While the very hip of the Bay went out to enjoy the sun this past Sunday, May 19, 2013, frolicking in vinyl and silver fabrics at Bay to Breakers, a group of book lovers holed up at the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Main Library to celebrate yesteryear's darlings for the 2013 Northern California Book Awards.
About the winners:
The Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award went to Kay Ryan, the 2008 U.S. Poet Laureate. She has coined the most amazing word: "blander." You can read the poem online. Her latest book is The Best of It: New and Selected Poems.
Fiction: A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer DuBois, a debut novel about the meeting of unlikely characters.
Poetry: D.A. Powell's Useless Landscape, or a Guide for Boys, described as a "book of erotic, even cosmic regret" by NPR's Kevin Young.
General Non-fiction: Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism by Ozzie Zehner details all the ways in which we do not have an energy crisis, but a consumption crisis.
Creative Non-fiction: God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet, a memoir of working at the country's last almshouse and the nature of caring for others.
Children's Literature: Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff and Who Could That Be at This Hour by Lemony Snicket will both be a child's delight.
Translation in Fiction: Claudio Magris' Blindly, translated by Anne Milano Appel, is narrated by a lucid madman whose telling extends throughout two centuries.
Translation in Poetry: Opera Omnia translated by Art Beck is the work by the 6th-century Roman poet, Luxorius.
Last but not least, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5, 2007, Bombing of Baghdad's "Street of the Booksellers" received special recognition.
The 32nd Northern California Book Awards took place May 19, 2013 at the San Francisco Library. For more information on this and future award ceremonies visit poetryflash.org.
All photos by Ingrid Rojas Contreras.