Sixteen Texas Authors Win Thirteen Different Awards


Our Texas writers have yet again earned an impressive array of accolades. As of our last installment, Texan authors and poets have continued to illustrate the vibrancy of our state’s writing community. Join is in a rousing ‘Yeehaw!’ as we celebrate this fabulous list of winners.  



Varsha Bajaj has received high accolades for her book Thirst, which was recognized on the ALA’s YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) 2023 Best Fiction for Young Adults list as well as the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List. The Texas Bluebonnet Award committee looked at 1018 books before deciding to honor Thirst along with 19 other books.  


My Two Border Towns by David Bowles won Texas State University’s Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award for 2022. The award honors authors and illustrators highlighting the Mexican American experience of young people. 


Natalie Cline Bright won a 2022 Will Rogers Medallion Gold Award in the Western Cookbooks category for Keep ‘Em Full and Keep ‘Em Rollin’: The All-American Chuck Wagon Cookbook.   


Brian Condike won 1st Place in the annual Writers Guild of Texas Kathryn McClatchy Flash Fiction Contest. Congratulations to Brian on this amazing honor. The Writers Guild of Texas is a nonprofit organization serving the writing community of Texas. Their mission is “to provide a sociable environment that encourages, educates, and engages writers of any genre and of any experience level.” 


Julia Daily won the American Writing Awards 2023 Podcast of the Year award for Best Woman Host for her podcast, Authors Over 50. The Podcast of the Year award was created to honor excellence in independent podcasting. An international award, entries are open to all. 


Author Jeff Guinn’s book, The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple, will be coming to the big screen with actor Leonardo DiCaprio starring as cult leader Jim Jones. No specific release date has yet been set, but the adapted screenplay is in the works and the movie has been optioned by MGM for DiCaprio


Katie Gutierrez, a Texas native with an MFA from Texas State University, has been nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel By An American Author for her book More Than You’ll Ever Know.  The Mystery Writers of America will announce the winners on 4/27/23 as part of the 2023 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring excellence in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television.  


Desperate Season (Seasons Mystery Series, Book 3) by Maryann Miller won Best Crime in Page Turner Awards. an inclusive writing and book awards with one goal – to change the lives of as many writers as possible. The team at Page Turner Awards passionately believes that talented writers can be from any background, age, race, religion, or interest.  


2022 Royal Dragonfly Awards recognized Jeff Lanier for his eBook For the Minds and Wills of Men with two awards. He won eBook 1st Place--Historical Fiction and eBook 1st Place--New Author Fiction. A worldwide book competition, Royal Dragonfly Book Award Contest focuses on honoring the hard work and creativity in all types of literature. 


Rowdy~Wild and Mean, Sharp and Keen by Chris Mullen was named a Distinguished Favorite for Western Fiction in the 2023 Independent Press Awards. The Independent Press Awards were created in an effort to bring worthy independent presses and authors to a larger audience. 


Ramona Reeves won the 2022 Drue Heinz Literature Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, which comes with a $15K award, for It Falls Gently All Around. Manuscripts are judged anonymously by nationally known writers. The Drue Heinz Literature Prize focuses on recognizing and supporting writers of short fiction. 


The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat has been named a 2023 Newbery Honor Book. The book is also a Walter Dean Myers Honor Book for Young Readers, Texas Bluebonnet Master List Selection, and YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults.  


Loren Steffy has been inducted into the Texas A&M Former Journalism Students Association Hall of Honor, which recognizes A&M journalists for outstanding careers in the media and journalism education. 


Rick Treon earned the PenCraft Award for Literary Excellence in Thrillers for Divided States (Black Rose, 2021).  PenCraft Awards recognize outstanding achievement by authors. PenCraft Book Awards seeks to honor outstanding achievement by authors and does not favor one method of publishing over another.   


Becky Wade’s books have won four Christy Awards thus far in her career. In honor of that achievement, she received the great honor of being inducted into the Christy Awards Hall of Fame, to recognize her legacy and her contributions to Christian Fiction. 


James Wade won the 2023 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel from Western Writers of America for his book, Beasts of the Earth (Blackstone Publishing). Presentations are scheduled during WWA’s convention June 21-24 in Rapid City, S.D. 

Know of any Texas authors who've recently won awards? Email us at so we can share the great news.