The Spur Awards salute the best writers in the Western genre, and they just released the 2010 winners and finalists in Scottsdale, Ariz. Handed out by the Western Writers of America (, the Spur Awards were announced at the annual literary contest Saturday, March 20, during the National Festival of the West.

Since 1953, Western Writers of America has promoted and honored the best in Western literature with the annual Spur Awards, selected by panels of judges. Awards, for material published last year, are given for works whose inspiration, image, and literary excellence best represent the reality and spirit of the American West. Winners and finalists will be honored at the WWA Convention, June 22-26 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor won this year for “Finding Susie,” her somewhat autobiographical children’s book about growing up on a desert ranch. She and illustrator Tom Pohrt won the Storyteller Spur for best illustrated children’s book. And Robert Flynn’s “Echoes of Glory” (published by Texas Christian University Press) won for Best Western Long Novel (more than 90,000 words), and Robert Olmstead’s “Far Bright Star” (Algonquin) won for Best Western Short Novel.

John D. Nesbitt won two Spurs, claiming his second consecutive Spur for Best Original Mass Market Paperback Novel with “Stranger in Thunder Basin” (Leisure Books) and for Best Western Short Fiction Story, “At the End of the Orchard” (Hardboiled Magazine). WWA President Johnny D. Boggs won his fourth Spur Award, for “Hard Winter” (Five Star) in the Best Western Juvenile Fiction category.

Other winners:

Nonfiction-Biography: David C. Humphrey, “Peg Leg” (Texas State Historical Society).

Nonfiction-Historical: Douglas C. McChristian, “Fort Laramie” (Arthur H. Clark).

Nonfiction-Contemporary: Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler, “The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906-1920” (University of New Mexico Press).

Short Nonfiction: Roger Di Silvestro, “Teddy’s Ride to Recovery” (Wild West magazine).

Juvenile Nonfiction: Nancy Plain, “With One Sky Above Us” (Mondo Publishing).

Documentary: Candy Moulton, “In Pursuit of a Dream” (Boston Productions Inc.).

Poem: Paul Zarzyski, “Bob Dylan Bronc Song” (Two Medicine).

Original Audiobook: Gary McCarthy, “River Thunder” (Books in Motion).

Song: Wylie Gustafson and Paul Zarzyski, “Hang-n-Rattle” (Two Medicine Music/Bucking Horse Moon Music).

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