Including CSAW Outstanding Western Book, Albertine, Halifax Ranch Fiction Prize


This is your semi-regular roundup of new and recent awards won by Texas books and writers.


CSAW Award for Outstanding Western Book

West Texas A&M University’s Center for the Study of the American West announced the winner of its second annual CSAW Award for Outstanding Western Book: Josh Garrett-Davis’s What is a Western?: Region, Genre, Imagination. Published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2019, Garrett-Davis’s book is a probing series of essays that explores representations of the American West in popular culture, from Hollywood to Japan, from Native America to Dr. Seuss, and beyond.


The CSAW Award for Outstanding Western Book is a juried prize recognizing books that demonstrate excellent scholarly or creative insight concerning the American West or some aspect of its history, culture, society, or environment.  


Halifax Ranch Fiction Prize

Austin-based literary journal American Short Fiction announced the 2020 Halifax Ranch Fiction Prize. Manuel Gonzales, the judge for the 2020 prize, chose “Hillside Homes” by Cassandra Garbus.


Gonzales writes, “It’s difficult to articulate what I find so striking and compelling about ‘Hillside Homes,’ but I have read it more than a few times now, perhaps because of its simple and spare narrative voice, or the subtle emotional power that lives just under its surface, or its ability, with its granular attention to grief and love, to evoke something both familiar and heartbreaking–but regardless, I am drawn back to it time and again.”


Albertine Prize

The Albertine Prize 2020 was awarded to “Muslim”: A Novel by Zahia Rahmani. This novel, written in 2005, was translated into English by Matthew Reeck in 2019 and published by Dallas’s Deep Vellum Publishing in 2020. It’s one thing to write a novel. It’s another thing to translate it into a different language. The Albertine Prize recognizes both jobs and awards the author and the translator.


The Albertine Prize, now in its fourth year, is awarded by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S. and is supported by Van Cleef & Arpels. A selection committee composed of a variety of US and French book industry professionals pick five French novels translated into English and published the previous year. Readers are invited to vote for their favorite book. The $10,000 prize is split between the author (receiving $8,000) and the translator (who receives $2,000.)


Indie Author Project

The Indie Author Project (IAP) is a publishing community that includes public libraries, authors, curators, and readers working together to connect library patrons with great indie-published books. IAP has helped hundreds of libraries engage their local creative community and assisted in getting more than twelve thousand indie authors into their local libraries. Most importantly, the project has worked with top curation partners and librarians to identify hundreds of these as the best indie e-books available to readers—so they can be sustainably circulated to library patrons with confidence.


The 2020 young-adult fiction winner is Einstein's Compass: A YA Time Traveler Adventure by Grace Allison and Laren Bright, which was nominated by the Lubbock Public Library, and which Lone Star Lit hosted on blog tour. The 2020 adult fiction winner is Sweet Jane by Joanne Kukanza Easley, which was nominated by Medina Community Library.


2020 Texas Writer Award

Stephen Graham Jones is the recipient of the 2020 Texas Writer Award from the Texas Book Festival. Every year, the festival awards the Texas Writer Award to one author who has significantly contributed to the state’s literary landscape. These authors put Lone Star narratives on the national radar, connecting people everywhere to the depths and joys of Texas literature. Previous recipients include Attica Locke, James Magnuson, Dan Rather, and Benjamin Alire Sáenz.


Jones is the author of eighteen novels, six story collections, two novellas, and a couple of comic books. Jones is a former NEA recipient, winner of the Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, and a Bram Stoker Award, among many others. A Blackfeet Native American, he was born in Midland, Texas, and holds degrees from Texas Tech University and the University of North Texas. He currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he serves as the Ivena Baldwin Professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.


National Endowment for the Humanities 

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $32.8 million in grants to support 213 humanities projects in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Seven grants were award in Texas for a total of $1,311,080. Two of these grants will fund Texas literary projects:


Amy Earhart of Texas A & M University was awarded $60,000 (NEH-Mellon Fellowships for Digital Publication) for a project titled “Digital Humanities and the Infrastructures of Race in African-American Literature Project.” Earhart will use the grant for research and preparation of a digital publication studying how digital tools and methods employed for literature studies may reflect biases built into the technological infrastructure.


Zachary Brittsan of Texas Tech University was awarded $40,000 (Awards for Faculty) to research and write Murder and Justice in Mexico’s Age of Conflict, 1848–1871, a book on the evolution of legal culture in Mexico between 1848 and 1871.


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