SAN FRANCISCO (May 3, 2009) _ The 2009 San Francisco Book Festival has named “War of Words: A True Tale of Newsprint and Murder” by former Bay Area reporter Simon Read as the grand prize winner of its annual competition.

In the San Francisco of the mid-1800s, the term “circulation war” was literal, as beatings and bloodlettings in and around the newsroom were not uncommon. Into this stepped Charles de Young, cofounder of the San Francisco Chronicle, who focused on the future mayor, Issac Kalloch.

Their explosive battles captivated a nation and the judges of the competition, who felt that the Union Square Press book captures the raw intensity that marks the city even today.

Read and other winners will be honored in a private ceremony at the Hotel Rex on Friday, May 8.

Other winners of the competition:


WINNER: The Book of the Unknown – Jonathon Keats

RUNNER-UP: The Sacred Well, Antoinette May

  • Trust Me,. Brenda Novak
  • Shade, John B. Olson
  • The Color of Hate, Wilma Blair-Reed
  • Inside A Haunted Mind, K. Patrick Malone
  • Pike Place, Marilyn Howard Tschudi
  • On The Brink of Bliss and Insanity, Lisa Cerasoli
  • Topaz Woman, Christine Candland
  • Story of an American Escort, C.J. Koa
  • Fresh Frozen, Darden North, M.D.
  • Vanquished, Hope Tarr
  • My Splendid Concubine, Lloyd Lofthouse
  • The 6th Seal, J. M Emanuel
  • Sardinian Silver, A. Colin Wright
  • The Fairfield Murders, Richard J. Tracey


WINNER: Born To Dance, Katherine Reynolds

RUNNER-UPS: I Am Jack, Suzanne Gervay
Dogs Move Too! Anthony M.T. Majewski


  • Mr. Lincoln’s Gift, Whitney Stewart
  • Tales of the Tree People, Lori Mazzola
  • Emerita, Cindy Mauro Reisenauer
  • Rupert and the Bag, A. Louise Staman, illustrated by Rich Adams
  • Meet President Obama, Angi Ma Wong
  • The Secret Adventures of Louie V, Tracey Delio
  • Santa’s Hat, Mollie Wilson
  • Little Hacker & The Aliens, Lee-Ann Shewchuk
  • Mom, I Fired The Babysitter, Colleen H. Robley Blake, illustrated by Randy Jennings
  • Melinda, A Mostly Magnificent Moose, Daniel Burch Fiddler


WINNER: The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook, by Nadia Natali, illustrations by Marcia Natali Thompson

RUNNER-UP: Goatcheese, Maggie Foard


  • Cooking Danish: A Taste of Denmark, Stig Hansen
  • Down Home Delicious, Peggy Touchtone Sholly
  • Shortcuts to Gourmet Cooking & Family Favorites, Frances Schaffer


WINNER: Luck By Design, Richard E. Goldman

RUNNER-UPS: Secrets From The Sofa, Dr. Kenneth Herman
Generation We: How Millennial Youth Are Taking Over America and Changing Our World Forever,” Eric Greenberg with Karl Weber


  • Quiet Mind, Warrior Spirit, Lila Reyna
  • Tell Me No, I Dare You, Scott H. Silverman with Anne Browning
  • Badge 149: “Shots Fired!” Gary P. Jones


WINNER: San Francisco Street Art, Steve Rotman


  • Gattorno: A Cuban Painter for the World, Sean M. Poole
  • Sacred Structures: Artistic Renditions of Hindu Temples in Malaysia and Singapore, Krishna Gopal Rampal
  • All The Stains of the City of the Angels – Stories and Paintings by J. Michael Walker
  • On The Brink of Fame, Ian Wright
  • The Letters: Portrait of an Artist, Jim House – Connie Houser


WINNER: Protecting Moscow from the Soviets, Peter Baird

RUNNER-UP: Silent Voices, Vol. IV – Edited by Peter A. Balaskas


  • Better Than Chocolate, The Writers’ Dozen
  • Patches of the Quilt – Edited by Edwin Chase and Bill Chase
  • Poems of Romance, Edited by William Roetzheim


WINNER: San Francisco Tenderloin, Larry Wonderling, Ph.D

RUNNER-UP: Prometheus in Prague, Eva M. Durna


  • Hitler’s Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, Joseph Howard Tyson
  • Diamonds in My Pocket, Amanda Kovattana
  • Loosening Corsets, A. Louise Staman
  • Divine Betrayal, Graceann K. Deters
  • Courage To Heal, Paul Bernstein, M.D.
  • A Woman of Certain Importance: The Biography of Kathleen Norris, Deanna Paoli Gumina


WINNER: That’s Why I Wrote This Song, Suzanne Gervay

RUNNER-UP: Listen To Me: Shared Secrets from WriteGirl


  • Dragon Wishes, Stacy A. Nyikos
  • A Clean Street’s A Happy Street, James McSherry


WINNER: Bee Balms & Burgundy – Nelson Pahl

HONORABLE MENTION: The Giant Book of Poetry, William Roetzheim


WINNER: What If Your Prince Falls Off His Horse? Jody Cohan

RUNNER-UP: What Can Chief Executives Learn From Stand-Up Comedians? Roger Edward Jones


WINNER: You’re Not Who You Think You Are – Albert Clayton Gaulden

RUNNER-UP: Seeing True, Ronald Chapman


  • The Passion of Maryam, Loren Woodson
  • The Garden of Earth, Laura Lamun
  • The Parable of the Coal, Matthew H. Swan



WINNER: Taking Aim at the President, Geri Spieler


  • Mom’s Canoe, Rebecca Foust
  • Defenders of the Scroll, Shiraz
  • Pirate Queen: The Curse, Richard Downey


WINNER: War of Words: A True Tale of Newsprint and Murder, Simon Read

RUNNER-UP: Who Found San Francisco Bay? The Real Story, H. Orozco Rodriguez


  • Tibet’s War of Peace, Dennis Cusack
  • After The Republic, Joe Blevins
  • Modoc: The Tribe That Wouldn’t Die, Cheewa James
  • The Blockade Breakers, Helena P. Schrader


WINNER: Inside Out, Barbara Benjamin Marcus

RUNNER-UP: Zero at the Bone, Jane Seville


  • Mexican Heart, Laura Baumbach and Josh Lanyon
  • Slather, Patricia A. Kuess


WINNER: Rise of the Anakim: Tables of Destiny, Adin Kachisi

The Grandmaster, Peter A. Balaskas
Alpha Rising, G.L. Douglas


WINNER: Dark Card, Rebecca Foust

RUNNER-UP: Perpetual Care, Katie Cappello

Poetic Voices Without Borders 2, Edited by Robert L. Giron


WINNER: The Troubled House, Kevin Arnold


WINNER: Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide To Get Your Loved One Out Alive – Martine Ehrenclou, M.A.


  • Stop The Stress Habit, Dr. Leslie Torburn
  • The Child Within The Lotus, Margaret Stephenson Meere
  • Gemstones: A Thai Love Story, Nora A. Phayackaporn & W. Jirayoot
  • The Moose with Loose Poops, Charlotte Cowan, M.D., illustrated by Penelope Neal
  • Boomers Job Search Guide, Saundra Marling & Jill Pfaff Waterbury
  • The Floor is Not An Option – Sheila G. McCurdy
  • How Sweet It Is – Living and Learning From Diabetes – Bennett S. Flaum, Psy.D and Mitchell P. Flaum, Ph.D

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