2017 CAL Writing Award Winners
POETRY, SINGLE POEM: Stones, by Carol Grever, of Boulder
FROM THE JUDGES: The poet uses a stack of stones as a vivid and effective metaphor for painful secrets, held too long but finally released.
POETRY COLLECTION: High Plains Register, 5 poems, by Art Elser, Denver, in High Plains Register
FROM THE JUDGES: Thoughtful and moving poems that address a variety of themes, from memories of the Vietnam War to the search for extraterrestrial life, to the plight of those (both human and animal) who are lonely, disabled, or homeless.
BLOG: – Susan J. Tweit Blog, by Susan J. Tweit, Cody, WY
FROM THE JUDGES: Susan’s blog is excellent in the way a blog should excel. Her voice is personal and engaging, and her subjects are varied and always interesting. Great photos, wonderful blog.
FEATURE ARTICLE: The Embodiment of Wild, by Mary Taylor Young, Castle Rock, in Colorado Outdoors.
FROM THE JUDGES: Mary’s article is excellent, well researched, and well delivered. All of the articles were worthy of winning, but Mary’s stood out.
ESSAY: No Species is an Island, by Susan J. Tweit, Cody, WY, Center for Humans and Nature.
FROM THE JUDGES: Susan has a wonderful voice. Her words tumble out in a smooth and effortless stream, exactly right to convey her point while letting the reader know who she is.
CHILDREN’S BOOK: Trouble Returns, by Nancy Oswald, Cotopaxi, Filter Press.
FROM THE JUDGES: Nancy Oswald portrays Ruby and Cripple Creek in the 1890s in colorful detail. The language and events are engaging, and who wouldn’t love a girl whose best friend is a donkey named Maude?
YOUNG ADULT BOOK: Soldier Sister, Fly Home, by Nancy Bo Flood, Glenwood Springs, Charlesbridge Publishing.
FROM THE JUDGES: Nancy Bo Flood has created a story of finding who you are when everything is changing, and her young character feels she doesn’t fit in anywhere. The Navajo background and setting are skillfully and accurately portrayed. Beautifully written and emotionally satisfying.
CHILDREN’S/YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION: Princess Monori, by Beth Walker, Boulder, Our Golden Hour.
FROM THE JUDGES: Impressive gathering of stories from an area where their language is disappearing.
GENERAL NONFICTION: Forensic Plant Science, Jane Bock, Loveland, by Academic Press.
FROM THE JUDGES: A fascinating book about a fascinating subject. It’s well researched and well written. One can see the book being of interest to a wide number of disparate groups, such as scientists, forensic labs, plant lovers, and even mystery and thriller writers.
CREATIVE NONFICTION: FBI Wife: A Memoir, by Sandra Windsor, Denver, Abbott Press.
FROM THE JUDGES: A fascinating story that’s well told and keeps you wondering what’s on the next page.
eBOOK: Turnings: Reflections on a Conscious Life, by Carol Grever, Boulder, CreateSpace.
FROM THE JUDGES: Carol has written a beautiful and honest story of her spiritual journey, punctuated by lovely poems.
MAINSTREAM FICTION: Gil, by Darin Gibby, Lone Tree, Koehler Books.
FROM THE JUDGES: Gil has everything a reader looks for in a novel. A flawed by likeable character with an impossible dream, top-notch writing, a story that keeps you turning pages, an ending that brings you to the edge of your seat, and a haunting theme that will make you rethink your life. Loved this book.
GENRE FICTION: Blood on the Tracks, by Barbara Nickless, Colorado Springs, by Thomas and Mercer.
FROM THE JUDGES: Ms. Nickless immediately draws the reader into Sydney Rose Parnell’s world of railroad police work and rail riders. As Parnell and her K-9 partner, Clyde, investigated a brutal murder for which a fellow veteran was blamed, she also brings understanding about the difficulties faced by those with PTSD; Parnell, Clyde, and the suspect all suffered the long-lasting effects of war. The author’s easy style of telling two terrifying tales at once is applauded. She keeps the reader turning pages right to the end.