Conundrum Press

Juliana Aragón Fatula’s Poetry Selected as Finalist in Regional Award Competition

June 2nd, 2016  |  Published in Juliana Aragón Fatula, Press

We know our writers are amazing, talented, and incredibly dedicated to telling powerful stories. But we are absolutely proud - and pretty darn pumped - when someone else lets us know that too.

Today we heard that Juliana Aragón Fatula’s Red Canyon Falling on Churches was selected as a finalist for the High Plains Book Award. The award recognizes literary works that examine life on the High Plains in the U.S. and Canada, including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

In her collection of poetry, Fatula shares her experiences of trying to escape the bonds of race and gender in order to prevail in an unjust world for a woman of color who writes. Nature, spirituality, myth, and ritual are combined with no-holds-barred honesty.

As described by María Meléndez, author of How Long She’ll Last In This World: “These poems give us the earth as a witch, casting her spells through tamales and teas, rivers and canyons, and stories from the time before time. The witchery of family ties, the bewitching nature of love and desire, and the bruja bond between bio- and soul-sisters heats these words. This book is medicine for women and those who love them—a tonic against despair, a spiritual stimulant.”

Red Canyon Falling on Churches was selected in the awards poetry category. A list of all the finalists can be viewed here, as well as previous award winners.

Fatula’s three books of poetry are Crazy Chicana in Catholic City, 2nd edition, Red Canyon Falling On Churches, Conundrum Press; and her chapbook, The Road I Ride Bleeds, Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. She is a Southern Colorado Native, a member of the Sandra Cisneros’ Macondo Foundation, and a writer-in-residence for Colorado Humanities’ Writers-in-the-Schools Program. She teaches cultural diversity and believes in the power of education to change lives. She is a performance artist who likes to stir the political melting pot and shake things up.

Red Canyon Falling On Churches can be purchased at our online bookstore.

Here’s the official High Plains Book Awards press release:

Billings, Montana - Thirty-seven books have been selected as finalists out of 160 submissions in eleven categories for the 10th annual High Plains Book Awards.  Twenty-six different publishers from Canada and the US were represented in this year’s competition.  Of the 37 finalists, 12 are from Canada.

Five authors are finalists in two categories:  Thomas D. Mangelsen and Todd Wilkinson, Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek, finalists in Art & Photography and Medicine & Science; Sneed B. Collard III, Fire Birds: Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests, finalist in Nonfiction and Children’s Books; Beth Hunter McHugh, The Actor, finalist in First Book and Best Woman Writer and Judith Silverthorne,Honouring the Buffalo: A Plains Cree Legend, finalist in Art & Photography and Children’s Books.  

The 2016 finalists include:

Fiction: Shann Ray, American Copper; Keith McCafferty, Crazy Mountain Kiss; Tyler Enfield, Madder Carmine; Craig Lancaster, This is What I Want.

Nonfiction: Thomas J. Noel, Colorado: A Historical Atlas; John Jennings, The Cowboy Legend; Sneed B. Collard III, Fire Birds: Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests; and Brian D’Ambrosio, Warrior in the Ring.

Poetry: Robert Currie, The Days Run Away; Juliana Aragon Fatula, Red Canyon Falling on Churches; Diane Glancy, Report to the Department of the Interior; and Lois Red Elk,Why I Return to Makoce.

First Book: Beth Hunter McHugh, The Actor; Cynthia Swanson, The Bookseller; and Christine Carbo, The Wild Inside.

Best Woman Writer: Beth Hunter McHugh, The Actor; Catherine Hunter, After Light; Dianne Warren, Liberty Street; and Cecilia Ekback, Wolf Winter.

Art & Photography: Thomas D. Mangelsen and Todd Wilkinson, Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek; Judith Silverthorne, Honouring the Buffalo: A Plains Cree Legend; and Frank H. Goodyear and Charles R. Preston, Wyoming Grasslands.

Short Stories: Patrick Hicks, The Collector of Names; Jerry McGahan, The Deer Walking Upside Down; and Joe Wilkins, Far Enough: A Western in Fragments.

Young Adult: Treena Wynes, Am I the Only One? Struggling Being a Teen; Richard Van Camp, A Blanket of Butterflies; and Richard Van Camp, Three Feathers.

Children’s Book: Georgia Graham, Cub’s Journey Home; Sneed B. Collard III, Fire Birds: Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests; and Judith Silverthorne, Honouring the Buffalo: A Plains Cree Legend.  

Medicine & Science: John Ashley, Glacier National Park After Dark; Thomas D. Mangelsen and Todd Wilkinson, Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek; and P. Willey and Douglas D. Scott, Health of the Seventh Cavalry: A Medical History.

Creative Nonfiction: David Alexander Robertson, Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story; Patrick Dobson, Canoeing the Great Plains; and Jenna Butler, A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail.

Each nominated book was read and evaluated by community volunteers in the first round of the selection process. The finalist books in each category will be judged by writers who have significant connections to the High Plains region, many of whom have won previously in the particular category they will judge. Winners in each category will receive a $500 cash prize at the Awards Banquet on Saturday October 8, 2016 at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana.  Single tickets and tables may be purchased for the banquet. More information will be posted at

The High Plains Book Awards Banquet is held in conjunction with the 2016 High Plains BookFest.  

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Golden, Colorado-based Conundrum Press publishes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, focusing primarily on authors who live in the Rocky Mountain region.

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