiction and fantasy master C.J. Cherryh; noted historian Bob Burke; internationally known Tulsa author and lecturer Clifton Taulbert; and author and emeritus professor of journalism at the University of Oklahoma David Dary. Last year’s recipient was photographer David Fitzgerald.

For more information on the book awards, including submitting entries, visit the website at www.odl.state.ok.us/ocb, or contact Connie Armstrong, Executive Director, Oklahoma Center for the Book, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, 200 NE 18th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73105, or call 800/522-8116 toll free statewide. In the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, call 405/522-3383.