Reading the West 3-29-10 |

Reading the West 3-29-10

Candy Moulton
Encampment, Wyo.

Western Writers of America announced the 2010 Spur Award winners and finalists during events at the National Festival of the West in Scottsdale, Ariz., March 20. Among the winners: Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who won for “Finding Susie,” her somewhat autobiographical children’s book about growing up on a desert ranch; Johnny D. Boggs who will receive his fourth Spur for his juvenile fiction book, “Hard Winter,” and Wyoming writer John Nesbitt who won two Spurs this year, one for a novel and the other for a short story.

I’m pleased to say that I will also receive my second Spur – this one for Best Documentary for my work on “In Pursuit of A Dream” the film I wrote and produced for Boston Productions as a project for the Oregon-California Trails Association.

Justice O’Connor and illustrator Tom Pohrt won the Storyteller Spur for best illustrated children’s book. “Finding Susie” was published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House.

Robert Flynn’s “Echoes of Glory” (published by Texas Christian University Press) won for Best Western Long Novel – more than 90,000 words – and Robert Olmstead’s “Far Bright Star” (Algonquin) won for Best Western Short Novel.

Since 1953, Western Writers of America has promoted and honored the best in Western literature with the annual Spur Awards, selected by panels of judges. Awards, for material published last year, are given for works whose inspiration, image, and literary excellence best represent the reality and spirit of the American West. The awards will be presented at the annual WWA Convention in Knoxville, Tenn., in June.

Nesbitt won two Spurs, claiming his second consecutive Spur for Best Original Mass Market Paperback Novel with “Stranger in Thunder Basin” (Leisure Books) and for Best Western Short Fiction Story, “At the End of the Orchard” (Hardboiled Magazine).

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WWA President Boggs won his fourth Spur Award, for “Hard Winter” (Five Star) in the Best Western Juvenile Fiction category.

The complete list of winners and finalists:

• Long Novel – Winner: Robert Flynn, “Echoes of Glory” (TCU Press). Finalists: Bob Cherry, “One-Eyed Jacks” (Cicada Wing); Mary E. Trimble, “Tenderfoot” (Treble Heart).

• Short Novel – Winner: Robert Olmstead, “Far Bright Star” (Algonquin). Finalists: Sandi Ault, “Wild Sorrow” (Berkley Prime Crime); Robert Greer, “Spoon” (Fulcrum).

• Mass Market Paperback – Winner: John D. Nesbitt, “Stranger in Thunder Basin” (Leisure). Finalists: Lyle Brandt, “Hanging Judge” (Penguin/Berkley); William Blinn, “A Cold Place in Hell” (Pinnacle/Kensington).

• Nonfiction-Biography – Winner: David C. Humphrey, “Peg Leg” (Texas State Historical Society). Finalists: Clyde Milner and Carol O’Connor, “As Big as the West: The Pioneer Life of Granville Stuart” (Oxford University Press); Polly Aird, “Mormon Convert/Mormon Defector: A Scottish Immigrant in the American West” (Arthur H. Clark).

• Nonfiction-Historical – Winner: Douglas C. McChristian, “Fort Laramie” (Arthur H. Clark). Finalists: William B. Schillingberg, “Dodge City: The Early Years, 1872-1886” (Arthur H. Clark); Paul Horsted, Ernest Grafe and Jon Nelson, “Crossing the Plains with Custer” (Golden Valley Press).

• Nonfiction-Contemporary – Winner: Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler, “The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906-1920” (University of New Mexico Press). Finalists: Katherine Benton-Cohen, “Borderline Americans: Racial Division and Labor War in the Arizona Borderlands” (Harvard University Press); Timothy Egan, “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

• Short Nonfiction – Winner: Roger Di Silvestro, “Teddy’s Ride to Recovery” (Wild West). Finalists: Kerry Oman, “Rejoicing in the Beauties of Nature: The Image of the Western Landscape During the Fur Trade” (Great Plains Quarterly); Michael A. Amundson, “These Men Play Real Polo: An Elite Sport in the Cowboy State, 1890-1930” (Montana: The Magazine of Western History).

• Short Fiction – Winner: John D. Nesbitt, “At the End of the Orchard” (Hardboiled Magazine). Finalists: Matthew Mayo, “Half a Pig” (Express Westerns); J.J. Clark, “As Is” (High Desert Journal).

• Juvenile Fiction – Winner: Johnny D. Boggs, “Hard Winter” (Five Star). Finalists: Victoria McKernan, “The Devil’s Paintbox” (Knopf); Melodie Cuate, “Journey to Goliad” (Texas Tech University Press).

• Juvenile Nonfiction – Winner: Nancy Plain, “With One Sky Above Us” (Mondo Publishing). Finalists: Annica Benning, “Arizona: Nations and Arts” (Walnut Canyon Press); Charles C. Mann, “Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491” (Atheneum/Simon and Schuster).

• Storyteller – Winner: Sandra Day O’Connor (author) and Tom Pohrt (illustrator), “Finding Susie” (Random House); Finalists: Joe Gribnau (author) and Adrian Tans (illustrator), “Kick the Cowboy” (Pelican); Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (author) and R. Gregory Christie (illustrator), “Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal” (Lerner Publishing).

• Documentary – Winner: Candy Moulton, “In Pursuit of a Dream” (Boston Productions Inc.). Finalists: Ric Burns, “We Shall Remain: Tecumseh’s Vision” (WGBH); Lyman Hafen, “Born to Ride” (Southern Utah University).

• Poem – Winner: Paul Zarzyski, “Bob Dylan Bronc Song” (Two Medicine). Finalists: David Memmott, “Where the Yellow Brick Road Turns West” (Wordcraft of Oregon); Larry D. Thomas, “Glass Mountains” (Southwestern American Literature).

• Audiobook – Winner: Gary McCarthy, “River Thunder” (Books in Motion). Finalists: Monty McCord, “Mundy’s Law” (Books in Motion); Phil Mills Jr., “Where a Good Wind Blows” (Books in Motion).

• Song – Winner: Wylie Gustafson and Paul Zarzyski, “Hang-n-Rattle” (Two Medicine Music/Bucking Horse Moon Music). Finalists: Steve Moulton, “Steamboat” (Butch Hause/The Ranger Station); Daron Little, “Pete French” (self-published).