The Colorado Authors' League banquet (and 85th birthday party) was sold out on May 6 as local professional authors gathered to honor their own at the Courtyard by Marriott on Colorado Boulevard. Awards went to newly published works in 12 categories.
A record number of entries were judged this year by members of the Southwest Writers, an Albuquerque-based writing organization.
Claudia McAdam, a Highlands Ranch author of children's books, who had been a finalist twice previously, was a winner in the Children's Category for her lyrical picture book, “The Mermaid's Gift.”
Judges said, “The rich language of the text combines with beautiful watercolor illustrations to present not only a moral tale, but also a feast for the eyes and ears of the picture book reader.” Set on the tiny Venetian island of Burano (where lace-making prevails), it tells of a young couple's efforts to help starving neighbors and Gianni's encounter with a friendly mermaid who introduces lace.
The CAL, in its 68th year of contests, honored mystery writer Margaret Coel of Boulder with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her series of Wind River tales.
Poet Lois Beebe Hayna, 103 and still writing (she appeared at Bemis Library in Littleton last year), won for her poetry collection, “Moon-Hung Midnights.” She was winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
● Essays — “After Charleston” by Patricia Raybon. (Outpouring of love.)
● Children's books — “The Mermaid's Gift” by Claudia Cangilla McAdam.
● Young Adult Books — “War Bonds — Remembering One Small Town in America During World War II” by Beverly Jones.
● General Non-Fiction — “Prophets and Moguls, Rangers and Rogues, Bison and Bear” by Heather Hansen. (About the turbulent history of the national park system.)
● Creative Non-Fiction — “Flying with El Condor” by Carolyn Evans Campbell. (Amusing account of experiences in Peru.)
● Short Fiction — “Knife, River, Flint,” from the collection, “Tessarae: a Mosaic” by Sharon Cairns Mann.
● Mainstream Fiction — “Contrition” by Maura Weller. (About interpretation of a work of art, its meaning.)
● Genre Fiction — “Murder on the Tracks” by Brice Most. (Page-turner set in LoDo.)
● Poetry, Single Poem — “When the Owl Comes to Gunnamatta Park,” by Dan Guenther.
● Poetry, Collection — “Moon-Hung Midnights” by Lois Beebe Hayna.
● Blog — “Between Urban and Wild” by Andrea M. Jones. (Judges noted gentleness.)
● Featured Articles — “A New Breed of Therapy” by Jen Reeder.
Writers who are interested in membership can find information on the CAL website, coloradoauthors.org.