The Oscar Lewis Awards

The Book Club of California congratulates the recipients of the 2016 Oscar Lewis Awards:

James Karman
Oscar Lewis Award for Western History

James Karman, Emeritus Professor at California State University, Chico, is considered the world’s foremost scholar of the life of poet Robinson Jeffers, having previously published many books, articles, and book reviews on the California poet during his distinguished career. “In his scholarly detective work,” says Jed Wyrick, chair of the Department of Comparative Religion and Humanities at CSU, Chico, Karman pursues “the thorniest references in the letters of Jeffers, and those of his wife Una Jeffers, until he uncovers hidden nuances of personal interactions and pierces each letter’s mythological and philosophical resonances. It is his loving fascination with this rich world that makes Karman’s edition more than just a collection of documents, which would be impressive enough. These three volumes also provide a guided tour of the cultural and intellectual orbit of a truly astounding American literary giant.”

James Karman is the author or editor of nine books about Jeffers, including five published by Stanford University Press—Stones of the Sur: Poetry by Robinson Jeffers, Photographs by Morley Baer (2001), The Collected Letters of Robinson Jeffers, with Selected Letters of Una Jeffers (2009, 2011, and 2015), and Robinson Jeffers: Poet and Prophet (2015). He is the recipient of the 2016 Lawrence Clark Powell Award for Distinguished Scholarship from the Robinson Jeffers Association.

Richard Wagener
Oscar Lewis Award for the Book Arts

Richard Wagener is a highly esteemed California wood engraver, book designer, and poet who publishes under the imprint of Mixolydian Editions. He has been engraving wood for over thirty years. His work has been in award-winning fine press editions, most notably Zebra Noise with a Flatted Seventh (Peter Koch Printers, 1998); The Fragments of Parmenides (Editions Koch, 2004); California in Relief: Thirty Wood Engravings by Richard Wagener (The Book Club of California, 2009); and the companion volume, The Sierra Nevada Suite: Thirty-One Wood Engravings by Richard Wagener (The Book Club of California, 2013) for which he won the Juror’s Choice Award at the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair in England. Loom, co-published by Nawakum Press and Mixolydian Editions in 2015, is the result of a collaboration between Richard Wagener and Australian poet, Alan Loney, who wrote poems in response to Richard’s sixteen already-existing wood engravings. Loom has just been awarded the prestigious 2016 Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design from the University of Texas, El Paso.

The Oscar Lewis Awards were established by the Book Club of California in 1994 in honor of Oscar Lewis (1893-1992), San Francisco author, historian, and club secretary from 1921-1946.

Click here to view the press release for this year’s awards.

Press play on the video below to listen to the 2016 acceptance speeches.


All Club members are invited to submit nominations during the appropriate submissions period.

Past recipients of the Oscar Lewis Award for Western History:

Dr. Gray Brechin (2015)
Rebecca Solnit (2014)
W. Michael Mathes (2012)
Phillip P. Choy (2011)
Thomas Pinney (2010)
Robert J. Chandler (2009)
Malcolm Margolin (2008)
Carl Nolte (2007)
Robert V. Hine (2006)
David F. Myrick (2005)
Robert G. Harlan (2004)
Kevin Starr (2003)
Ferol Egan (2002)
Muir Dawson (2001) and Glen Dawson (2001)
J. S. Holliday (2000), Msgr. Francis J. Weber (2000)
Allan R. Ottley (1999)
Gary F. Kurutz (1998)
Richard H. Dillon (1997)
Lawrence Clark Powell (1996)
Doyce B. Nunis, Jr., (1996)
Michael Harrison (1995)
Dr. Albert Shumate (1994)

Past recipients of the Oscar Lewis Award for the Book Arts:

Harry & Sandra Reese (2015)
Johanna Drucker (2014)
Carolee Campbell (2013)
Jonathan Clark (2012)
Clifford Burke (2011)
Charles Hobson (2010)
Graham Mackintosh (2009)
David Lance Goines (2008)
Patrick W. Reagh (2007)
Peter Rutledge Koch (2006)
Joseph J. D’Ambrosio (2005)
Eleanor Edwards Ramsey (2004)
Joanne Margarethe Sonnichsen (2003)
Carolyn and James Robertson (2002)
Wolfgang Lederer (2001)
Andrew Hoyem (2000)
Jack W. Stauffacher (1999)
S. Gale Herrick (1998)
Sandra Kirshenbaum (1998)
Marjorie G. Stern (1997)
Lewis and Dorothy Allen (1996)
Albert Sperisen (1995)
Stella Patri (1995)
Ward Ritchie (1994)

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