Mare Pearl and Sue Boggio have won the 2019 Zia Book Award for their book Long Night Moon. The book is the third in a trilogy that explores the lives of two extended northern New Mexico families in a fictional town. The other books in this series Sun and Shadow and a Growing Season are available at booksellers and online. Pearl and Boggio worked together at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center before beginning their literary journey.
Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl grew up together in West Des Moines, Iowa, where they began writing stories together at the age of ten. Both are retired after long careers in health care at the University of New Mexico. Boggio lives in Albuquerque, while Pearl resides in Bosque Farms.
Finalists for the Zia Book award this year include Anne Hillerman, with Cave of Bones, an exciting mystery that follows the adventures Navajo detectives Bernadette Manuelito and Jim Chee with help from their retired legendary college Joe Leaphorn. Hillerman is a long-time member of New Mexico Press Women, and the daughter of Tony Hillerman.
After spending many years as an editor and reporter with the Albuquerque Journal and The New Mexico in Santa Fe and as a nonfiction author, Anne Hillerman published her first novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter, in 2013. A New York Times bestselling author, Anne belongs to many writers’ organizations and served on the board of Western Writers of America. In 2018, she was named favorite local author in the Albuquerque Journal’s Readers’ Choice Awards. She has lived and worked in Santa Fe for many years, with frequent trips to the Navajo Nation
Melody Groves was also a finalist with her book, She Was Sheriff, the adventures of a women wanted to get married and have kids, but who became the chief law enforcer in a northern California community just as gold is discovered. Groves says this is a work of fiction with a female character so strong she sat on Groves shoulder demanding to have her story told.
Melody was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a graduate of New Mexico State University (B.S. Education), and she is also a graduate of the University of New Mexico (M.A. Education). Melody taught in Albuquerque until leaving the classroom to become a full-time freelance writer. A deep love of anything cowboy and Old West creates a fertile playground for her imagination.
Christine Engla Eber
The fourth finalist was Christine Engla Eber’s novel, When a Woman Rises. In When a Woman Rises, a Chiapas woman, Magdalena, tells her life story and the story of a friend who has disappeared to her daughter Veronica. He story affirms that when a woman rises—no man is left behind, and a community is nourished.
In 1987, Christine Engla Eber lived for a year with a family in San Pedro Chenalhó, doing fieldwork for her PhD in Anthropology. She shared daily life with women and their families, witnessing the difficulties they faced. It changed her life. After all these years, she continues visiting with her friends in San Pedro Chenalhó, working with weaving and fabric collectives; and she has created a non-profit Weaving Justice to sell their work in the U.S. Now, as a respected anthropologist, she writes of their communities. She is the recipient of the 17th Annual Governor’s Award for outstanding New Mexico women. Christine and her husband live in Las Cruces, NM.
The 2019 Zia Book Award was announced on April 27 at the annual conference of New Mexico Press Women.
Zia Award finalists from left: Zia Award winner Mare Pearl, Anne Hillerman, Melody Goves and Zia Award Chair Natasha Cuylear.
The Zia Book Award is given by New Mexico Press Women to women writers living in New Mexico in one of three categories: children’s literature, non-fiction and fiction. To accommodate this schedule, a book published in the last three years is eligible. The award this year was for fiction. Awards for children’s literature will be presented in 2020. Judges are independent of affiliation with NMPW.