Comeback Wolves Wins Colorado Book Award
Fort Collins Writers/Editors Honored at Statewide Ceremony

October 20, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Linda Doyle, Publicist, Johnson Books
(303) 443-9766

(Denver, CO) – On Tuesday, Oct. 18th, Comeback Wolves: Western Writers Welcome the Wolf Home won the Colorado Book Award in the “anthology” competition. Comeback Wolves is a collection of fifty-one new essays and poems celebrating and considering the idea of wolf restoration in Colorado and the Southwest.

The book was conceived by Gary Wockner, a Fort Collins writer and ecologist who was appointed to the Colorado Wolf Working Group in 2004. He joined with co-editors SueEllen Campbell (Fort Collins) and Gregory McNamee (Tucson, AZ), and together they collected the stories and poems and edited the volume in to its prize-winning form. Gary, Gregory, and SueEllen also each contributed an essay to the book.

“It was quite a project,” said Gary Wockner. “But as the essays and poems started pouring in, we knew we had a special book in the works. Wolves are provocative animals, and they drew out provocative stories from all the writers.”

Comeback Wolves includes new writing from bestselling Colorado authors such as Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Women Who Run With The Wolves), and Pam Houston (Cowboys Are My Weakness). Many additional Southwest writers and poets contributed to the book including John Nichols (The Milagro Beanfield War), Craig Childs (Soul of Nowhere), and Colorado’s Poet Laureate, Mary Crow. The foreword to Comeback Wolves was written by Colorado Congressman Mark Udall.

Comeback Wolves sold out its first printing very quickly,” said Johnson Books publicist Linda Doyle. “Wolf books always sell well, and this one is quite unique. We’re happy it won the Colorado Book Award.”

In addition to winning the award, Comeback Wolves is also a statement of proactive advocacy. All the royalties from the book are donated to a program operated by the wildlife conservation organization, Defenders of Wildlife, which works throughout the American West to prevent conflict between imperiled predators and humans before it occurs.

“We wanted to do something positive with this book that actually moved the issue forward,” said Gary Wockner. “The program operated by Defenders uses the money to create a sustainable balance between people and wolves in the American West. I’m delighted to be able to contribute to their program.”

The Colorado Book Awards are given out yearly by the Colorado Center for the Book, a literacy program operated by the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities. About 350 people attended this year’s award ceremony which was hosted by E-Town radio host, Nick Forester, and included a keynote address by self-described "wannabe writer" and Denver Mayor, John Hickenlooper. When Gary Wockner received the award for Comeback Wolves, he led the audience in a 350-person full-throated howl to call wolves back to their native Colorado homeland.

Comeback Wolves is available from all booksellers, and can be ordered at


SueEllen and Gary, Oct. 18th, 2006, Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Fort Collins Weekly Article:

Fort Collins writer wins Colorado Book Award
Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Local Author has Critics Howling
Gary Wockner’s Comeback Wolves wins Colorado Book Award

By Greg Campbell

Who’s afraid of the big, bad wolf? Not Gary Wockner, whose new anthology about the reintroduction of the gray wolf won the Colorado Book Award last week.

Question: How do you make a ballroom filled with 300 nicely attired adults, including the mayor of Denver, bay at the moon?

Answer: You demand it of them, especially if you’re one of the editors of Comeback Wolves; Western Writers Welcome the Wolf Home and you just won the Colorado Book Award in the Anthology/Collection category.

“I had the whole crowd howling to call back wolves to their home habitat in Colorado,” says Gary Wockner, a Fort Collins writer, conservationist and one of three editors for Comeback Wolves. “So every one ripped one out full-throated.

“That was fun.”

Comeback Wolves features the work of 51 contributors, including Wockner, each of whom have written poems, essays and short stories celebrating the reintroduction of one of the most iconic animals of the American West: the gray wolf. Wockner says he conceived the idea for the book after he was appointed to the Colorado Wolf Working Group by the Division of Wildlife. When he made the call for entries, he says he was stunned by the response.

“I was surprised at how fast the stories came in and how good they were,” he says. “It really hit a nerve with a lot of people. … It just punched a button and people took off with it.”

Wockner says he was worried that the entries would focus on “gloom and doom” topics such as the conflict between wolves and ranchers, but was surprised to find that the unifying theme among these varied authors is one of hope.

“It took me like the third time that I read it, but it sort of jumps off the page,” he says. “It’s the concept of hope, something about the idea of restoring the nature that’s been lost, bringing back an animal that was eradicated. It brought back people’s sense of hope.”

“I was really surprised by the number of writers and poets that hit on that issue,” he continues. “Ninety-five percent of the poems and stories were extremely positive.”

The book features some powerhouse writers, including John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War; Craig Childs, author of Soul to Nowhere and Clarissa Pinkola Estes author of Women Who Run With The Wolves. It was co-edited by SueEllen Campbell of Fort Collins and Gregory McNamee of Tucson.

Wockner says he knew these and other contributors had made a great book “whether it won (the Colorado Book Award) or not.”

One hundred percent of the book’s royalties will be donated to Defenders of Wildlife, a conservation organization that works to prevent conflict between predators and humans before they occur.

In addition to the recognition garnered by the award, that’s certainly something to howl about.


Comeback Wolves; Western Writers Welcome the Wolf Home is available through most local and online retailers. Visit for more information.