University of New Mexico Press author Ladette Randolph has won the award for fiction for her novel, A Sandhills Ballad, as announced by the Nebraska Center for the Book of the winners of the 2010 Nebraska Book Award.

A Sandhills Ballad tells the story of Mary Rasmussen, a strong-willed and independent young ranch woman living in the Sandhills of western Nebraska. After her life as she knows it is ended by heartbreak, Mary suddenly feels that all she has believed in—God, her instincts, the land itself—has failed her, and she abandons her cultural and emotional ties, succumbing to circumstances she thinks she is powerless to control. In a rash decision, she marries a conservative, patriarchal preacher who doesn't understand Mary, the ranching community or anything beyond his own beliefs.

Randolph is also the author of the short story collection This is Not the Tropics; is the editor of two anthologies, A Different Plain and The Big Empty; and has published stories and essays in numerous literary journals. Currently the editor-in-chief of the journal Ploughshares and on the faculty at Emerson College, she was, for many years, an acquiring editor at University of Nebraska Press and prior to that the managing editor of Prairie Schooner. She is the recipient of three Nebraska Book Awards, a Rona Jaffe grant, a Pushcart Prize, a Virginia Faulkner award and has been reprinted in Best New American Voices.

Winners of the 2010 Nebraska Book Award will be honored at the Nebraska Center for the Book's Celebration of Nebraska Books on Saturday, Nov. 6 at the Nebraska State Historical Society's Nebraska History Museum in downtown Lincoln.

For more information on A Sandhills Ballad, contact Katherine MacGilvray, UNM Press, at 505-277-3291 or