Sudler Award

History Colorado Announces the 17th Biennial Barbara Sudler Award

For the best work of nonfiction or fiction on a western American subject by a woman author. The award carries a cash prize of $500 for the author and certificates for both author and publisher. 

Publishers are invited to submit up to two titles published between January 1st, 2022, and December 31, 2023, for consideration by the Sudler Award screening committee. Books may be geared to either an academic or general interest audience, and there is no fee for entries. 

Of the entries submitted, two works will be selected for final review by a panel of outside judges. If your title is selected for final review, we will request two additional copies.

The deadline for submission of works to be considered is 5:00 p.m., April 21st, 2024. History Colorado cannot return books that have been submitted, nor can it accept books for consideration without the publisher’s endorsement. Please submit TWO copies of each book. 

Please send entries to:
History Colorado Center
Attn: Center for Colorado Women's History
1200 Broadway
Denver, CO 80203


The Sudler Award is named in honor of Barbara Sudler Hornby, the former president (1979-1989) of the Colorado Historical Society, now History Colorado. She maintained an active interest in historical issues and was an avid reader of western American literature. Barbara Sudler Hornby died in February, 2006.

Past Winners:


The cover of Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption, by Susan Devan Harness, depicts a young girl holding flowers in a muddy field.

Winner of the 2020 Sudler Award.

The cover of Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails by Shirley Ann Wilson Moore depicts a historical photo of two African Americans in 19th century dress, standing side by side.

Winner of the 2018 Sudler Award.

The cover of Meaningful Places: Landscape Photographers in the Nineteenth-Century American West by Rachel McLean Sailor depicts a historic photo of  two individuals  scaling a cliff face using ropes.

Winner of the 2016 Sudler Award.

The cover of A Ditch in Time: The City, the West, and Water by Patricia Nelson Limerick depicts green trees and grass along an irrigation ditch.

Winner of the 2014 Sudler Award.
















Award Criteria

Entries for the Barbara Sudler Award should be single-volume, single-author works (not co-authored or edited books or anthologies) that have a strong western character and link to one or more western themes. Subjects may include history, natural history, literature and the arts, folklore, and social or cultural life of the past or present. The most important quality an entry should have is wide potential readership and general interest. The following criteria, used for evaluation by members of the screening committee and outside judges, may also serve as a guide for publishers in their selection.

  • Significance of the book to an understanding of the West and its people.
  • Degree to which the author has lived up to the subject’s potential.
  • Ability of the author to keep the reader interested throughout.
  • Degree of creativity of thought (insights, discoveries) shown by the author.
  • Degree to which you are convinced by the author’s argument.
  • Clarity of organization and purpose.
  • The book’s potential for making a long-term contribution to scholarship and
  • knowledge about the West.
  • Success with which the book will be meaningful to a broad audience.
  • Degree of stylistic power or expertise demonstrated by the author.
  • Likelihood that you will recommend the book to someone else.

Please include your Marketing Department contact name, phone number and email address with submitted works.  For more information, please contact