By Kent Larsen
LDS Author Wins Spur Award
CONWAY, ARKANSAS -- LDS author Violet T. Kimball has been told that she will
receive a 2001 Spur Award for her book, "Stories of Young Pioneers: In Their
Own Words," published last year by Mountain Press Publishing Company. The
book covers the experiences of young pioneers traveling through the west in
the mid-nineteenth century and is written for young readers. The Spur Awards
have been given annually since 1953 to the best in Western writing.
"Stories of Young Pioneers" is Kimball's second book, following "Mormon
Trail: Voyage of Discovery" which is accompanied by the photographs of her
husband, Mormon historian Stanley B. Kimball. She reports that the book is
now being used in some schools, and that the publisher has also made
available a 50 page teachers guide for using the book in the classroom. In a
recent review in Booklist, reviewer Denise Wilms said that the book "can
provide valuable curriculum support, and history teachers may find that
selected details can spark a lively lesson."
Kimball learned of the award in a recent letter from the Award's
administrator, W. C. Jameson, which indicated that "Stories of Young
Pioneers" won in the category of Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction book. The
award covers books published in 2000.
The Spur Awards, which are sponsored by the Western Writers of America, is
one of the oldest literary awards in the U.S., according to the group's
website. Past award winners include Larry McMurty for "Lonesome Dove" and
Michael Blake for "Dances With Wolves."
But Kimball may be the first Mormon writer to win the award, although other
winners have treated Mormonism in their award-winning works. Vardis Fisher,
whose parents were Mormon settlers in Idaho, won the Spur Award twice, but
Fisher's widow hotly contested any attempt to label him Mormon. Non-Mormon
Amelia Bean won the award in 1958 for her treatment of the Mountain Meadows
Massacre and Irving Stone won for his nonfiction work that included a short
description of the Mormon trek.
More about Violet T. Kimball's "Stories of Young Pioneers: In Their Own Words" at Amazon.com
Western Writers of America .