Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

John Hickenlooper proves truth is stranger than fiction at Colorado Book Awards

Truth is definitely stranger than fiction, with the 19th Annual Colorado Book Awards announcement in Aspen last Friday just offering more proof. For starters, the main speaker was John Hickenlooper, the former geologist turned brewpub-owner turned Denver mayor who's now running for governor. No author could concoct that character!

One of the things Hick would like to do as governor? Extend the city's cOne Book, One Denver program, which hasn't exactly been a bestseller so far. (The next selection will be announced in September, with voting for the three possibilities -- The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, The Help and Fine Just the Way It Is -- closing out two weeks ago.)

One book that would certainly get the state talking: the winner of the creative non-fiction award, the excellent Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America, written by Helen Thorpe -- who just happens to be married to Hickenlooper, and takes on the sticky issue of immigration, legal and not.

Another winner, this one in the anthology/collection category, had to be given posthumously: The Rocky Mountain News, editor of A Dozen on Denver: Stories, a collection of pieces printed in the paper in honor of Denver's 150th birthday, passed away in February 2009, just shy of its own 150th.

Here's the complete list of winners of the 2010 Colorado Book awards, sponsored by Colorado Humanies and the Center for the Book:

Anthology/Collection A Dozen on Denver: Stories, Rocky Mountain News (editor), Fulcrum Publishing

Biography Rosalie Edge, Hawk of Mercy: The Activist Who Saved Nature from the Conservationists, by Dyana Z. Furmansky, The University of Georgia Press

Children's Literature Grandmother, Have the Angels Come? by Denise Vega, illustrated by Erin Eitter Kono, Little, Brown and Company

Creative Nonfiction Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America by Helen Thorpe, Scribner

General Nonfiction Voices of the American West by Corinne Platt and Meredith Ogilby, Fulcrum Publishing

Genre Fiction -- Historical & Romance A Land Beyond Ravens: Book 4 of the Macsenâ's Treasure Series by Kathleen Cunningham Guler, Bardsong Press

Genre Fiction -- Mystery/Thriller & Science Fiction/Fantasy The Radio Magician and Other Stories by James Van Pelt, Fairwood Press

History First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army by Peter Eichstaedt, Lawrence Hill Books

Juvenile Literature Artsy-Fartsy: An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel by Karla Oceanak, illustrated by Kendra Spanjer, Bailiwick Press

Literary Fiction Spoon by Robert Greer, Fulcrum Publishing

Pictorial Phlogs: Journey to the Heart of the Human Predicament by George Stranahan and Nicole Beinstein Strait, People's Press

Poetry Theory of Mind: New & Selected Poems by Bin Ramke, Omnidawn Publishing

Young Adult Literature The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau, Delacorte Press

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun