I won the Best Woman Writer Award at the High Plains Book Awards ceremony last night in Billings, Montana. Sadly, I wasn’t there to accept, but I am no less grateful for the honor. Here’s the thank you message I sent in advance of the event:
Dear High Plains Book Award
committee, attendees and readers,
I can’t tell you how painful it is
for me to miss this event. I’m not with you today because of a previously
scheduled obligation to a biological family member, which I’m pretty sure most
Montanans – and certainly the
folks I wrote the book for, who know how fragile family can be – will
understand. Still, it’s tough for me not to be in this room with you.
Since discovering the story of the Smith
Mine disaster, I’ve traveled from Massachusetts to Carbon County numerous times,
and I always rejoice in opportunities to come back. As I interviewed those left bereft by the mine explosion,
drove the roads that its victims took to work that day, and memorized the sweet
perfume of sagebrush and coal, I fell in love with your pocket of the world.
The people of Bearcreek, Red Lodge, Billings and beyond welcomed me into their
lives and made me feel like family. Those involved directly with the disaster
graciously allowed me to give them a voice, and those just as shocked by this
injustice as I was helped me to expose it. I thank all of them.
I thank the book award committee, too, for
nominating me for this prestigious prize. And if Goodbye Wifes and Daughters happened to be lucky enough to win it,
I thank you again.
Until next time,
Susan Kushner Resnick