Literature

Must-Read: And the 2021 Colorado Book Award Winners Are...

Professor Charles F. Wilkinson is the 2021 Colorado Book Awards Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.
Professor Charles F. Wilkinson is the 2021 Colorado Book Awards Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.
Books became even more a part of our lives last year. Reading at home was one of the few dependable activities still available to us — and then there was the escapism factor. So the Colorado Book Awards, issued in association with Colorado Humanities, are more important than ever as they honor the best in local literature.

Winners of the 2021 Colorado Book Awards were announced on Saturday, June 26, at an online celebration that included brief readings. Sixty-two finalists filled three Zoom rooms to entertain over 100 live viewers, and a watch party was held at BookBar to accommodate a limited live audience. The awards ceremony is still available for viewing online.


The 2021 Colorado Book Awards recognized Colorado authors, editors, photographers and illustrators in seventeen categories, and is sponsored by Outskirts Press and the Colorado Sun. In addition to the winners listed below, the Colorado Book Awards Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Charles F. Wilkinson, Moses Lasky Professor of Law Emeritus at CU Boulder, who’s written fourteen books — for both legal and general-public audiences — on the West and its people.

The winners are:

Anthology
Monsters, Movies & Mayhem, edited by Kevin J. Anderson (WordFire Press)

Biography
The Scholar and the Struggle: Lawrence Reddick’s Crusade for Black History and Black Power, David Varel (University of North Carolina Press)

Children’s Literature
Cow Boy Is NOT a Cowboy, written and illustrated by Gregory Barrington (HarperCollins)

Creative Nonfiction
No Option But North: The Migrant World and the Perilous Path Across the Border, Kesley Freeman, with photography by Tess Freeman (I.G. Publishing)

General Fiction
Other People’s Pets, R.L. Maizes (Celadon Books)

General Nonfiction
Glitter Up the Dark: How Pop Music Broke the Binary, Sasha Geffen (The University of Texas Press)

Historical Fiction
Creatures of Charm and Hunger, Molly Tanzer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

History
Yanks Behind the Lines: How the Commission for Relief in Belgium Saved Millions From Starvation During World War I, Jeffrey B. Miller (Rowman & Littlefield)

Juvenile Literature
Midnight at the Barclay Hotel, Fleur Bradley, with illustrations by Xavier Bonet (Viking/Penguin Random House)

Literary Fiction
The Loneliest Band in France: A Novella, Dylan Fisher (Texas Review Press)

Mystery
Shadow Ridge: A Jo Wyatt Mystery, M.E. Browning (Crooked Lane Books (The Quick Brown Fox & Company))

Pictorial
The American West in Art, edited by Thomas Brent Smith and Jennifer “J.R.” Henneman (5 Continents Edition)

Poetry
A History of Kindness, Linda Hogan (Torrey House Press)

Romance
Custodian of the Spirits, Bronwyn Long Borne (The Wild Rose Press)

Science Fiction/Fantasy
Once Again, Catherine Wallace Hope (Alcove Press, an Imprint of Crooked Lane Books)

Thriller
The Burn Patient: A Vega and Middleton Novel, Sue Hinkin (Literary Wanderlust)

Young Adult Literature
10 Things I Hate About Pinky, Sandhya Menon (Simon & Schuster)

Colorado Humanities is the only Colorado organization exclusively dedicated to supporting humanities education for adults and children statewide. Learn more at its website.