University Relations and Communications


December 27, 2016

High Plains Book Award logo

MSUB Library sponsors Indigenous Writer category for popular High Plains Book Awards

New award an opportunity to highlight indigenous contributions to High Plains literature



Megan Thomas, MSUB Library, 657-1336

University Relations, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The Montana State University Billings’ Library is proud to announce it is sponsoring a new award category for the High Plains Book Awards: Indigenous Author.


The Library has been involved with the HPBA committee in some capacity since the award’s inception in 2006.


However, the Library jumped at the chance to spotlight indigenous authors from the High Plains regions, including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. 


“The High Plains Book Awards has a decade long history of celebrating literature of the high plains region, but there was an opportunity to recognize a previously under-represented segment of the area’s literary tradition,” said MSUB Library Interim Director Megan Thomas. “While indigenous authors have received awards in the past, this award will highlight their contributions to literature.”


The award has grown from just three categories from when the first were given in 2007, said High Plains Book Awards Chairwoman Shari Nault.


“Adding this award category has been discussed for quite a few years,” Nault said. “This is extremely exciting for us because there is a lot of new contemporary work by native writers and we want to showcase and give a voice to it.”


She added that just as the number of entrants into the book awards increases overall year-to-year, so does the quantity of those penned by indigenous authors.


“The mission is to celebrate literature on the High Plains and this new award is especially appropriate,” Nault said.


Although the MSUB Foundation sponsors the First Book Award, one of 13 award categories slated for 2017, the Library award is the only award sponsored by a University department.


Other High Plains Book Award categories include: Medicine and Science, Children’s, Fiction, Nonfiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Woman Writer, Art & Photography, Short Stories, Culinary and Young Adult.


Nominated books must be published for the first time in 2016 and winners will receive a $500 prize and be invited to participate in the annual High Plains BookFest in October.


Nominations will be open mid-January to mid-March and criteria will be posted at that time.