The 2024 Colorado Book Awards Recognize the Best in Local Lit | Westword

The 2024 Colorado Book Awards Recognize the Best in Local Lit

Find your next summer read in this list of finalists and winners.
The Tivoli Turnhalle hosted the 2024 Colorado Book Awards in high style.
The Tivoli Turnhalle hosted the 2024 Colorado Book Awards in high style. YouTube
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The Colorado Book Awards returned to Denver for a sold-out awards ceremony on Friday, June 21, after moving its annual celebration of the best in local lit around the state in recent years. Its welcome return to the Tivoli Turnhalle Theater on the downtown Auraria campus offered a historic and appropriately grand backdrop to the awards, which celebrate the finest achievements from the previous year in several bookish categories.

This year marked the 33rd iteration of the CBAs, and there were some significant changes to the categories. Where there were originally two categories for the novel form — literary and general fiction — those were consolidated into one single award. But there was a return to a formerly used category, as well: the Short Story Collection, which had been phased out some years back but returned for 2024. Likewise, the popular Romance category enjoyed its second year in the rotation. In all, 2024's event included fifteen categories.

The Colorado Book Awards are produced by Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book, and supported by several local agencies devoted to honoring good writing, including CU Denver's English Department, which helped host the awards at the Tivioli Turnhalle. The finalists' books were available for on-site purchase courtesy of the Bookies, where they can still be purchased.

An alphabetical listing of all fifteen categories and their winners and finalists is below. Congratulations to all these finalists, and to the Colorado Book Awards for recognizing the literary accomplishments in our state.

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Peter Anderson's book won the Anthology category.
Bower House
Reading Colorado: A Literary Road Guide, Peter Anderson

Been Outside: Adventures of Black Women, Nonbinary, and Gender Nonconforming People in Nature, Amber Wendler and Shaz Zamore

Unioverse: Stories of the Reconvergence, Angie Hodapp and Joshua Viola

Unplugged Voices: 125 Tales of Art and Life from Northern New Mexico, the Four Corners and the West, Sara Frances

Children’s Literature
Lia & Luís: Puzzled!, Ana Crespo and Giovana Medeiros

Building a Dream: How the Boys of Koh Panyee Became Champions, Darshana Khiani and Dow Phumiruk

Light Speaks, Christine Layton and Luciana Navarro Powell

Something Spectacular: A Rock’s Journey, Carmela Lavigna Coyle and Carly Allen-Fletcher

Creative Nonfiction
Losing Music, John Cotter

Crossings: How Road Ecology is Shaping the Future of Our Planet, Ben Goldfarb

Living River: The Promise of the Mighty Colorado, Dave Showalter
Soil: the Story of a Black Mother’s Garden, Camille T. Dungy

General Nonfiction
So Much Stuff: How Humans Discovered Tools, Invented Meaning, and Made More of Everything, Chip Colwell

Western Water A to Z: The History, Nature, and Culture of a Vanishing Resource, Robert R. Crifasi
When Innocence Is Not Enough: Hidden Evidence and the Failed Promise of the Brady Rule, Thomas L. Dybdahl
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The Historical Fiction winner.
Penguin Random House

Historical Fiction

To Die Beautiful, Buzzy Jackson

A Bakery In Paris, Aimie K. Runyan
Paradise Undone: A Novel of Jonestown, Annie Dawid

Women of the Colorado Gold Rush Era, J.v.L Bell and Jan Gunia

Galloping Gourmet: Eating and Drinking with Buffalo Bill, Steve Friesen

HILOS CULTURALES: Cultural Threads of The San Luis Valley, Patricia B. Martinez, Herman A Martinez, and Enrique R. Lamadrid

Juvenile Literature
Brave Bird at Wounded Knee: A Story of Protest on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Rachel Bithell and Eric Freeberg

Backcountry, Jenny Goebel

Skyriders, Polly Holyoke

The Girl From Earth’s End, Tara Dairman

Blood Betrayal, Ausma Zehanat Khan
Minotaur Books
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The Novel category winner.
Grove Press

Standing Dead, Margaret Mizushima

Take the Honey and Run: A Beekeeping Mystery, Jennie Marts

The Applicant, Nazli Koca

Homestead: A Novel, Melinda Moustakis

The Last Animal, Ramona Ausubel

How You Walk Alone in the Dark, Erin Block

Maps You Can’t Make, Mariella Saavedra Carquin

Still and Still Moving, Katie Scruggs Galloway

Brynn and Sebastian Hate Each Other, Bethany Turner

Autumn of the Big Snow, Lou Jacobs

Raising Elle, S.E. Reichert

Science Fiction/Fantasy
Dark Moon Shallow Sea, David R. Slayton

Not Quite Dead Geniuses at Large on an Angry Planet, R. Gary Raham

Silenced, Ann Claycomb
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The Poetry category winner.
Middle Creek Publishing

Short Story
Uranians: Stories, Theodore McCombs

Defensible Spaces, Alison Turner

This Is Salvaged: Stories, Vauhini Vara


No Child of Mine, Nichelle Giraldes

Once Upon a Lie, Rebecca Taylor

The Girls in the Cabin, Caleb Stephens

Young Adult Literature
Rez Ball, Byron Graves

Seven Percent of Ro Devereux, Ellen O’Clover

Surviving Daybreak, Kendra Merritt

For more information on past winners and next year's event, see the CBA website.
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