Wyoming Governor Matt Mead announced December 7 that Tim Sandlin, director of Jackson Hole Writers and the creative force behind the conference for 23 years,  would receive a Governor’s Arts Award for work as an artist and as an arts advocate in the state.

“I wish my parents were still alive,” Tim says. “They would have gotten a kick out of this. “I am honored and amazed.”

Former Wyoming Arts Council director Bruce Richardson was the force behind the nomination. He describes himself as a reader and admirer of Tim’s work, and compared his stories to those of Chaucer.

“He’s a Wyoming writer through and through,” Bruce wrote in his nominating letter. “Most of his eleven novels are set in Wyoming and feature real folks of Wyoming small towns in all their gloriously eccentric individuality.”

Craig Johnson, author of the best-selling Longmire series of novels, threw his hat in the ring for Tim’s nomination. “Sandlin’s devotion to the Wyoming community is proven on a daily basis,” he wrote. “He writes with intelligent nuance and howling humor.”

Others from around the state weighed in. Martha Bancroft, Director for the Center for the Arts, notes that in the thirty years she has known Tim that “his passion for the written word has never wandered or waned.”

According to Jackson writer and New York Times best selling author Kyle Mills, Tim steered him in the right direction through classes. “With his help, Rising Phoenix went on to be a national bestseller,” Kyle wrote in praise. “… I still have a copy of a chapter with the word ‘boring’ written in red across the top. And he was right.”

Tina Welling, whose first book Crybaby Ranch, was published by Penguin, lauds Tim for mentoring student writers. She noted that “his talent and generosity of spirit is considered a national treasure in the literary world.”

Wyoming Legislature Representative Andy Schwartz, who worked with Tim in the 1970s, praised him. “From the beginning he has shown an incredible ability to vividly portray life in Wyoming within his wonderful fictional constructs.”

To read more about Tim’s literary career, visit his website. There are too many credits to list here.

“I am happy Wyoming is so supportive of the arts,” Tim says. “Not all states are.”

To see what the hoopla is all about come to the Jackson Hole Writers Conference in June. A great conference run by a generous guy, who happens to write. And he writes everyday!

Tim will be going to Cheyenne, the Wyoming state capitol, in February, braving the I-80 corridor to accept his award. At his table of eight will be his friends and his wife Carol. I’d love to be a speck with a tape-recorder  on the wall to hear his speech and a video camera to see how well his tux fits him. If you see him before then on the street or at the Center or more likely at Pearl Street Bagels, shake his hand, and ask him about the tux.

–Connie Wieneke

P.S.: I am nervous about posting this. Back in the mid-1980s Tim was the copy editor at the Jackson Hole News where I was a reporter and novice editor. I am confident that he will find something to tweak in this posting. He was a good teacher and the only one of a two folks in the world who got away with calling me Con, though his came out with a long Oklahoma drawl. No one else is allowed to do that. Just saying. Don’t.