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Grever, Tweit Lead Winners of 75th Anniversary CAL Writing Awards

Posted on May 10, 2017 | in Awards and Scholarships, CAL News | by

Carol Grever of Boulder and Susan J. Tweit of Cody, Wyoming each won two 75th anniversary CAL Writing Awards at the annual dinner, held May 5 at Arvada Center. They were Grever’s third and fourth CAL Awards, and the fourth and fifth for Tweit. Awards were presented in 13 categories, including eBook for the first time. Grever won that one for Turnings: Reflections on a Conscious Life. She also won the Single Poem category for a poem titled, Stones. Tweit, who moved to Wyoming from Salida in the past year, took home the awards for Essay (No Species is an Island) and Blog (Susan J. Tweit Blog).

Celebrating their CAL Awards (left to right) are Susan J. Tweit,
Mary Taylor Young, Carol Grever and Barbara Nickless.

Three other authors were repeat winners:

*Art Elser of Denver, his second, in Poetry Collection (High Plains Register)

*Mary Taylor Young of Castle Rock, her fifth, in Feature Article (The Embodiment of Wild)

*Nancy Bo Flood of Glenwood Springs, also her fifth, in Young Adult Book (Soldier Sister, Fly Home)

First-time winners were:

*Nancy Oswald of Cotopaxi in Children’s Book for Trouble Returns

*Beth Walker of Boulder in Children’s/Young Adult Non-Fiction for Princess Monori

*Jane Bock of Loveland in General Nonfiction for Forensic Plant Science

*Sandra Windsor of Denver in Creative Nonfiction for FBI Wife

*Darin Gibby of Lone Tree in Mainstream Fiction for Gil

*Barbara Nickless of Colorado Springs in Genre Fiction for Blood on the Tracks

A record 81 entries were submitted to Awards Chair Jerry Mitchell and were judged by Southwest Writers of New Mexico. Winners each received a $100 cash prize and a glass likeness of a book etched with their name and category.

Phyllis Perry of Boulder, whose 87th title will be published in December, received CAL’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Jim Kroll, manager of the Denver Public Library’s Western History and Genealogy Department, home of the Colorado Authors Collection, received the Author Advocate Award.

Judges’ Comments

Here are the judges’ comments on the award-winning entries:

Single Poem: Stones, by Carol Grever: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Impressive gathering of stories from an area where their language is disappearing.

General Nonfiction: Forensic Plant Science, Jane Bock: 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: 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: Carol has written a beautiful and honest story of her spiritual journey, punctuated by lovely poems.

Mainstream Fiction: Gil, by Darin Gibby: 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: 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.

Here’s a simple caption for the one called 4Winners:

The others are self-evident by the names of the files, but some don’t have first names, so in case it saves you time:

Beth Walker
Art Elser
Jim Kroll (Author Advocate recipient)
Nancy Oswald
Phyllis Perry (Lifetime Achievement Award recipient)
Sandra Windsor (incoming Board member and new CAL member)

Also attached is photo of Penny Hamilton, CAL member from Granby, and Tom Evans, Margi’s husband, who volunteered at the check-in desk. If you include this image, here’s a caption:

Greeting arrivals at the CAL Awards Dinner were volunteers Tom Evans and Penny Hamilton, the latter an Awards finalist in Feature Articles from Granby. (If you credit this one: Bill Hamilton photo)

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