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39th Annual Northern California Book Awards

Celebrating books published by Northern California authors in 2019

Sunday, September 13, 2020 • 2:00 pm PDT

For Webinar Reservations:
This event will simultaneously broadcast on the SF Public Library YouTube channel.

Click here for your Online Program: run of show, more bio, and a précis of each nominated book by the NCBR Selection Committees.

You may also register here (register 72 hours in advance for the best availability):

To purchase these NCBA books online from City Lights Bookstore, visit Almost all of these books are also on the shelves at City Lights Books, 261 Columbus Avenue, at Broadway, San Francisco, now open noon-8pm every day, (415) 362-8193. Bird & Beckett Books in San Francisco's Glen Park neighborhood, 653 Chenery Street, is happy to fill special orders for NCBA books by email ( or phone (415) 586-3733.

Celebrate the Bay Area's vibrant literary scene on Sunday, September 13, 2020, 2:00 pm Pacific Time, when the 39th annual Northern California Book Awards will recognize the best published works of 2019 by Northern California authors.

Poet and social activist Jack Hirschman will be presented with the Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement and Service; the award carries a $1,000 honorarium. There will be remarks by winning authors. During the event, nominated books will be available for online purchase, to benefit the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. Eligible books are considered in Fiction, General Nonfiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Translation (Poetry and Fiction), and Children's Literature (Younger Readers, Middle Grade, Older Readers/YA).

The Northern California Book Reviewers are northern California reviewers, editors, librarians, and members of the book media, who select the awards by reading the books and discussing their merits. All of the nominated books, the NCBR Recommended Reading List of Books Published in 2019, will be acknowledged and celebrated at the ceremony.

The Northern California Book Awards are co-sponsored by the Northern California Book Reviewers, Poetry Flash, San Francisco Public Library, and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, with Mechanics' Institute Library, Women's National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter, and Pen West.

Photo by Luke Thomas.

Fred Cody Award For Lifetime Achievement

Poet and social activist Jack Hirschman

Photo by Chris Felver.


Kim Shuck, San Francisco Poet Laureate, 2017-2020


The Battle for People's Park, Berkeley 1969, Tom Dalzell, Heyday

Locus, Jason Bayani, Omnidawn
A Little More Red Sun on the Human: New & Selected Poems, Gillian Conoley, Nightboat Books - Winner
Scar and Flower, Lee Herrick, Word Poetry
A Folio for the Dark, Camille Norton, Sixteen Rivers Press
A Piece of Good News, Katie Peterson, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Father's Day, Matthew Zapruder, Copper Canyon Press

The Parade, Dave Eggers, Alfred A. Knopf
The Warm South, Paul Kerschen, Roundabout - Winner
The Atlas of Reds and Blues, Devi S. Laskar, Counterpoint
The Revisioners, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, Counterpoint
Machine, Susan Steinberg, Graywolf Press

The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection, Tamim Ansary, PublicAffairs
The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California, Mark Arax, Alfred A. Knopf - Winner
Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life, Louise Aronson, Bloomsbury Publishing
Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, Mike Isaac, W.W. Norton
The Curious World of Seaweed, Josie Iselin, Heyday

The Sixth Man, Andre Iguodala with Carvell Wallace, Blue Rider Press
Socialist Realism, Trisha Low, Coffee House Press
How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, Jenny Odell, Melville House
Whose Story Is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters, Rebecca Solnit, Haymarket Books
The Collected Schizophrenias, Esmé Weijun Wang, Graywolf Press - Winner

Translation in Poetry
Sunday Sparrows, Song Lin, translated by Jami Proctor Xu, from the Chinese, Zephyr Press - Winner
The Fire's Journey, Part IV: The Return, Eunice Odio, translated by Keith Ekiss, Sonia P. Ticas, and Mauricio Espinoza, from the Spanish, Tavern Books
Translation in Fiction
A Devil Comes to Town, Paolo Maurensig, translated by Anne Milano Appel, from the Italian, World Editions
Mephisto's Waltz: Selected Short Stories, Sergio Pitol, translated by George Henson, from the Spanish, Deep Vellum Publishing
The Word of the Speechless: Selected Stories, Julio Ramón Ribeyro, edited and translated by Katherine Silver, from the Spanish, New York Review Books Classic - Winner

Younger Readers
The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown, Mac Barnett, illustrated by Sarah Jacoby, Balzer + Bray
Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border, Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Sara Palacios, Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers
Brave with Beauty: A Story of Afghanistan, Maxine Rose Schur, art by Patricia Grush, Robin Dewitt, Golsa Yaghoobi, Yali Books - Winner
Middle Grade
The First Dinosaur: How Science Solved the Greatest Mystery on Earth, Ian Lendler, Margaret K. McElderry Books
Emmy in the Key of Code, Aimee Lucido, Versify - Winner
Extraordinary Birds, Sandy Stark-McGinnis, Bloomsbury
Older Readers/Young Adult
The Downstairs Girl, Stacey Lee, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - Winner
Patron Saints of Nothing, Randy Ribay, Kokila/Penguin Young Readers

The winners in each category will be announced at the online awards ceremony on September 13, 2020.

Free access; open to the public. For more information:, 510.612.3958 (leave voicemail here), or 510.525-5476.

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