TIL announces annual award finalists

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The Texas Institute of Letters has announced the finalists for its annual awards that will be presented at the group’s banquet in Houston on April 11.

The awards include cash prizes totaling about $21,000 and honor the best books published by Texans last year.

The institute will also present its previously announced Lon Tinkle Award to Austin writer Lawrence Wright for his career in letters.

The banquet will be held April 11 at the Hilton Hotel on the campus of the University of Houston.

The finalists are:

Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction ($6,000): Elizabeth Crook, “Monday, Monday”; Manuel Luis Martinez, “Los Duros”; Smith Henderson, “Fourth of July Creek.”

Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction ($1,000): Merritt Tierce, “Love Me Back”; Joe Holley, “The Purse Bearer;” Ralph Compton, “Comanche Trail.”

Carr P. Collins Award for Best Book of Nonfiction ($5,000): Michael Morton, “Getting Life: An Innocent Man’s 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace”; Ezra Greenspan, “William Wells Brown: An African American Life”; Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, “Dr. Mutter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine.”

Ramirez Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book ($2,500): Lawrence T. Jones III, “Lens on the Texas Frontier”; Houston Faust Mount II, “Oil Field Revolutionary”: Alicia M. Dewey, “Pesos and Dollars.”

Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Best Book of Poetry ($1,200): Katherine Hoerth, “Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots”; Jan Seale, “The Parkinson Poems”; Carmen Tafolla, “This River Here: Poems of San Antonio.”

Bob Bush Memorial Award for First Book of Poetry ($1,000): Chloe Honum, “The Tulip-Frame”; Ben Olguin, “Red Leather Gloves”; Gayle Laudrun, “Reaching for Air.”

Edwin “Bud” Shrake Award for Short Nonfiction ($1,000): Pamela Colloff, “The Witness” in Texas Monthly; Alan Peppard, “Islands of the Oil Kings,” Dallas Morning News; Michael Hall, “The Murders at the Lake,” Texas Monthly.

Kay Cattarulla Award for Best Short Story ($1,000): Brian Van Reet, “Eat the Spoil”; Paul Christensen, “The Man Next Door”; Andrew Geyer, “Fingers.”

Denton Record-Chronicle Best Children’s Picture Book ($500): Pat Mora, “I Pledge Allegiance”; Arun Ghandi and Bethany Hegedus, “Grandfather Ghandi”; J.L. Powers, “Colors of the Wind.”

H-E-B/Jean Flynn Best Children’s Book ($500): Nikki Loftin, “Nightingale’s Nest”; Naomi Shihab Nye, “Turtle of Oman”; Greg Leitich Smith, “Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn.”

H-E-B Best Young Adults Book ($500): Claudia Guadalupe Martinez, “Pig Park”; Katherine Howe, “Conversion.”

Fred Whitehead Award for Best Design of a Trade Book ($750): Bill Wittliff, “The Devil’s Backbone,” illustrated by Jack Unruh; Zeque Penya, “GABI, A Girl in Pieces,” design by Isabel Quintero.

Trinity University Press acquires Maverick Publishing

Trinity University Press of San Antonio announced today that it has acquired the assets of Maverick Publishing Company, founded by former newspaperman Lewis F. Fisher.

Trinity said that in early 2015 it will launch a new imprint, Maverick Books, which will include the backlist of Maverick titles as well as new titles focusing on the history and culture of Texas and the Southwest. Fisher will work with Trinity as an editorial adviser.

Trinity will begin distribution of more than 40 Maverick titles in January, with new editions slated for Maverick backtitles, as well as digital versions of those books.

In a press release, Trinity’s associate director Thomas Payton said that the acquisition “sends a strong message that we are determined to be a preeminent publisher of books about Texas and the American Southwest as a complement to our other areas of international focus.”

Fisher started Maverick Publishing in San Antonio in 1996. His newest book, the updated and expanded edition of “American Venice: The Epic Story of San Antonio’s River,” is being published by Trinity in January.