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2017 Montana Center for the Book Prize

The Montana Center for the Book is pleased to announce the 2017 Montana Center for the Book Prize recipients. The MCB Prize has been awarded to five programs across the state in recognition of their efforts to promote literacy and literature in their communities. Award-winning programs will each receive a $1,000 award and have their events promoted by Humanities Montana.

Corby Skinner

SPOTLIGHT ON: The Writer's Voice

The Writer's Voice, an independent program of the Billings Cultural Partners, was founded in 1991 to assist emerging writers in their artistic and professional development, support accomplished writers, and provide public programs that challenge the traditional definition of the literary arts while enriching all sectors of the community. Their mission is to provide access to the literary arts in non-traditional communities and opportunities for active engagement between writers and audiences.

Functioning as an all-volunteer organization, the Writer’s Voice is using their award from the 2017 Montana Center for the Book Prize to fund and host a monthly series of readings by contemporary regional writers at Art House Cinema in Billings. “The casual environment provides an excellent opportunity for conversation between the author and audience members,” writes volunteer director, Corby Skinner. Writers have included former Montana Poet Laureate Tami Haaland (What Does Not Return), Wyoming poet David Romtvedt (Dilemmas of the Angels), and Helena writer and publisher Aaron Parrett (Maple & Lead).

The Writer’s Voice plans to open the annual High Plains Book Festival, which runs October 18-20, 2018, with a literary celebration of Butte, featuring Moving On, a collection of poetry from the late Ed Lahey, with special guests from around the state including Mark Gibbons, David Thomas, Aaron Parrett, Ed Kemmick, Russell Rowland, and Peter Tolton.

From a large volume of impressive nominations, the Center for the Book Advisory Committee selected the following recipients for the 2017 Montana Center for the Book Prize:

Wild Rose, Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation

Wild Rose installed mini-libraries in Birney, Ashland, Muddy, and Lame Deer and uses these libraries to distribute books for their R-Rez-Reads program, which addresses current affairs and opens lines of communication and discussion. READ MORE

Classics Behind Razor Wire, Deer Lodge

This program offers Shakespeare, classic literature, and creative writing classes in the Deer Lodge prison in the belief that offering a space for literary discussion and analysis and access to literature will encourage personal growth. READ MORE

Plant a Seed...READ!, Havre

Plant a Seed…READ! is a proactive nonprofit that supports children and families by enhancing literacy, language and social/emotional skills from birth to age 5 and is a driving force behind much of the early literacy programming in the Havre area. READ MORE

Writer’s Voice, Billings

WV was founded in 1991 and has provided hundreds of programs to assist emerging writers in their artistic and professional development, to support accomplished writers, and to challenge the traditional definition of the literary arts while enriching all sectors of the community.

32nd Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering & Western Music Rendezvous, Lewiston

The second oldest cowboy poetry gathering in the country captures and honors the unique history of the Montana Territory through cowboy poetry verse and the lyrics of western songs. READ MORE

Prizes will be awarded in person at events around the state. Congratulations to all the prize recipients!

The MCB prize recognizes programs that offer creative and wide-reaching literary programing, such as family reading groups that promote youth literacy, reading series that encourage active engagement with the literary arts, or high school workshops that support student participation in slam poetry events.