Since 1953 Western Writers of America has honored those who write about the American West with its prestigious Spur Awards. This year top honors go to Irene Bennett Brown, a Kansas-based author of historical and juvenile novels, who will receive WWA’s Owen Wister Award for lifetime contributions to Western literature. The 90-year-old novelist will also be inducted into the Western Writers Hall of Fame, housed outside the McCracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo. Brown has written more than 20 books, including the young adult novel Before the Lark (which won the 1982 Spur for best Western juvenile book) and its adult sequels Miss Royal’s Mules (2018) and Tangled Times (2020). WWA will honor her and the 2022 Spur Award winners and finalists during its annual convention, June 22–25 in Great Falls, Mont.
Spur winners include Terry Mort for his historical nonfiction book Cheyenne Summer: The Battle of Beecher Island: A History; Shane Dunning for his short nonfiction article “The Right Man to Do a Wrong Thing: Charlie Thex, the Bear Creek Sheep Raid and the Primacy of Fear” (Montana: The Magazine of Western History); Wynne Brown for his biography The Forgotten Botanist: Sara Plummer Lemmon’s Life of Science and Art; Michael Punke for his historical novel Ridgeline; Chase Pletts for his traditional novel/first novel The Loving Wrath of Eldon Quint; and David Heska Wanbli Weiden for his short fiction “Skin” (published in Midnight Hour: A Chilling Anthology of Crime Fiction From 20 Authors of Color). For the complete list of winners and finalists visit WWA’s web site. WW