Read Local: 2015 Colorado Book Award Winners Announced

Colorado’s got authors — good ones from the looks of the list below — but how many of them have you read? The 2015 Colorado Book Award winners, announced yesterday in the high country to jumpstart the annual Aspen Summer Words literary festival, are a great place to start discovering our best local scribes. Here are a few picks to explore this summer, followed by the complete list of this year’s winners in fourteen categories.

Literary Fiction
The Painter: A Novel, by Peter Heller (Alfred A. Knopf)

A nonfiction author and NPR contributor with a taste for adventure, Peter Heller adroitly turned novelist with his acclaimed 2012 work of fiction The Dog Stars. Its follow-up, The Painter, tells a tale of a renowned painter whose life of fishing and painting in rural Colorado takes a dark turn in a moment of violence. Touted as a literary suspense novel, it’s just the kind of page-turner you want for a deep summer read.

Abide, by Jake Adam York (Crab Orchard Review & Southern Illinois University Press)

A posthumous volume by the poet Jake Adam York, who passed away in 2012, Abide — also a National Book Award finalist — is a testament to why he is so sorely missed. An elegy for martyrs of the civil rights movement, Abide also digs deep into social and cultural history to bring back powerful musical voices of protest, form Woody Guthrie to Thelonius Monk.

The Intern’s Handbook: A Thriller, by Shane Kuhn (Simon & Schuster)

Shane Kuhn’s bestselling novel follows high-stakes assassin John Lago as he poses as an intern to scope his prey. There’s nothing like an antihero to help while away a lazy day in June.

Here are the rest of this year’s Colorado Book Award winners — you’ll find something in the mix for every member of the family.

Outdoors in the Southwest: An Adventure Anthology, by Andrew Gulliford, editor (University of Oklahoma Press)

Children's Literature
Mama Built a Little Nest, by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)

Creative Nonfiction
Both Sides Now; A True Story of Love, Loss, and Bold Living, by Nancy Sharp (Books & Books Press)

General Nonfiction
Eating Dangerously: Why the Government Can't Keep Your Food Safe — And How You Can, by Michael Booth and Jennifer Brown (Rowman & Littlefield)

Historical Fiction
Song of the Jayhawk Or, The Squatter Sovereign, by Jack Marshall Maness (Wooden Stake Press)

Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People, by Elizabeth A. Fenn (Hill & Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Juvenile Literature
Searching for Silverheels, by Jeannie Mobley (Margaret K. McElderry Books, imprint of Simon & Schuster)

Literary Fiction
The Painter: A Novel, by Peter Heller (Alfred A. Knopf)

Trapline: An Allison Coil Mystery, by Mark Stevens (Midnight Ink, an imprint of Llewelyn Worldwide Ltd.)

High Road to Aspen: Leadville To Aspen Over The Continental Divide, by Paul Andersen with photographs by David Hiser (ERG Press)

Abide, by Jake Adam York (Crab Orchard Review & Southern Illinois University Press)

Short Story Collection
The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic, by Christopher Merkner (Coffee House Press)

The Intern’s Handbook: A Thriller, by Shane Kuhn (Simon & Schuster)

Young Adult Literature
Lost Girl Found, by Leah Bassoff and Laura DeLuca (Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press)

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd