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Fast on the heels of the announcement on Wednesday of this year's National Book Award nominations (my favorite, for the record, is Peter Hessler, for his scrupulous and fascinating Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China's Past and Present) comes our own homegrown author f�te: the Colorado Book Awards, to be presented October 18 during a whoop-de-doo at the Denver Performing Arts Complex's Seawell Ballroom. One can only suppose that there are favorites: J.R. Moehringer's The Tender Bar, Nick Arvin's Articles of War and anything by past popular fiction winner Margaret Coel or YA queen Julie Anne Peters, to name a few. But more than anything, the awards are a welcome opportunity to kick up our heels about what's good in Colorado: namely, the writing.

Along with special guest Mayor John "Bookworm" Hickenlooper, host Nick Forster of E-Town will be on hand to emcee the proceedings, which also take an underground dip by offering indescribably delicious entertainment by Westword Best of Denver-winning Devotchka frontman Nick Urata. And, of course, you know that a veritable zoo of authors will be in attendance, as well.

Join the literati at 5:30 p.m. for a reception and silent auction, followed by the awards program at 7 p.m. Admission, which benefits the hosting Colorado Center for the Book, is $65 in advance or $75 at the door. Call 303-894-7951, ext. 10, or visit www.coloradocenterforthebook.org. -- Susan Froyd

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