Panel Discussion: Writing the American West
Winners of the 2021 Spur Awards for writing about the American West discuss their craft. Co-sponsored by Western Writers of America, we’ll chat with 2021 Spur Award winners David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Best Contemporary Novel & Best First Novel), Johnny D. Boggs (Best Original Mass-Market Paperback), and W. Michael & Kathleen O’Neal Gear (Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Contributions to Western Literature). This program will be hosted online via Zoom, register for the program here.
Western Writers of America annually honors writers for distinguished writing about the American West with the Spur Awards. Since 1953 the Spur Awards have been considered one of the most prestigious awards in American literature. Spurs are given for the best western historical novel, best western traditional novel, best western contemporary novel, best short story, and best short nonfiction. Also, best contemporary nonfiction, best biography, best history, best juvenile fiction and nonfiction, best drama, best documentary, and best first novel as well as best first nonfiction book.
About the Authors:
David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota nation, is author of the novel Winter Counts (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2020), nominated for the 2021 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, as well as the Anthony, Lefty, Barry, Thriller, Macavity, Shamus, Hammett Prize, VCU Cabell, Spur, Reading the West, High Plains, and Colorado Book Award. Weiden is also the author of the children’s book Spotted Tail (Reycraft, 2019), a biography of the great Lakota leader and winner of the 2020 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He’s published work in the New York Times, Shenandoah, Yellow Medicine Review, Transmotion, Criminal Class Review, Tribal College Journal, and other magazines. He teaches creative writing at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, the low-residency MFA program at Regis University, and was visiting faculty at the MFA program in Writing and Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Johnny D. Boggs has won a record nine Spur Awards from Western Writers of America for his fiction. He writes historical fiction (A Thousand Texas Longhorns), short fiction (the forthcoming The Cobbler of Spanish Fort and Other Frontier Stories from Five Star Publishing), baseball fiction (Camp Ford), young adult fiction (Taos Lightning) and nonfiction (the forthcoming Sports on Film: Hollywood History from ABC-CLIO). He also frequently contributes to magazines and is editor of WWA’s Roundup Magazine. A native of South Carolina and former newspaper journalist in Texas, Boggs lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife and son.
Kathleen O’Neal Gear has more than two hundred nonfiction publications in the fields of archaeology, history, and bison conservation, and has authored or co-authored 47 international bestsellers. She has received numerous awards, both for her writing and for her work as an archaeologist. The United States Department of the Interior has twice awarded her a “Special Achievement Award” for outstanding management of America’s cultural resources.
Michael Gear has published or is in the process of publishing 20 novels under his own name and authored another 37 with Kathleen. Michael’s latest original novel is The Alpha Enigma. He will launch a new series The Wyoming Chronicles in June with the title Dissolution. All of his books deal with aspects of anthropological theory. Their newest jointly written book is People of the Canyons.