City of Saints, by Andrew Hunt, has been named the winner of the 2011 Tony Hillerman Prize for best first mystery novel. Hunt is a Utah native and a professor of history at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. This announcement was made during last weekend’s Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A press release from publisher Minotaur Books, one of the sponsors of the Hillerman Prize, notes that Hunt’s “areas of study include post-1945 U.S. History, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and the American West. He is the author of two works of non-fiction, The Turning: A History of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and David Dellinger: The Life and Times of a Nonviolent Revolutionary, co-author of The 1980s: A Social History, and has written reviews for The Globe & Mail and The National Post.”
The Tony Hillerman Prize, named of course after the late New Mexico author and creator of the Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee mysteries, is given out annually to “the best debut mystery set in the [American] Southwest.” Previous recipients have included Tricia Fields’ The Territory, Roy Chaney’s The Ragged End of Nowhere, and Christine Barber’s The Replacement Child.
As part of his prize, Hunt will be given a contract for publication with St. Martin’s Press and a $10,000 advance.
If you’d like to submit a novel for the 2012 Hillerman Prize, do so by June 1 of next year. Rules and guidelines are available here.