Hope in Hard Times Wins Second Annual Montana Book Award
Hope in Hard Times: New Deal Photographs of Montana, 1936-1942 by Mary Murphy (Montana Historical Society Press) was selected as the first place winner of the 2003 Montana Book Award. This annual award recognizes literary and/or artistic excellence in a book published in the previous year.
With eloquent text and remarkable photographic reproductions, Mary Murphy pulls readers into Montana during the Great Depression. Four photographers were assigned to "a long look at the whole vast, complicated rural U.S. landscape with all that was built on it and all those who built and wrecked and worked in it and bore kids and dragged them up and played games and paraded and picnicked and suffered and died and were buried in it." Hope in Hard Times features over 140 Farm Security Administration photographs to illustrate the story of the Great Depression in Montana and the experiences of the photographers who documented it. The result is an unforgettable portrait of a little-studied period in the history of Montana.
The Montana Book Award was founded by the Friends of the Missoula Public Library in 2002 and winners are selected by a committee of eight literati representing geographic distribution throughout Montana. Members of the 2003 Montana Book Award committee included Bette Ammon, Missoula; Cheryl J. Heser, Forsyth; Penny Hughes-Briant, Great Falls; Bill Kehler, Billings; Anita Scheetz, Poplar; Perri Sherrill, Bozeman; Samantha Pierson, Libby; and Brigid Wilson, Missoula. Corporate sponsorship of the Montana Book Award is provided by Fact & Fiction Bookstore (Missoula).
The 2004 Montana Book Award committee is already hard at work considering titles published in 2004 for its next award. Eligible titles must be set in Montana, deal with Montana themes or issues, or be written or illustrated by a Montana author or artist. Books for all ages are considered for the award. Nominations may be submitted by authors, publishers and members of the public. For more information, or to nominate a title for consideration, visit: www.missoula.lib.mt.us/mtbookaward.html.