"When I taught American literature at the Univ. of Iowa, a colleague taught a 'Great Westerns' course devoted to novels. Vardis Fisher's MOUNTAIN MAN, Alan LeMay's THE SEARCHERS, A.B. Guthrie's THE BIG SKY. Charles Portis's TRUE GRIT. Clearly Westerns can be literature. I suspect that Johnny D. Boggs would be on the syllabus today."
David Morrell, best-selling author of First Blood & The Brotherhood of the Rose
Johnny D. Boggs has worked cattle, been bucked off horses (breaking two ribs last time), shot rapids in a canoe, hiked across mountains and deserts, traipsed around ghost towns, and spent hours poring over microfilm in library archives -- all in the name of finding a good story. He was won a record eight Spur Awards from Western Writers of America, a Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and has been called by Booklist magazine "among the best western writers at work today." He also writes for numerous magazines, including True West, Wild West, Boys' Life and Western Art & Architecture, speaks and lectures often, studies old movies (Westerns and film noir) and even finds time to coach Little League. A native of South Carolina and former newspaper journalist, he lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife and son.
What’s a 16-year-old boy to do when he learns that his stepmother and a local judge have murdered his father and now plan to kill him, too? Well, when it’s 1906, and you can play pretty good second base, you join a barn-storming baseball team making its way across Kansas. It also helps that the team is the Kansas City National Bloomer Girls. After all, who’d look for a runaway boy disguised as a girl on a women’s team that competes against town-ball teams of male players?
Center Point Large Print/Blackstone eBook and audiobook
Intertwining film history, the history of the American West, and American social history into one unique volume, The American West on Film takes 11 Western movies, including The Ox-Bow Incident, Red River, High Noon, The Searchers and Tombstone. Each film overview summarizes the movie's plot, details how the film came to be made, the critical and box-office reactions, and the history of the time period or actual event. A comparison and contrast of the filmmakers' version of history with the facts, as well as an analysis of the film's significance.
Johnny D. Boggs, eight-time Spur winner,
to receive Western Writers of America’s
Owen Wister Award
ENCAMPMENT, Wyo. – Johnny D. Boggs, whose eight Spur Awards are a record in the 67-year history of Western Writers of America, will receive the organization’s 2020 Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Contributions to Western Literature.
Boggs will also be inducted into the Western Writers Hall of Fame, housed outside the McCracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo.
“Johnny Boggs’s writing is infused with a profound respect for the historical record as well as a passion for the frontier,” WWA past president Kirk Ellis said. “His sharp former reporter’s eye is finely attuned to nuances of speech and character, and his prose crackles with vernacular energy. Johnny doesn’t retell old stories – he tells them as they’ve never been told before.”
Added WWA board member David Morrell: “Boggs displays a formal inventiveness that makes the way he tells stories as exciting as the stories themselves, turning them into art.”
The nonprofit guild’s highest honor will be presented during WWA’s convention June 17-20 in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Boggs has won Spurs for the short story “A Piano at Dead Man’s Crossing” (2002); novels Camp Ford (2006) and Legacy of a Lawman (2012); juvenile novels Doubtful Cañon (2008), Hard Winter (2010) and Taos Lightning (2019); and original mass-market paperback novels West Texas Kill (2012) and Return to Red River (2017). He has also been a Spur finalist 13 times.
Boggs’s other awards include the 2004 Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for Spark on the Prairie and the 2015 Arkansiana Juvenile Award for Poison Spring.
A 1984 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Boggs spent 14½ years as a sports reporter and editor at the Dallas Times Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram before moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1998 to write fiction and nonfiction full time.
Since the early 1950s, WWA has honored and promoted all forms of literature about the American West. Previous Owen Wister honorees include Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday; historians Eve Ball and Robert M. Utley; and bestselling novelists Rudolfo Anaya, Elmore Leonard, Tony Hillerman and Lucia St. Clair Robson.
The Wister Award is a bronze statue of a buffalo created especially for WWA by artist Robert Duffie.
Boggs Scheduled to Teach Writers Lab
on Western Literature at Santa Fe Workshops
Johnny D. Boggs, eight-time Spur Award winner and Owen Wister Award recipient from Western Writers of America, is scheduled to teach a two-day writers lab on Western Literature at Santa Fe Workshops September 20-21. The lab is geared for beginners and new writers and covers fiction and nonfiction.
Book-length literature about the American West is undergoing a renaissance in the publishing world, as publishers relaunch lines and writers explore all aspects of the region’s history and mythology. Whether fiction or nonfiction, today’s Westerns aren’t just about cowboys, steely-eyed gunfighters, and ranch women. They can be set in any era, from pre-European contact to the present, because concerns about borders, race, environment, water, and law and order have not significantly changed since the first Europeans landed in North America.
The key to writing a successful Western is simple (but not always easy): Tell a compelling story. We begin with a brief history of the Western genre and then cover the writing process with discussions on dialogue, the pros and cons of outlining, and writing with all of our senses. Guest lecturer Anne Hillerman, the New York Times bestselling author of the contemporary Navajo mystery series started by her late father, Tony Hillerman, discusses writing from the Native American perspective, and Will Rogers Medallion Award–recipient Thomas D. Clagett speaks about historical research.
The weekend ends with a guest lecturer Q&A session, where participants are given the chance to glean tips from successful writers on the craft of writing and getting published in the Western literary field. For more information, log on to SantaFeWorkshops.com.