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The Oklahoma
Center for the Book

Oklahoma Dept. of
200 NE 18th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73105-3298

(405) 521-2502
(405) 525-7804—FAX

Connie Armstrong,
OCB director

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2001 Oklahoma Book Award Finalists


Oklahoma Book AwardAward Winners are marked with an Oklahoma Book Award graphic.



Family Correspondence—Kim Doner and Carl Brune
published by HAWK Pub. Group, Tulsa, OK
Brune is a native of Enid. He has worked at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa for 18 years where he is currently graphics and publication manager. The book design for Family Correspondence was by Brune. The cover art and design is by Doner, an author and illustrator. She received the Oklahoma Book Award for design/illustration in 1996 for Green Snake Ceremony. A native Oklahoman, Doner lives in Tulsa.

Still Lookin'Gene Dougherty
published by Doane Agricultural Services Company, St. Louis, MO
Dougherty is accomplished in illustration, watercolor and oils, and he characterizes the American West with an open, clear realism. He has a Master's degree in art education from Oklahoma State University, and has taught art for 24 years at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa.

Award Winner signifier

The Very Persistent Gappers of FripLane Smith
published by Villard Books, New York, NY
Lane Smith has illustrated several number one best-sellers including The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs and James and the Giant Peach. Twice he won the New York Times' Best Illustrated Book of the Year award and in 1993 he received a Caldecott Honor. Smith was born in Tulsa; and his parents live in Sapulpa.

Interiors: A MeditationRobin Smith
published by Wood 'N' Barnes Pre-Production Press, Oklahoma City, OK
Robin Smith was born in Alva, and grew up in Oklahoma City. She has been a teacher of journalism and photography for more than 30 years. She began her career as an artistic photographer 15 years ago, and currently has a studio in the Paseo Art District of Oklahoma City.


Noodling for FlatheadsBurkhard Bilger
published Scribner, New York, NY
Bilger is a features editor at Discover, a contributing editor at Health, and an adjunct professor of science writing at New York University. He was born in Oklahoma and received a degree in English from Yale University. He has worked as a writer and editor for more than 14 years. This book of essays on Southern sub-cultures describes many Oklahoma pastimes.

Bryce Harlow: Mr. IntegrityBob Burke and Ralph Thompson
published by Oklahoma Heritage Association, OKC, OK
Bryce Harlow served as an advisor to four presidents, informing them about more public issues than perhaps anyone in American history. Author Burke was born in Broken Bow and now practices law and writes books in Oklahoma City. He has written 28 books about Oklahoma, and received the 1999 Oklahoma Book Award for non-fiction for From Oklahoma to Eternity: The Life of Wiley Post and the Winnie Mae. Thompson is a U.S. District Judge who teaches trial advocacy at Harvard Law School. An Oklahoma Hall of Fame honoree, Thompson lives in Oklahoma City.

The Santa Fe Trail: Its History, Legends, and LoreDavid Dary
published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY
Dary gives a vivid recreation of an important time in American history. Director of the School of Journalism at the University of Oklahoma for many years, he is the author of eight previous books about the West and is the recipient of a Cowboy Hall of Fame Wrangler award, two Western Writers of America Spur awards, and the Westerners International Best Non-Fiction Book Award.

The Knife-Thrower's AssistantRonnie Claire Edwards
published by HAWK Publishing Group, Tulsa, OK
Edwards grew up in Oklahoma and actually did once work as a human target for a knife thrower in a circus. This and other memories of her life make this an entertaining autobiography. Edwards is known for her role as Corabeth Walton Godsey on the television series The Waltons. Edwards has appeared on television, in film and theater, and has written musicals, a cookbook, and award-winning fiction. She recently toured the United States in a one-woman show upon which this book is based.

American Legal Thought From Premodernism to Postmodernism: An Intellectual VoyageStephen Feldman
published by Oxford University Press, New York, NY
This tour through two centuries of American legal thought is a contribution to our understanding of legal theory and how it relates to more general intellectual and cultural trends. Feldman is a professor of law and political science at the University of Tulsa.

Award Winner signifierContrary Neighbors: Southern Plains and Removed Indians in Indian TerritoryDavid LaVere
published by University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
This book examines the relations between Southeastern Indians who were removed to Indian Territory in the early nineteenth century and Southern Plains Indians who claimed this territory as their own. LaVere is associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

Angie Debo: Pioneering HistorianShirley A. Leckie
published by University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
Leckie's biography of Angie Debo assesses the significance of Oklahoma's pioneering historian. She explores Debo's family background, her personality, and the impact of gender discrimination on her career. Leckie is professor of history at the University of Central Florida, Orlando.

Waltzing With the Ghost of Tom JoadRobert Lee Maril
published by University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
In Oklahoma, eighth-poorest state in the nation, poverty is a pressing social problem. Maril's study examines the lives of poverty stricken Oklahomans, explores myths about the poor, discusses the causes of poverty, and presents a public policy agenda designed to benefit the poor. Maril is chair and professor of sociology at the University of Texas, Pan American.

Indian Gaming: Tribal Sovereignty and American PoliticsW. Dale Mason
published by University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
Mason examines the conflicts surrounding American tribal gambling operations, focusing on tribes in New Mexico and Oklahoma. Although Indian gaming accounts for only five percent of all gambling in the United States, it has become the issue for tribes in the 1990s. Mason is an assistant professor of political science at the University of New Mexico in Gallup.

Heartsblood: Hunting, Spirituality, and Wildness in America—David Laverne Petersen
published by Island Press, Washington D.C.
Writer and veteran outdoorsman, Petersen offers a thoroughly informed, unsettlingly honest, intensely personal exploration of hunting. He draws clear distinctions between true hunting and contemporary hunter behavior. Petersen is a former Marine Corps helicopter pilot, magazine editor, and college professor who has invested 50 years in learning about natural wildness, and the past 15 years writing about what he has learned. He lives in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown—Louise S. Robbins
published by University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
Ruth Brown, a librarian in Bartlesville, was fired in 1950 after 30 years of exemplary service with the public library, ostensibly because she had circulated subversive materials. In truth she was fired because she had become active in promoting racial equality. Robbins is associate professor and director of the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Take the Cannoli—Sarah Vowell
published by Simon & Schuster, New York, NY
Vowell, a contributing editor for This American Life on Public Radio International and a columnist of Salon, has put together a collection of personal stories stretching across the immense landscape of the American scene. While tackling subjects such as identity, politics, religion, art, and history, these tales are written with a biting humor in the tradition of Mark Twain and Dorothy Parker. Vowell was born in Braggs, Oklahoma, and lived there until she was 11.


Legerdemain—Carol Hamilton
published by Mirage Group of Southern California, Santa Clarita, CA
Hamilton is a teacher, children's writer, and poet. She was Poet Laureate of Oklahoma from 1995 to 1997, and received the Oklahoma Book Award for poetry in 1992 for Once the Dust. Legerdemain is a dreamscape that starts with marriage and drifts through a collage of the everyday and history.

Camera ObscuraCarol Davis Koss
published by Beyond the Press of the Madding Crowd, Oklahoma City, OK
Koss lives in Oklahoma City, teaches English and creative writing, and nurtures poetry in Oklahoma. She is poetry chair for the Individual Artists of Oklahoma. This collection attempts to capture those split seconds in time and place that make up poetry and stretch them, reduce them, telescope them, take them on a trek—and dynamite them— similar to the principle on which cameras work.

Still Lookin'—Joe Kreger
published by Doane Agricultural Services Company, St. Louis, MO
An Oklahoma rancher and poet, Kreger was named Poet Laureate of Oklahoma in 1998 by Governor Frank Keating. This book of observations and reflections is a partner to his first book, Lookin' at Life.

Mythic Places—Judith Tate O'Brien
published by ByLine Press, Edmond, OK
O'Brien grew up in Oklahoma oil towns and spent two decades as a Benedictine nun. Now "cozily married" for more than twenty years, O'Brien reads or writes poetry every day. Mythic Places was the 2000 ByLine Chapbook competition winner.

Interiors: A Meditation—Leah S. Taylor
published by Wood 'N' Barnes Pre-Production Press, Oklahoma City, OK
Taylor grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Tulsa, and has been a family therapist and organizational consultant for 30 years, most of them in Oklahoma City. She has published technical works in her profession and written poetry most of her life. This book of self-reflection is also a journey to self-discovery.

Award Winner signifier

Seasons of Mangoes and Brainfire—Carolyne Wright
published by Lynx House Press, Spokane, WA
Wright has received awards for her writing from the Poetry Society of America and the New York State Council on the Arts. Seasons of Mangoes and Brainfire was the winner of the Blue Lynx Prize. Wright is a creative writing professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond.


J.C. Watts—Politician—Norma Jean Lutz
published by Chelsea House Publishers, Broomall, PA
Lutz, who lives in Tulsa and has been writing professionally since 1977, is the author of more than 250 short stories and articles, as well as 28 books, both fiction and non-fiction. This is the story of Congressman J. C. Watts who first rose to fame as quarterback of the University of Oklahoma Sooners in the early 1980s.

When the Bough Breaks—Anna Myers
published by, Walker and Company, New York, NY
Myers has won the Oklahoma Book Award twice: in 1993 for Red Dirt Jessie and in 1996 for Graveyard Girl. Her life as a teacher in Chandler, Oklahoma, gives her a deep understanding of both small-town life and young people. In When the Bough Breaks, a foster child takes a job reading to an elderly neighbor, and the two discover they have much in common.

Jingle Dancer—Cynthia Leitich Smith
published by, HarperCollins Children's Books, New York, NY
Smith has worked in law, public relations, and journalism. A mixed-blood member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Smith lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and a gray tabby. In this book, Jenna lives in a contemporary intertribal community and family in Oklahoma and dreams of becoming a jingle dancer.

Award Winner signifier

Hush Songs—Joyce Carol Thomas
published by Hyperion Books for Children, New York, NY
Thomas, originally from Ponca City, now lives in California. She is known for writing books for the whole family: adults, children, and even toddlers. This is a collection of ten African American lullabies. Thomas received the 2001 Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Coyote Autumn—Bill Wallace
published by, Holiday House, Inc., New York, NY
Wallace, who received the 2000 Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award, is the author of many best-selling children's books, including Beauty, Buffalo Gal, and Ferret in the Bedroom. A former teacher and principal, he is now a full-time writer. In Coyote Autumn, a young boy moves to rural Oklahoma after living in Chicago apartments, and befriends an orphaned coyote pup.


The Search For Shannon—Vicki Allen
published by Magnolia Publishing Co., Oklahoma City, OK
Set in southern Mississippi and southeast Georgia, this is the story of four women, brought together by birth and the adoption of one child. Allen weaves the lives of four contemporary women into an involving story. This is the second novel for Allen who lives in Oklahoma City.

Silent Justice—William Bernhardt
published by Ballantine Books, New York, NY
Bernhardt is known as "the master of the courtroom drama" and has won several awards for his work. Bernhardt has also received awards for public service, and in 1993 was named one of the top 25 young lawyers in the nation. He received the Oklahoma Book Award for fiction in 1995 for Perfect Justice and again in 2000 for Dark Justice. He lives in Tulsa.

Cherokee Dragon—Robert J. Conley
published by St Martin's Press, New York, NY
Conley is the author of more than 30 novels, including the 10 that comprise his acclaimed Real People Saga. He is the winner of three Spur Awards for his work. He is Cherokee and lives in Tahlequah. In Cherokee Dragon he explores the life of Dragging Canoe, the last great war chief of the United Cherokee tribe.

Paper Trail—Barbara Snow Gilbert
published by Front Street Books, Asheville, NC
Gilbert is an attorney, mediator, and writer. She is a member of the mediation panel for the U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, and mediates litigation pending in both federal and state courts. She lives in Oklahoma City with her family. This is her third novel. Each of her first two novels, Stone Water and Broken Chords, won the Oklahoma Book Award in the children/young adult category.

Easy Pickin's—Fred Harris
published by, HarperCollins Publisher, New York, NY
Harris was twice elected U.S. Senator from Oklahoma and is the author of 10 non-fiction books. Easy Pickin's, a mystery set in Depression-era Oklahoma, is Harris' second work of fiction. He lives in Albuquerque.

Award Winner signifier

Sugarplum Dead—Carolyn Hart
published by, HarperCollins Publishers (William Morrow), New York, NY
An accomplished master of mystery, Hart is the author of twelve Death on Demand novels, which have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She is also the creator of the highly praised Henri O series. One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, a national mystery writers' group, Hart lives in Oklahoma City.

BrokenDar Tomlinson
published by Genesis Press Inc., Columbus
With Broken, which won the prestigious Hemingway First Novel Award, Tomlinson gives readers a disturbing look into the darker sides of love, and basic drives and motives that affect us all. Tomlinson was born in Texas, grew up in Oklahoma, and now divides her time between homes in Denver and Scottsdale, Arizona.

My Mother's Daughter—Judith Henry Wall
published by Simon & Schuster, New York, NY
A deeply involving novel of a Texas family and three generations of its women, this is a story about mothers, daughters, sisters, and the bonds of trust that bind or destroy a family. Wall lives in Norman.

Dark Within—John Wooley
published by, HAWK Publishing Group, Tulsa, OK
Wooley has written novels, non-fiction works, screenplays, documentaries, and hundreds of news stories. Dark Within is the first fiction work in more than a decade from this horror master, and is his most spine-tingling novel yet, a blend of horror and fantasy with the intimacy of a homespun yarn. He lives in Foyil.


The Oklahoma Center for the Book, sponsor of the Oklahoma Book Award competition, is a non-profit, 501-c-3 organization located in the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Established in 1986 as an outreach program of the Library of Congress, the Oklahoma Center was the fourth such state center formed. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors from across the state.

The mission of the Oklahoma Center for the Book is
to promote the work of Oklahoma authors,
to promote the literary heritage of the state, and
to encourage reading for pleasure by Oklahomans of all ages.

For more information about the Oklahoma Center for the Book or the Oklahoma Book Award program, contact Connie Armstrong, 200 N.E. 18th Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73105; call 405-522-3383.


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