Thursday, July 7, 2016

New Home for the Tony Hillerman Award

Minotaur Books / A Thomas Dunne Book and Wordharvest announced that they have joined forces with Western Writers of America, who will host the Tony Hillerman Prize going forward.

With this change come a new submission deadline, an option for electronic manuscript submission, and a new venue for the announcement of the winner at the annual Western Writers of America convention. FYI: The competition for 2016 has been suspended. The deadline for the 2017 competition will be January 2, 2017. View guidelines and online submission form online at

Tony Hillerman’s Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee mysteries, set on the Navajo reservation, were the first “regional” mysteries to become national bestsellers. His work has been praised by reviewers and the Navajo Nation for its ability to combine Navajo traditions and beliefs with a well-told mystery story. Hillerman’s writing reflects his appreciation for the natural wonders and stark beauty of the American Southwest and its people, particularly the Navajo. His books have been translated into many languages and frequently make the New York Times bestseller list. At age 83, Hillerman passed away on October 26, 2008.

In 2013, Leaphorn and Chee returned in Spider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman, Tony Hillerman’s daughter. Her second novel, Rock With Wings, appeared in 2015. In 2004, she launched the first Tony Hillerman Writers Conference: Focus on Mystery through Wordharvest, the business which she co-founded with Jean Schaumberg. With Peter Joseph of Thomas Dunne Books/ Minotaur Books, Wordharvest founded the Tony Hillerman Prize in 2006.

The Tony Hillerman Prize is awarded annually to the best debut crime fiction set in the Southwest. Previous winners include John Fortunato’s Dark Reservations, CB McKenzie’s Bad Country, Andrew Hunt’s City of Saints, Tricia Fields’ The Territory, Roy Chaney’s The Ragged End of Nowhere, and Christine Barber’s The Replacement Child.  For more information about past prizewinners, please visit The 2015 winner, Kevin Wolf’s The Homeplace, will be published in September 6, 2016.

Incorporated in 1953 to promote and honor the literature of the American West, Western Writers of America also awards Spur Awards annually for the best published works in the genre and the Owen Wister Award to an author for lifetime contributions. WWA also inducts writers into the Western Writers Hall of Fame, housed at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming.

Like the Western landscape itself, WWA and the books, songs and stories produced by its members have evolved immensely. No longer representing just traditional Western fiction authors, WWA boasts historians, nonfiction authors, young adult, romance writers, songwriters, poets and screenwriters for film and television. All have one thing in common – their work in every medium is set in the ever-changing American West. Today, WWA has more than 600 members who have garnered awards and made The New York Times best-sellers list. Members include C.J. Box, Anne Hillerman, Craig Johnson, Mark Hall-Patton, Thomas Cobb, Chris Enss, Kat Martin, Kirk Ellis, Lucia St. Clair Robson, Paul Andrew Hutton and David Morrell.

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