'Night of the Living Rez,' 'Trailed' among Maine Literary Award winners

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May 22—Morgan Talty's collection of short stories, "Night of the Living Rez," and Kathryn Miles' nonfiction book "Trailed" are among the winners of this year's Maine Literary Awards.

The Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance recognized the recipients last week at the Olin Arts Center at Bates College in Lewiston, where hundreds of people gathered for an awards ceremony. The annual competition is open to all Maine residents, and includes categories for published books, as well as drama, short works and student writing. More than 300 writers and publishers sent work for consideration. The alliance named more than 50 finalists for 15 awards.

"The thing that's most exciting to see is how all over the map the work is, even though it's just from writers who are living part time and full time in Maine," said Taryn Bowe, associate director of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. "There are so many different things folks are writing about and so many different perspectives that were awarded as winners."

The book award for fiction went to Talty's collection of 12 interconnected stories, based on the Penobscot reservation where he grew up. The Levant author has received national recognition for his debut, including the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The winner for nonfiction was Midcoast writer Miles for "Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders" about two women, including a Unity College student, who were killed in 1996 while hiking in Virginia.

Gretchen Legler's "Woodsqueer" won for memoir, and Lauren Saxon's "You're My Favorite" took the prize for poetry.

Legler also shared the John N. Cole Award for Maine Nonfiction with Debra Spark and Deborah Joy Corey, who edited "Breaking Bread: Essays from New England on Food, Hunger, and Family." Spark and Corey also won the award for best anthology.

Other awards went to "Light on Bone" by Kathryn Lasky for crime fiction, "Death by Disguise" by E.L. Bates for speculative fiction, "Sardines" by Sashi Kaufman for young people's literature and "Fighting for Yes! The Story of Disability Rights Activist Judith Heumann" by Maryann Cocca-Leffler for children's literature.

For a full list of winners and finalists, go to mainewriters.org.

Every year, one library in Maine receives a copy of every nominated book; this year, the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library in Lovell was chosen to receive 144 books.

The Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance also honored Molly McGrath, the publications director at the nonprofit The Telling Room, with the year's distinguished achievement award for "helping to publish more than 200 books and chapbooks and 4,500 writers from all over Maine."

"That's a lot of time and care and energy that she's put into her work there at The Telling Room," Bowe said.