The Colorado Book Awards will celebrate 25 years of honoring authors from across the state when it announces this year's winners at a May 21 ceremony at the Colorado Governor's Mansion. But first, Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book will spread the word by hosting a series of readings at BookBar, beginning the afternoon of April 10, when finalists – three each in the categories of Juvenile Literature and Young Adult Literature – will wow audiences by reading from their works. A 45-person judging crew selected finalists in fifteen big categories for 2016, and all of the writers will present excerpts from their books during the series, which runs through May 6.
Program coordinator Bess Maher says the finalists were narrowed down from an army of 170 entrants. “It can really boost careers,” she adds, “and even if they're just finalists, people always come back to us and say, 'Thank you – this meant so much to me and my writing career.' I'm really proud of how strong our literary community is and struck by how well we hold up with the rest of the country.” The categories change from year to year depending on the entries, and this year's fifteen come in second only to last year's record-setting sixteen. “It gives more authors a chance to be judged against other books like theirs and get some recognition,” notes Maher.
What are some highlights of the readings to come? “We have two books about Edward Abbey up for awards this year – one in Creative Nonfiction and one in Anthologies,” says Maher. “We have a finalist, Gary Reilly, who passed away, and his friends have been putting out his manuscripts as novels. Gary Hart is a finalist, and he'll probably be at the reading for General Nonfiction. The novel Fig is up for an award in Young Adult Fiction – author Sarah Elizabeth Schantz has a lot of buzz around her, as does Tiffany Quay Tyson for Three Rivers, in Literary Fiction.”
All of the readings are free; bring the kids to BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, at 4 p.m. today, and visit coloradohumanities.org for a complete schedule.
April 10: Juvenile Fiction, Young Adult Fiction. April 15: Mystery, Sci-Fi/Fantasy. April 21: Children's Books. April 22: General Nonfiction, Anthology, Pictorial. May 6: Short Story, Historical Fiction, History.
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