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Local songwriter’s first novel earns award

Local songwriter’s first novel earns award

Western musician Juni Fisher is finalist for literary award for her book, Girls from Centro


LINDSAY – Songwriting isn’t the only thing Juni Fisher is renowned for. The Tulare County native can now add literary writing to her list of awards. 

Earlier this month, Fisher’s first novel, “Girls from Centro” (Pen-L Publishing), was named a finalist in the 2019 Willa Literary Award competition, representing the best of 2018 published literature for women’s or girl’s stories set in the American West. Chosen by professional librarians, historians and university affiliated educators, the winning authors and their books will be honored in San Antonio, Texas, October 11-13, during the 25nd Annual Conference.

Juni Fisher
Author and

“Girls of Centro” takes place close to Nogales, Ariz. across the Mexican border, far from where Fisher grew up in Strathmore but a place with similar roots to the Central Valley. It tells the stories of child trafficking. One protagonist is a 12-year-old Mexican girl, Teresa, who with her two sisters and their mother attempt to cross the border. Their mother drowns, and the girls decide to keep on going forward rather than back. The other storyline involves a 20-year-old woman, Ana, who works as a cook at a Catholic convent. She is offered a good-paying job by a wealthy rancher, an offer she cannot turn down.

The Girls from Centro was published in December. It is available through Fisher’s web site, Pen-L Publishing’s web site, The Book Garden in Exeter, and through Amazon where it is available for Kindle.

Fisher is best known for her work as a Western music songwriter and musician. She has won many music awards including Western Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year, Female Performer of the Year, and Best Song in 2011 and 2014. Fisher grew up in a farming family in Strathmore but now has a second home in Nashville, and performs at the major festivals and concert venues of all sizes across the U.S. For more information on her, visit junifisher.com. 

The winner in the contemporary fiction category goes to “The Flicker of Old Dreams” by Susan Henderson (HarperCollins-Harper Perennial). Fisher’s fellow finalist was “Burning Ridge: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery” by Margaret Mizushima (Crooked Lane Books).

The event is underwritten and presented by Women Writing the West, a non-profit association of writers and other literature oriented professionals, writing and promoting the Women’s West. Membership is open to any person worldwide who shares these interests.

For more information about the Willa Awards (named in honor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather), Women Writing the West, or the 25nd Annual Conference, please write c/o Alice Trego, WWW Administrator (www2trego@gmail.com), 8547 E. Arapahoe Road #J541, Greenwood Village, CO 80112-1236 or visit their web site at womenwritingthewest.org.

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