2018 Spur Award Winners

TUCSON, Ariz. – David Grann’s “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” has won the Spur Award for Best Historical Nonfiction Book, and Jeff Guinn’s “Silver City” has won for Best Traditional Western Novel.

Western Writers of America made the announcement Friday on the eve of the Tucson Festival of Books. Winners and finalists will be honored June 20-23 in Billings, Mont., during WWA’s annual convention.

Doubleday published Grann’s book, a National Book Award finalist. G.P. Putnam’s Sons published “Silver City.”

Since 1953, Western Writers of America (WesternWriters.org) has promoted and honored the best in Western literature with the annual Spur Awards, selected by panels of judges. Awards, for material published last year, are given for works whose inspiration, image and literary excellence best represent the reality and spirit of the American West.

Leo W. Banks’s “Double Wide” (Brash Books) won for Best Contemporary Novel and Best First Novel, and Jane Little Botkin’s “Frank Little and the IWW: The Blood That Stained an American Family” (University of Oklahoma Press) won for Best Biography and Best First Nonfiction Book.

2018 Spur Award Winners and Finalists

Contemporary Novel

Winner: Double Wide by Leo. W. Banks (Brash Books)

Finalists: Murder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon (Cinco Puntos Press); The Stone Place by Randy Lee Eickhoff (Cane Hollow Press)

Historical Novel

Winner: The Coming: A Novel by David Osborne (Bloomsbury USA)

Finalists: Moon Hunt: People of Cahokia: A Novel of North America’s Forgotten Past   by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear (Forge Books); Copper Sky by Milana Marsenich (Open Books)

Mass-Market Paperback Novel

Winner: Hell Hath No Fury: A John Hawk Western by Charles G. West     (Pinnacle/Kensington)

Finalists: Valley of Bones: A Byrnes Family Ranch Western by Dusty Richards (Pinnacle/Kensington); Buzzard Bait: A Widowmaker Jones Western by Brett Cogburn (Pinnacle/Kensington)

Romance Novel

Winner: The Promise Bride by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham (Zebra Books)

Finalists: Courting Carrie in Wonderland by Carla Kelly (Sweetwater Books/Cedar Fort Publishing); Willene: Jewel Of The West by Sally Harper Bates (self-published)

Traditional Novel

Winner: Silver City: A Novel of the American West by Jeff Guinn (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Finalists: Slate Creek: Journey to the White Clouds by Wallace J. Swenson (Five Star Publishing); Huck Out West: A Novel by Robert Coover (W.W. Norton)


Winner: Frank Little and the IWW: The Blood That Stained an American Family by Jane Little Botkin (University of Oklahoma Press)

Finalists: Tom Jeffords, Friend of Cochise by Doug Hocking

(TwoDot/ Globe Pequot/Rowman & Littlefield); Tejano Tiger: José de los Santos Benavides and the Texas-Mexico Borderlands, 1823-1891 by Jerry Thompson (TCU Press)

Contemporary Nonfiction

Winner: A Land Apart: The Southwest and the Nation in the Twentieth Century by Flannery Burke (University Of Arizona Press)

Finalists: Behind the Carbon Curtain: The Energy Industry, Political Censorship, and Free Speech by Jeffrey A. Lockwood (University of New Mexico Press); Lakota Performers in Europe: Their Culture and the Artifacts They Left Behind by Steve Friesen with Francois Chladiuk (University of Oklahoma Press)

Historical Nonfiction

Winner: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Doubleday)

Finalists: Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West by Christopher Knowlton (An Eamon Dolan Book/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt);

Provisions of the Fur Trade: The Encyclopedia of Trade Goods, Vol. 6 by James A. Hanson (Museum of the Fur Trade)

Juvenile Fiction

Winner: Stranded: A Story of Frontier Survival by Matthew P. Mayo (Five Star Publishing)

Finalists: Viva, Rose! by Susan Krawitz (Holiday House); Katrine: High Valley Home by Joseph Dorris (iUniverse)

Juvenile Nonfiction

Winner: Glorious Fourth of July and Other Stories from the Plains by Catherine Rademacher Gibson and recounted by Mary Gibson Sprague    (South Dakota Historical Society Press)

Finalists: The True Story of Jim the Wonder Dog by Marty Rhodes Figley (The RoadRunner Press); Lotta Crabtree: Gold Rush Fairy Star by Lois V. Harris (Pelican Publishing Co.); Bold Women in Montana History by Beth Judy (Mountain Press Publishing Co.)

Storyteller (Illustrated Children’s Book)

Winner: Fergus and the Greener Grass by author/illustrator Jean Abernethy (Trafalgar Square Books)

Finalists: Lexie the Word Wrangler by author Rebecca Van Slyke and illustrator Jessie Hartland (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Young Readers); Abraham by author Frank Keating and illustrator Mike Wimmer (A Paula Wiseman Book/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Short Fiction

Winner: “Lost and Found: A Short Story” by Rod Miller (Saddlebag Dispatches)

Finalists: “Point Blank, Texas” by Larry D. Sweazy (Wildside Press);

“The San Angela Stump Match of 1876” by Johnny D. Boggs (Permian Basin Bookies)

Short Nonfiction

Winner: “States of Decay: A Journey Through America’s Nuclear Heartland” by Ben Mauk (Harper’s Magazine)

Finalists: “The Great Western” by Paul Andrew Hutton (True West); “All-American Indian Days and the Miss Indian America Pageant” by Gregory Nickerson (Montana: The Magazine of Western History)


Winner: “She Saddles Her Own Horse” by Marleen Bussma  (self-published)

Finalists: “Lookin’ Back” by Jim Logan (Oklahoma Today); “The Knowing” by Rod Miller (Saddlebag Dispatches)


Winner: “The Pitchfork Grays” by Jean Prescott and Darrell Arnold (Line Camp Music)

Finalists: “Alchesay” by Doug Figgs (Slash D C Music); “The Ridge” by Jean Prescott (Line Camp Music)

Drama Script

Winner: Wind River by Taylor Sheridan (Acacia Filmed Entertainment/Film 44/Savvy Media/Media Holding)

Finalist: Godless (Episode 1) by Scott Frank (Netflix)

Documentary Script

Winner: Down The Fence by MJ Isakson and Eric Frith (Down the Fence Films)

First Novel

Winner: Double Wide by Leo W. Banks (Brash Books)

First Nonfiction Book

Winner: Frank Little and the IWW:  The Blood That Stained an American Family by Jane Little Botkin (University of Oklahoma Press)