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Spur Awards

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The Spur Awards, given to the best in “western” fiction, were established in 1953 by the Western Writers of America, and have been presented annually ever since. When originally established, the awards were presented for the Best Western Novel, Best Historical Novel, Best Juvenile and Best Short Story. Over the years, the awards have been modified and expanded to include several other types of writing about the west. The modern Spur Awards are presented for Best Western Contemporary Novel, Best Western Historical Novel, Best Western Traditional Novel, Best Mass Market Paperback Novel, Best First Novel, and several other categories which are not included on the list below (including screenplays, short fiction, poetry, non-fiction and westerns for youth). For a complete history of the Spur Awards and a listing of the winners in all of the categories, visit the official History of the Spur Awards web site, hosted by the Western Writers of America.

Book titles “hotlinked” in the list below are owned by the Lincoln City Libraries, and the link will take you to the holdings screen in our catalog, where you can check on the current availability of that title. Notes: In 1997, the WWA adjusted the Spur Awards to begin reflecting the year the awards were presented, rather than the year the books were published. This resulted in the appearance of no awards being presented in 1997. In 2007, the categories were noticeably adjusted – “Novel of the West” was eliminated; “Best Western Novel” was broken into Long and Short categories; and other changes occured.

2016
Best Western Contemporary Novel – Keith McCafferty – Crazy Mountain Kiss
Best Western Historical Novel – Joe R. Lansdale – Paradise Sky
Best Western Traditional Novel – Sandra Dallas – The Last Midwife
Best Mass Market Paperback Novel – Randy Denmon – Lords of an Empty Land
Best First Novel – Shann Ray – American Copper

2015
Best Western Contemporary Novel – C.B. McKenzie – Bad Country
Best Western Historical Novel – James D. Crownover – Wild Ran the Rivers
Best Western Traditional Novel – Patrick Dearen – The Big Drift
Best First Novel – James D. Crownover – Wild Ran the Rivers

2014
Best Western Contemporary Novel – James Lee Burke – Light of the World
Best Western Historical Novel – Henry Chappell – Silent We Stood
Best Western Traditional Novel – Gary Schanbacher – Crossing Purgatory
Best First Novel – Anne Hillerman – Spider Woman’s Daughter

2013
Western Novel (Long) – Thomas Cobb – With Blood in Their Eyes
Western Novel (Short) – Tucker Mayo – Tucker’s Reckoning
Paperback Original – Larry Sweazy – The Coyote Tracker

2012
Western Novel (Long) – Stephen Harrigan – Remember Ben Clayton
Western Novel (Short) – Johnny D. Boggs – Legacy of a Lawman
Paperback Original – Johnny D. Boggs – West Texas Kill

2011
Western Novel (Long) – Lucia St. Clair Robson – Last Train From Cuernavaca
Western Novel (Short) – Richard S. Wheeler – Snowbound
Paperback Original – Max McCoy – Damnation Road

2010
Western Novel (Long) – Robert Flynn – Echoes of Glory
Western Novel (Short) – Robert Olmstead – Far Bright Star
Paperback Original – John D. Nesbitt – Stranger in Thunder Basic

2009
Western Novel (Long) – Thomas Cobb – Shavetail
Western Novel (Short) – Craig Johnson – Another Man’s Moccasins
Paperback Original – John D. Nesbitt – Trouble at the Redstone

2008
Western Novel (Long) – Aryn Kyle – The God of Animals
Western Novel (Short) – Sandra Dallas – Tallgrass
Paperback Original – Max McCoy – Hellfire Canyon

2007
Western Novel (Long) – Elizabeth Crook – The Night Journal
Western Novel (Short) – Tony Hillerman – The Shape Shifter
Paperback Original – Dusty Richards – The Horse Creek Incident

2006
Western Novel (tie) – Johnny D. Boggs – Camp Ford
Western Novel (tie) – Loren D. Estleman – The Undertaker’s Wife
Novel of the West – Willard Wyman – High Country
Paperback Original – Matt Braun – Dakota

2005
Western Novel – Rick Steber – Buy the Chief a Cadillac
Novel of the West – Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear – People of the Raven
Paperback Original – Richard S. Wheeler – Vengeance Valley

2004
Western Novel – Brian Hall – I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company
Novel of the West – Win Blevins – So Wild a Dream
Paperback Original – Barbara Wright – Plain Language

2003
Western Novel – Sandra Dallas – The Chili Queen
Novel of the West – Debra Magpie Earling – Perma Red
Paperback Original – David Marion Wilkinson – Oblivion’s Altar: A Novel of Courage

2002
Western Novel – Elmer Kelton – The Way of the Coyote
Novel of the West – Brady Udall – The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint
Paperback Original – Richard S. Wheeler – Drum’s Ring

2001
Western Novel – Mike Blakely – Summer of Pearls
Novel of the West – Stephen Harrigan – The Gates of the Alamo
Paperback Original – Troy D. Smith – Bound for the Promise-Land

2000
Western Novel – Richard S. Wheeler – Masterson
Novel of the West – Ellen Recknor – Prophet Annie
Paperback Original – Jim Davidson – Mine Work

1999
Western Novel – Loren D. Estleman – Journey of the Dead
Novel of the West – Jane Smiley – The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton
Paperback Original – Hiram King – Dark Trail

1998
Western Novel – Cynthia Haselhoff – The Kiowa Verdict
Novel of the West – Larry McMurtry – Comanche Moon
Paperback Original – Ellen Recknor – Leaving Missouri

1996
Western Novel – Preston Lewis – writing as Will Camp – The Blood of Texas
Novel of the West – Richard S. Wheeler – Sierra
Paperback Original – Frank Roderus – Potter’s Fields

1995
Western Novel – Robert J. Conley – The Dark Island
Novel of the West – Win Blevins – Stone Song: A Novel of the Life of Crazy Horse
Paperback Original – Jim R. Woolard – Thunder in the Valley

1994
Western Novel – Tom Eidson – St. Agnes’ Stand
Novel of the West – Elmer Kelton – The Far Canyon
Paperback Original – K.C. McKenna – Survival

1993
Western Novel – Charles Hackenberry – Friends
Novel of the West – Jeff Long – Empire of Bones
Paperback Original – Gary McCarthy – The Gila River

1992
Western Novel – Robert J. Conley – Nickajack
Novel of the West – Elmer Kelton – Slaughter
Paperback Original – T.V. Olsen – The Golden Chance

1991
Western Novel – Richard Matheson – Journal of the Gun Years
Novel of the West – Jory Sherman – The Medicine Horn
Paperback Original – Norman Zollinger – Rage in Chupadera

1990
Western Novel – Gary Svee – Sanctuary
Novel of the West – Jeanne Williams – Home Mountain
Paperback Original – Don Coldsmith – The Changing Wind

1989
Western Novel – Richard Wheeler – Fool’s Coach
Novel of the West – James Alexander Thom – Panther in the Sky
Paperback Original – C. Clifton Wisler – Among the Eagles

1988
Western Novel – Judy Alter – Mattie
Novel of the West – Glendon Swarthout – The Homesman

1987
Western Novel – Tony Hillerman – Skinwalkers
Historical Novel – Robert Flynn – Wanderer Springs

1986
Western Novel – Ralph Robert Beer – The Blind Corral
Historical Novel – Douglas C. Jones – Roman

1985
Western Novel – Larry McMurtry – Lonesome Dove
Historical Novel – John Byrne Cook – The Snowblind Moon

1984
Historical Novel – Douglas C. Jones – Gone the Dreams and Dancing

1983
Novel – Frank Roderus – Leaving Kansas
Historical Novel – Bryan Woolley – Sam Bass

1982
Novel – Fred Grove – Match Race
Historical Novel – Lucia St. Clair Robson – Ride the Wind

1981
Novel – Elmer Kelton – Eyes of the Hawk (tie) | Lee Head – Horizon (tie)
Historical Novel – Loren D. Estleman – Aces and Eights

1980
Novel – Jeanne Williams – The Valiant Women

1979
Novel – William Decker – The Holdouts

1978
Novel – Norman Zollinger – Riders to Cibola

1977
Novel – Fred Grove – The Great Horse Race
Historical Novel – Terrance Kilpatrick – Swimming Man Burning

1976
Novel – Lou Cameron – The Spirit Horses (tie) | Douglas C. Jones – The Courtmartial of George Armstrong Custer (tie)
Historical Novel – Matt Braun – The Kincaids

1975
Novel – Glendon Swarthout – The Shootist

1974
Novel – Stephen Overholser – A Hanging in Sweetwater

1973
Novel – Elmer Kelton – The Time it Never Rained

1972
Novel – Lewis B. Pattern – A Killing in Kiowa
Historical Novel – Will Henry – Chiricahua

1971
Novel – Elmer Kelton – The Day the Cowboys Quit

1970
Novel – Clifton Adams – The Last Days of Wolf Garnett

1969
Novel – Clifton Adams – Tragg’s Choice
Historical Novel – Benjamin Capps – The White Man’s Road

1968
Novel – Louis L’Amour – Down the Long Hills
Historical Novel – Lewis Patten – The Red Sabbath

1967
Novel – Lee Hoffman – The Valdez Horses
Historical Novel – Chad Oliver – The Wolf is My Brother

1966
Novel – Herbert R. Purdom – My Brother John
Historical Novel – Garland Roark/Charles Thomas – Hellfire Jackson

1965
Novel – Benjamin Capps – Sam Chance
Historical Novel – Todhunter Ballard (tie) – Gold in California | Vardis Fisher (tie) – Mountain Man

1964
Novel – Benjamin Capps – The Trail to Ogallala
Historical Novel – F.F. Halloran – Indian Fighter

1963
Novel – Leigh Brackett – Follow the Free Wind
Historical Novel – Will Henry – Gates of the Mountains

1962
Novel – Fred Grove – Comanche Captives
Historical Novel – Don Berry – Moon Trap

1961
Novel – Giles Lutz – The Honyocker
Historical Novel – William Wister Haines – The Winter War

1960
Novel – Will C. Brown – The Nameless Breed
Historical Novel – Will Henry – From Where the Sun Now Stands

1959
Novel – Nelson Nye – Long Run
Historical Novel – John Prebble – The Buffalo Soldiers

1958
Novel – Noel Loomis – Shortcut to Red River
Historical Novel – Amelia Bean – The Fancher Train

1957
Novel – Elmer Kelton – Buffalo Wagons
Historical Novel – Dan Cushman – Silver Mountain

1956
Novel – Leslie Ernenwein – High Gun
Historical Novel – John Clinton Hunt – Generations of Men

1955
Novel – L.P. Holmes – Somewhere They Die

1954
Novel – Wayne D. Overholser – The Violent Land
Historical Novel – John Prescott – Journey By the River

1953
Novel – Lee Leighton – Law Man
Historical Novel – Lucia Moore – The Wheel and the Hearth

Last updated January 2017 sdc