2021 Inductees




Kevin J. Anderson

With more than 170 published books, 58 of which have been national or international bestsellers, Kevin Anderson is a true creative wordsmith. He has written numerous novels in the Dune, Star Wars, X-Files, and Batman/Superman universes, as well as unique steampunk fantasy novels Clockwork Angels and Clockwork Lives, written with legendary rock drummer Neil Peart. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series, the Wake the Dragon and Terra Incognita fantasy trilogies, the Saga of Shadows trilogy, and his humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. He has edited numerous anthologies, written comics and games, and the lyrics to two rock CDs. Kevin is the director of the graduate program in Publishing at Western Colorado University in Gunnison and he and his wife Rebecca Moesta are the publishers of Colorado-based WordFire Press.


Kevin does most of his writing by dictation while out hiking in the Colorado mountains. He has climbed all the Fourteeners in the state and has completed the entire Colorado Trail, and after lengthy hikes he enjoys relaxing with an IPA from one of Colorado’s many excellent craft breweries. His most recent novels are Vengewar, Dune: The Duke of Caladan (with Brian Herbert), Stake (set in Colorado Springs), Kill Zone (with Doug Beason), and Spine of the Dragon.


Books of note: Dune: The Duke of Caladan and Hidden Empire: The Saga of Seven Suns Book 1



Penny Rafferty Hamilton, Ph.D.

With over 30 years authoring articles and books, Penny Rafferty Hamilton reflects her passions–aviation, Western heritage, and women’s history and calls Granby, Colorado home. A world-record setting aviator, she currently focuses on aviation and aerospace. Recently, she authored America’s Amazing Airports, Inspiring Words for Sky and Space Women, and 101 Trailblazing Women of Air and Space. Hamilton earned numerous journalism, education, business, and aviation awards.


For more than 25 years, her “Penny the Pilot” program has been a cornerstone in many school teaching preschoolers and elementary children about the history of women in aviation. For this contribution to aviation history and preservation, the FAA Central Region bestowed on Penny its Champion of Aviation Education Award and ABC-TV in Denver recognized her with its Everyday Hero award in 2009. Encouraging women to enter STEM fields is a high priority for her, to prepare future generations for the existing challenges ahead, and above.


Penny’s ground-breaking Teaching Women to Fly Research Project findings were published in the Proceedings of the Human Resource Development International and in the International textbook, Absent Aviators: Gender Issues in Aviation. She is honored to be a a Laureate of both the Colorado Aviation and Women’s Halls of Fame.


Books of note: Arcadia Images of America Around Granby. and Absent Aviators: Gender Issues in Aviation



Justin Matott

Children’s author Justin Matott has been a storyteller all his life. His mother would ask him to tell stories and jokes to her gatherings of friends, colleagues and clubs and put him on the stage as a young boy. The animated stories he told as a kid in Fort Collins to her friends influenced the lively performances and programs where he spends a lot of time entertaining schools and conducting Creative Writing Workshops for kids.


While working in corporate management, sales and marketing for a telecommunications giant, he still found the time to write. Constantly inspired by those around him to "do something with his gift" of storytelling, he began to write with the intention to publish. Picked up by Random House after selling 5,000 copies of his self-published children’s book in three weeks, he left the Corporate world to see if he could live the dream of being an author/speaker as his vocation.


That was over twenty years ago. "If I hadn't had a wife and friends who believed in my abilities, I likely would have kept my gift to myself. But the day my dad read one of my manuscripts and said, "WOW, This is really good!" was the day I felt the freedom to let my gift loose!" Over a million copies of his “gift” have reached children’s hands.


Justin has been married to his best friend for 35 years, has two sons and has five wonderful grandchildren. The biggest joy his writing has brought him as of late is meeting many young mothers who enjoyed his books as kids and now are reading with their own kids. The other was including his grandchildren in his most recent books Dinosaurs All Mixed Up and Pooches All Mixed Up.


Books of note: Ol’ Lady Grizelda and I think My Dog Might Be a Nerd



Sandra Dallas

Denver based New York Times best-selling author Sandra Dallas is the author of 16 adult novels, four young reader novels, and 10 nonfiction books. She was dubbed “a quintessential American voice” by Jane Smiley in Vogue Magazine. Her novels with their themes of loyalty, friendship, and human dignity have been translated into a dozen foreign languages and have been optioned for films.


A journalism graduate of the University of Denver, Sandra began her writing career as a reporter with Business Week. A staff member for twenty-five years, she became its first female bureau chief. Sandra covered the Rocky Mountain region, writing about everything from penny-stock scandals to hard-rock mining, western energy development to contemporary polygamy. Many of her experiences have been incorporated into her novels.


While a reporter, she began writing the first of her nonfiction books. They include The Quilt That Walked to Golden  and Sacred Paint, a biography of artist Ned Jacob. She has reviewed books for the Denver Post since 1961.


Sandra has published sixteen novels, including Westering Women, and four young adult books, the latest Someplace to Call Home.  She is a six-time recipient of the Women Writing the West Willa Award, a three-time winner of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum’s Wrangler Award and has won the Western Writers of American Spur Award four times. Among other honors, she is the recipient of the 2014 Eleanor Gheres Award from the Denver Public Library and the 2014 Frank Waters Award from the Pikes Peak Library District.


Sandra lives in Denver and Georgetown, Colorado, with her husband, Bob. She is the mother of two daughters, Dana, a lawyer in New Orleans, and Povy, a photographer in Golden, Colorado.


Books of note:  The Persian Pickle Club and Westering Women



Carol Fenster

When major New York publishers rejected Colorado authors Carol Fenster’s pioneering work featuring gluten-free cooking strategies and how to eat healthy and happy, it didn’t stop her. In the 1990s, her health had deteriorated due to her gluten intolerance. She revised all her recipes to exclude gluten so she could eat and regain her health. From her kitchen, she realized that others needed this information. The results became the first gluten free cookbook. When no publishers would take a chance on publishing a cookbook where they deemed a buying audience was minimal, she birthed Savory Palate, LLC and independently published her book. Her first order from Amazon was in 1996 for 6 cookbooks and, believe it or not, the order came by way of a personal phone call from Amazon.


Carol has published gluten-free cookbooks for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity and the pioneer in creating cookbooks for the millions who need it. Her efforts to bring gluten-free cooking information to the millions who need it led to her induction into the invitation-only Les Dames d’ Escoffier International. She taught gluten-free cooking classes at the famed Rancho La Puerta Spa and Resort in Mexico. She developed gluten-free products for industry leader Bob’s Red Mill, trained Disney parks and resorts chefs, and appears on PBS, and the Health Network as well as many radio, newspaper, and web sites.


She is the former associate food editor at Living Without (now Gluten-Free and More) magazine, and her articles, recipes, quotes, photos, and reviews of her books appear in USA Today, Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest, Washington Post, Woman’s World, Vegetarian Times, Delicious Living, Today’s Dietitian, Living Without, Gluten-Free Living, Energy Times, Better Nutrition, Taste for Life, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, and Edible Front Range.


Books of note: 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes and Gluten-Free Cooking for Two: 125 Favorites



W. Michael Gear

Being a professional archaeologist and New York Times bestselling author with 60 novels, 2 short stories, and 82 non-fiction articles in print that have been translated into 29 languages is what brings William Michael Gear to the Hall. Earning his BA and MA in physical anthropology at Colorado State University, he transitioned to Wyoming as a field archaeologist. He is the 2020 winner of the Owen Wister Award and inductee into the Western Writers of America Hall of Fame. Over 17 million copies of his books are in print in 29 languages. His novels have been used as educational tools in grammar schools and high schools, and used as textbooks in university classes in archaeology, anthropology, and literature courses.


His writing was inspired by historical inaccuracies he encountered in reading historical fiction. "Irritated by historical inaccuracies in Western fiction, he swore he could do better. ...he read a Western novel about a trail drive.. the historical inaccuracies of the story bothered him all night. The next morning, he hammered out his first five hundred and fifty page novel. It reads wretchedly—but the historical facts are correct.


His North America’s Forgotten Past series (co-authored with Kathleen O'Neal Gear) has educated millions around the world and is the only series of books written by professional archaeologists that tackles the panorama of extraordinary native cultures that have inhabited North America over the past twenty thousand years. Gear’s educational effort have been recognized by state and regional library organizations, and the Kansas National Education Association for the Kansas State Reading Circle for Middle/Junior High School students. He's also won numerous awards from bison organizations, including the Western Bison Association's Founders Award, the Classic Producer's Award from the Dakota Territory Buffalo Association, and the FFA Pride Award for agricultural education.


Michael’s literary work has been honored by literary organizations, educational associations, and state and regional library organizations, as well as organizations dedicated to the history and future of bison. His service to other writers is demonstrated by his eight President's Awards from the Western Writers of America, and the Emmie Mygatt Award and Arizola Magnanat Awards from Wyoming Writers, Inc. All were for dedicated service to writers that inspired and helped other writers.


Books of note: Unreconciled and Flight of the Hawk: The Plains



Charlotte Hinger

Calling Colorado home for over a decade, Charlotte Hinger is a multi-published, award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction—long and short, historical, and contemporary—primarily, but not exclusively, focused on the Western experience with an emphasis on the African-American/Black experience in the historical West, primarily in the Great Plains region. Her most recent nonfiction book is Post-Reconstruction Politics and Racial Justice in Western Kansas. The award-winning Lottie Albright series was inspired by a childhood listening to the natural born liars in her small community of Lone Elm, Kansas, and the mesmerizing "rest of the stories" whispered behind closed doors when she edited over 500 family submissions for county history books.


She has published several mystery short stories. Come Spring won the Western Writers of America Medicine Pipe Award. Convinced that mystery writing, and historical investigation go hand to hand, her most recent historical novel is The Healer's Daughter.


Hinger’s works teach, illuminate, and entertain, becoming a beacon to readers and other writers alike. The experiences and histories of African-American/Black communities and individuals who lived, worked, and contributed their skills and talents are revealed through her non-fiction and fictional works.


Books of note: The Healer's Daughter and Fractured Families



Manuel Ramos

Colorado native Manuel Ramos was among the first Latinos to publish in the mystery genre and was given the title “the Godfather of Chicano Noir” by the esteemed writer Luis Alberto Urrea. His books are set in the community in which he lives – Denver’s Northside, aka Highlands – and in rural Colorado. As the Los Angeles Times observed: “He is known as a crime writer, but that doesn’t quite capture what he does.  His books are love stories, political dramas, mordant cautionary tales [with] characters who are Latino, black and white, artists, professionals, and laborers … described in staccato chapters like a catchy corrido.”  Manuel is the author of eleven novels and one short story collection.


His writing has received numerous awards and recognition including the Colorado Book Award (twice) and the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from the University of California at Irvine. He’s been a finalist for the prestigious Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America and the Shamus Award  from the Private Eye Writers of America.


Books of note: My Bad: A Mile High Noir and Angels in the Wind



Patricia Raybon

Lifelong Colorado resident Patricia Raybon is an award-winning author, essayist, and novelist who writes top-rated books at the daring intersection of faith and race.


Her notable books include My First White Friend, her racial forgiveness memoir, which won the Christopher Award; I Told the Mountain to Move, her prayer memoir on her struggle to learn to pray, a Book of the Year Finalist in Christianity Today Magazine’s 2006 annual writing contest, and Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace, written with her younger daughter, educator Alana Raybon.


Her first fiction is a 1920s murder mystery about a prim, clever, Black female theologian—a fan of Sherlock Holmes—solving murder and crime in Colorado’s dangerous Klan era. A new series, its debut title, All That Is Secret, is set to release Oct. 5, 2021, from Tyndale House.


Patricia’s essays on faith and race have been published in the New York Times magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, USA Weekend, Guideposts, In Touch magazine (In Touch Ministries), Christianity Today, the Washington Post’s Acts of Faith and aired on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition.


Patricia lives with her husband Dan, a retired educator. They love movies, popcorn, gardening, college basketball and biking with their beloved family, including two grown daughters, a son-in-law, five grandchildren and their “grand dog” Max.


Books of note: My First White Friend: Confessions on Race, Love and Forgiveness and All That Is Secret: An Annalee Spain Mystery



Richard "Dick" Weissman

As one of the most productive and important authors writing about American roots music and the music business, Dick Weissman's Music Business: Career Opportunities & Self Defense has sold over 100,000 copies and is used in many college music programs. His work was among the earliest books written about the music business. It is also the first book written from a musician’s point of view, rather than that of a lawyer or music business executive. He was inducted into the Colorado Music hall of Fame, reflecting his contributions as an author, college professor, composer, and performer.


Dick’s books about the music business have been in widespread use at colleges for many years. Talkin ‘Bout A Revolution is one of the first books to provide a careful analysis of the interactions between American music and politics in a variety of musical idioms. Other published work includes: Creating Melodies, The Folk Music Sourcebook, Making A Living In Your Local Music Market, Which Side Are You On?, The Music Never Stops, The Folk Music of the United States and Canada, and Blues The Basics. His next book will deliver an analysis of black and white musical interactions in a variety of musical genres.


Books of note: Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution: Music and Social Change in America and Understanding the Music Business



Flint Whitlock

Colorado called to Flint Whitlock in the 70s when he was an advertising expert and creative director. Eventually, he landed in Denver in 1975. Born in Illinois, his father was a WWII veteran of the 10th Mountain Division—hence the 10th being the subject of his first book. His Army career took him to West Germany and South Vietnam. His final year in service in 1970 landed him at Fort Carson.


With book number three, he became a full-time author and military historian. He’s had over 50 magazine articles and 14 books published thus far with several of them winning awards (no Pulitzer or Booker Prizes yet, however).


He’s been the Editor of the WWII Quarterly magazine since 2010. The Smithsonian, National Geographic, Colorado National Guard, and other groups is honored to have him as a battlefield tour guide. Flint has appeared in several television documentaries on the History Channel, "War Stories with Oliver North," and Netflix. With his sea legs, he’s a history lecturer on Viking sea cruise line..


Active in Colorado, he’s a member of the board of directors (and designer of exhibits) at the Broomfield Veterans Museum. Married to Dr. Mary Ann Watson, a clinical psychologist and former professor at MSU Denver, they have three grown children.


Books of note:  Soldiers on Skis: A Pictorial Memoir of the 10th Mountain Division and The Beasts of Buchenwald: Karl & Ilse Koch, Human-Skin Lampshades, and The War-Crimes Trial of the Century



“Avi” Edward Wortis

Schools throughout Colorado welcome the creative mind and the dynamic child stories of Avi Wortis (Edward Irving Wortis). Avi is the author of more than eighty books for children and young adults, including the 2003 Newbery medal winner Crispin: The Cross of Lead. He has won two Newbery Honors and many other awards for his fiction. He lives with his family in Denver, Colorado.


Avi struggled in school due to his dysgraphia. He has amassed a significant body of work over the last 50 years. His books have captivated children’s imaginations, creating hungry readers who still hunger for his books as adults. He has given context to historical times, created magical places, and inspired kindness and hope through the stories he tells.


Awards and Citations include the Newbery Honor for: True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth. He received the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards for True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Poppy and Nothing But the Truth. The Scott O’Dell Historical Fiction Award was received for The Fighting Ground; the Christopher Award for Encounter at Easton; the Anne Zarrow Award and Boston Public Library for Literary Light; the ALA Notable Books recognition for The Barn, Crispin at the Edge of the World, The Fighting Ground, Nothing But the Truth, Poppy, Silent Movie, Who Was That Masked Man Anyway?; and the 2012 Denver Academy Reach for the Stars Award Honoree.


His partnership with Denver Academy has helped him to research how best to entertain children with his stories. Giving them a glimpse into the writing process and a chance to voice their opinions on a storyline is a magical opportunity.


Books of note: Crispin and Christmas Rat




Robert Heinlein - July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988

Calling Colorado Springs home in 1949, Robert Heinlein’s personally designed house was featured in Popular Mechanics. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was among the first to emphasize scientific accuracy in his fiction and became a pioneer of the subgenre of hard science fiction. He was an American science-fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and Naval officer creating 32 published novels, 59 short stories, and 16 collections during his life. Four films, two television series, several episodes of a radio series, and a board game have been derived directly from his work. Heinlein edited an anthology of other writers' Science Fiction short stories.


WWII, the atomic bombings in Japan, and the Cold War, galvanized Heinlein's determination to make a difference with his writing. He published four influential short stories for The Saturday Evening Post magazine, including The Green Hills of Earth, which made him the first science fiction writer to break out of the "pulp ghetto". In 1950, the movie Destination Moon—the documentary-like film for which he had written the story and scenario, co-written the script, and invented many of the effects—won an Academy Award for special effects. Understanding that the YA market devoured fantasy and sci-fi, he embarked on a series of juvenile novels for the Charles Scribner's Sons publishing company that went from 1947 through 1959, at the rate of one book each autumn, in time for Christmas presents to teenagers.


Books of note: Stranger in a Strange Land, The Star Beast and Starship Troopers



James Michener - February 3, 1907 – October 16, 1997

The James Michener Library is home to Pulitzer Prize winning author James Michener papers at the University of Northern Colorado. The Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin provides three-year Michener Fellowships in fiction, poetry, playwriting, and screenwriting.


Michener is the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Hawaii, Alaska, Chesapeake, Centennial, Texas, Caribbean, and Caravans, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Michener served on the advisory council to NASA and the International Broadcast Board, which oversees the Voice of America.


With 75 million copies of his books in the hands of readers, and mega millions watching the adaptation of his books to Broadway, major screen films and television, his in-depth research on locations and subjects has enlivened imaginations and knowledge. His first book was adapted as the popular Broadway musical South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and later as eponymous feature films in 1958 and 2001.


Among dozens of awards and honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and an award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities for his commitment to art in America.


Books of note: Centennial and Tales of the South Pacific



John Edward Williams - August 29, 1922 – March 3, 1994

Born and raised in Texas, John Edward Williams taught at the University of Denver from 1955 until his retirement in 1985. During that time, he published his best-known novels: Butcher's Crossing (1960), Stoner (1965), and Augustus (1972).


Although he gained a small, devoted following during his lifetime and won the 1973 National Book Award for Augustus (sharing the prize with John Barth), his fame has been largely posthumous, fueled by the 2011 French translation of Stoner and widening recognition, particularly in the UK and Europe.


Of the novels, only Butcher’s Crossing is set in Colorado. The story follows Will Andrews, a young Harvard student who in 1873 heads west in search of himself. Instead of finding an idealized American frontier, Andrews encounters the slaughter of buffalo and the ruthless transformation of nature into a commodity. The novel has been called “the perfect anti-western.”


Books of Note: Butcher’s Crossing and Augustus



Hannah Marie Wormington - September 5, 1914 – May 31, 1994

H. Marie Wormington is considered one the nation's top anthropologists, a field dominated by men in the 21st Century but even more so during her lifetime (1914-1994). She was the first female archaeologist to be elected president of the Society for American Archaeology and was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1970. In 1983, the Society of American Archaeology awarded her the Distinguished Service Award. She was a consummate researcher and author of ancient people of the United States, especially those who once resided in what is now Colorado.


Although she worked for decades in a museum setting and at on-site excavations, it was her writing of her on-site research and excavations that brought relatively unknown research and methodology to the public. Readers found her research findings to be compelling and riveting. Her books Ancient Man in North America and Prehistoric Indians of the Southwest are classics.


In 1936, she worked for the Colorado Museum of Natural History (presently Denver Museum of Nature and Science). Between 1935 and 1963, she actively participated in and/or led significant site excavations in France, Colorado, Utah, Mexico, Iowa, Canada, and Alaska. After working at the museum until 1968, she became a popular visiting professor and lecturer at several universities.


Her books and writings include Differentiation of Yuma Points , A Comparison of Folsom and Yuma Flaking Techniques, Ancient Man in North America, The Prehistoric Indians of the Southwest, A Reappraisal of the Fremont Culture, Archaeological Investigations of the Uncompahgre Plateau, A Survey of Early American Prehistory, An Introduction to the Archaeology of Alberta, Canada, Pleistocene Studies in Southern Nevada, and Archaeology of the Late and Post-Pliocene from a New World Perspective.


Books of note: The Prehistoric Indians of the Southwest and Ancient Man in North America


Authors' Hall of Fame