Reading the West Book Awards winners and shortlist titles exemplify the best in fiction, nonfiction, culinary writing, and illustration, whose subject matter is set in the MPIBA region, which includes Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, or invokes the spirit of the region.
Earlier this week, When a Ghost Talks, Listen: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story (Roadrunner Press) by Tim Tingle won the middle-grade category in the 2018 Reading the West Awards. Tim Tingle, who grew up in Texas and currently lives at Canyon Lake, is an Oklahoma Choctaw and an award-winning author and storyteller. His great-great-grandfather, John Carnes, walked the Trail of Tears in 1835, and his paternal grandmother attended a series of rigorous Indian boarding schools in the early 1900s. In 1993, Tingle retraced the Trail of Tears to Choctaw homelands in Mississippi and began recording stories of tribal elders.
His first children’s book, Crossing Bok Chitto, garnered more than twenty state and national awards, and was an Editor’s Choice in the New York Times Book Review. In June of 2011, Tingle spoke at the Library of Congress and presented his first performance at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. He received a master’s degree in English literature at the University of Oklahoma in 2003, with a focus on American Indian studies. While teaching writing courses and completing his thesis, Tingle wrote his first book, Walking the Choctaw Road. It was selected as Book of the Year in Oklahoma and Alaska. In February of 2016, his novel House Of Purple Cedar won the American Indian Youth Literature Award.
Tingle was a featured author and speaker at the 2014 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., based on critical acclaim for How I Became a Ghost (the first book in the series), which won the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Award. As a visiting author and performer, Tingle reaches audiences numbering over 200,000 annually. He has completed eight speaking tours for the U.S. Department of Defense, performing stories to children of military personnel stationed in Germany.
The Reading the West Book Awards are a celebration of the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association (MPIBA) region and our regional authors. Reading the West Book Awards winners and shortlist titles exemplify the best in fiction, nonfiction, culinary writing, and illustration, whose subject matter is set in the MPIBA region, which includes Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, or invokes the spirit of the region.
The 2018 winners are: Fiction, Where the Dead Sit Talking (Soho Press) by Brandon Hobson; Nonfiction, Out of the Woods: Seeing Nature in the Everyday (University of Nevada Press) by Julia Corbett; Eating the West, Bacon, Beans, and Beer (Gibbs Smith) by Eliza Cross; Picture Book, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga (Charlesbridge) by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac; Middle Grade, When a Ghost Talks, Listen (Roadrunner Press) by Tim Tingle; and Young Adult Fiction, Zen and Gone (Soho Teen) by Emily France.
The mission of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association is to support and promote independent booksellers in our region, raise awareness of the value of locally owned businesses in our communities, and celebrate literary culture and an open exchange of ideas as crucial to a free society. They are a nonprofit professional association of bookstores, booksellers, authors, and industry professionals. The Association began over fifty years ago in Denver, Colorado and has grown to represent booksellers in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. While they are called a “bookseller” association, they take an expansive view of that term, and membership includes publishers, sales reps, wholesalers, and other industry professionals.