20th Annual
Massachusetts Book Awards Announced
Massachusetts Center for the Book is pleased to announce the Award and Honors titles in the 20th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards. The Awards recognize achievement in five categories of literature written by current residents of the Commonwealth.

Representative Paul McMurtry, Chair of the Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development, has joined the Center in this recognition of Massachusetts contemporary writing. “Thank you for playing an important role in our cultural community, especially in times of physical distancing,” stated McMurtry. “Thanks also for sharing your creative talent and literary works that, everyday, enrich and inspire the lives of citizens throughout the Commonwealth.”
The Fiction Award winner is On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Press) by Ocean Vuong of Northampton. This debut novel from Vietnamese-American poet Vuong is written as a son’s letter to his single mother, addressing their relationship and immigrant experience in a tour de force coming-of-age narrative.

Fiction Honors are awarded to Big Giant Floating Head (Melville House) by Christopher Boucher of Northampton and The Limits of the World (Delphinium Books) by Jennifer Acker of Montague.
The Nonfiction Award is The Body Papers (Restless Books) by Grace Talusan of Medford. This debut memoir explores a Filipino immigrant’s battle with cancer and childhood abuse, and voices the resilience and hope of a survivor.

The Nonfiction Honors titles are American Radicals: How 19th-Century Protest Shaped the Nation (Crown) by Holly Jackson of Cambridge and Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter (Liverwright) by Kerri K. Greenidge of Westborough.
The Poetry Award winner is Battle Dress: Poems (Norton) by Karen Skolfield of Amherst. A U.S. Army veteran and the current poet laureate of Northampton, Skolfield has written poems that share her experience as a female soldier, addressing physical training, mental preparation, and the effects of trauma over time.

Honors Poetry collections are The Boy in the Labyrinth (U of Akron Press) by Oliver de la Paz of Holden and Nightshade (Four Way Books) by Andrea Cohen of Watertown.
The Award winner in the Picture Book/Early Reader category is ¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market (Versify) by Raúl the Third of Medford. This charming bilingual picture book takes readers to a busy border-town market, teaching them basic words in Spanish as Little Lobo delivers his wares.

Honors titles in Picture Books and Early Readers are Because (Hyperion) by Mo Willems of Northampton, with illustrations by Amber Ren, and Daniel’s Good Day (Nancy Paulsen) by Micha Archer of Leverett.
The Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature Award winner is Shouting at the Rain (Penguin Young Readers) by Lynda Mullaly Hunt of South Yarmouth. Set on Cape Cod, against the backdrop of its stormy weather, the book is an adolescent tale of family and friendship, loneliness, and standing up for what is right.

Honors titles in Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature are Midsummer’s Mayhem (Little Bee) by Rajani LaRocca of Concord and White Rose (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Kip Wilson of Melrose.
"We are honored to bring these books and their talented writers to the attention of Commonwealth residents," said Sharon Shaloo, Executive Director of Mass Center for the Book. “We look forward to celebrating and promoting these titles virtually this Fall."

Please support these writers and our larger literary economy in Massachusetts by visiting the Mass Center for the Book shop on bookshop.org or consulting the NEIBA Map to find a bookseller near you. Thanks in advance!
The Center thanks Michelle D. Hoover, Coordinator, and the judges of the 20th Anniversary Awards Program: William Pierce (Brookline), Heather Abel (Northampton), and Karen Shepard (Williamstown) in Fiction; Ethan Gilsdorf (Boston/Providence), Rhonda Cobham-Sander (Amherst), and Patricia Horvath (Framingham) in Nonfiction; Sean Thibodeau (Lowell), Jarita Davis (Falmouth), and Nathan McClain (Amherst) in Poetry; Laura Szaro Kopinski (Chelmsford), Iris Delgado (Worcester), and Marika McCoola (Somerville) in Picture Books/Early Readers; Farouqua Abuzeit (East Boston), Michelle Cuevas (Great Barrington), and Jennifer De Leon (Southborough) in Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature.
The Massachusetts Center for the Book is a public-private partnership, chartered as the Commonwealth affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and charged with developing, supporting and promoting cultural programming to advance the cause of books and reading in Massachusetts and throughout the nation.  
There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away . . .