Texas racks up 50 nominations in eight categories

Public voting on the shortlists begins April 15, 2021.


The Reading the West Book Awards are sponsored and promoted by the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association (MPIBA). The awards honor the best fiction, nonfiction, and illustrated books for adults and children set in one of the states represented by MPIBA or created by an author or artist living or working in their region. The awards, given to books published in the previous calendar year, celebrate the rich variety of writing in and about our region and reflect the extraordinary diversity of the reading public.


Each year’s awards celebrate books published in the prior calendar year. A longlist is created from all titles nominated by publishers and authors. Reading the West Book Award reading committees, made up of regional booksellers, read the nominated titles to create shortlists of titles per award category. Category winners are determined by bookseller and public voting. Winners are announced at a live event in the spring.


The Texas-connected nominees are:



Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford

The Dark Corners of the Night by Meg Gardiner

All God's Children by Aaron Gwyn

Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Strong from the Heart by Jon Land

Two Desperados by Susan Lowell

Barn 8 by Deb Olin Unferth

Memorial by Bryan Washington



The Bright Lands by John Fram

Nights When Nothing Happened by Simon Han

Above Us the Milky Way by Fowzia Karimi

The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez by Rudy Ruiz

All Things Left Wild by James Wade

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore



The Nightgown & Other Poems by Taisia Kitaiskaia

A Grave Is Given Supper by Mike Soto



American Sherlock by Kate Winkler Dawson

After the Last Border by Jessica Goudeau

The River Always Wins by David Marquis

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women by Wayétu Moore

You're Not Listening by Kate Murphy

The Three-Cornered War by Megan Kate Nelson

Pain Studies by Lisa Olstein

Dispatches from the Republic of Letters by Daniel Simon

Separated by Jacob Soboroff

Cult of Glory by Doug J Swanson

All I Ever Wanted by Kathy Valentine



A Good Meal Is Hard to Find by Amy C Evans

The Mexican Home Kitchen by Mely Martínez



Porcupine Cupid by Jason June

Grow Kind by Jon Lasser

Nacho's Nachos by Sandra Nickel

The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey & Jerome Pumphrey

Thank You, Garden by Liz Garton Scanlon

Simon at the Art Museum by Christina Soontornvat



A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi

Benbee and the Teacher Griefer by K A Holt

Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business by Lyla Lee

Cast Away by Naomi Shihab Nye

Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar

The Mutant Mushroom Takeover by Summer Rachel Short

Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun



Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Palo Duro by Andrew J Brandt

Forget This Ever Happened by Cassandra Rose Clarke

I'll Be the One by Lyla Lee

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg


All of the nominees, even the ones not connected to Texas, can be found here.


For previous winners of the Reading the West Awards and for Spirit of the West honorees, please visit https://readingthewest.com/about-the-award/.