Trying Home: The Rise and Fall of an Anarchist Utopia on Puget Sound, by UW Tacoma Library’s very own Justin Wadland, has won the 2015 Washington State Book Award for History/General Nonfiction. The awards, administered by the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library, were announced at a ceremony on Sunday, October 11th. “It's not often that I get to see a genuine look of surprise on his face,” commented Justin’s wife, Emily.
While Justin may have been surprised that he won, his colleagues at UW Tacoma—and likely his wife—were not! Trying Home is a thoughtful, well-documented account of the anarchist colony Home, which took root in a remote inlet of south Puget Sound in the late 19th century. Justin’s interest in Home was sparked at a job that he had in graduate school, when he noticed stories about Home in historical newspapers that he was cataloging. His interest grew as he researched the colony, its stakeholders, and the geography and politics of the region. Enhanced by boat trips to the site of the colony and personal reflection on the concept of home, Justin developed the manuscript for Trying Home as the centerpiece of his MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific Lutheran University. The book was published in June 2014 by Oregon State University Press.
Find out more about Trying Home at Justin’s website, and in this Q&A with Justin, published in The News Tribune. Read coverage of the Washington State Book Awards in The Seattle Times; a complete list of past award winners is also available here.