The Washington Center for the Book announced the winners in eight categories for the 2019 Washington State Book Awards (WSBA) for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2019. This is the 53nd year of the program, formerly called the Governor's Writers Awards.

Winners of the 2019 WSBA awards were announced Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Central Library.

The program, held in the Microsoft Auditorium, was hosted by Paul Constant and featured brief readings from the winning titles. A reception and book signing was held in the Living Room on Level 3 of the Central Library. The awards and celebration were sponsored by a grant from the Amazon Literary Partnership.

These book awards are given based on the strength of a book's literary merit, lasting importance and overall quality. To be considered, authors must have been born in Washington state or be a current resident and have maintained residence here for at least three years.



  • "So Lucky" by Nicola Griffith, of Seattle (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


  • "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo, of Shoreline (Seal Press)


  • "Arctic Solitaire" by Paul Souders, of Seattle (Mountaineers Books)


  • "Instruments of the True Measure" by Laura Da’, of Newcastle (University of Arizona Press)


Picture Book

  • "All Are Welcome" illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman, of Seattle, and written by Alexandra Penfold (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

Books for Young Readers (ages 6 to 8)

  • "Peanut Butter and Jelly" by Ben Clanton, of Tacoma (Tundra Books)

Books for Middle Readers (ages 9 to 12)

  • "Winterhouse" by Ben Guterson, of North Bend (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt)

Books for Young Adult Readers (ages 13 to 18)

  • "Blood Water Paint" by Joy McCullough, of Seattle (Dutton Books for Young Readers)

The WSBA is a program of the Washington Center for the Book, a partnership of The Seattle Public Library and Washington State Library. This year's awards program is supported by a grant from the Amazon Literary Partnership. Each category’s winner will receive a $500 honorarium.


For the 2019 WSBA, judges read and evaluated 239 books. 

Judges for the adult categories were: Kelly Evert (Village Books, Bellingham), Kalani Kapahua (Third Place Books), Zola Mumford (librarian, North Seattle College), Brian Soneda (retired librarian) and Jenna Zarzycki (librarian, King County Library System).

Judges for the youth categories were: Sheri Boggs (Spokane County Library District), Chris Robert (Seattle Public Schools) and Janelle Smith (Wishing Tree Books, Spokane).

2020 WSBA

The deadline for submissions for the 2020 WSBA is December 2, 2019. For more information, see the Washington Center for the Book's website.