2017 Florida Book Awards winners announced

With its 12th annual competition now complete, the Florida Book Awards has announced winners for books published in 2017. More than 200 eligible publications were submitted across the 11 categories of competition.

The Florida Book Awards, coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries, is the nation’s most comprehensive state book awards program. It was established in 2006 to celebrate the best Florida literature. Authors must be full-time Florida residents, except in the Florida nonfiction and visual arts categories, where the subject matter must focus on Florida.

Rob Sanders, a resident of Brandon, received the Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal for Children’s Literature, for “Rodzilla” (Simon and Schuster). Now in its third year, this $1,000 cash award is in memory of Gwen P. Reichert and serves as a lasting tribute to her accomplishments as a rare book collector, nurturer of authors and educator of children.

Also awarded were the Richard E. Rice Gold Medal Award for Visual Arts to Jared Beck and Pamela Miner for “River and Road” (University of Florida Press) and the Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal for Florida Nonfiction to Arlo Haskell for “The Jews of Key West” (Sand Paper Press). These two category winners each receive a $500 cash award.

The winning authors from across the state will be honored at the Abitz Family Dinner, the annual awards banquet April 12 at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. The public is invited to attend. Please contact Jenni McKnight at floridabookawards.lib.fsu.edu or (850) 644-6323.

Florida Book Awards 2017 Winners by Category

GWEN P. REICHERT GOLD MEDAL AWARD FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Rob Sanders

RICHARD E. RICE GOLD MEDAL AWARD FOR VISUAL ARTS
Jared Beck and Pamela Miner

PHILLIP AND DANA ZIMMERMAN GOLD MEDAL PRIZE FOR FLORIDA NONFICTION
Arlo Haskell

YOUNGER CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Gold: Rob Sanders (Brandon), “Rodzilla” (Simon and Schuster)
Silver: Carrie Clickard (Gainesville), “Dumpling Dreams” (Simon and Schuster)
Bronze: Marianne Berkes (Orange City), “Baby on Board: How Animals Carry Their Young”

OLDER CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Gold: Ed Masessa (Florida), “Wandmaker’s Apprentice” (Scholastic)
Silver: R.M. Romero (Miami Beach), “The Dollmaker of Krakow” (Penguin Random House)
Bronze: Rodman Philbrick (Florida Keys) “Who Killed Darius Drake?” (Scholastic)

COOKING
Gold: Norman Van Aken (Miami), “Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen” (University of Florida Press)

FLORIDA NONFICTION
Gold: Arlo Haskell (Key West), “The Jews of Key West” (Sand Paper Press)
Silver:  Frank Cassell (Sarasota), “Suncoast Empire” (Pineapple Press)
Bronze: Julio Capó Jr., “Welcome to Fairyland” (UNC Press)

GENERAL FICTION
GOLD: Laura Lee Smith (Palm Coast), “The Ice House” (Grove Press)
SILVER: Elizabeth Sims (Bradenton), “Crimes in a Second Language” (Spruce Park Press)
BRONZE: Randy Wayne White (Sanibel), “Mangrove Lightning” (G.P. Putnam Sons)

GENERAL NONFICTION
GOLD: Edwidge Danticat (Miami), “The Art of Death” (Graywolf Press)
SILVER:
D. Bruce Means (Tallahassee), “Diamonds in the Rough” (Tall Timbers Press)
BRONZE: Kristine Harper (Tallahassee), “Make it Rain: State Control of the Atmosphere in Twentieth-Century America” (University of Chicago Press) 

POETRY
GOLD: Kaveh Akbar (Tallahassee), “Calling a Wolf a Wolf” (Alice James Books)
SILVER: Terry Ann Thaxton (Winter Springs), “Mud Song” (Truman State University Press)
BRONZE: Michael Hettich (Miami Shores), “The Frozen Harbor” (Red Dragonfly Press)

POPULAR FICTION
GOLD: Patricia Gussin (Longboat Key), “Come Home” (Oceanview Publishing)
SILVER: Robert Macomber (Pine Island), “An Honorable War” (Pineapple Press)
BRONZE: Ward Larsen (Sarasota), “Assassin’s Code” (Forge Books) 

SPANISH LANGUAGE
GOLD: Pedro Medina León (Coral Gables), “Varsovia” (Sudaquia Editores)
SILVER: Carlos García Pandiello (Miami), “Jaspora” (Aduana Vieja Editorial) 

VISUAL ARTS
GOLD: Jared Beck (Naples) and Pamela Miner (Fort Myers), “River and Road” (University of Florida Press) 

YOUNG ADULT
GOLD: Jenny Torres Sanchez (Orlando), “Because of the Sun” (Delacorte Press)

Submissions for the 2017 awards were read by juries of three members, who were nominated by co-sponsoring organizations from across the state. Jurors are authorized to select up to three medalists (one gold winner, one silver runner-up and one bronze medalist) in each of the 11 categories; jurors also are authorized to make no selections in a given year.

 The Florida State University Libraries coordinate the Florida Book Awards with assistance from co-sponsors, including the Florida Center for the Book; the State Library and Archives of Florida; the Florida Historical Society; the Florida Humanities Council; the Florida Literary Arts Coalition; the Florida Library Association; the Florida Association for Media in Education; the Center for Literature and Theatre @ Miami Dade College; the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America; Friends of FSU Libraries; the Florida Writers Association; the Florida Literacy Coalition; and “Just Read, Florida!”

Learn more about the Florida Book Awards at floridabookawards.lib.fsu.edu.