Jamie Ford’s “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” (Ballantine Books) has won the 2009 Montana Book Award.
The annual award “recognizes literary or artistic excellence in a book written or illustrated by someone who lives in Montana, is set in Montana or deals with Montana themes or issues,” according to an awards release.
The award committee also chose four honor books:
• “The 600 Hours of Edward” (Riverbend Publishing) by Billings author Craig Lancaster.
• “The Big Burn” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Timothy Egan.
• “The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet” (Penguin) by Reif Larsen.
• “Stick Horses and Other Stories of Ranch Life” (Gibbs Smith) by Wallace MacRae.
In April, a presentation and a reception with the winning authors will take place at the Montana Library Association Conference in Bozeman.
The awards announcement called “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” “an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope.”
The book recalls World War II’s displacement of Japanese Americans into internment camps and, decades later, brings together a Chinese American and the Japanese American girl he remembers from 1940.
“Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart,” the announcement said.
In “The 600 Hours of Edward,” Edward Stanton’s mental illness leaves him isolated in his small house and trapped in his compulsive behavior.
But over the course of 25 days — 600 hours to Edward — the walls that he has constructed around himself are pierced.
“The Big Burn” looks at the 1910 fire that devastated parts of Montana, Idaho and Washington.
“The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet” finds a 12-year-old genius mapmaker winning a prestigious award that pulls him from his Montana family’s ranch.
McRae tells about folks who populated his life as a ranch kid and adult as a third-generation Montana rancher.
The Montana Book Award was founded by the Friends of the Missoula Public Library in 2002, and winners are selected by a committee of individuals representing areas throughout Montana.
Members of the 2009 Montana Book Award committee included Honore Bray, Missoula; Anne Kish, Twin Bridges; Mark Miller, Bozeman; Carole Ann Clark, Great Falls; Jill Munson, Fort Benton; Gordon Dean, Forsyth; and Samantha Pierson, Libby.