Western Writers to honor Elmore Leonard

Feb. 10, 2009 at 1:49 PM
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ALBUQUERQUE, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The Western Writers of America has announced its plans to honor author Elmore Leonard for his lifetime contribution to the genre.

Leonard, 83, wrote the novel "Hombre," as well as the short stories "Three-Ten to Yuma," "The Captives," "The Boy Who Smiled" and "The Tonto Woman."

He is to receive the Owen Wister Award for lifetime contribution to Western literature on June 20 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, during the annual convention of Western Writers of America. The WWA is a nonprofit organization founded in 1953 to promote and recognize literature of the American West.

Leonard, who lives in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., said he was surprised but thrilled to hear he'd be receiving the Owen Wister Award.

"I love the Western genre and writing them was a great way to learn to write," Leonard said in a statement.

"Elmore Leonard has had a tremendous impact on the Western and crime genres," WWA President Johnny D. Boggs said. "He has always been a gifted storyteller and never afraid to take chances. That's why his Westerns remain in print decades after they were first published and why anthologies of his short Western fiction fill bookshelves. Recognition from Western Writers of America is long overdue."

Leonard is also the author of the crime novels "Bandits," "Get Shorty" and "Tishomingo Blues."

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