The 2015 Montana Book Award winner is The Lentil Underground by Liz Carlisle, published by Gotham Books. This annual award recognizes literary and/or artistic excellence in a book that was written or illustrated by someone who lives in Montana, is set in Montana, or deals with Montana themes or issues. Presentations and a reception with the winning authors will take place on April 6 during the Montana Library Association Conference in Missoula.
Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America tells the inspiring story of David Oien and other Montana organic farmers who work with heirloom seeds and biologically diverse farm systems. Under the brand Timeless Natural Food, their unique business movement has grown into a million-dollar enterprise.
Four honor books were also chosen by the 2015 Montana Book Award Committee:
- Black River by S.M. Hulse, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. A former prison guard and talented fiddler returns to his Montana hometown to bury his wife and confront the inmate who, 20 years ago, held him hostage during a prison riot.
- Crossing the Plains with Bruno by Annick Smith, published by Trinity University Press. Smith weaves together a memoir of travel, western history, family history, human love and animal love centering around a two-week road trip across the Great Plains with her chocolate lab, Bruno.
- Hawthorn: The Tree that has Nourished, Healed, and Inspired through the Ages by Bill Vaughn, published by Yale University Press. As entertaining as it is illuminating, Vaughan’s book examines the little-recognized political, cultural, and natural history of this ancient spiky plant.
- Tunnel Vision by Susan Adrain, published by St. Martins/Griffin. Romance and action crash together when a teenage boy with incredible powers is brought to the attention of the government in this young-adult novel.
In addition, the late Ivan Doig will be remembered and honored for his body of Montana writing during this year’s reception and presentations.
The Montana Book Award was founded by the Friends of the Missoula Public Library in 2001, with winners selected by a committee of individuals representing areas throughout Montana. Members of the 2015 Montana Book Award committee included: Dale Alger, Roundup; Sean Anderson, Kalispell; Mareta Brusett, Jordan; Desiree Funston, Missoula; Stef Johnson, Butte: Tamara Miller, Bozeman; Jessie Pate, Helena: and Stacy Walenter, Troy.