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2002 Oklahoma Book Award Finalists

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



Woven Worlds: Basketry from the Clark Field Collection

Award Winner signifier

Design by Carl Brune—Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Tulsa
The Field collection reflects the diversity and resiliency of Native American peoples and their basketry traditions as they have responded to change over time. Brune weaves historical photos, maps, graphics, and photos of collection pieces to help tell this story. Brune is graphics and publication manager at the Philbrook.

Traveling Route 66—Design by Phillip Clucas—University of Oklahoma Press, Norman
A colorful illustrated history of the fabled mother road and its landmarks. More than 240 full-color illustrations reveal the unique culture along the road, from neon signs and historic landmarks to favorite cars and recipes popular along the highway. Clucas resides in London, England

The Philosophers’ Club—Illustration by Kim Doner—Tricycle Press, Berkeley
When Doner is not busy illustrating her own writing, she is helping other authors with her warm and playful artwork. She received the Oklahoma Book Award for design/illustration in 1996 for Green Snake Ceremony. Her 2000 book Buffalo Dreams earned her finalist spots in both the Children/Young Adult and Design/Illustration categories. A native Oklahoman, Doner lives in Tulsa. In The Philosophers’ Club, answers to questions just lead to other questions.

Gifts of Pride and Love: Kiowa and Comanche Cradles
Designed by Barbara Hail
—Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University
Editor Barbara Hail also directed design of this book celebrating the Kiowa and Comanche cradles made by grandmothers and mothers, aunts, and other relatives. These works of art, passed down through generations, were gifts of pride and love. Hail is Deputy Director and Curator of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University. She is co-editor of Collecting Native America, 1870-1960, Smithsonian Press, 1999.

The House Oklahoma Built: A History of the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion
Designed by Carol Haralson
—Oklahoma Heritage Association
Haralson is the recipient of a record five Oklahoma Book Awards. She has been honored for her design of Cleora’s Kitchens, 1991; Will Rogers: Courtship and Correspondence, 1993; Big Bluestem: A Journey into the Tall Grass, 1997; Visions and Voices: Native American Painting from the Philbrook Museum of Art, 1998; and Glory Days of Summer: The History of Baseball in Oklahoma, 2000. Haralson now resides in Sedona, Arizona.


He Made it Safe to Murder: The Life of Moman Pruiett
Howard K. Berry Sr.
—Oklahoma Heritage Association, Oklahoma City
As a young lawyer, Berry met criminal attorney Moman Pruiett in the 1930s. For more than six decades the story of Pruiett remained untold. The publisher dropped this original 1940s manuscript because many of the participants were still living and the publisher feared legal action. It is the story of the time when justice often took a backseat to courtroom antics, and when knowledge of the law was secondary to showmanship. Berry died on March 9, 2001, a few weeks prior to publication of his book.

Gifts of Pride and Love: Kiowa and Comanche Cradles
Edited by Barbara A. Hail
—Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University
Hail has collected and contributed stories about the deep connection of the Kiowa and Comanche people to their traditional cradles. A unique art form, both beautiful and functional, cradles were often exquisitely beaded and prepared by the grandmothers, mothers, aunts and male relatives. Hail investigates the cultural significance of the cradles with the descendants of and current cradle makers. She is deputy director and curator of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.

Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir—Tony Hillerman—Harper-Collins, New York
Looking back 76 years, Hillerman provides a wry and whimsical memoir, offering glances of the places and events that have provided plots, characters and contexts for his many novels. Stories about his upbringing, education, military and journalism experience, and family life are humorous, humbling, and heartwarming. Hillerman is past president of the Mystery Writers of America. He received the Oklahoma Center for the Book’s Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.

Indian Orphanages—Marilyn Irvin Holt—University Press of Kansas, Lawrence
Holt weaves Indian history with educational history, family history, and child welfare policy to tell the story of Indian orphanages. Engaging the larger context of the orphan asylum in America, Holt relates the cultural factors that produced and sustained the institution, and shows how orphans became a part of native experience after Euro-American contact. Holt is former director of publications at the Kansas Historical Society and has served as a research consultant for the PBS American Experience series.

The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City In American Memory
Edward T. Linenthal
—Oxford University Press, New York
A poignant and provocative look at the ways Oklahomans and American culture at large have responded to, and tried to make sense of, the Oklahoma City Bombing tragedy. Linenthal writes about bonds of affection and acts of compassion that joined people locally and globally in the wake of the bombing. Linenthal is professor of religion and American culture at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.

The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921
Tim Madigan
—Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press, New York
Madigan explores the racism, hatred, and mistrust that contributed to the tragic Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. The author recreates the Greenwood community (the “Negro Wall Street of America”) at the height of its prosperity, and recounts events leading to and including the riot, and the subsequent silence that surrounded the tragedy for decades. Madigan, named Texas Reporter of the Year in both 1996 and 1997, writes for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Winning the Dust Bowl—Carter Revard—University of Arizona Press, Tucson
A memoir in prose and poetry, Revard weaves bootleggers, bank robbers, activists and agitators in this work, described as lyrical in one breath and stingingly political in the next. An award-winning poet and scholar, Revard was born on the Osage reservation, was a Rhodes scholar, holds a Ph.D. from Yale University, and is professor emeritus of English at Washington University in St. Louis.

Nothing Personal, Just Business: A Guided Journey Into Organizational Darkness
Howard F. Stein
—Quorum Books, Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., Westport, CT
Approaching the dark side of organizations through use of symbol and metaphor, Stein reveals emotional savagery, brutality and psychological forms of violence, specifically intimidation, degradation, and dehumanization in today’s organization. Stein succeeds in countering “all is well” pronouncements based on the narrow parameters of low unemployment and high productivity. Stein is a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Letters from the Dust Bowl—Caroline Henderson
Edited by Alvin O. Turner—University of Oklahoma Press, Norman
Caroline Henderson moved to Oklahoma’s panhandle to homestead and teach in 1907. This collection of her letters and articles, written between 1908 and 1965, presents an intimate portrait of a woman’s life in the Great Plains. Henderson, who died in 1965, was often published in Atlantic Monthly and her articles are frequently cited for vivid descriptions of the dust storms of the time. Turner is Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, East Central University, Ada.

Award Winner signifier

Woven Worlds: Basketry from the Clark Field Collection
Edited by Lydia L. Wyckoff
—Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Tulsa
The Clark Field Collection at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa is recognized as one of the most comprehensive basketry collections in North America. Baskets reflect the social, cultural, and environmental experience of Native American peoples. Through the collection, the weavers, their baskets, and their traditions are highlighted. Wyckoff holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Yale University and served as curator of Native American art at Philbrook from 1991 to 1998.


On a Wing of the Sun: Three Volumes of Poetry
Jim Barnes—University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago
Barnes, a native Oklahoman, is currently the writer-in-residence and professor of comparative literature at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. He is the winner of the American Book Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry award, and the 1993 Oklahoma Book Award for poetry. This book brings together three acclaimed collections of Barnes’s poetry.

Award Winner signifier

The Scent of Water: New and Selected Poems
Ivy Dempsey—La Alameda Press, Albuquerque
The Scent of Water maps a pilgrimage from a child’s puzzled awakening, through the shock of adult despairs, toward the humbling wisdom of acceptance. It provides a wide range of landscapes—the trees, skies, and waters of Oklahoma, Kansas, California, and New Mexico. Dempsey lives in Tulsa.

The Stones for a Pillow
Diane Glancy—National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) Press, Rochester, MI
Glancy’s writings are familiar to Oklahomans as she has previously been a finalist in fiction, non-fiction and poetry categories of this competition. She lived in Oklahoma for many years, and is now associate professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. These poems, which open our eyes to the possibilities in a troubled and beautiful world, add to her already impressive work. The Stones for a Pillow is winner of the 2000 NFSPS Stevens Poetry Manuscript competition.

The Penultimate Suitor—Mary Leader—University of Iowa Press, Iowa City
Mary Leader teaches at the University of Memphis and in the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She was formerly a referee for the Oklahoma Supreme Court and an assistant attorney general for the state. Her first book, Red Signature, was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. The poems in The Penultimate Suitor turn upon and return to the infuriating and glorious correlations between love and art.

Playing the Messages Twice: Poems and Collaborations
Ann E. Weisman—Rose Rock Press, Lawton
Weisman has been a poet or artist-in-the-schools for the state arts councils of Montana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. She was born in Tulsa and lived in Oklahoma at the time of publication of this book. She now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Playing the Messages Twice brings together poetry written, published, performed and “collaborated” during the past two decades. One piece, “Good Pieces of Advice I’ve Been Given”, is a collaboration between the author and audiences in Tulsa and Lawton.


Woody Guthrie: Poet of the People—Bonnie Christensen—Alfred A. Knopf, New York
This book celebrates the life and spirit of an American original—the great folk musician Woody Guthrie. Christensen is a fine artist and printmaker who teaches at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, and in the summer teaches in Venice, Italy. The author created the illustrations in this book. Christensen lives in Colchester, Vermont with her daughter Emily.

Award Winner signifier

The Rachel Resistance—Molly Levite Griffis—Eakin Press, Austin
Griffis begins her book on a day that will live in infamy—Pearl Harbor Day. The heroine, Rachel, listens to Captain Midnight on the radio, becomes a member of his secret squadron, and becomes convinced there are spies in her hometown of Apache, Oklahoma. The author of three books, Griffis is a publisher, bookseller, former English teacher, and a master storyteller. She lives in Norman.

The Million Dollar Kick—Dan Gutman—Hyperion Books for Children, New York
Oklahoma City seventh-grader Whisper Nelson hates sports. But she wins a chance to kick a goal past a professional soccer star for a million dollars! Should she try it, risking failure and humiliation, or forget the whole thing and save her dignity? Gutman is the author of many novels for young people, including the winner of the Oklahoma Library Association’s 2000 Sequoyah Children’s Book Award The Million Dollar Shot, a basketball story.

Stolen by the Sea—Anna Myers—Walker & Company, New York
Myers is a two-time winner of the Oklahoma Book Award in the children/young adult category. She won in 1993 for Red Dirt Jessie and in 1996 for Graveyard Girl. Stolen by the Sea is about a young girl’s fight for survival and struggle with jealousy during the Galveston hurricane. Myers is a former teacher. She lives in Chandler.

Rain is Not My Indian Name—Cynthia Leitich Smith
HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York
Smith was a finalist in the 2001 children/young adult category for Jingle Dancer. A mixed-blood member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Smith grew up in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. She currently lives in Austin, Texas. In this book, a grief-stricken teenager, who has isolated herself, begins to open up to the world again—via the lens of her camera.


Fire in Beulah—Rilla Askew—Viking, New York
As modern day Oklahoma confronts the tragedy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, a native daughter lends her voice. Askew’s novel, although fictional, portrays actual events that occurred during the riot. Askew is a two-time winner of the Oklahoma Book Awards. She was honored in 1993 for a collection of stories, Strange Business, and in 1998 for her novel The Mercy Seat. She divides her time between the San Bois Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma and upstate New York.

Clear Creek—Don Ballew—Writers Showcase, iUniverse.com, Lincoln, NE
A portrayal of two plebeian families, one Caucasian and one Cherokee, living in the Appalachian Mountains from 1790 to 1840. This was a period of crisis for the new nation called the United States of America. Ballew is a dentist in Oklahoma City. He grew up in rural Cherokee County, Oklahoma, where his father and grandmother are listed on the Cherokee rolls.

An Uncommon Enemy—Michelle Black
A Forge Book, Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, New York
Before Little Big Horn, there was the Battle of the Washita. On the day after Thanksgiving, 1868, George Armstrong Custer and the Seventh Calvary attacked the village of Chief Black Kettle, the peace chief of the Cheyenne Nation. Against this historical backdrop, the author tells the story of Eden, a white woman discovered living with the Cheyenne. Black is a former lawyer and bookstore owner from Overland, Kansas. Her novels have won book awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

Resort to Murder—Carolyn Hart—William Morrow, New York
Henrietta O’Dwyer Collins, better know as Henrie O. has appeared in five other critically acclaimed Hart novels. An accomplished master of mystery, Hart is the author of twelve Death on Demand novels, which have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, Hart lives in Oklahoma City. She is the recipient of the 2001 Oklahoma Book Award for fiction for Sugar Plum Dead.

Flatbellies—Alan B. Hollingsworth—Sleeping Bear Press, Chelsea, MI
Flatbellies is a fictionalized memoir of Hollingsworth’s teenage years. Set in a small Oklahoma town in the mid-1960s, the book is partly about the seemingly unreachable goal of a high school golf team to win the state championship. It is more about learning to deal with love, loss, friendships and coming of age. Hollingsworth is a surgeon and the Medical Director for the Women’s Center at Mercy in Oklahoma City. This is his first published book of fiction. He is also a non-fiction author, and is currently writing more works of both fiction and non-fiction. He no longer plays golf.

Award Winner signifier

The Captain’s Wife—Douglas Kelley—Dutton, Penguin Putnam, Inc., New York
This epic historical novel tells the story of Mary Patten, one of the only women in American history to take command of a full-rigged merchant sailing ship. In 1856, nineteen year old Patten sets sail from New York with her husband and a crew of thirty men to sail around Cape Horn to San Francisco. When her husband falls ill, she heroically takes charge of the ship. This is the first novel for Kelley who is a corporate pilot. He makes his home in the small town of Pocola, Oklahoma.

Perhaps She’ll Die—Marcia K. Preston—Intrigue Press, Philadelphia
A mystery/suspense novel set in a small Oklahoma town, this is the story of a young woman who returns home determined to discover the truth about her father’s death and her mother’s disappearance. She soon finds the town would like those secrets kept hidden. Preston currently edits and publishes ByLine, a small-press trade magazine for writers. Preston has written numerous short stories and magazine articles. This is her first novel. She lives in Edmond.

A Sky for Arcadia—Janet Taliaferro—Xlibris, Philadelphia
Set in the early eighties, this is the story of Mary Ann, who awakens from the nightmare of an attempted suicide to what she considers the nightmare of daily life. The book chronicles her struggle to live without alcohol and drugs while trying to save a business, her surviving child, and her soul. Taliaferro was born in and grew up in Oklahoma City. She holds an MA from the University of Central Oklahoma in creative studies. She now lives in Alexandria, Virginia but maintains an office in Oklahoma City.


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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