Longtime local and school teacher turned novelist Linda Lafferty won the Colorado Book Award in historical fiction for “The Drowning Guard” on Friday.
The award, presented by the Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book, was announced in a ceremony at the Hotel Jerome on Friday. Lafferty was unable to attend because she is caring for an ill family member, Colorado Humanities Executive Director Margaret Coval told the assembled crowd of statewide writers and readers.
Lafferty’s husband, former Aspen Times editor Andy Stone, accepted the prize on her behalf.
Published in September, “The Drowning Guard” focuses on an Ottoman princess who murders her lovers, a tale based in history that Lafferty researched on a trip to Istanbul.
“She wouldn’t wear a veil to hide her face; she was absolutely all-powerful,” Lafferty told the Times earlier this year. “That intrigues me. I want to know more about how this woman got away with this.”
Lafferty, a retired Aspen High School and Aspen Middle School teacher, has published three novels since her 2012 debut, “The Bloodletter’s Daughter” through Amazon Publishing. All three have been thrillers based on historical figures, and all three have become print and e-reader bestsellers for the online giant.
Her award was among 16 handed out to Colorado authors at Friday’s event by the state arts organization. The other winners were Tim Z. Hernandez for “Natural Takeover of Small Things” (Poetry), Steven Schwartz for “Little Raw Souls” (Literary Fiction), Andrew Beckham for “Firmament” (Pictorial), Michael Madigan for “Double Dare” (Thriller/Suspense), Erika D. Walker for “Denver Mountain Parks” (History), Uche Ogbuji for “Ndewo, Colorado” (Poetry Chapbook), Pamela Nowak for “Changes” (Genre Fiction), Gail D. Storey for “I Promise Not to Suffer” (Memoir), Rebecca Taylor for “Ascendant” (Young Adult Literature), Michele Morris for “Tasting Colorado” (General Nonfiction), Jenny Goebel for “Grave Images” (Juvenile Fiction), BK Loren for “Animal, Mineral, Radical” (Creative Nonfiction), Manuel Ramos for “Desperado” (Mystery), Robert W. Larson and Carole B. Larson for “Ernest L. Blumenschein: The Life of an American Artist” (Biography), and Carmela LaVigna-Coyle for “The Tumbleweed Came Back” (Children’s Literature).