As part of the nationwide search for America's best-loved novel on the Great American Read (an effort sponsored by PBS), a panel of seven literary experts set out to determine Montana's own best-loved novel.
The volunteer judges independently identified their top 25 works of fiction, with the following guidelines: the author or book’s content needed to have firm connections to Montana.
Though the scope was limited to full-length works of fiction, exceptions to this, such as Ivan Doig’s This House of Sky (memoir) and Jim Harrison’s Legends of the Fall (novella), qualified because they were independently selected by the majority of the judges.
In all, 31 books were named as potentials for Montana’s best-loved novel. Though the narrowing process was tough, the judges’ selections were compiled into the top 20 list of books.
The final list features books published within an 80 year time span, including stunning debuts and heartfelt finales from established and emerging authors. Classics, like James Welch’s “Fools Crow” are featured alongside contemporary contributions such as Emily Danforth’s, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.”
The Great Montana Read is an exciting collaboration, encouraging conversation and celebration around the Treasure State’s rich literary tradition. The final list appears below.
Stay tuned for futher information about how you can join the conversation and cast your vote!
What Should Be Montana's Best-Loved Novel?
The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie
Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West
Canada by Richard Ford
English Creek by Ivan Doig
Fools Crow by James Welch
Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig
The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley
Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison
Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth
Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling
The Ploughman by Kim Zupan
A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean
The Surrounded by D’Arcy McNickle
This House of Sky by Ivan Doig
Winter in the Blood by James Welch
Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris