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Book Lists

Spur Awards

Spur Awards

"Western Writers of America annually honors writers for distinguished writing about the American West with the Spur Awards. Since 1953 the Spur Awards have been considered one of the most prestigious awards in American literature." Click here to visit the official website.

Spur Awards

Best Contemporary Novel

Finalists

  • Murder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon
  • The Stone Place by Randy Lee Eickhoff

Best Historical Novel

Best Mass Market Paperback Novel

Best Romance Novel

Finalists

  • Courting Carrie in Wonderland by Carla Kelly
  • Willene: Jewel Of The West by Sally Harper Bates

Best Traditional Novel

Finalists

Best Biography

Finalists

  • Tom Jeffords, Friend of Cochise by Doug Hocking
  • Tejano Tiger: José de los Santos Benavides and the Texas-Mexico Borderlands, 1823-1891 by Jerry Thompson

Best Contemporary Nonfiction

Finalists

  • Behind the Carbon Curtain: The Energy Industry, Political Censorship, and Free Speech by Jeffrey A. Lockwood
  • Lakota Performers in Europe: Their Culture and the Artifacts They Left Behind by Steve Friesen with Francois Chladiuk

Best Historical Nonfiction

Finalists

Best Juvenile Fiction

Finalists

Best Juvenile Nonfiction

Finalists

  • The True Story of Jim the Wonder Dog by Marty Rhodes Figley
  • Lotta Crabtree: Gold Rush Fairy Star by Lois V. Harris
  • Bold Women in Montana History by Beth Judy

Best Illustrated Children's Book

Finalists

  • Lexie the Word Wrangler by Rebecca Van Slyke and illustrator Jessie Hartland 
  • Abraham by Frank Keating and illustrator Mike Wimmer

Best First Novel

Best First Nonfiction

Best Historical Nonfiction

Finalists

Best Biography

Finalists

  • Texas Ranger: The Epic Life of Frank Hamer, the Man Who Killed Bonnie and Clyde by John Bossenecker
  • Nobody Rich or Famous: A Family Memoir by Richard Shelton

Best Contemporary Nonfiction

Finalists

  • The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and One of the Deadliest Days in American Firefighting by Fernanda Santos
  • Stories From Afield: Adventures with Wild Things in Wild Places by Bruce L. Smith

Best Traditional Novel

Finalists

Best Contemporary Novel

Finalists

  • Jasper Spring by James T. Hughes
  • Hidden Star by Corinne Joy Brown

Best Mass Market Paperback Novel

Finalists

  • Widowmaker Jones by Brett Cogburn
  • Frontier: Powder River by S.K. Salzer

Best Juvenile Nonfiction

Finalists

  • Entertaining Women: Actresses, Dancers, and Singers in the Old West by Chris Enss
  • Sissy Bear at the Fort by Holly Arnold Kinney

Best Juvenile Fiction

Finalists

  • The Green Colt: The Adventures of Wilder Good by S.J. Dahlstrom
  • Saddle Up! by Donna Alice Patton & Emily Chase Smith

Best Illustrated Children's Book

Finalists

  • Voices of the Western Frontier by Sherry Garland; illustrated by Julie Dupré Buckner
  • Big Buckaroo Goes to the Special Olympics by Rachelle "Rocky" Gibbons; illustrated by Jason Hutton

Best First Nonfiction Book

Best First Novel

Best Historical Novel

Finalists

  • The Memory Weaver by Jane K irkpatrick
  • Custer by Gerald Duff

Best Contemporary Novel

Finalists

  • The Canyon by Stanley Crawford
  • The Darkness Rolling by Win Blevins and Meredith Blevins

Best Traditional Novel

Finalists

Best Mass Market Paperback Novel

Best Western Biography

Finalists

  • The Gray Fox: George Crook and the Indian Wars by Paul Magid
  • Juan Bautista De Anza: The King’s Governor in New Mexico by Carlos R. Herrera

Best Historical Nonfiction

Finalists

Best Contemporary Nonfiction

Finalists

  • Unbranded by Ben Masters
  • Unruly Waters: A Social and Environmental History of the Brazos River by Kenna Lang Archer

Best Juvenile Fiction

Finalists

  • Chili Queen: Mi Historia by Marian L. Martinello
  • Rawhide Robinson Rides the Tabby Trail: The True Tale of a Wild West CATastrophe by Rod Miller

Best Juvenile Nonfiction

Best Illustrated Children's Book

Finalists

  • Ol’ Jimmy Dollar by Slim Randles & Jerry Montoya (illustrator)
  • The Hero Twins: A Navajo-English Story of the Monster Slayers by Jim Kristofic & Nolan Karras James (illustrator)

Best First Novel

Best First Nonfiction Book

Best Contemporary Novel

Finalists

Best Historical Novel

Finalists

Best Traditional Novel

Finalists

  • The Poacher's Daughter by Michael Zimmer
  • Dance With the Devil by J.D. March

Best Western Biography

Finalists

  • Tom Horn in Life and Legend by Larry D. Bull
  • The Life and Legends of Calamity Jane by Richard W. Etulain

Best Historical Nonfiction

Finalists

  • Chasing the Santa Fe Ring: Power and Privilege in Territorial New Mexico by David L. Caffey
  • South Pass: Gateway to a Continent by Will Bagley

Best Contemporary Nonfiction

Finalists

  • Wilderburbs: Communities on Nature’s Edge by Lincoln Bramwell
  • Wild Idea: Buffalo and Family in a Difficult Land by Dan O'Brien

Best Juvenile Fiction

Best Juvenile Nonfiction

Finalists

  • Battle of Little Bighorn by John Hamilton
  • How the West Was Drawn: Women’s Art by LInda L. Osmundson

Best Illustrated Children's Book

Finalists

Best First Novel

Best First Nonfiction Book

Best Historical Novel

Finalists

Best Contemporary Novel

Finalists

Best Traditional Novel

Finalists

  • Destiny Made Them Brothers by Andrew J. Fenady
  • The Hardest Ride by Gordon L. Rottman

Best Western Biography

Finalists

  • Cowboy Stuntman: From Olympic Gold to the Silver Screen by Dean Smith, w/ Mike Cox
  • In the Shadow of Billy the Kid: Susan McSween and the Lincoln County War by Kathleen P. Chamberlain

Best Historical Nonfiction

Finalists

  • Shooting Arrows and Slinging Mud: Custer, The Press and the Little Bighorn by James E. Mueller
  • The Heart of Everything that Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend by Bob Drury & Tom Clavin

Best Contemporary Nonfiction

Finalists

  • Trees in Paradise: A California History by Jared Farmer
  • Bright Light City: Las Vegas in Popular Culture by Larry D. Gragg

Best Juvenile Fiction

Finalists

Best Juvenile Nonfiction

Finalists

Best Illustrated Children's Book

Finalists

Best First Novel

Finalists

Best Short Novel

Finalists

  • Lonesome Animals by Bruce Holbert
  • City of Rocks by Michael Zimmer

Best Long Novel

Finalists

Best Mass Market Paperback Novel

Finalists

  • Redemption: Hunters by James Reasoner
  • The Secret of Lodestar by Tim Champlin

Best Western Biography

Finalists

  • Ho! For the Black Hills: Captain Jack Crawford Reports the Black Hills Gold Rush and Great Sioux War by Paul L. Hedren
  • “That Fiend in Hell”: Soapy Smith in Legend by Catherine Holder Spude

Best Historical Nonfiction

Finalists

  • Terrible Justice: Sioux Chiefs and U.S. Soldiers on the Upper Missouri, 1954-1868 by Doreen Chaky
  • Deliverance from the Little Big Horn: Doctor Henry Porter and Custer’s Seventh Cavalry by Joan Nabseth Stevenson

Best Contemporary Nonfiction

Finalists

  • Colorado Powder Keg: Ski Resorts and the Environmental Movement by Michael W. Childers
  • Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West by Ruben Martinez

Best Juvenile Fiction

Finalists

  • Blooming Prairie by Candace Simar
  • And There I'll Be a Soldier by Johnny D. Boggs

Best Juvenile Nonfiction

Finalists

  • The Great Bicycle Experiment: The Army’s Historic Black Bicycle Corps, 1896-97 by Kay Moore
  • Strike!: Mother Jones & the Colorado Coal Field War by Lois Ruby

Best Illustrated Children's Book

Finalists

  • The Adventures of Buffalo Joe and The Blackbird With the Broken Wing by Jamie Anne Blake
  •  Big Buckaroo and Moose, The Cow Dog by Rachelle “Rocky” Gibbons & Jason Hutton (illustrator)

Best First Novel

Finalists