Winners of the 12th annual High Plains Book Awards were announced at a banquet at the Yellowstone Art Museum Saturday night.
Winners in 12 categories were chosen from 207 submissions. Each author selected for an award received $500 and a plaque.
Ellen Horowitz, who won in the Children's Book category for "What I Saw in Glacier" said just being named one of the three finalist was the greatest honor should could have imagined.
"Tonight, for me, winning this is beyond my wildest expectations," Horowitz said to the roomful of people.
Emily Ursuliak, who won in the Poetry category for "Throwing the Diamond Hitch," said her book was about her grandmother. She dedicated it to all the grandmothers in the room.
"The knowledge you're passing down to the younger generation will be even more important than you know," Ursuliak said.
Doug Ammons won in the Creative Non-fiction category for "A Darkness Lit by Heroes: The Granite Mountain-Speculator Mine Disaster of 1917."
Ammons congratulated the other finalists in his category. He also thanked the people of Butte, the town that was the setting for his book, and their forerunners "for creating the wildest, craziest and most fascinating place that probably has ever existed in our culture or civilization."
Ammons talked about the "sense of inspiration that comes from this place."
"it's not only a treasure trove of humanity," he said. "It's like this crucible of all the weaknesses and flaws and and all the incredible strength of the human spirit and the human soul and its never-ending inspiration."
Art & Photography: Rick Newby, "Theodore Waddell: My Montana."
Fiction: Sebastian Barry, "Days Without End."
First Book: Becky L. Mandelbaum, "Bad Kansas."
Indigenous: David A. Robertson, "Strangers," Book 1, The Reckoner trilogy.
Medicine and Science: Chris Turner, "The Patch: The People, Pipelines, and Politics of the Oil Sands."
Nonfiction: John Clayton, "Wonderlandscape: Yellowstone National Park and the Evolution of an American Cultural Icon."
Short Stories: Aaron Parrett, "Maple & Lead."
Women Writers: Marlis Wesseler, "The Last Chance Ladies’ Book Club."
Young Adult: Matthew P. Mayo, "Stranded: A Story of Frontier Survival."
The winners, chosen out of 33 finalists, live in Montana, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Maine, Illinois and Pennsylvania. International entries that totaled 86 came from the three Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, as well as Ireland.
Books considered for the award must either reflect life on the High Plains or be written by an author who lives in the region.
Each nominated book is read by four community volunteers, for a total of more than 200 readers. The top three finalists in each category are then judged by previous winners or other writers who have significant connections to the High Plains region.