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Celebration: Northern California Book Awards

Sunday, 9/11/2022
2:00 - 5:00
Koret Auditorium
Main Library

100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Contact Telephone

The 41st annual Northern California Book Awards recognize the best published works of 2021 by Northern California authors and California translators state-wide.

Presented by the Northern California Book Reviewers, Poetry Flash, and San Francisco Public Library, with our community partners Mechanics' Institute Library and Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter

The Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement and Service will be presented to a distinguished member of the Northern Californian literary community. The winning Northern California authors will speak and briefly present their books. 

Eligible books are divided into categories: Fiction, General Nonfiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, and Children's Literature (Younger Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult). The California Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose will honor works of translation by translators based in California. 

The Northern California Book Reviewers, editors and book reviewers, select the awards. 

History of the Northern California Book Awards

Since 1981, the Northern California Book Reviewers, a volunteer group of book reviewers and book review editors, have honored the work of Northern California authors. One of the group's founders was Fred Cody, proprietor of the famed independent bookstore in Berkeley. The NCBR created an award in his name to honor a lifetime of achievements and distinguished service to the literary community. The Fred Cody Award for lifetime achievement is presented every year to a member of the literary community. Previous recipients include Jack Hirschman, Sandra M. Gilbert, Daniel Ellsberg, Judy Grahn, Susan Griffin, Willis Barnstone, Adam Hochschild, Kay Ryan, Michael Pollan, Al Young, Andrew Hoyem, Diane di Prima, Orville Schell, Philip Levine, Ronald Takaki, Francisco X. Alarcón, Carolyn Kizer, Ishmael Reed, Maxine Hong Kingston, Robert Hass, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Malcolm Margolin, Adrienne Rich, Wallace Stegner, Kay Boyle, William Everson, Alice Walker, Gary Snyder, Jessica Mitford, Tillie Olsen, M.F.K. Fisher, Robert Duncan, Nancy J. Peters and Tamim Ansary.


The award ceremony takes place from 2 - 4 p.m. followed by a book sale and signing. 

Nominated books will be available for purchase at the event by Medicine for Nightmares Bookstore & Gallery


2022 Awards Program



Isabel Allende

Celebrated Bay Area-based Chilean writer and novelist; "the world's most widely read Spanish-language author." Violeta, a novel, Ballantine Books, 2022, The Soul of a Woman, a memoir, Ballantine Books, 2021, A Long Petal of the Sea, a novel, Ballantine Books, 2020. Isabel Allende is traveling and will accept by video.



Mule Kick Blues and Last Poems, Michael McClure, edited with an introduction by Garrett Caples, City Lights



ZYZZYVA, A San Francisco Journal of Arts & Letters



Tenderness, Derrick Austin, BOA Editions, Ltd. (read review)

A Symmetry, Ari Banias, W.W. Norton (read review)

Yellow Rain, Mai Der Vang, Graywolf Press (read review)

West Portal, Benjamin Gucciardi, The University of Utah Press (read review)

Requeening, Amanda Moore, Ecco (read review)

And If the Woods Carry You, Erin Rodoni, Southern Indiana Review Press (read review)



My Year Abroad, Chang-rae Lee, Riverhead Books (read review)

The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu, Tom Lin, Little, Brown and Company (read review)

The Confession of Copeland Cane, Keenan Norris, The Unnamed Press (read review)

Chouette, Claire Oshetsky, Ecco (read review)

The Archer, Shruti Swamy, Algonquin Books (read review)



Her Honor: My Life on the Bench…What Works, What's Broken, and How to Change It, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, Celadon Books (read review)

Loving before Loving: A Marriage in Black and White, Joan Steinau Lester, University of Wisconsin Press (read review)

Model Citizen, Joshua Mohr, MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux (read review)

The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert, Shugri Said Salh, Algonquin Books (read review)

The Night Lake: A Young Priest Maps the Topography of Grief, Liz Tichenor, Counterpoint (read review)



Czeslaw Milosz: A California Life, Cynthia L. Haven, Heyday (read review)

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story, Michael Lewis, W.W. Norton (read review)

This Is Your Mind on Plants, Michael Pollan, Penguin Press (read review)

Orwell's Roses, Rebecca Solnit, Viking (read review)

By the Light of Burning Dreams: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Second American Revolution, David Talbot and Margaret Talbot, Harper (read review)



California Translation in Poetry

The New World Written: Selected Poems, Maria Baranda, edited and partially translated by Paul Hoover, Yale University Press, from the Spanish, Yale University Press (read review)

The All-Seeing Eye: Collected Poems by Shang Qin, translated by John Balcom, from the Chinese, Cambria Press (read review)

The Blinding Star, Blanca Varela, translated by Lisa Allen Ortiz and Sara Daniele Rivera, from the Spanish, Tolsun Books (read review)


California Translation in Prose

Antonio, Beatriz Bracher, translated by Adam Morris, from the Portuguese, New Directions (read review)

I Was Never the First Lady, Wendy Guerra, translated by Alicia Achy Obejas, from the Spanish, HarperVia (read review)

Battles in the Desert, José Emilio Pacheco, translated by Katherine Silver, from the Spanish, New Directions (read review)



Younger Readers

What Is Love?, Mac Barnett, illustrated by Carson Ellis, Chronicle Books (read review)

Home Is in Between, Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Lavanya Naidu, Macmillan (read review)

Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas, Elizabeth Shreeve, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon, Candlewick (read review)


Middle Grade

The Lion of Mars, Jennifer L. Holm, Random House Books for Young Readers (read review)

Recipe for Disaster, Aimee Lucido, Versify (read review)

The Samosa Rebellion, Shanthi Sekaran, Katherine Tegen Books (read review)


Young Adult

Luck of the Titanic, Stacey Lee, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (read review)

The Mirror Season, Anna-Marie McLemore, Feiwel & Friends (read review)

The Girls I've Been, Tess Sharpe, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (read review)

Engage with your favorite writers and discover your next read.

Connect with your community through Library gatherings.

This program is sponsored by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Attending Programs

For questions about the program or help registering, contact sfplcpp@sfpl.orgAll programs are drop-in (no registration necessary) unless otherwise noted. All SFPL locations are wheelchair accessible. For accommodations (such as ASL or language interpretation), call (415) 557-4557 or contact accessibility@sfpl.org. Requesting at least 3 business days in advance will help ensure availability.

Notice: This event may be filmed or photographed. By participating in this event, you consent to have your likeness used for the Library’s archival purposes and promotional materials. If you do not want to be photographed, please inform a staff person or the photographer. A sticker will be provided to help identify you so that we can avoid capturing your image.

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The views and opinions expressed in programs presented by groups unaffiliated with SFPL do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SFPL or the City.