On a recent October weekend in Billings, Montana, two of my books – Let Them Paddle and Montana: Real Place, Real People were finalists for awards. There were more than 200 books entered in the various award categories, which ranged from poetry to cookbooks, and I was honored to find that both of my books made the top three in their categories (non-fiction and art-and-photography). The high plains region covers half a dozen western states and several Canadian provinces and the event culminates in a celebratory weekend featuring readings, performances and discussions. Thomas Lee and I gave a reading/slide presentation from Montana: Real Place, Real People on Friday, and I read from Let Them Paddle on Saturday. At the Saturday night dinner all the finalists were honored and the winners were announced.
The event is a community affair, marked by its generosity and an atmosphere of respect and good-will, a real testament to the organizers. Corby Skinner, Director of the Writer’s Voice, in Billings, has been an instigator and driving force behind the event since its inception, a dozen years ago, and his energy infuses the celebration. The party at Corby’s historic home in Billings caps the weekend.
It is an award I cherish, and an honor I am very proud of.