Books by two Linfield faculty named award finalists

Joe Wilkins poses with Thieve

Joe Wilkins

If they weren’t already on your “to-read” list, here’s one more reason to download or pick up copies of the latest books from two of Linfield’s leading faculty authors.

On Monday, March 29, Literary Arts announced that recent publications from Linfield University’s Nicholas Buccola and Joe Wilkins were named finalists for the 2021 Oregon Book Awards. “The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America” by Buccola is a finalist for the Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction, and Wilkins’ book, “Thieve,” is a finalist for the Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry.

No strangers to the Oregon Book Awards, both Buccola and Wilkins have been finalists in previous years, with Wilkins earning the top honor for “When We Were Birds” in 2017. This year, the pair’s titles were selected among 35 from across the state by a panel of out-of-state writers. Winners for the 2021 awards will be announced on a special episode of “The Archive Project,” at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 2 on OPB Radio.

“I’m so proud of the work of my colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Joe Wilferth, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This recognition of both Nick’s work and Joe’s work acknowledges their outstanding contributions to their respective fields. A hearty congratulations is in order.”

Portrait of Nick Buccola

Nicholas Buccola

Buccola, the Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science, joined the Linfield faculty in 2007. He is also the author of “The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass,” “The Essential Douglass,” and “Abraham Lincoln and Liberal Democracy.” His teaching and research interests are in political theory and public law. “The Fire Is upon Us” has also been named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, one of LitHub’s 50 Favorite Books of the Year and was shortlisted for the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award and the MAAH Stone Book Award.

“The Fire Is Upon Us is a book about the power of words to change the world,” Buccola said. “It is such an honor to have it celebrated alongside so many books that are devoted to this same proposition.”

Wilkins, professor of English and director of Linfield’s Creative Writing Program, is the author of a novel, “Fall Back Down When I Die,” which was a finalist for the First Novel Award and the Pacific Northwest Book Award and won the 2020 High Plains Book Award. “Fall Back Down When I Die” has now been translated into French, Spanish and Italian. Wilkins is also the author of a memoir, “The Mountain and the Fathers,” winner of a 2014 GLCA New Writers Award—an honor that has previously recognized early work by the likes of Richard Ford, Louise Erdrich and Alice Munro—and four collections of poetry, including “When We Were Birds,” winner of the 2017 Oregon Book Award in Poetry, and, “Thieve,” his most recent collection. At Linfield, Wilkins teaches courses in creative writing, American literature and environmental studies.

“The Oregon literary community is vibrant and diverse,” Wilkins said. “I couldn’t be happier that my work has been recognized alongside that of so many wonderful writers.”