The Hillerman Prize

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The Hillerman Prize is a unique award in the world of books, which began in 2007.

It was named after Tony Hillerman. Tony, a mystery author who would write novels set in the American Southwest, was most well-known for his Leaphorn & Chee series of novels, which his wife, Anne Hillerman, continued on with after his passing.

What is notable about the Hillerman Prize is the winner of the award is for an unpublished author who has written their first mystery novel and it is based in the Southwest of the United States. Quite the set criteria.

While initially planned as an annual award, there have been numerous years where no Hillerman Prize was awarded to any potential authors.

It is also common for the book that has won the prize not to receive published status for quite a few years.

Here are all the past winners of the Hillerman Prize:

Hillerman Prize Winners

2007Best First MysteryChristine BarberThe Replacement ChildWon
2008Best First MysteryRoy ChaneyThe Ragged End of NowhereWon
2010Best First MysteryTricia FieldsThe TerritoryWon
2011Best First MysteryAndrew HuntCity of SaintsWon
2013Best First MysteryC.B. McKenzieBad CountryWon
2015Best First MysteryKevin WolfThe HomeplaceWon
2017Best First MysteryCarol PotenzaHearts of the MissingWon
2019Best First MysterySamantha Jayne AllenPay Dirt RoadWon
2020Best First MysteryChristina EstesOff the AirWon

Over the years, the Hillerman Prize has helped bring attention to some great new voices in mystery writing. Winning this award means you’ve written a story that not only keeps readers guessing but also transports them to another place, making them feel like they’re right there in the story.

Dilys Awards F.A.Q.

Why is there no awards for 2009, 2011, 2012, or numerous other years?

Although it appeared the Hillerman Prize was intended to be an annual award, it ended up missing a few years here and there, mostly the odd years

Who is eligible to enter and win the Hillerman Prize?

Any unpublished author who has written a mystery novel based in the American Southwest.

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