Western Taxidermy is a 2012 short story collection that was a best seller when it came out and has climbed back onto the list several times since then — most recently on the Calgary Best Seller list in May 2019. Five of the stories in this collection have won awards or been finalists in competitions, including "Breaking the Mould" which was one of three finalists for the 2012 Writers' Guild of Alberta Howard O'Hagan Award for short story. "Mrs. Goodfellow's Dog", also in this collection, won the 2009 Howard O'Hagan Award for short story.
Winner of the 2012 Canadian Authors Association (Alberta Branch) Exporting Alberta Award
Jurors' comments: "In Western Taxidermy, Barb Howard uses dry wit, sharp detail and sparse language to capture an essence of Southern Alberta. Written with deceptive simplicity, her stories range from the absurdist to the tragic and are populated with characters so deftly drawn that many readers may feel these are people they have once met. Western Taxidermy invites multiple readings and with each the reader finds fresh nuances and deeper layers to relish. We look forward to reading more of Barb Howard's work."
Finalist for the 2013 High Plains Book Award for Short Fiction
Alberta Views Magazine, January/February 2013. "...It is this mix of satire and poignancy that makes Howard's collection so attractive. These stories are funny, sardonic, smart and often reach for the grotesque. They are also compassionate and moving. Howard makes fun of human folly and commiserates with it too -- and she best makes fun, perhaps, of our pretensions and delusions ...The language appears effortless -- you devour these stories and feel sorry when they end...[Barb Howard] is a comic voice like that of Atwood or Bill Gaston or Lynn Coady -- making us laugh, and cringe, at the world and ourselves." (p.60)
Quill and Quire Review, April 2012: View Review