Contact Information

<p><strong>Riki Rafner</strong><br />
Director of Media and Public Relations<br />
<span>(415) 597-6712</span><br />


Winners of 84th Annual California Book Awards Competition Announced

Awards Ceremony: Monday June 1, 2015 at 6 p.m.

Sponsored by Bank of the West


GOLD MEDALS Awarded to:

FICTIONAn Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine, Grove Press

FIRST FICTION: Waiting for the Electricity by Christina Nichol, The Overlook Press

NONFICTION: The Crusades of Cesar Chavez by Miriam Pawel, Bloomsbury Press

POETRY: The Feel Trio by Fred Moten, Letter Machine Editions

JUVENILE: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm, Random House Books for Young Readers

YOUNG ADULT: Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero, Cinco Puntos Press

CONTRIBUTION TO PUBLISHING: The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin by Kim Bancroft, Heyday Books

CALIFORNIANA: San Francisco’s Jewel City: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, by Laura A. Ackley, Heyday Books


FICTION: Orfeo by Richard Powers, W. W. Norton

FIRST FICTION: The Un-Americans by Molly Antopol, W. W. Norton

NON FICTION: Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

SAN FRANCISCO – (May 6, 2015) The Commonwealth Club has announced this year’s winners of the California Book Awards.  Book lovers from around the state will gather on Monday, June 1, at 6pm at 555 Post Street in San Francisco to recognize the winners at a special program and reception.  For tickets, go online to or call (415) 597-6700

Dr. Gloria Duffy, the President and CEO of The Commonwealth Club said, “Each spring, with the announcement of the California Book Award winners, we are reminded of the impressive talent and imagination of the writers in this state.  We applaud the winners and the finalists for their wonderful books and we remain very grateful to the publishers who support their work.  We are particularly thankful to the exceptionally thoughtful and committed book jurors who volunteer their time to carefully read the hundreds of submissions we receive.”  

The California Book Awards Jury Chair, Mary Ellen Hannibal, said “California's literary tradition is alive and well is in ample evidence this year—the book jury read hundreds of submissions across multiple categories.  We absorbed, we compared, we argued, we deliberated.  The winners of the 2014 awards represent our state's intellectual capital and our literary excellence.

“Our winners this year provide a broad optic on a multitude of historic, geographic, and aesthetic concerns," says Mary Ellen Hannibal, Chair of the book awards and an author herself. “The winner in the nonfiction category is a nuanced and surprising biography of Cesar Chavez -- an iconic figure still very much present on the California landscape. The gold in fiction is a deep portrayal of a character who forges her identity and survives personal and political trials by way of literature.  A surprising and antic first fiction novel adds more than a dose of fun into the proceedings.  Our poetry award fuses language with jazz and begs to be read out loud.  The young adult title wrestles with death and identity, and the juvenile award goes to a genuine new voice that seems to speak directly into the reader's ear.  This year our Californiana and Contribution to Publishing award acknowledge books that celebrate our unique state, demonstrating once again that while intrinsically influenced by our geographic location, California is also, indeed, a state of mind.

“Bank of the West has a long tradition of supporting the arts and education in our communities, and we’re proud to join The Commonwealth Club in honoring these outstanding California authors and their literary achievements,” said Paul Wible, head of Bank of the West’s National Finance Group. “Congratulations to this year’s winners and to The California Book Awards program, which not only contributes to the rich literary history of our state, but also serves to inspire writers and readers of all ages.”

The 84th Annual California Book Awards ceremony will take place Monday, June 1 at 6 pm at the Commonwealth Club, 555 Post Street in San Francisco. This year’s awards presentation is once again being sponsored by Bank of the West.  The event is open to the public.

The Awards presentation is at 6 p.m. with a book-signing will take place immediately after the ceremony. 


Since 1931, the California Book Awards have honored the exceptional literary merit of California writers and publishers. Each year a select jury considers hundreds of books from around the state in search of the very best in literary achievement.  Eligible books must be written while the author is a resident in California, and must be published during the year under consideration.

The California Book Awards have often been on the vanguard, honoring previously unknown authors who go on to garner national acclaim. John Steinbeck received three gold medals – for Tortilla Flat in 1935, In Dubious Battle in 1936 and The Grapes of Wrath in 1939.

Recent award winners include Jared Diamond, Kay Ryan, Bill Vollman, Joyce Maynard, Andrew Sean Greer, Yiyun Li, Adrienne Rich, Chalmers Johnson, Richard Rodriguez, Michael Chabon, Philip Levine, Rebecca Solnit, Galen Rowell, Jonathan Lethem, Peter Orner and Kevin Starr.

Founded in 1903, The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum, with more than 22,000 members. The Club hosts speeches, debates and discussions on topics of regional, national and international interest.


About Bank of the West

Bank of the West ( is a regional financial services company chartered in California and headquartered in San Francisco with $71.7 billion in assets. Founded in 1874, Bank of the West provides a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services through more than 600 offices in 22 states and digital channels.  Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 75 countries with 185,000 employees. Bank of the West can also be found on Twitter @BankoftheWest.

#    #     #