Our 2018 Willamette Writers Annual Award Winners!

We are pleased to congratulate our 2018 award winners, Chelsea Cain, Gayle Brandeis, and Ellen Urbani! Chelsea Cain has been awarded the “Distinguished NW Writer” award, Gayle Brandeis will receive the “Multi-Genre Maverick Writer” award, and Ellen Urbani will be presented the “New and Notable Writer” award.

Chelsea Cain: Distinguished Northwest Writer 2018

Chelsea Cain, our “Distinguished Northwest Writer,” is the author of six New York Times best-selling thrillers, as well as an Eisner-nominated Marvel comic book series. Her other books include a memoir recounting her early childhood on a hippie commune, and many illustrated humor books that can still be found on the backs of toilets in fine homes.

As the author of The New York Times best-selling Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thriller series (Heartsick, Sweetheart, Evil at Heart, The Night Season, Kill You Twice, and Let Me Go, which were described by The New York Times as "steamy and perverse," she has been published in over 30 languages, recommended on “The Today Show,” and appeared in episodes of HBO’s “True Blood” and ABC’s “Castle.”

Stephen King included two of her books in his top ten favorite books of the year, and NPR named Heartsick one of the best 100 thrillers ever written. One Kick is currently in production as a TV series called Gone, starring Chris Noth ("Law & Order," "Sex in the City").

Chelsea Cain

Cain is accepting her award, giving a keynote speech, and teaching a workshop at The The Willamette Writers Conference, August 3rd-5th at the Portland Airport Sheraton Hotel.

Gayle Brandeis: Multi-Genre Maverick Writer 2018

Gayle Brandeis

We are thrilled to announce that Gayle Brandeis, winner of the “Multi-Genre Maverick Writer” award, will be presenting a workshop and keynote at the Willamette Writers Conference as well.

Gayle Brandeis is the author, most recently, of the memoir The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surviving My Mother’s Suicide (Beacon Press), and the poetry collection The Selfless Bliss of the Body (Finishing Line Books).

Her other books include Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (HarperOne), and the novels The Book of Dead Birds (HarperCollins), which won Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize for Fiction of Social Engagement, Self Storage (Ballantine), Delta Girls (Ballantine), and My Life with the Lincolns (Henry Holt), which received a Silver Nautilus Book Award and was chosen as a state-wide read in Wisconsin.

Her poetry, essays, and short fiction have been widely published and have received numerous honors, including a Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award and a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2016. She teaches at Sierra Nevada College and Antioch University Los Angeles.

Gayle will be traveling to Portland to accept her award and share her wisdom and words with Willamette Writers members and guests.

Ellen Urbani: New and Notable Writer 2018

Our “New and Notable Writer” Award winner, Ellen Urbani, will also be accepting her award at the conference.

Ellen Urbani is the author of Landfall, set in the wake of Hurricane Katrina – a Women’s National Book Association Great Group Reads selection and winner of the Maria Thomas fiction award and the French Prix des Lecteurs. Landfall was published by Oregon’s Forest Avenue Press.

Urbani’s memoir, When I Was Elena, is a Book Sense Notable selection documenting her life in Guatemala during the final years of that country’s civil war. She has a bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama and a master’s degree from Marylhurst University.

Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Rumpus, The Oregonian and has been widely excerpted and anthologized. She resides on a farm in the Willamette Valley with her husband, children, and a passel of barnyard pets.

Ellen Urbani, author and speaker, talks about preparing your book to launch

We are thrilled and honored to present our awards to these distinguished writers, and look forward to hearing them speak at our conference.