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. Previous winners include Elmer Kelton, Lucia St. Clair Robson and Larry McMurtry.

Here are the 2013 winners and finalists:

Best Western Long Novel

With Blood in their Eyes, Thomas Cobb, University of Arizona Press


The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin, HarperCollins

Country of the Bad Wolfes, James Carlos Blake, Cinco Puntos Press

Best Western Short Novel

Tucker’s Reckoning (A Ralph Compton Western), Matthew Mayo, New American Library


Lonesome Animals, Bruce Holbert, Counterpoint Press

City of Rocks, Michael Zimmer, Five Star Publishing

Best Western First Novel

Panhandle, Brett Cogburn, Pinnacle


Wide Open, Larry Bjornson, Penguin Group

The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin, HarperCollins

Best Western Juvenile Fiction

Wide Open, Larry Bjornson, Penguin Group


Blooming Prairie, Candace Simar, North Star Press of St. Cloud

And There I’ll Be A Soldier, Johnny D. Boggs, Five Star Publishing

Storyteller Award

Pecos Bill Invents the Ten-Gallon Hat, Kevin Strauss, illustrated by David Harrington, Pelican Publishing


The Adventures of Buffalo Joe and The Blackbird With the Broken Wing, written and illustrated by Jamie Anne Blake, Homestead Publishing

Big Buckaroo and Moose, The Cow Dog, Rachelle “Rocky” Gibbons, illustrated by Jason Hutton, Tate Publishing

Best Western Mass Market Paperback

The Coyote Tracker, Larry Sweazy, Berkley


Redemption: Hunters, James Reasoner, Berkley

The Secret of Lodestar, Tim Champlin, Berkley

Best Western Poem

“Johnny Ringo,” Red Shuttleworth, Riverhouse


“Night Singer, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico,” Steve Dieffenbacher, Wordcraft of Oregon

“Nat Maringo,” Robert Brown, Brave New Genre Inc.

Best Western Audiobook

Ring of Fire, Cotton Smith, Books in Motion


Trouble in Texas, Tom Nichols, Books in Motion

Best Western Nonfiction-Historical

Will Bagley, With Golden Visions Bright Before Them: Trails to the Mining West, 1849-1852, University of Oklahoma Press


Doreen Chaky, Terrible Justice: Sioux Chiefs and U.S. Soldiers on the Upper Missouri, 1854-1868, The Arthur H. Clark Company

Joan Nabseth Stevenson, Deliverance from the Little Big Horn: Doctor Henry Porter and Custer’s Seventh Cavalry, University of Oklahoma Press

Best Western Nonfiction-Contemporary

Deanne Stillman, Desert Reckoning: A Town Sheriff, a Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt in Modern California History, Nation Books


Michael W. Childers, Colorado Powder Keg: Ski Resorts and the Environmental Movement, University Press of Kansas

Ruben Martinez, Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West, Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company

Best Western Nonfiction-Biography

Robert M. Utley, Geronimo, Yale University Press


Paul L. Hedren, Ho! For the Black Hills: Captain Jack Crawford Reports the Black Hills Gold Rush and Great Sioux War, South Dakota State Historical Society Press

Catherine Holder Spude, “That Fiend in Hell”: Soapy Smith in Legend, University of Oklahoma Press

Best Western Short Fiction Story

John Mort, “The Hog Whisperer,” Flint Hills Review


Susan K. Salzer, “The Saint of Pox Island,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

Lori Van Pelt, “The Day Delgado Rode In,” Outlaws and Lawmen: La Frontera Publishing Presents the American West

Best Western Short Nonfiction

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, “Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912,” Western Historical Quarterly


Paul Andrew Hutton, “Libbie Custer: ‘A Wounded Thing Must Hide’,” Wild West

James E. Potter, “‘Wearing the Hempen Neck-Tie’: Lynching in Nebraska, 1858-1919,” Nebraska History

Best Western Nonfiction-Juvenile

Nancy Plain, Light on the Prairie: Solomon D. Butcher, Photographer of Nebraska’s Pioneer Days, University of Nebraska Press


Kay Moore, The Great Bicycle Experiment: The Army’s Historic Black Bicycle Corps, 1896-97, Mountain Press Publishing Company

Lois Ruby, Strike!: Mother Jones & the Colorado Coal Field War, Filter Press

Best Western Drama Script

Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained, The Weinstein Company


Bill Kerby, Ted Mann, and Ronald Parker, Hatfields & McCoys, Thinkfactory Media/History Channel

Graham Yost, Elmore Leonard, Dave Andron, Fred Golan, Benjamin Cavell, Taylor Elmore, Jon Worley, Nichelle D. Tramble, Ryan Farley, Ingrid Escajeda, VJ Boyd, Justified, FX Network

Best Western Documentary Script

Dayton Duncan, The Dust Bowl, Florentine Films/PBS

Finalists: none

Best Western Song

Winner (tie) Jim Jones, “Texas Is Burnin’,” Jim Jones Music

Winner (tie) Mary Kaye, “Any Name Will Do,” Knaphus Enterprises


Jerry Faires, “The Last Real Cowboy in Old Santa Fe,” Silversmith Records

Winners and finalists in 17 categories will be honored June 25-29 at the WWA convention in Las Vegas, Nev.

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