For the first time in Western Writers of America’s 60-plus-year history, two women hold the top executive positions. Sherry Monahan was elected president of the organization, taking office in June, and Candy Moulton has held the executive director’s position since 2011.
“It’s an exciting honor that Candy and I are the first two women to garner this accomplishment,” says Monahan, a nonfiction writer who lives in North Carolina whose books include Mrs. Earp: Wives and Lovers of the Earp Brothers. Moulton, a Wyoming native, is a two-time Spur Award winner for the biography Chief Joseph: Guardian of the People and the documentary In Pursuit of a Dream.
Incorporated in 1953 to promote and honor the literature of the American West, the nonprofit Western Writers of America today has more than 650 members – writers of not just traditional Western stories, but historical novelists, nonfiction writers, historians, academics, poets, songwriters and screenwriters.
Its members include mystery writers Anne Hillerman, C.J. Box and Craig Johnson, historical novelists Lucia St. Clair Robson, Thomas Cobb and Stephen Harrigan, historians Paul Andrew Hutton, James Donovan and Robert M. Utley, thriller writer David Morrell, romance writer Kat Martin and screenwriter Kirk Ellis, the organization’s vice president.
Monahan’s top priority, with the support of Moulton and the rest of the executive board, is to increase awareness of WWA. “WWA authors have one thing in common – our work in every medium is set in the ever-changing American West,” Monahan says.
WWA awards annual Spur Awards for the year’s best published works dealing with the American West. The 2015 convention, during which Spurs for material published in 2014 will be honored, is scheduled June 23-27 in Lubbock, Texas.