The Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance (MWPA) announces the finalists for the 2019 Maine Literary Awards. The awards, which honor books published during 2018, as well as adult and youth manuscripts in drama, fiction, nonfiction and poetry, brought in an exceptional number of submissions.

This year, 139 books were entered across the award categories; compare that to the 2011 awards when 70 books total were submitted. In addition, more than 60 manuscripts were submitted into the Short Works and Drama Award competitions, and nearly 70 Maine students submitted work in the same categories in the Youth Competition.

The winners of the 2019 Maine Literary Awards will be revealed live at a ceremony on Thursday, June 13, at the Bangor Public Library.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for a reception in the Minsky Lecture Hall, with hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and a bookseller carrying titles by the evening’s finalists. The award ceremony will follow at 7 p.m. The event is free to MWPA members, with a suggested $5 donation for nonmembers.

For more information or questions about the awards, call 207-228-8263 or email

Maine Literary Awards Finalists, listed alphabetically by author:


Book Award for Fiction

“The Futility Experts,” Margaret Broucek, Portland.

“Bealport: A Novel of a Town,” Jeffrey Lewis, Castine.

“Bopper’s Progress,” John Manderino, Scarborough.

Book Award for Crime Fiction

“Beyond the Truth,” Bruce Coffin, Windham.


“Stowed Away,” Barbara Ross, Portland.

“Death and a Pot of Chowder,” Lea Wait (writing as Cornelia Kidd), Edgecomb.

Book Award for Speculative Fiction

Finalists will not be announced in advance, but a winner will be announced at the awards ceremony.

Book Award for Nonfiction

“The Moralist,” Patricia O’Toole, Camden.


“In the Hurricane’s Eye,” Nathaniel Philbrick, Andover.

“Into the Raging Sea,” Rachel Slade, West Rockport.

Book Award for Memoir

“Wayfarer,” John Rockefeller, Camden.

“Enjoying the Ride: Two Generations of Tragedy and Triumph,” Mitch Sturgeon, South Portland.

“Side by Side: Tales from Behind the Canvas,” Kim Yesis, Searsport.


Book Award for Poetry

“Appalachians Run Amok,” Adrian Blevins, Winthrop.

“Midden,” Julia Bouwsma, New Portland.

“State Fair Animals,” Claire Millikin, Owls Head.

Book Award for Young People’s Literature

“Finchosaurus,” Gail Donovan, Portland.


“The Lies They Tell,” Gillian French, Hermon.

“The Dollar Kids,” Jennifer R. Jacobson, Woolwich.

Book Award for Children’s

No award given this year.

Book Award for Anthology (Editors)

“Balancing Act 2: An Anthology of Poems by Fifty Maine Women,” Agnes Bushell, Portland.


“From a Far Corner: An Anthology of Poetry from the Easternmost Reaches of Maine,” Gerald George, East Machias.

“Atomic Tangerine,” The Telling Room, editors, Portland.

John N. Cole Award for Maine-themed Nonfiction

“Return to Moose River: In Search of the Spirit of the Great North Woods,” Earl Brechlin, Bar Harbor.

“Herbert L. Welch: Black Ghosts and Art in a Maine Guide’s Wilderness,” Graydon Hilyard and Leslie Hilyard, Oquossoc.

“Hands Employed Aright: The Furniture Making of Jonathan Fisher (1768-1847),” Joshua A. Klein, Sedgwick.


Excellence in Publishing

“Isako Isako,” Mia Ayumi Malhotra, Alice James Books, Farmington.

“Ripple Effect,” Carol Bass, editor, Maine Authors Publishing, Topsham.

“A Senator’s Eye: Celebrating Maine, Washington, and the Joys of Scraping the Windshield,” Angus King, Islandport Press, Yarmouth.

Drama Award (for film, theater, and other scripts)

Finalists will not be announced in advance, but a winner will be announced at the awards ceremony.


Short Works Competition, Fiction

Laura Levenson, Dave Patterson and Jodi Paloni.

Short Works Competition, Nonfiction

Jude Maloney, Jennifer O’Connell and Sue Repko.

Short Works Competition, Poetry

Wendy Cannella, Judy Kaber and Jeri Theriault.


Youth Competition, Fiction

Alexa Barstow, Wilson Haims and Grace Kessler.

Youth Competition, Nonfiction

Hussein Maow, Lydia Merrill and Elena Parr.

Youth Competition, Poetry

Emma Auer, Aniela Holtrop and Benedita Zalabantu.

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: