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Dennis Showalter. Photo by Pritzker Military Museum & Library

Military historian and writer Dennis Showalter, who grew up in Delano and graduated from the University of Minnesota, has won this year's Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.

Showalter, 76, is professor emeritus of history at Colorado College, where he has taught since 1969. He has written or edited more than two dozen books and 150 articles. His specialty is German military history.

"It's a great honor to accept the 2018 Pritzker Literature Award," he said in a press release. "For the historical profession it is a combination of an Oscar and a Pulitzer, and I think it's a good deal more fun than either."

Now in its 12th year, the Pritzker award is sponsored by the Pritzker Military Foundation and honors the contributions of a living author for a body of work dedicated to enriching the understanding of military history and affairs. Showalter will receive a gold medallion, a citation, and $100,000.

This is some better than his first award---when he was 12 years old, Showalter (then known as Denny) won the Minnesota State Spelling Bee (sponsored by the Minneapolis Tribune) in 1954.

He was a finalist in the national competition, winning $40 but missing victory when he misspelled "pavilion," which he gave two l's.

"I knew it, too," he said in a Barbara Flanagan-bylined story in the Tribune. "I could kick myself."

But he put the $40 to his college fund and the rest, you might say, was history.