Deanne Stillman, a member of the core faculty at UCR’s Palm Desert Low-Residency MFA Creative Writing program, is a finalist for the 2018 Ohioana Book Awards.
The awards, first given in 1942, are the second-oldest state literary prizes in the nation and honor outstanding works by authors from Ohio. Stillman’s work of narrative nonfiction, “Blood Brothers: The Story of the Strange Friendship Between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill,” is one of five finalists in this year’s nonfiction category.
Stillman’s book, which chronicles the life and alliance of these two icons of the American West, was published in October 2017 and has received numerous positive reviews. A starred review from Kirkus, which denotes books of exceptional merit and is one of the publishing industry’s most revered designations, states that “Stillman gives an account of the tragic murder of Sitting Bull that’s as good as any in the literature.” It goes on to describe “Blood Brothers” as “thoughtful and thoroughly well-told — just the right treatment for a subject about which many books have been written before, few so successfully.”
“Blood Brothers” has also been included in several “best of” and “must read” lists, including those published by The Millions, True West Magazine, The OC Register, Barnes & Noble, High Country News, and Bookish.
Stillman’s previous books include “Twentynine Palms,” “Mustang,” and “Desert Reckoning.” Much of her nonfiction and journalism centers on the West, the role of place and the natural world, and the violence Americans have wrought against people, native animals, and the land.
“Some people say that the personal is political.” Stillman said. “For me, the personal is geographic.”
With the encouragement she received from her late parents and strong ties to her native Ohio, “Blood Brothers” being a finalist for the Ohioana Award is especially meaningful.
“Annie Oakley, a character in ‘Blood Brothers,’ was from Ohio. Her aim was true,” Stillman said. “My mother was from Ohio too, and she was kind of a sure-shot herself. She passed away this year. For a long time, knowing that her health was faltering and that I often miss deadlines, she kept telling me to turn in this book on time, so she could see it. I did, and she did. Thanks, Mom, for always helping me hit my marks.”
The winners of the 2018 Ohioana Awards will be announced July 12 and presented at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Oct. 18. For more information about the awards, visit the Ohioana Library Association.