Washington State has announced the finalists for the best books of 2021 written by Washington authors. Port Townsend author JoAnne Tompkins is a finalist in fiction for “What Comes After”. Tompkins was also a finalist for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author. Additionally, “Dialogues with Rising Tides” by Kelli Russell Agodon, of Port Ludlow, is a finalist in Poetry, published by Port Townsend’s Copper Canyon Press.

Awards will be announced on September 13.

The Washington Center for the Book and The Seattle Public Library have selected 39 finalists in eight categories for the 2022 Washington State Book Awards (WSBA) for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2021. This is the 56th year of the program, formerly called the Governor’s Writers Awards.


Tompkin’s book, published in 2021 by Riverhead Press, was a Book-of-the-Month club choice and received a full-page review in the New York Times last year. The book is set in a fictional Port Townsend called Port Furlong.
“Nail-biting wallop of a debut . . . a thoughtful, unexpectedly optimistic tale.” —The New York Times

“After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of those same boys’ families—a moving and hopeful novel about forgiveness and human connection.”

From Copper Canyon Press website:

In Kelli Russell Agodon’s fourth collection, each poem facilitates a humane and honest conversation with the forces that threaten to take us under. The anxieties and heartbreaks of life―including environmental collapse, cruel politics, and the persistent specter of suicide―are met with emotional vulnerability and darkly sparkling humor. Dialogues with Rising Tides does not answer, This or that? It passionately exclaims, And also! Even in the midst of great difficulty, radiant wonders are illuminated at every turn.

“Seattle-area poet Agodon’s finely crafted poems gleam like prisms, so clear is her language… The everyday grace with which we attempt to live while tumbling through our days finds expression in this sinewy collection which seems to catch us before we fall, assuring us that it’s going to be okay.”—Booklist


  1. I’m so happy for JoAnne. I loved the book and the sensitive way she captured our small, caring, very special community. Linda Martin

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