Texas Institute of Letters announces this year's cohort of award winners

The Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) has announced the winners of the thirteen Annual TIL Literary Awards. In a year with a record number of contest entries, the TIL will award more than $26,000 in prizes to these writers at the TIL Awards Ceremony and Presentation in El Paso, Texas on April 23, 2022. 


In addition, the TIL will be celebrating its fifteen newly inducted members for 2022. Newly inducted members will read from their work during the weekend in El Paso on April 22-23. The TIL will also host a series of readings throughout the El Paso Public Library system on Wednesday and Thursday (April 20-21). A downloadable schedule of events for El Paso is located on the TIL website.


Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Book of Fiction

WINNER: Old Country Fiddle: Stories, by Heath Dollar, Red Dirt Press.


Finalists: Martita, I Remember You, by Sandra Cisneros, Vintage; Moon Lake: A Novel, by Joe R. Lansdale, Mulholland Books.


Sergio Troncoso Award for Best First Book of Fiction

WINNER: A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers: Stories, by Babette Fraser Hale, Winedale Publishing. (Click for Lone Star Lit Tour Page)


Finalists: This Weightless World: A Novel, by Adam Soto, Astra House; Las Criaturas, by Leticia Urieta, Flowersong Press.


Carr P. Collins Award for Best Book of Nonfiction

WINNER: Code of Silence: Sexual Misconduct by Federal Judges, the Secret System That Protects Them, and the Women Who Blew the Whistle, by Lise Olsen, Beacon Press.


Finalists: Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty, by Maurice Chammah, Crown; A Single Star and Bloody Knuckles: A History of Politics and Race in Texas, by Bill Minutaglio,University of Texas Press. (Click for the Lone Star Review.)


Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Best Book of Poetry

WINNER: Arsenal With Praise Song, by Rodney Gómez, Orison Books.


Finalists: Machete, by Tomás Q. Morín, Alfred A. Knopf. (Click for Lone Star Review); The Blues of Heaven, by Barbara Ras, University of Pittsburgh Press; Frances of the Wider Field, by Laura Van Prooyen, Lily Poetry Books.


John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry

WINNERspeaking with grackles by soapberry trees, by César L. de León, FlowerSong Press.


Finalists: How to Be Better by Being Worse, by Justin Jannise, BOA Editions; Stay Safe, by Emma Hine, Sarabande Books.


Ramirez Family Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book

WINNERViolence in the Hill Country: The Texas Frontier in the Civil War Era, by Nicholas Keefauver Roland, University of Texas Press.


Finalists: The Union League and Biracial Politics in Reconstruction Texas, by Carl H. Moneyhon, Texas A&M University Press; Lone Star Vistas: Travel Writings on Texas, 1821-1861, by Astrid Haas, University of Texas Press.


Jean Flynn Award for Best Young Adult Book

WINNERThe Witch Owl Parliament (Clockwork Curandera), by David Bowles and Raúl the Third (illustrator), Lee & Low Books: Tu Books Imprint.


Finalists: Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun, by Jonny Garza Villa, Skyscape; Where I Belong, by Marcia Argueta Mickelson, Lerner Publishing Group.


Deirdre Siobhan FlynnBass Award for Best Middle Grade Book

WINNER: Playing the Cards You’re Dealt, by Varian Johnson, Scholastic Press.


Finalists: Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna, by Alda P. Dobbs, Sourcebooks Young Readers; Carry Me Home, by Janet Fox, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.


Brigid Erin Flynn Award for Best Picture Book

WINNER: What I Am, by Divya Srinivasan, Viking Books for Young Readers.


Finalists: Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua, by Gloria Amescua, Harry N. Abrams; Everybody in the Red Brick Building, by Anne Wynter, Harper Collins: Balzer + Bray.


Soeurette Diehl Fraser Award for Best Translation of a Book

WINNER: The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas, by María García Esperón, translated by David Bowles, Levine Querido.


Finalists: The Passenger: A Novel, by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz, translated by Phillip Boehm, Metropolitan Books; Soliloquies, by Saint Augustine, translated by Michael P. Foley, Yale University Press.


Kay Cattarulla Award for Best Short Story

WINNER: Dagoberto Gilb, “Two Red Foxes,” ZYZZYVA.


Finalists: Rick Bass, “The Inside Passage,” The Idaho Review. William J. Cobb, “The Masked Daughter,” Clackamas Literary Review.


Edwin “Bud” Shrake Award for Best Short Nonfiction

WINNER: Skip Hollandsworth, “The Notorious Mrs. Mossler,” Texas Monthly.


Finalists: Sergio Troncoso, “Dust to Dust: A Mother’s Hope Binds Her Family in the Border Town of Ysleta,” Texas Highways; Christian Wallace, “The Resurrection of Bass Reeves,” Texas Monthly.


Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement

Author Celeste Bedford Walker has been named the winner of the Texas Institute of Letters’ prestigious Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement. This is the highest honor given by the TIL. (Click for Lone Star Listens interview)

For more information on the TIL or the April 23rd awards ceremony, contact Sergio Troncoso, president@texasinstituteofletters.org, or visit the TIL website at www.texasinstituteofletters.org.