Oklahoma City author Carolyn Wall’s debut novel "Sweeping Up Glass” about the mysterious killing of wolves in rural Kentucky in the 1930s won the fiction award at the 20th annual Oklahoma Book Awards Saturday at the Oklahoma Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The awards reception and banquet drew a crowd of more than 220 that included authors, publishers, librarians, book editors and people who simply love to read. The event was sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for the Book, part of the state Libraries Department and a state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Cherokee novelist and poet Robert Conley was presented with the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for a body of work contributing to Oklahoma’s literary heritage. The award is named for the Norman historian who served as the first president of the Oklahoma Center for the Book. A native of Cushing, Conley, 69, has written more than 70 books and won many awards, including three Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America. Most of Conley’s writing deals with Cherokee characters, culture and themes. His "Real-People” series traces Cherokee history, beginning in the year 1500. Recent novels in that series include "The Peace Chief” and "War Woman.” His novel, "Mountain Windsong,” focused on the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee removal from Georgia to Oklahoma. In an interview before the award ceremony, Conley said he was proud to be receiving Oklahoma’s Arrell Gibson Award. "I’ve been told that getting this (award) doesn’t mean I can quit writing, and that’s good, because I still have a lot more to do,” said Conley, who now serves as the Sequoyah Distinguished Professor in Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. Awards in the categories of fiction, poetry, design/illustration, children/young adult and nonfiction salute books written last year by Oklahomans or about Oklahoma. Subjects tackled by this year’s crop of book award winners were diverse, including an account of how the Fort Shaw Indian School girls’ basketball team became world champions, a then-and-now look at former Japanese Internment campsites, a whimsical depiction of what dogs want for Christmas, a suspense story inspired by the immortal last words of American Revolutionary War patriot Nathan Hale and poetic observations gleaned at a Norman coffee shop.Comments
AT A GLANCEAWARD WINNERS The 20th annual Oklahoma Book Awards competition drew 159 entries. The winners, who were chosen from 35 finalists, were: →Fiction: "Sweeping Up Glass,” by Oklahoma City author Carolyn Wall, and published by Poisoned Pen Press, Scottsdale, Ariz. →Nonfiction: "Full Court Quest: The Girls From Shaw Indian School, Basketball Champions of the World,” by authors Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith, both of Middletown Springs, Vt., and published by the University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. →Design: "Placing Memory: A Photographic Exploration of Japanese American Internment,” designed by Eric H. Anderson and Karen Hayes-Thumann, with photographs by Todd Stewart, all from OU’s School of Art in Norman, and published by OU Press. →Illustration: "What Dogs Want for Christmas,” illustrated by Kandy Radzinski of Tulsa and published by Sleeping Bear Press, Chelsea, Mich. →Children/Young Adult: "Spy,” by author Anna Myers of Chandler and published by Walker Books, New York. →Poetry: "Two Tables Over,” by Norman poet Nathan Brown and published by Village Books Press, Cheyenne.