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2017 Montana Center for the Book Prize

The Montana Center for the Book is pleased to announce the 2017 Montana Center for the Book Prize recipients. The MCB Prize has been awarded to five programs across the state in recognition of their efforts to promote literacy and literature in their communities. Award-winning programs will each receive a $1,000 award and have their events promoted by Humanities Montana.

SPOTLIGHT ON: Classics Behind Razor Wire

Classics Behind Razor Wire founder Zach Stenberg teaches classic literature and leads writing workshops at the Deer Lodge Prison in Montana. "For me," writes Stenberg, "literature is my salvation in a sense. I read classical literature because it teaches me how to be a better man. Inmates in prisons are hungry for knowledge—any kind of knowledge. Perhaps prisons are the best settings today for the liberal arts. Through books, a person can teach themselves anything they want and choose to live a life outside prison, a person can live an enriched life in prison and be free at the same time."

Stenberg's program is one of five recipients of the 2017 Montana Center for the Book Prize for literary programs.

From a large volume of impressive nominations, the Center for the Book Advisory Committee selected the following recipients for the 2017 Montana Center for the Book Prize:

Wild Rose, Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation

Wild Rose installed mini-libraries in Birney, Ashland, Muddy, and Lame Deer and uses these libraries to distribute books for their R-Rez-Reads program, which addresses current affairs and opens lines of communication and discussion.

Classics Behind Razor Wire, Deer Lodge

This program offers Shakespeare, classic literature, and creative writing classes in the Deer Lodge prison in the belief that offering a space for literary discussion and analysis and access to literature will encourage personal growth.

Plant a Seed...READ!, Havre

Plant a Seed…READ! is a proactive nonprofit that supports children and families by enhancing literacy, language and social/emotional skills from birth to age 5 and is a driving force behind much of the early literacy programming in the Havre area.

Writer’s Voice, Billings

WV was founded in 1991 and has provided hundreds of programs to assist emerging writers in their artistic and professional development, to support accomplished writers, and to challenge the traditional definition of the literary arts while enriching all sectors of the community.

32nd Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering & Western Music Rendezvous, Lewiston

The second oldest cowboy poetry gathering in the country captures and honors the unique history of the Montana Territory through cowboy poetry verse and the lyrics of western songs.

Prizes will be awarded in person at events around the state. Congratulations to all the prize recipients!

The MCB prize recognizes programs that offer creative and wide-reaching literary programing, such as family reading groups that promote youth literacy, reading series that encourage active engagement with the literary arts, or high school workshops that support student participation in slam poetry events.