Spokane’s Writing Scene is Thriving: Local Author Highlights

Local authors have been receiving major accolades both regionally and nationally this year. Here are some recent highlights: 

Travis Baldree’s highly anticipated sophomore effort Bookshops & Bonedust was recently heralded as a Science Fiction and Fantasy Pick of the Month by Library Journal. His first book Legends & Lattes is on the short list for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and is also a final round nominee for Best Fantasy Book of the Year on Goodreads! Travis will do another event with us on December 13th at the Shadle Park Library. 

Lora Senf’s first middle reader novel, The Clackity, was a Bram Stoker Award nominee and the sequel, The Nighthouse Keeper, is available now, featured in October 2023 in Publishers Weekly as a “new and noteworthy” title and called by Kirkus, “Deliciously dark and gripping.” Perfect for kids (and older readers) who like their books a bit spooky!

In April, Tamara Berry of Spokane Valley won the first annual Lilian Jackson Braun Memorial Award for her cozy mystery Buried in a Good Book. The award is part of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Awards

Sarah Conover launched her new memoir Set Adrift: My Family’s Disappearance in the Bermuda Triangle at the Shadle Park Library this year, and also ran a workshop called “Bittersweet: Finding the Language for Love and Loss.” Sarah’s family story was featured this November on The History Channel

Carla Crujido’s new work of historical and fantastical fiction, The Strange Beautiful, is inspired by the Mt. Vernon Apartments here in Spokane, where Crujido’s mother once lived. Not only will Northwest Passages feature the book in January, but Kirkus Reviews just gave the book one of their elusive stars, calling the book “dazzling, magical…full of delight and sorrow.” We hope to feature Carla in the Inland Northwest Special Collections at the start of 2024. 

Debra Magpie Earling (Bitterroot Salish), born in Spokane and based in Missoula, had a wonderful event with us at the Central Library in September. Her new novel, The Lost Journals of Sacajewea, is on the shortlist for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and was recently longlisted for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.  

Stephanie Oakes’s new YA/teen novel, The Meadows, received starred reviews for its September publication from Publishers Weekly and the School Library Journal, and Paste Magazine called it, “One of the best YA novels hitting shelves,” calling its LGBTQ+ themes “more necessary and timely than ever” 

Erin Pringle’s new story collection, Unexpected Weather Events, was listed as one of the fifteen Must-Read Small Press Books over at Electric Lit. We had a great launch for her at the Shadle Park Library on October 1st

Last May, Laura Read held her book launch at the Central Library in nxʷyxʷyetkʷ Hall. It was a beautiful celebration of her poetry collection But She Is Also Jane. Excitingly, Laura’s collection has just been selected by NPR as one of their favorite books of the year! 

Spokane poet Maya Jewell Zeller’s new poetry collection, out takes / glove box, was published this fall after being chosen by Eduardo Corral as the winner of the New American Poetry Prize. Electric Lit featured three of Maya’s witchy, withering poems here, My Spite Could Fill a Museum – Electric Literature