Congratulations to our faculty Ramona Ausubel, Camille Dungy, and Vauhini Vara and the College of Liberal Art’s Director of Faculty Recognition Ann Claycomb for being named finalists for this year’s Colorado Book Awards!

Presented by Colorado Humanities and Colorado Center for the Book, the awards annually celebrate the accomplishments of Colorado’s outstanding authors, editors, illustrators, and photographers. Volunteer selectors and judges from across Colorado read submissions to choose finalists and winners.

The 2024 Colorado Book Awards will be presented on Friday, June 21, 2024 at the Tivoli Turnhalle theater at Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Auraria campus. See the full list of finalists here.

Good luck to our finalists and thank you for representing our department and college so well!

Learn more about our finalists’ books:


2024 Colorado Book Awards Novel Finalists

The Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel (novel)

The Last Animal takes readers on a wild, entertaining, and refreshingly different kind of journey, one that explores the possibilities and perils of the human imagination on a changing planet, what it’s like to be a woman in a field dominated by men, and how a wondrous discovery can best be enjoyed with family. Even teenagers.

The Novel Selection Committee wrote: “Inventive and surreal, this novel is about loss on a personal and global scale.”




2024 Colorado Book Awards Creative Nonfition Finalists

Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden by Camille Dungy (creative nonfiction)

In Soil, poet and scholar Camille T. Dungy recounts the seven-year odyssey to diversify her garden in the predominantly white community of Fort Collins, Colorado. When she moved there in 2013 with her husband and daughter, the community held restrictions about what residents could and could not plant in their gardens. In resistance to the homogenous policies that limited the possibility and wonder that grows from the earth, Dungy employs the various plants, herbs, vegetables, and flowers she grows in her garden as metaphor and treatise for how homogeneity threatens the future of our planet, and why cultivating diverse and intersectional language in our national discourse about the environment is the best means of protecting it.

The Creative Nonfiction Selection Committee wrote: “Soil is a book that will take root in your mind and inspire you to cultivate change, one wild seed at a time.”


2024 Colorado Book Awards Short Story Finalists

This Is Salvaged by Vauhini Vara (short story collection)

Pushing intimacy to its limits in prose of unearthly beauty, Vauhini Vara’s This Is Salvaged explores the nature of being a child, parent, friend, sibling, neighbor, or lover, and the relationships between self and others. A young girl reads the encyclopedia to her elderly neighbor, who is descending into dementia. A pair of teenagers seek intimacy as phone-sex operators. A competitive sibling tries to rise above the drunken mess of her own life to become a loving aunt. One sister consumes the ashes of another. And, in the title story, an experimental artist takes on his most ambitious project yet: constructing a life-size ark according to the Bible’s specifications. In a world defined by estrangement, where is communion to be found? The characters in This Is Salvaged, unmoored in turbulence, are searching fervently for meaning, through one another.

The Short Story Selection Committee wrote: “This emotional collection stirs up contemplation and compassion in equal measure.”


Silenced by Ann Claycomb (sci-fi & fantasy)

Four women. Four enchantments. One man. But he is no handsome prince, and this is no sugar-sweet fairy tale. Jo, Abony, Ranjani, and Maia all have something in common: they have each been cursed by the CEO of their workplace after he abused his power to prey on them. He wants them silent and uses his sinister dark magic to keep them quiet about what he did. But Jo, Abony, Ranjani and Maia are not fairy-tale princesses waiting to be rescued. They are fierce, angry women with a bond forged in pain, and they’re about to discover that they have power of their own.In this sharply written, bitingly relevant modern fable, the magic is dark and damaging, and the women are determined to rescue themselves.
The Science Fiction & Fantasy Selection Committee wrote: “An inventive take on fairy-tale curses and the ‘Me too’ era.”