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PEN Honors the Best of the West's Writers

Awards: Group cites work ranging from a coming-of-age memoir to a collection of short stories for children.

May 28, 1999

PEN Center USA West has announced the winners of its 1999 Literary Awards competition, which honors writers living in the Western states. The winners cover a diverse range of writing, from stories about teen gangs to the screenplay for "The Opposite of Sex," the story of a bad-to-the-bone teen queen played by Christina Ricci.

Each winner will receive $1,000 and be honored at a dinner and awards ceremony in October.

They are:

* Daniel Woodrell, "Tomato Red" (Henry Holt), the story of misfit rednecks trying to escape the Ozarks, for fiction.

* Leslie Brody, "Red Star Sister" (Hungry Mind Press), a coming-of-age memoir set amid the radical counterculture in the late '60s and early '70s, creative nonfiction.

* Elliott West, "The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, and the Rush to Colorado" (University Press of Kansas), which details the wrenching changes and conflicts of the Gold Rush, for research nonfiction.

* B.H. Fairchild, "The Art of the Lathe" (Alice James Books), which celebrates work and art, for poetry.

* Gary Soto, "Petty Crimes" (Harcourt Brace), a collection of short stories for readers ages 9 to 12 that portray the lives of Latino teens grappling with poverty, gangs and homelessness, for children's literature.

* Carol Masciola, "Mr. Maxwell's Baby" (the Orange County Register), which documents the turn a 76-year-old man's life takes when his wife dies and he is left to raise his daughter's infant son, for journalism.

* Julie Hebert, "The Knee Desires the Dirt" (Women's Project and Productions), a generational drama set in Louisiana, for drama.

* Nicholas Meyer, "The Informant" (Showtime), the story of an IRA terrorist, for teleplay.

* Don Roos, "The Opposite of Sex" (Sony Pictures), the story of a teen who gets pregnant by her gay half-brother's lover, for screenplay.

* Leslie Fiedler for his body of work in the criticism category.

PEN West is part of an international organization of professional writers dedicated to building a literary community and protecting the rights of writers around the world.

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