The Billings Outpost

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High Plains Book Awards recognize region’s writers

Winners of the 2011 High Plains Book Awards, a project of the Parmly Billings Library, were announced Oct. 15 in Billings at a banquet held at Montana State University Billings.

Many of the finalists and winners attended the Billings event, and participated in readings and panel discussions at the annual High Plains BookFest. Larry Woiwode, the 2011 Emeritus Award winner, was the keynote speaker at the Awards Banquet.

Each winner received a $500 cash prize and a commemorative plaque. Award sponsors include the Parmly Billings Library, the Parmly Billings Library Foundation, Friends of the Parmly Billings Library, Montana State University Billings, Zonta Club of Billings, the Yellowstone Art Museum and the High Plains Book Awards Committee.

The Parmly Billings Library Board established the High Plains Book Awards to recognize regional authors and/or literary works which examine and reflect life on the High Plains including the states of  Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

Emeritus Award

North Dakota writer Larry Woiwode, has been named as the High Plains Book Awards 2011 Emeritus Award Winner.  Woiwode is recognized for a body of work that has made a lasting contribution to the literature and understanding of life on the High Plains.  Woiwode, a prolific and acclaimed writer, farms in North Dakota and directs the Creative Writing program at Jamestown College. He is also the Poet Laureate for North Dakota.

Best Fiction

In “Ghosts of Wyoming,” Alyson Hagy explores the hardscrabble lives and terrain of America’s least-populous state. Beyond the tourist destinations of Jackson Hole and Yellowstone lies a less familiar and wilder frontier defined by the tension wrought by abundance and scarcity.

Best nonfiction

“Bloodshed at Little Bighorn: Sitting Bull, Custer, and the Destinies of Nations” by Tim Lehman was published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Incorporating the voices of Native Americans, soldiers, scouts, and women, this briskly paced, vivid account puts the battle’s details and characters into a rich historical context.

Tim Lehman is a professor of history at Rocky Mountain College.

Best First Book

“Bound Like Grass” is Ruth McLaughlin’s account of her own and her family’s struggle to survive on their isolated wheat and cattle farm.

Ruth McLaughlin lives in Great Falls, Montana, where she teaches literacy and writing.

Best poetry

“Horse Tracks,” by Henry Real Bird was published by Lost Horse Press.

Henry Real Bird is a rancher and educator who raises bucking horses on Yellow Leggins Creek in the Wolf Teeth Mountains. He was born and raised on the Crow Indian Reservation in the tradition of the Crow by his grandparents, Mark and Florence Real Bird. Educated in Montana at Crow Agency, Hardin, Bozeman and Billings, he has a master’s degree in general education.

Best Woman Writer

“Goodbye Wifes and Daughters” by Susan Kushner Resnick was published by Bison Books.

One morning in 1943, close to eighty men descended into the Smith coal mine in Bearcreek.Only three came out alive. The story of that day and its aftermath unfolds in this book.

Susan Kushner Resnick has been a journalist for 25 years.

Best Art and Photography

“Visions of the Big Sky: Painting and Photographing the Northern Rocky Mountain West,” by Dan Flores, was published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

In Visions of the Big Sky, Dan Flores revisits the Northern Rockies artistic tradition to explore its diversity and richness. In his essays about the artists, photographers, and thematic historical imagery of the region, he blends art and cultural history with personal reflection to assess the formation of the region’s character. The volume features 140 color and black-and-white illustrations, ranging from prehistoric rock art to modernist painting, and from charismatic wildlife scenes to classic landscape.

Dan Flores is a writer and professor who divides his time between the Bitterroot Valley and Santa Fe, N. Mex.

Born in Natchitoches, Louisiana, he has lived

in the West for 30 years.  He holds the A. B. Hammond Chair in Western History at the University of

Montana, in Missoula, where he specializes in the environmental and cultural history of the West.



Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

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