Maine writers and readers celebrated the year’s top books during an online Maine Literary Awards ceremony hosted by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance Thursday night.

The annual competition is open to all Maine residents, and includes categories for published books, as well as drama, short works and student writing. Nearly 300 writers sent work for consideration.

Carolyn Chute won the 2021 MWPA Distinguished Achievement Award “for exceptional and steadfast contributions to the Maine literary arts as a fiction writer.” Portland writer Ron Currie Jr. presented the award and read remarks prepared by Chute.

The winners are:

Book Award for Crime Fiction: Bruce Robert Coffin, “Within Plain Sight”

Book Award for Fiction: Jim Nichols, “Blue Summer”

Book Award for Nonfiction: Kerri Arsenault, “Mill Town”

Book Award for Memoir: Phuc Tran, “Sigh, Gone”

Book Award for Poetry: Éireann Lorsung, “The Century”

John N. Cole Award for Maine Nonfiction (co-winners): Michael K. Komanecky, Jane Bianco, and Angela Waldron, “Maine and American Art: The Farnsworth Art Museum” and Peter Taylor (editor) and Kara Douglas, “From the Mountains to the Sea: The Historic Restoration of the Penobscot River”

Book Award for Young People’s Literature: Betty Culley, “Three Things I Know Are True”

Book Award for Children’s: Anica Mrose Rissi, “Love, Sophia on the Moon”

Book Award for Speculative Fiction: Emma J. Gibbon, “Dark Blood Comes from the Feet”

Book Award for Excellence in Publishing: Joshua Klein, “Another Work is Possible, Mortise & Tenon”

Book Award for Anthology: Claire Millikin and Agnes Bushell, “Enough! Poems of Resistance”

Drama Award: Travis Baker, “Hockey Mom”

Short Works Competition in Fiction: Morgan Talty, “The Blessing Tobacco”

Short Works Competition in Nonfiction (co-winners): Parker Blaney, “Detox” and Sarah Twombly, “What We Want is Simple”

Short Works Competition in Poetry: Suzanne Langlois, “What Lasts”

Award for a Secondary School Literary Magazine: Honorable Mentions: Legenda, Harrison Middle School; Collage, Lewiston High School; GORP, Falmouth High School; EPOCH: A Creative Magazine for Teens by Teens, Skidompha Library; Young Writers 2020, Androscoggin Valley Educational Collaborative Young Writers Program

Youth Competition in Fiction: Alexa Barstow, “Windswept”

Youth Competition in Nonfiction: Nina Chase, “Forest Journal”

Youth Competition in Poetry: Clara Bossi, “Cedars Still Growing”

Each year, one library in Maine receives a copy of every book nominated for an award. The Lubec Memorial Library will receive this year’s collection. Nominations are judged by an anonymous panels that include more than 40 writers, editors, booksellers, librarians and literary professionals.


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