Regardless of whether you call the American West your home or are just passing through on life’s greater journey, as a student at CU Boulder you belong to a region well worth writing about.
What is the West?
It is no easy matter to define the West or the quality of “Westernness.” In general, we think of the West as the territory between the 100th Meridian and the Pacific Coast, including Alaska and Hawaii. We recognize that the symbolic nature of the American West also travels globally, and welcome explorations of how writers have encountered Westerness in the most unlikely places.
How do I write about the West?
Perhaps you took a course that focused on the hydrology of the Colorado River and found yourself writing an outstanding final paper; or you attended an author’s talk about how the railroad was built by marginalized communities of color and writing poetry was your way to process the experience. Perhaps your creative writing seminar pushed you to start a novel based on your grandparents’ immigration to the region; or you felt compelled to write your own story of finding yourself in the West.
Memoir, fiction, poetry and non-fiction - there is space for all experiences of the American West to be written about. Awards will go to entries that are authentic, well-rounded, superbly edited and transformative to readers. Judges come from far and wide in the West to participate, so be prepared to be weighed by some of the best. With a muse like the American West, we can’t wait to see what your submission holds in store!
Open to CU Boulder students only.
Congratulations to the 2021 Thompson Awards for Western American Writing – And Video winners!
The Center of the American West hosted a Zoom event to celebrate the 22nd annual Thompson Awards on April 28th, 2021.
In this intimate early evening gathering, judges from each category introduced both the winners and the honorable mentions. The ‘audience’ then listened to the authors read excerpts and show video clips from their winning entries. The creators’ intellect, talent, and passion were on full display.
Thank you to Jack and Jeannie Thompson for making this contest possible, and to our fantastic volunteer judges.
Visit our WINNERS page to read this and previous year’s winning entries.