Forest City, Iowa – Joe Wilkins’ book “The Mountain and the Fathers” has been named a 2012 Montana Book Award honor book.
Wilkins, an associate professor of English and director of creative writing at Waldorf College, composed the memoir over four years. In it, he surveys his memories of the rural places of the west and explores his childhood in the drought stricken area of eastern Montana known as the Big Dry.
“‘The Mountain and the Fathers’ is, at root, a book about the power and necessity of stories, of remembering and sharing personal stories,” said Wilkins. “Stories make us who we are and allow us to relate to one another. I hope readers of ‘The Mountain and the Fathers’ come to see the power of stories in my life and, therefore, in their own lives.”
An annual prize, the Montana Book Award recognizes literary and artistic excellence in books published during the year. According to its website, qualifying works must be set in Montana, deal with state-related themes and issues or be written, edited or illustrated by a Montana author or artist.
“Montana is a state with a deep, rich literary tradition and can lay claim to a number of the most essentialwriters and poets of the last century,” said Wilkins. “So being recognized by the Montana Book Award is really an incredible honor.”
This is not the first literary award for Wilkins; both of his collections of poetry have won accolades. “Notes from the Journey Westward” won the 17th Annual White Pine Press Prize in Poetry, while “Killing the Murnion Dogs” was named a finalist for both the 2012 Paterson Poetry Prize and the High Plains Book Award in Poetry.
Wilkins’ poems, essays, and stories have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, Harvard Review, Ecotone, the Sun, Orion, and Slate, among other magazines and literary journals.