Monday, March 14, 2016

Spokane author Shann Ray wins Spur Award for best first novel

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 4:47 PM

click to enlarge Shann Ray was awarded a Spur Award for his debut novel by the Western Writers of America. - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
Shann Ray was awarded a Spur Award for his debut novel by the Western Writers of America.

Shann Ray's debut novel, American Copper, was recognized by the Western Writers of America with a Spur Award for "Best First Novel over the weekend. 

The awards were announced Saturday at the Tucson Festival of Books, where Ray's book was recognized along with Pulitzer winner T.J. Stiles, who won Best Biography for Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America, and J.R. Landsdale, who won Best Historical Western Novel, among many others. 

Ray's experience in penning short fiction fueled his novel, a historical tale set in Montana between the 1860s and 1930s, revolving around a coal baron's daughter, a roughneck brawler and Cheyenne tribe bull rider as they navigate the uneasy evolution of the state's economy and its people's interactions. 

"I wanted this to be a love song to Montana, but also to the nation, to say that inside our amnesia and deep atrocities, we can find forgiveness," Ray said in an Inlander story upon the book's publication.

Here's a list of some of the other Spur Award winners:

Contemporary Novel: Crazy Mountain Kiss by Keith McCafferty 
Traditional Novel: The Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas 
Mass-Market Paperback Novel: Lords of an Empty Land by Randy Denmon 
Historical Nonfiction and First Nonfiction Book: William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest by William Heath 
Contemporary Nonfiction: The Size of the Risk: Histories of Multiple Use in the Great Basin by Leisl Carr Childers 
Juvenile Nonfiction: This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon by Nancy Plain 
Juvenile Fiction: Walk on Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson 
Short Nonfiction: Cowboys and Capitalists: The XIT Ranch in Texas and Montana, 1885-1912 by Michael M. Miller 
Short Fiction: The Scalper by Richard Prosch 
Song: "The Hand" by Trinity Seely and Waddie Mitchell 
Poem: All-American Biography by Paige Buffington 
Drama Script: Slow West by John Maclean 
Documentary Script: Power's War by Dodge Billingsley and Cameron Trejo 

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About The Author

Dan Nailen

Dan Nailen is the managing editor of the Inlander, where he oversees coverage of arts and culture. He's previously written and edited for The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City Weekly, Missoula Independent, Salt Lake Magazine, The Oregonian and KUER-FM. He grew up seeing the country in an Air Force family and studied...