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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Local novelists win honors

It was a good week for Spokane writers.

It began on March 12, when Shann Ray’s novel “American Copper” won a 2016 Spur Award for best first novel from the Western Writers of America. It continues a winning trend for Ray, who’s debut collection of poetry, “Balefire,” won the High Plains Poetry Prize.

Two other first-time Spokane novelists were announced as finalists for two other prestigious prizes. Sarah Hulse, who writes under S.M. Hulse, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction for her novel, “Black River.” Her fellow finalists were Portland author Margaret Malone (“People Like You”) and Ottessa Moshfegh (“Eileen”), which was named the winner.

Hulse recently has accepted a position as an assistant professor in creative writing at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Stephanie Oakes, whose debut young adult novel “The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly” earlier was named a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Novel Award, was named a Golden Kite Award Honor Book, awarded by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The winner was “Challenger Deep” by Neal Shusterman, which won the National Book Award last year.

The time for marking calendars

At 7:30 p.m. Monday, poets J.W. Marshall and Christine Deavel, who also own Seattle’s beloved poetry-only book shop Open Books, will read from their works and talk business at the Spark Center, 1214 W. Summit Parkway. It’s free.

Poet Robyn Schiff, whose new collection, “A Woman of Property” is making waves, will be in Spokane at 7:30 p.m. March 29 as part of the Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series. “Property,” from Penguin Press, is her third collection, and she’s been widely published in journals, including The New Yorker. She’ll be in the Wolff Auditorium on the GU campus.

And on April 8, both Washington and Spokane’s poets laureate will cross the state line to Idaho, along with some Washington and North Idaho friends, for a reading at the Coeur d’Alene Library to mark both National Poetry Month and National Library Week. The event will be at 6 p.m. in the library’s Community Room, 702 E. Front St. The participating poets are Washington poet laureate Tod Marshall, Spokane poet laureate Laura Read, Maya Jewell Zeller, Brooke Matson, Roger Dunsmore, Jenni Fallein, Anne Awbrey and Bill Yakes. The evening will also include a tribute to the Bard of Sherman Avenue and will welcome poems from the audience. Call the library at (208) 215-2265 for more information.