Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Honoring the Kansas Notable Books of 2021

Eric Norris, Lyn Fenwick, Dr. Ted Daughety
Photo Credit:  Larry Fenwick

This past weekend was the Kansas Book Festival held at Washburn University.  My husband and I  arrived Friday afternoon, in time for the Pre-Festival Presentation by author, Rebekah Taussig.  The title of her book describes its subject, "Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body," but to describe Rebekah I must put the emphasis on 'Sitting Pretty,' for Rebekah refuses to be defined by her disabilities.  As she prefers to say, 'All of us are disabled in some way at some point in our lives.'  We had the pleasure of meeting her parents as well, and this is definitely a family determined to live their best life possible, working with and around the obstacles and getting on with life!  Of course we came home with a signed copy of her book, and we may have to flip a coin to see who gets to read it first. 

The first event the following morning was The Presentation of Notable Book Awards 2021 at the the Mabee Library.  Everyone at the Library was so welcoming and helpful, and after being the first event of the day, we proudly wore our awards (as we were asked to do) for the rest of the day.  The awards were announced by our State Librarian, Eric Norris, who included a brief description of each book as we were called forward to receive the award.  After which, we received the award itself from our Kansas First Gentleman, Dr. Ted Daughety.  The photograph above shows me standing between these two gentlemen, State Librarian Norris on my right and Dr. Daughety on my left.

The break-out group presentations by a variety of authors and poets began at 10 a.m., with new groups beginning at the top of each hour.  Outside were a variety of booths hosted by publishers displaying books for sale.  I had studied the break-out groups carefully in advance, trying to decide which group to select when I wished I could attend all of them.  As it turned out, I was only able to attend two programs and a few minutes of a third.  For those of you reading this blog who might attend in the future, I think you will be tempted by all of the options.  Of course, there were writers, poets, and would-be writers and poets in attendance, but there were also people who love books and those who came to hear specific speakers.

Photo credit:  Larry Fenwick

Of course, I wanted to visit the University Press of Kansas tent, where I got to meet in person Kevin L. Smith, Dean of Libraries at the University of Kanas and also Director of the University Press of Kansas,  and Editor in Chief, Joyce Harrison and her husband (Not pictured).  I have worked with Joyce for over two years during and since the publication of "Prairie Bachelor," so I was delighted to finally meet her in person.

In late August, I was asked by Kaye McIntyre, Producer, KPR Presents, on Kansas Public Radio, if I would be available during the Book Festival to join her for an interview.  Of course, I was delighted.

Cropped images taken through window:  Photo Credit, Larry Fenwick

It was pre-recorded for a later program, but I do not have the date it will be broadcast.  McIntyre is a wonderful interviewer, and I hope listening to it will be as much fun for her audience as I felt during the interview.  Our conversation covered Isaac, his community, and the populist movement of which he was a part, supplemented with comments about the adventure of writing and questions she was curious about from having read the book. The interview felt like a chat with a friend.  For those of you who know my voice, don't be surprised by the husky sound.  Apparently, the pollen and dust I breathed in while cleaning out my iris beds for winter gave me a double dose of autumn allergies.  

 I will close with a group picture of those notable book authors attending the festival, also including Dr. Daughety and State Librarian Norris.  I wish it included Cindy Roupe, who did such a wonderful job putting all of the Notable Book details together, but she was, as often, busy in the background, behind the camera making sure to get a photograph of all of us instead of joining us in the picture.

This particular photo credit:  Larry Fenwick

 Thank you to so many people.  From the moment I sat down to read the first few pages of Isaac's Journal. I have accumulated a sense of gratitude owed to more people than I can count.  So many helped me along the way, and many of you continue to help expand the reach of Isaac's story and the history of the populist movement across America and beyond.  Thank you for the notes and compliments that you continue to send my way.  Thank you to so many people who were involved in the Kansas Book Festival, as well as many others who were involved with programs at which I spoke and which continue to be scheduled.  From my first book club group, to the many other ways others have helped to  publicize "Prairie Bachelor," by buying books, recommending it to friends, asking for it in their local library or book shop, with articles in newspapers, and gifting "Prairie Bachelor" to friends and others, I recognize how important that has been.  And especially, thank you to my driver, photographer, publicist, and so many other things he does to encourage this adventure we share.  I am in the picture above, but so very many more of you helped place that award around my neck.  I thank all of you!



Unknown said...

What an exciting experience. Good for YOU!!

Tim Bascom said...

So glad you could come to the Kansas Book Festival and that you had a meaningful experience. I'm encouraged to hear from authors who attended--since they seem very happy to have had recognition for their hard work, getting a chance to share their work directly with readers.
Bravo on your Kansas Notable Book!
Tim Bascom
Director of the Kansas Book Festival