Literary Fiction & Poetry 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/


Literary Fiction Finalists
Jeremy Bannister, or the Ups and Downs of an Aspiring Novelist
Gary Reilly (posthumously by Mark Stevens)

Meet Jeremy Bannister. His is a humble, simply told coming-of-age tale that spans the terribly serious and comically trivial decades of the Vietnam and disco eras, respectively. The singular ambition of Jeremy’s life is to become a “big-shot” novelist. The only piece of fiction published during Gary Reilly’s life was a short story in 1978. “The Biography Man” was published by the Iowa Writers Review (now The Iowa Review) and later picked up by the Pushcart Prize Anthology (1979). From that point until his death in 2011, Gary wrote 25 novels. None were published during his lifetime. Since Gary’s death in 2011, Running Meter Press has published 15 of his novels.

Site Fidelity
Claire Boyles

Firmly rooted in the modern American West, Site Fidelity follows women and families who feel the instinctual, inexplicable pull of a home they must work to protect from the effects of economic inequity and climate catastrophe. In lean, lyrical prose, Boyles evokes the bleakness and beauty of our threatened western landscapes. Claire Boyles received her MFA from Colorado State University, and her writing has appeared in VQR, Kenyon Review, Boulevard, and Masters Review, among others. She writes movies for the Hallmark Channel and is a proud member of the Writers Guild of America West. Claire lives in Loveland.

What if We Were Somewhere Else
Wendy Fox

What if we were somewhere else is the question everyone asks in these linked stories as they try to figure out how to move on from job losses, broken relationships, and fractured families. Following the employees of a nameless corporation and their loved ones, these stories examine the connections they forge and the choices they make as they try to make their lives mean something in the soulless, unforgiving hollowness of corporate life. Wendy J. Fox is the author of four books of fiction, including the novel If the Ice Had Held. She has written for The Rumpus, Buzzfeed, Self, Business Insider, and Ms., and her work has appeared in literary magazines including Washington Square, Euphony, and Painted Bride Quarterly. Wendy lives in Denver.


Poetry Finalists

Barefoot and Running
Morgan Liphart

These poems follow a young woman’s journey from the plains of the Midwest to the mountains of Colorado. Through this journey, readers discover the deep healing found in wild spaces and bear witness to the tenacity of the human heart. Morgan Liphart’s work has appeared in anthologies and journals across the United States and England, such as the University of Oxford’s Literary Imagination, The Comstock Review, and Third Wednesday. Morgan lives in Broomfield.

Ruth Obee

As the author explains in her introductory essay, a “convergence” is a coming together where mountains form and divergent streams meet. Poems about India, Nepal, and countries in Africa constitute intersecting crossroads with Colorado. Ruth Obee is an author, feature writer, and award-winning poet who has served abroad with her husband, a diplomat, in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania, and South Africa. She is a former English teacher and editor of the monthly publication of the Association of American Foreign Service Women. Ruth lives in Colorado Springs.

We the Jury
Wayne Miller

A boy asks his father what it means to die; a poet wonders whether we can truly know another’s thoughts; a man tries to understand how extreme violence and grace can occupy the same space. Miller faces moments of profound discomfort, grief, and even joy with a philosopher’s curiosity, a father’s compassion, and an overarching inquiry at the crossroads of ethics and art: what is the poet’s role in making sense of human behavior? Wayne Miller is the author of five collections of poems, including Post- and We the Jury. He is also a cotranslator of two books from the Albanian poet Moikom Zeqo, and a coeditor of three anthologies, including Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century and New European Poets. Miller is a professor of English at the University of Colorado Denver, where he edits Copper Nickel.

White Lung
Kimberly O’Connor

This debut collection illuminates how racism permeates American air, leaving hate, fear, and shame in its wake. O’Connor breaks white women’s culturally expected silence to examine how the self might not only speak its own truth but open up spaces for more capacious truth. Kimberly O’Connor is a Young Writers Program co-director for Lighthouse Writers Workshop. She has taught creative writing and literature in middle school, high school, and college classrooms in Colorado, Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Her poetry has been published in B O D Y, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Slice, storySouth, THRUSH, and elsewhere. Kimberly lives in Golden.

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