The Colorado Book Awards annually celebrates Colorado’s outstanding literary achievement by commending the accomplishments of its authors, editors, illustrators, and photographers. In this free public reading, finalists will read from their work and attendees can pose questions. Select finalist books will be available for purchase at the readings and through Poor Richard’s Books & Gifts at poorrichardsdowntown.com.
Creative Nonfiction Finalists
A Pros and Cons List for Strong Feelings
During Will Betke-Brunswick’s sophomore year of college, their beloved mother, Elizabeth, is diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. They only have ten more months together, which Will documents in evocative two-color illustrations. But as we follow Will and their mom through chemo and hospital visits, their time together is buoyed by laughter, jigsaw puzzles, modern art, and vegan BLTs. In a delightful twist, Will portrays their family as penguins, and their friends are cast as a menagerie of birds. In between therapy and bedside chats, they navigate uniquely human challenges, as Will prepares for math exams, comes out as genderqueer, and negotiates familial tension. A Pros and Cons List for Strong Feelings is an act of loving others and loving oneself, offering a story of coming-of-age, illness, death, and life that announces the arrival of a talented storyteller in Will Betke-Brunswick. At its heart, Will’s story is a celebration of a mother-child relationship filled with unconditional devotion, humor, care, and openness. Will Betke-Brunswick is a cartoonist and a recent graduate of the California College of the Arts MFA in Comics program. Will’s work has appeared in the new print edition of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, How to Wait: An Anthology of Transition and the websites INTO and Autostraddle. A former high school math teacher, Will lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Harrison Candelaria Fletcher
With its roots in the Spanish verb querer—“to want, to love”—the term querencia has been called untranslatable but has come to mean a place of safety and belonging, that which we yearn for when we yearn for home. In this striking essay collection, Harrison Candelaria Fletcher shows that querencia is also a state of being: the peace that arises when we reconcile who we are. A New Mexican of mixed Latinx and white ethnicity, Candelaria Fletcher ventures into the fault lines of culture, landscape, and spirit to discover the source of his lifelong hauntings. Writing in the persona of coyote, New Mexican slang for “mixed,” he explores the hyphenated elements within himself, including his whiteness. Blending memory, imagination, form, and language, each essay spirals outward to investigate, accept, and embrace hybridity. Ultimately, “Finding Querencia” offers a new vocabulary of mixed-ness, a way to reconcile the crosscurrents of self and soul. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, Autumn House Press Nonfiction Prize, Colorado Book Award, New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze Medal, Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Memoir pick, Best American Essays Notable selection, and Pushcart Prize Special Mention. He also has been a finalist for the International Latino Book Award, National Magazine Award and Bakeless Literary Prize. A native New Mexican, he is a former columnist, feature writer and beat reporter at newspapers throughout the West. He teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts and Colorado State University.
Tell Me Everything
Erika Krouse has one of those faces. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this,” people say, spilling confessions. In fall 2002, Erika accepts a new contract job investigating lawsuits as a private investigator. The role seems perfect for her, but she quickly realizes she has no idea what she’s doing. Then a lawyer named Grayson assigns her to investigate a sexual assault, a college student who was attacked by football players and recruits at a party a year earlier. Erika knows she should turn the assignment down. Her own history with sexual violence makes it all too personal. But she takes the job anyway, inspired by Grayson’s conviction that he could help change things forever. And maybe she could, too. Erika Krouse is the author of Come Up and See Me Sometime, a New York Times Notable Book, and Contenders. Erika’s fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Ploughshares, One Story, and more. She teaches creative writing at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop and lives in Colorado. Her debut memoir, Tell Me Everything, has been optioned for TV adaptation by Playground Entertainment.
Teow Lim Goh
Teow Lim Goh charts her journeys immigrating from Singapore and spending the last fifteen years living in and exploring the American West. Goh chronicles her lived experiences while building on the longer history of immigrants from Asia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, bringing new insights to places, the historical record, and memory. These vital essays consider how we access truth in the face of erasure. In exploring history, nature, politics, and art, Goh asks, “What does it mean for an immigrant to be at home?” Looking beyond the captivating landscapes of the American West, Goh uncovers stories of the Chinese people who came to America during the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Indigenous peoples who have been written out of popular narratives, among many others. She examines the links between the transcontinental railroad, the cowboy myth, and the anti-Chinese prejudice that persists today. These essays explore the early efforts to climb Colorado’s highest peaks, the massacre of Chinese miners in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and the increasingly destructive fire seasons in the West. Goh’s essays create a complex, varied, and sometimes contradictory story of people and landscapes, a tapestry of answers and questions. Teow Lim Goh is the author of two previous books, Islanders and Faraway Places. Her essays, poetry, and criticism have appeared in The Georgia Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, PBS NewsHour, and The New Yorker.
General Nonfiction Finalists
Ecosystems as Models for Restoring Our Economies
Humanity could not overcome its most basic health crises until discovering the inner workings of the human body, and the nature of diseases that threaten it. We lack the equivalent understanding of our economies, jeopardizing not only humanity’s health, but that of the very ecosystems we depend on for survival. Atop thirty years of work and research in ecology, economics, and business, Giordanengo explores the elusive structure of our global market economy with sharp clarity, and presents fresh clues to the resilience and productivity of our national economies. As informed by John’s depth of experience in ecological restoration, this book outlines a path for restoring our economies to a sustainable state. It is through economic restoration that we may fortify our collective resistance to future global turmoil, while mending the fabric of our communities. Growing protests against globalization motivated John to write Ecosystems as Models for Restoring our Economies, integrating thirty years of research in ecology, business, economics, and conservation. Building atop his experience in ecological restoration, John now turns to a deeper conservation need—economic restoration. This includes his lecture series at universities and public venues across the US, and creating sustainable solutions for industry.
Craig Childs bears witness to rock art of the Colorado Plateau—bighorn sheep pecked behind boulders, tiny spirals in stone, human figures with upraised arms shifting with the desert light, each one a portal to the open mouth of time. With a spirit of generosity, humility, and love of the arid, intricate landscapes of the desert Southwest, Childs sets these ancient communications in context, inviting readers to look and listen deeply. Craig Childs has published more than a dozen critically acclaimed books, including The Secret Knowledge of Water, Atlas of a Lost World, and his most recent Virga & Bone. He is a contributing editor at Adventure Journal Quarterly and his work has appeared in the Atlantic, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times. He lives in southwest Colorado.
With her genius for demystifying science, Grandin draws on cutting-edge research to take us inside visual thinking. Visual thinkers constitute a far greater proportion of the population than previously believed, she reveals, and a more varied one, from the purest “object visualizers” like Grandin herself, with their intuitive knack for design and problem solving, to the abstract, mathematically inclined “visual spatial” thinkers who excel in pattern recognition and systemic thinking. She also makes us understand how a world increasingly geared to the verbal tends to sideline visual thinkers, screening them out at school and passing over them in the workplace. Rather than continuing to waste their singular gifts, driving a collective loss in productivity and innovation, Grandin proposes new approaches to educating, parenting, employing, and collaborating with visual thinkers. In a highly competitive world, this important book helps us see, we need every mind on board. Temple Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Animals in Translation, Animals Make Us Human, The Autistic Brain, and Thinking in Pictures, which became an HBO movie starring Claire Danes. Dr. Grandin has been a pioneer in improving the welfare of farm animals as well as an outspoken advocate for the autism community. She resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.