Thirty-six entries submitted by 27 New Mexico entrants have placed in the national contest.

They’ll find out just where they placed when the awards are presented on June 22 at the NFPW Conference in St. Louis.  Each line represents a placement in the national contest. 
  • May 6 is the deadline to apply for First-Timer’s grant from the NFPW Education Fund 
  • May 10 is the deadline to send NFPW photos for the awards slide show
  • May 20 is the last day to get the early-bird discount on conference registration.
  • Photos, phonetically spelled names, and questions can be sent to me at
Entrant First Name
Entrant Last Name
Mary Lou
The entrants in yellow above have co-entrants: 
Anthony Moreno’s co-entrant is Evelyn Sandoval –, an NFPW member
Jim Tritten has two co-entrants: NFPW member Joe Badal and Dan Wetmore, who NFPW was unable to find in its membership database. Co-entrants must be NFPW members to be recognized  with an NFPW award.

New Mexico Press Women Celebrates 75th Anniversary banquet with speech by George RR Martin

By Denise Tessier

“A Time of Dire Need for Courageous Communicators”

NMPW President Sherri Burr awards Courageous Communicator Award to George RR Martin

George R.R. Martin has received and been nominated for numerous awards – the Nebula, the Locus, the Bram Stoker, the Hugo and more; film versions of his novels have won Emmys. But the author who has sold more than 100 million books says the award he received last month from New Mexico Press Women – the “Courageous Communicator” – really made him pause and reflect.

“We are in a time of dire need for Courageous Communicators,” he told those at NMPW’s 75th anniversary conference on March 16. And he wondered aloud, was he truly among the courageous?

During a generously long and thoughtful keynote speech at the NMPW awards banquet, he pondered this question after grimly assessing the pulse of free speech: “We used to have it here in the United States. I think we may be living in one of those dark periods.” And he warned his audience at the outset: “This is not a safe space. This is not a safe speech. I don’t like being told what words to use.”

He took listeners on a historical tour of banned speech, of truth and lies, quoting along the way some of his “heroes,” like George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, Oscar Wilde, and Voltaire. He quoted William Butler Yeats’ The Second Coming:

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

In 1644, John Milton urged England’s Parliament to let truth and falsehood “grapple in a free and open encounter,” believing that “truth will surely prevail.” “He was a godly man,” Martin said of Milton, one who felt that “to be truly moral, we must be free to grapple with immorality.” In 1667, Milton’s Paradise Lost was “promptly banned.”

Literature, art, journalism and democracy itself are in peril, Martin warned. He noted that 41 states have or are considering banning books, with so-called morality groups turning in lists of dozens of deemed offenders, including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Harper Lee novel that consistently tops the list of educators, librarians and regular citizens as one of America’s best.

Martin said he has come to expect book banning and censorship from the right, but to have it come now from the “woke” left, he said, “appalls me.”

Joe McCarthy’s “red scare” inquisitions in the early 1940s, he noted, ended many careers, including that of the highest-paid writer in Hollywood, Dalton Trambo. Trambo, whose credits include Spartacus, Roman Holiday and Johnny Got His Gun, summarized that period in what is considered a treatise on free speech and thought, Time of the Toad. Censorship became a part of the process in both film and TV with the advent of “sensitivity readers” (censors), Martin said.

“People are afraid now, including me,” Martin said. “Being named a Courageous Communicator makes me wonder if I’ve done enough.” Martin then recognized that Meow Wolf, the wildly popular immersive art experience in which he invested millions, had recently canceled the sold-out appearance of Jewish-American singer Matisyahu after the venue was inundated with threats of protest from pro-Palestinian groups the day of the show. (That cancellation, and subsequent cancellation in Santa Fe of a talk by the Israeli general counsul have since sparked a series of letters, columns and a pro-freedom of speech editorial in the Santa Fe New Mexican.)

Unfamiliar with this entertainer, Martin said looked to the internet and still wasn’t sure what to make of Matisyahu’s art – based on the Chicago Tribune’s performance description of a “soul-shaking brand of dancehall reggae . . .that captures both the jam band vibe of Phish and the skapunk of Sublime.” Martin was certain, however, of how he felt about the cancellation.

“Those people who take credit (for the cancellation) and are proud are wrong,” he said simply.

He noted that another of his investments, the Jean Cocteau theater in Santa Fe, was among the few brave enough to screen “The Interview” after threats from its satirical target, Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. At the NMPW banquet, Martin’s Beastly Books had a table that sold not only his works, but banned books, including The Handmaid’s Tale and two James Bond books by Ian Fleming.

Martin lauded the bravery of Alexei Navalny and quoted British writer Beatrice Hall, who in her 1906 biography The Friends of Voltaire, wrote: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” as an illustration of Voltaire’s beliefs.

Who gets to decide what is hate speech? Martin asked. And “the Steal,” he noted, “is a lie that refuses to die.”

We have to “grit our teeth and learn to live with hate and falsehoods,” Martin concluded. As for being a Courageous Communicator,  “I will try to do better in the future. I promise.

“All of us need to do better.”

Authors Guild is Sponsoring NMPW’s 75th Anniversary Conference

George RR Martin

The Venerable Authors Guild, which has been “supporting working writers and protecting authors’ rights since 1912,” is co-sponsoring New Mexico Press Women’s 75th Anniversary Conference at the Isleta Resort, scheduled for March 15-16, 2024. Conferences | New Mexico Press Women

There are several special connections between the Guild and our organization this year. George RR Martin, our banquet keynote speaker, is a named plaintiff in the Guild’s lawsuit over AI using authors’ work to train their computer software without permission. The Authors Guild, John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, David Baldacci, George R.R. Martin, and 13 Other Authors File Class-Action Suit Against OpenAI – The Authors Guild
Hampton Sides, who will be our featured guest for an interview on Saturday, March 16, is a member of the Guild’s Advisory Council. Authors Guild Council – The Authors Guild
NMPW President Sherri Burr, has been a member of the Authors Guild Foundation Board of Directors since 2020. Marie Arana, Sherri Burr, and Richard T. Ford Join Authors Guild Foundation Board – The Authors Guild Here’s a link to how to join. Membership – The Authors Guild

George RR Martin to keynote NMPW’s 75th Anniversary Banquet

While you may know that George RR Martin is the author of the best-selling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” that began with A Game of Thrones, which became an award-winning television series by the same name, did you know any of the following facts about him?

1. Martin received a B.S. in Journalism (summa cum laude) in 1970, a M.S. in Journalism in 1971, and a Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2021 from Northwestern University.

2. Martin signed on as a story editor for Twilight Zone at CBS Television in 1986, and as producer and writer for the 1987 Beauty and The Beast.

3. In 2022, Martin became the Executive Producer of AMC’s Dark Winds.

4. Martin’s charity work includes supporting authors through scholarships to Clarion West, Odyssey Writing Workshop, and the Taos Tool Box, as well as the establishment of the George R. R. Martin Chair in Storytelling at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern.

5. Martin is the proud owner of Beastly Books and Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, NM.

Martin is contemplating an interesting talk where he will weave in his thoughts about Banned Books and the protection of the First Amendment. His bookstore, Beastly Books, will be on hand at the Conference Banquet from 5:30 – 8:30 to sell not only his signed books but also many banned books. The Banquet is sold out and registrations are closed.