Anthology & General Fiction Finalists Read

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Join us to celebrate the accomplishments of Colorado’s outstanding authors, editors, illustrators, and photographers! Finalists for the 2022 Colorado Book Awards will read briefly from their work and answer questions from the audience and finalist books will be available for purchase at BookBar.

Register for this free event and view the full finalists reading schedule at coloradohumanities.org/programs/colorado-book-awards/


Anthology Finalists 

All the Lives We Ever Lived, Volume 2

Manuel Aragon and Roxanne Banks Malia

A community has a voice, a shared language only spoken between one another; shorthand and phrases that communicate a history. The community has spoken, shared their stories, and here they are in a collection of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Manuel Aragon is a Latinx writer, director, and filmmaker whose work has appeared in ANMLY, and his short story, “A Violent Noise,” was nominated for the 2020 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. He is a Periplus Collective Fellow and lives in Denver. Roxanne Banks Malia oversees the Lighthouse Writers Workshop youth and community programs and also serves as the Colorado Poetry Out Loud State Coordinator. She has taught creative writing and literature in a variety of settings and her poetry and essays have appeared in Coldfront Magazine, Copper Nickel, CutBank, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere.


Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas

Carina Bissett, Hillary Dodge, Joshua Viola, and Aaron Lovett

Believing the ancient peoples knew some lands were given over to shadow and spirit, the Umbra Arca Society, a centuries-old private league of explorers, dedicated their lives to uncovering the oldest mysteries of the Americas. The Shadow Atlas collects their adventures. Carina Bissett is a writer, poet, and educator working primarily in the fields of dark fiction and fabulism. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in multiple journals and anthologies, and she lives in Colorado Springs. Hillary Dodge is the author of several speculative short fictions as well as three nonfiction books, including Gather Round the Table: Food Literacy Programs, Resources, and Ideas for Libraries. She has been published in online magazines, podcasts, and print anthologies, including PseudopodSpace Squid, Hellbound Books, and Hex Publishers, and she lives in Colorado Springs. Joshua Viola is a Denver Post bestselling author, five-time Colorado Book Award finalist, and the owner of Hex Publishers. He lives in Westminster. Aaron Lovett is a mixed-heritage Asian American artist who has been published by AfterShock Comics, Tor.com, The Denver Post, and Spectrum Fantastic Art 22 & 24. His Nightmares Unhinged cover art was licensed by AMC for their hit TV show “Fear the Walking Dead.” Aaron lives in Westminster.


Tell It Slant: An Anthology of Creative Nonfiction by Writers from Colorado’s Prisons 

Elijah Null, Julie Rada, and Suzi Q. Smith

In a time of unprecedented isolation, the stories we tell ourselves and each other create a sense of community, of belonging. The writings in this anthology come from a correspondence course, Tell It Slant: Reading & Writing Creative Nonfiction, that the University of Denver Prison Arts Initiative offered in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Corrections at nine state facilities. Elijah Null is completing his PhD in Literary Studies at the University of Denver. He has taught ESL, English, and humanities at the high school and college levels and taught courses with the Prison Arts Initiative at DU. Julie Rada is a theatre maker, educator, and scholar who has toured nationally and internationally and has published on prison arts practice in multiple journals. Julie is currently affiliate faculty at MSU Denver and lives in Denver. Suzi Q. Smith is an award-winning artist, organizer, and educator who has created, curated, coached, and taught in Denver for over 20 years. She is the author of poetry collections Poems for the End of the World, A Gospel of Bones, and Thirteen Descansos. She is Affiliate Faculty with Regis University’s Mile High MFA, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, and DU’s Prison Arts Initiative, as well as the [margins.] Conference Director for The Word. Suzi lives in Denver.


General Fiction Finalists  

The Night of Many Endings

Melissa Payne

Orphaned at a young age and witness to her brother’s decline into addiction, Nora Martinez has every excuse to question the fairness of life. Instead, the openhearted librarian in the small Colorado community of Silver Ridge sees only promise. As a winter storm buries Silver Ridge, a collection of lonely hearts takes shelter in the library. No matter how stranded in life they feel, this fateful night could be the new beginning they didn’t think was possible. Melissa Payne is the bestselling and award-winning author of The Secrets of Lost Stones and Memories in the Drift. Melissa has long been telling stories in one form or another, from high school newspaper articles to a graduate thesis to blogging about marriage and motherhood. Melissa lives in Conifer.


The Boundaries of Their Dwelling

Blake Sanz

Moving between the American South and Mexico, these stories explore how immigrant and native characters are shaped by absent family and geography. This collection tracks the emotional journeys of characters seeking love and redemption beyond the barriers of their homes and cultures. Originally from Louisiana, Blake Sanz has published fiction in EcotonePuerto del SolFifth Wednesday Journal, and elsewhere. His writing has garnered recognition from Zoetrope: All-Story, the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sozopol Fiction Seminars in Bulgaria, and other conferences and residencies. Blake lives in Denver and teaches writing at the University of Denver.


Mixed Company

Jenny Shank

In this book the author reveals moments of grace and connection between people of her hometown, Denver, through stories that contrast the city during its oil-bust era of economic troubles and court-ordered crosstown busing for racial desegregation with the burgeoning and gentrifying city of recent years. Jenny Shank’s novel The Ringer won the High Plains Book Award. Her writing has appeared in The AtlanticThe Washington PostThe Guardian, the Los Angeles Times and McSweeney’s. Her work has been honorably mentioned by Best American Essays, the Pushcart Prize, and her mother. She teaches in the Mile High MFA program at Regis University and the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. Jenny lives in Denver.

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