The stage at the 2023 Colorado Books Awards on Saturday evening at the Penrose House in Colorado Springs. (Kevin Simpson, The Colorado Sun)

Sixteen authors, illustrators and editors took center stage at the 2023 Colorado Book Awards on Saturday, winning top honors in a celebration of literature at the historic Penrose House in Colorado Springs.

Among the winners were “Denver Noir,” an anthology of location-based short stories by a wide variety of authors edited by Cynthia Swanson, who also wrote one of the pieces; “Tell Me Everything,” Erika Krouse’s creative nonfiction account of a sexual assault investigation; “Bratwurst Haven,” Rachel King’s literary fiction winner for a collection of interconnected short stories; and “Conscious Designs,” the winner for science fiction/fantasy by Nathanial White.

The awards added a Romance category this year, won by Christina Holbrook for  “All the Flowers of the Mountain.”

 The Colorado Sun is a sponsor of the annual awards, presented by Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book. The Sun’s weekly literary feature, SunLit, already has published excerpts and author interviews from three category winners and eight of the finalists, with more to come in the months ahead. 

Here’s the complete list of winners, with the ones previously featured in SunLit linked to their excerpts.


“Denver Noir”

Cynthia Swanson, editor


“The Earth Is All That Lasts”

Mark Lee Gardner

Children’s Literature

“Swim, Jim!”

Kaz Windness

Creative Nonfiction

“Tell Me Everything”

Erika Krouse

General Fiction

“The Immortal King Rao”

Vauhini Vara

General Nonfiction

“Visual Thinking”

Temple Grandin

Historical Fiction

“Little Souls”

Sandra Dallas

Juvenile Literature

“Totality! An Eclipse Guide In Rhyme and Science”

Jeffrey Bennett

Literary Fiction

“Bratwurst Haven”

Rachel King


“Aunt Dimity and the Enchanted Cottage”

Nancy Atherton


“Vibrant Interiors”

Andrea Monath Schumacher



Katherine Indermaur


“All the Flowers of the Mountain”

Christina Holbrook

Science Fiction/Fantasy

“Conscious Designs”

Nathanial White


“The Wrong Woman”

Leanne Kale Sparks

Young Adult Literature

“Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves”

Meg Long

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