book award finalThe Utah Book Award was established by the Salt Lake City Public Library to honor exceptional achievements by Utah writers and to recognize outstanding literature written with a Utah theme or setting. In 1999, the first and only award was presented to author Robert Van Wagoner for his novel Dancing Naked. Since then, the categories have been expanded to include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and literature for children and young adults.

The 2016 Utah Book Award honored books published in 2015 that were judged to best represent the literary culture of the state in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young adult and children's literature. The competition was open to Utah authors and authors of books with a Utah theme or setting. Award winners were announced in October 2016 at the Utah Humanities Book Festival in Salt Lake City.

2016 Utah Book Award and Sor Juana Prize Winners and Finalists


Winner: Logos by John Neeleman
Finalist: The McCarran Collection by Liz Adair
Finalist: In Absence of Fear by Celeste Chaney


Winner: Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave by Sean Prentiss
Finalist: My Wife Wants You to Know I'm Happily Married by Joey Franklin
Finalist: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography by Michael Hicks


Winner: The Verging Cities by Natalie Scenters-Zapico
Finalist: What is Mine by Wade Bentley
Finalist: Museum of Distance by Ashley Seitz Kramer


Winner: Marrow by Preston Norton
Finalist: Storms by Kevin L. Nielsen
Finalist: Caretaker by Josi Russell

The Sor Juana prizes were awarded as part of the Utah Book Award. Category 1 is for native Spanish speakers and Category 2 is for English native speakers whose second language is Spanish.


Winner:  La Historia by Alan Marquez
Finalist:  Tiempo by Andrea Herrera
Finalist:  Sin Título by Alberto Perez


Winner:  El Fuego by Gracey Cheney
Finalist:  Las Palabras by Natasha Stansfield
Finalist:  Casa de Silencio by Hunter Stuart

2015 Utah Book Award Winners and Finalists


Winner:  Princess Wannabe by Leslie Lammle
Finalist:  Fairy Tale Christmas by Michael McLean and Scott McLean


Winner:  A Song for Issey Bradley by Carys Bray
Finalist:  The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison


Winner: The Year of Living Virtuously: Weekends Off by Teresa Jordan
Finalist: Wild Rides and Wildflowers by Scott Abbott and Sam Rushforth


Winner:  The Logan Notebooks by Rebecca Lindenberg
Finalist:  like water, like bread by Joyce Webb Kohler


Winner: The Avatar Battle by Chad Morris
Finalist:  Strike of the Sweepers by Tyler Whitesides

2014 Utah Book Award Winners and Finalists


Winner: Katharine Coles, “The Earth Is Not Flat”
Finalist: Jon Sebba, “Yossi, Yasser, & Other Soldiers”


Winner: Barbara K. Richardson, “Tributary”
Finalist: Julianne Donaldson, “Blackmoore”
Finalist: Camron Wright, “The Rent Collector”


Winner: Brandon Mull, “Spirit Animals Book 1: Wild Born”
Finalist: Brandon Mull, “Pingo and the Playground Bully”
Finalist: Karl Beckstrand, “Why Juan Can’t Sleep: A Mystery?”


Winner: Jennifer Nielsen, “The False Prince”
Finalist: Tyler Whitesides, “Janitors 3: Curse of the Broomstaff”
Finalist: Bobbie Pyron, “The Dogs of Winter”


Winner: Val Holley, “25th Street Confidential: Drama, Decadence and Dissipation Along Ogden's Rowdiest Road”
Finalist: Roy Webb, “Lost Canyons of the Green River” - Publisher, University of Utah Press
Finalist: John G. Maxwell, “Robert Newton Baskin and the Making of Modern Utah”
Finalist: Robert S. McPherson, “Under the Eagle”