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Originally published Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 7:00 PM

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Lit Life

Lit Life: Lucia Perillo, Karl Marlantes and Nancy Pearl win big in prize department

This week's Lit Life rounds up good news about local authors, including a national prize for Olympia poet Lucia Perillo and Pacific Northwest Bookseller Awards for local authors Karl Marlantes and Nancy Pearl.

Seattle Times book editor

Lit Life |

Your Lit Life correspondent needs to catch up readers on some book news, some of which previously appeared on The Seattle Times website. If any of this sounds familiar, you can pass go and collect $200:

Olympia poet wins national prize: Olympia-based poet Lucia Perillo has won the 2010 Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry for her 2009 book "Inseminating the Elephant," published by Port Townsend poetry publisher Copper Canyon Press. The prize, awarded by the Library of Congress, is given to the most distinguished book of poetry published in the preceding two years (in this case 2008 and 2009). Previous winners include Charles Wright, W.S. Merwin and Louise Glück.

You can hear Perillo this week in Seattle — she's appearing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday as part of Seattle Arts & Lectures Poetry Series. For more information call 206-621-2230 or go to

Pacific Northwest Book Awards: The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) has announced the five winners of its annual best book awards. Independent booksellers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska chose these books from nearly 200 nominated titles — winners include four books by Northwest authors, plus a lifetime achievement award for Seattle librarian and book advocate Nancy Pearl, recently named the Library Journal's "Librarian of the Year."

Here are the winners:

"The Lonely Polygamist" by Brady Udall (Norton): A seriocomic novel about the problems of a patriarch in a Utah-based polygamist society who's lonely despite the company of four wives and 28 children. Udall lives in Boise, Idaho.

"Matterhorn" by Karl Marlantes (Atlantic Monthly Press): A novel of the Vietnam War that took the author, a Woodinville resident, three decades to write and get published.

"Memory Wall" by Anthony Doerr (Scribner): Short stories woven around the theme of memory, its life and its limitations, by a Boise author.

"River House: A Memoir" by Sarahlee Lawrence (Tin House Books): A memoir that covers both the author's experiences as a white-water rafting guide and the building of a house with her father in the Oregon desert. Lawrence lives in Terrebonne, Ore.

The PNBA's Lifetime Achievement award went to Seattle librarian and author Nancy Pearl for her "Book Lust" series of reading guides and her career, first as a librarian, then as an author and champion of books.

Other commendations: Seattle author Brenda Peterson's memoir "I Want to Be Left Behind," about how she developed her own religious beliefs after growing up in a family of fundamentalists, was named one of the 10 best nonfiction books of 2010 by The Christian Science Monitor.


Local authors support group, husband and wife version: Local author Midge Raymond ("Forgetting English") passed along this short and sweetly hilarious YouTube video about her attempts to shore up her husband John Yunker's ("The Tourist Trail") writerly ego (and vice versa).

I don't want to give anything away; you can view it by going to

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or

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