2015 Florida Book Award winners announced

Brandi George and Jesse Goolsby
FSU creative writing students Brandi George and Jesse Goolsby received first place in the poetry and general fiction categories, respectively.

With its 10th annual competition now complete, the Florida Book Awards has announced winners for books published in 2015. More than 200 eligible publications were submitted across the nine categories of competition.

Coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries, the Florida Book Awards 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.

Setting the standard for future cash prizes, the Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal for Children’s Literature, now in its second year, was awarded to Diane Ochiltree of Sarasota for “It’s a Seashell Day” (Blue Apple Books). This $1,000 cash prize is in memory of Gwen P. Reichert and serves as a lasting tribute to honor her accomplishments as a rare book collector, nurturer of authors and their audience, and her commitment to children’s education. Support for similar cash prizes associated with the eight other award categories are in development.

The winning authors will be honored at the Abitz Family Dinner, the annual awards banquet, which will take place Thursday, April 7, at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. The public is invited to attend. More information is available at the Florida Book Awards website at floridabookawards.lib.fsu.edu.

Florida Book Awards 2015: Winners by Category

Children’s Literature
•Gold/Reichert Award: “It’s a Seashell Day” (Blue Apple Books) by Diane Ochiltree (Sarasota), illustrations by Elliot Kreloff.

•Silver: “Monster Trouble” (Sterling Children’s Books) by Lane Fredrickson (Delray Beach), illustrated by Michael Robertson.

•Bronze: “Moving Target” (Scholastic) by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Coral Gables).
Florida Nonfiction
•Gold: “Coming to Pass: Florida’s Coastal Islands in a Gulf of Change” (University of Georgia Press) by Susan Cerulean (Tallahassee).

•Silver: “George Merrick: Son of the South Wind” (University Press of Florida) by Arva M. Parks.

•Bronze: “Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home” (University Press of Florida) by Tameka Bradley Hobbs.
General Fiction
•Gold: “I’d Walk With My Friends If I Could Find Them” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Jesse Goolsby (Tallahassee).

•Silver: “Free to Be” (Life Everlasting Press) by Gracie L. Chandler (Jacksonville).

•Bronze: “The Headmaster’s Darlings” (University of South Carolina Press) by Katherine Clark (Pensacola).
General Nonfiction
•Gold: “Rain: A Natural and Cultural History” (Crown Publishing) by Cynthia Barnett (Gainesville).

•Silver: “Defining Duty in the Civil War: Personal Choice, Popular Culture and the Union Home Front” (University of North Carolina Press) by J. Matthew Gallman (Gainesville).

•Bronze: “Challenge and Change: Right-Wing Women, Grassroots Activism and the Baby Boom Generation” (University Press of Florida) by June Melby Benowitz (Sarasota).
•Gold: “Gog” (Black Lawrence Press) by Brandi George (Tallahassee).

•Silver: “Awaiting Your Impossibilities” (Anhinga Press) by Donald Morrill (Tampa).

•Bronze: “The Crossing” (Dzanc Books) by Jonathan Fink (Pensacola).
Popular Fiction
•Gold: “After the Fall” (Oceanview Publishing) by Patricia Gussin (Longboat Key).

•Silver: “The Price of Justice” (Thomas and Mercer) by Marti Green (The Villages).

•Bronze: “Perception of Power” (BATJAK Publishing) by Bruce Thomason (Jacksonville Beach).
Spanish Language
•Gold: “274” (Panamericana Editorial) by Andres Pi Andreu (Miami).
Visual Arts
•Gold: “Coastal Dune Lakes” (Live Oak Production Group) by Nic Stoltzfus (Blountstown).

•Silver: “Ticks and Politics” (Tall Timbers Press) by Robert L. Crawford (Thomasville, Ga.).
Young Adult
•Gold: “The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley” (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse) by Shaun David Hutchinson (Port St. Lucie).

•Silver: “The Savants” (Suspense Publishing) by Patrick Kendrick (West Palm Beach).

•Bronze: “Motherless” (Lisa Hagan Books) by Gabriel Horn (St. Petersburg).

Submissions for the 2015 awards were read by juries of three members, each nominated from across the state by co-sponsoring organizations. Jurors are authorized to select up to three medalists (including one gold winner, one silver runner-up and one bronze medalist) in each of the nine categories; jurors are also authorized to make no selections in a given year.

Co-sponsors of the competition include humanities organizations from across the state such as 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!”

To learn more about the Florida Book Awards, visit floridabookawards.lib.fsu.edu.

2015 FBA Winners by Location
Cynthia Barnett (Gainesville)

June Melby Benowitz (Sarasota)

Susan Cerulean (Tallahassee)

Gracie L. Chandler (Jacksonville)

Katherine Clark (Pensacola)

Robert L. Crawford (Thomasville, GA)

Jonathan Fink (Pensacola)

Lane Fredrickson (Delray Beach)

J. Matthew Gallman (Gainesville)

Brandi George (Tallahassee)

Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Coral Gables)

Jesse Goolsby (Tallahassee)

Marti Green (The Villages)

Patricia Gussin (Longboat Key)

Tameka Bradley Hobbs (Pembroke Pines)

Gabriel Horn (St. Petersburg)

Shaun David Hutchinson (Port St. Lucie)

Patrick Kendrick (West Palm Beach)

Donald Morrill (Tampa)

Diane Ochiltree (Sarasota)

Arva M. Parks (Miami)

Nic Stoltzfus (Blountstown)

Bruce Thomason (Jacksonville Beach)