Book Award Call Made

Oklahoma Center for the Book

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William Young
Public Information Manager 
Oklahoma Department of Libraries
200 N.E. 18th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73105 
w: 405-522-3562    c: 405-370-3750


Call for Entries Announced for 29th Annual Oklahoma Book Awards

Tim Tingle is Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Entries are now being accepted for the twenty-ninth annual Oklahoma Book Award competition. The deadline for entering is January 5, 2018, according to the Oklahoma Center for the Book in the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. 

The Oklahoma Book Award program is designed to recognize and promote Oklahoma's writers, as well as outstanding books about the state. Entries are being sought in five categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children/young adult, and design/illustration/photography. 

To qualify, books must have been published between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017. Moreover, the author must reside or have resided in Oklahoma, or the book must have an Oklahoma theme. Finalists in each category will be selected and announced in March; winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on April 7, 2018.

In addition to the five categories listed, the board of directors of the Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book presents the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for a body of work contributing to Oklahoma’s literary heritage. The award was named for Norman, Oklahoma, historian Arrell Gibson, who served as the first president of the Oklahoma Center for the Book.  The 2018 recipient is Tim Tingle. 

Tingle is an award-winning author and storyteller and member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. His great-great grandfather, John Carnes, walked the Trail of Tears in 1835, and his paternal grandmother attended a series of rigorous Indian boarding schools in the early 1900s. In 1993, Tingle retraced the Trail of Tears to Choctaw homelands in Mississippi and began recording stories of tribal elders.

Tingle was a featured author and speaker at the 2014 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., based on critical acclaim for How I Became a Ghost, which won the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Award. His first children’s book, Crossing Bok Chitto, garnered over twenty state and national awards including the 2007 Oklahoma Book Award, and was an Editor’s Choice in the New York Times Book Review. 

In June of 2011, Tingle spoke at the Library of Congress and presented his first performance at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. He received his master’s degree in English Literature at the University of Oklahoma in 2003, with a focus on American Indian studies. While teaching writing courses and completing his thesis, “Choctaw Oral Literature,” Tingle wrote his first book, Walking the Choctaw Road. It was the selected book for the Centennial “Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma” program in 2005 and was also selected for Alaska’s One Book–One State program. 

As a visiting author and performer, Tingle reaches audiences numbering over 200,000 annually. He has completed eight speaking tours for the U.S. Department of Defense, performing stories to children of military personnel stationed in Germany.

In February of 2016, his novel House of Purple Cedar won the American Indian Youth Literature Award, and was a finalist for the 2015 Oklahoma Book Award in fiction. Tingle's other books include Salty Pie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light, named a finalist in the 2011 Oklahoma Book Awards for children/young adult; Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner named the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards Honor Book; Danny Blackgoat, Rugged Road To FreedomNo Name, winner of the 2015 Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers Award; and No More No Name released in June 2017. 

The Oklahoma Book Award ceremony will be April 7, 2018, at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City. Winners in the five book categories will be announced at the ceremony. For more information on the book awards, including submitting entries, visit the website at, or contact Connie Armstrong, Executive Director, Oklahoma Center for the Book, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, 200 NE 18th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73105, or call 405/522-3383, or email