State salutes authors across 16 categories

Awards ceremony held at historic Aspen hotel


On June 13, Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book announced winners of awards in 16 categories, selected after five months of judging of the 177 titles originally submitted.

The awards ceremony was held at the historic Hotel Jerome in Aspen. Rheem Abu-Baker of Colorado Humanities coordinated the competition and judging.

Winners were invited to read from their works, entered in one of the oldest state award programs in the country, where authors, editors and artists have been recognized for 23 years.

South-metro area writers Craig Marshall Smith, Elizabeth Gibbons Van Ingen and Susan Allspaw of Highlands Ranch, and Sandra Wittow of Englewood, had titles among the finalists, but did not make the winning list. We congratulate them all for persisting from the idea stage to their finished books.

Many of the competing titles had a connection to the West in storyline or subject. Winning books and categories were:

● Biography: “Ernest L. Blumenschein: The Life of an American Artist,” by Robert W. Larson and Carole B. Larson.

● Children's Literature: “The Tumbleweed Came Back,” by Carmela LaVigna-Coyle and Kevin Rechin.

● Creative Non-Fiction: “Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family and Food,” by B.K. Loren.

● General Non-Fiction: “Tasting Colorado: Favorite Recipes from the Centennial State,” by Michele Morris.

● Genre Fiction: “Changes,” by Pamela Nowak.

● Historical Fiction: “The Drowning Guard: a Novel of the Ottoman Empire,” by Linda Lafferty.

● History: “Denver Mountain Parks: 100 Years of a Magnificent Dream,” by Erika D. Walker, Wendy Rex-Atzet, Sally L. White, W. Bart Berger, Thomas J. Noel and John Fielder.

● Juvenile Literature: “Grave Images,” by Jenny Goebel.

● Literary Fiction: “Little Raw Souls,” by Steven Schwartz.

● Memoir: “I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Coast Trail,” by Gail D. Storey.

● Mystery: “Desperado: A Mile High Noir,” by Manuel Ramos.

● Pictorial: “Firmament: A Meditation on Place in Three Parts,” by Andrew Beckham.

● Poetry: “Natural Takeover of Small Things,” by Tim Z. Hernandez.

● Poetry/Chapbook: “Ndewo Colorado,” by Uche Ogbuji.

● Thriller/Suspense: “Double Dare,” by Michael Madigan.

● Young Adult Literature: “Ascendant,” by Rebecca Taylor.

More information about the competition can be found at


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