Friday, October 5, 2012

Tom McGuane to receive Emeritus Award at the High Plains Book Awards in Billings

Fans of Tom McGuane will be pleased to note that he is going to be awarded the Emeritus Award at the High Plains Book Awards in Billings on October 20. McGuane, like many Montanans, wasn't born here, but he chose to make it his home long ago, and he didn't disappear once the novelty wore off. I have to confess to having read more about McGuane than of him, but I'm very much enjoying Gallatin Canyon right now.

Last year's Emeritus Award went to North Dakota novelist Larry Woiwode, as was recently mentioned here. Woiwode's style is different from McGuane's, to be sure -- with Woiwode's fiction, one sometimes envisions him as an 18th century physician with a lancet, doing a blood-letting on himself. It is that close to the heart. McGuane's sprightly, slightly tousled, prose has more of an air of detached and amused observation of life -- but is not any less insightful as a result.

Both, however, are grounded in places they have lived and grown to love. One hopes that this award will be the occasion for more Montana readers to buy and read McGuane's books, getting to know one of our literary native sons.

On another High Plains Book Awards note, a long-time friend of Montana Headlines, Ed Kemmick, is up for the "First Book" award for his book, The Big Sky, By and By. Kemmick incidentally (and sadly) drew the curtain on his masterful "City Lights" column this last Sunday. One understands his reasoning for doing do, just as one understands why Peter Gabriel left Genesis. We know that Kemmick will still be favoring us with his great reporting, but still, Sunday morning with a newspaper will just never be quite the same again. Here's hoping that he wins the award for "First Book" as a fitting coda...

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