Category Archives: Books & Reading

August Literary Events

A new month is quickly approaching! That means new opportunities and new literary events happening near you. Check out the NCB calendar to see what events are going on near you and across the state!

The time, date, and location of these events are subject to change. Some events, workshops, or conferences may charge a fee or require prior registration.

Contact us if you have an event that you would like to be posted on the NCB calendar!

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Events in July

A new month is on its way! Ready for some new literary events? Keep up with the NCB calendar to see what events and opportunities are happening near you!

The time, date, and location of these events are subject to change. Some events, workshops, or conferences may charge a fee or require prior registration.

If you have an event that you would like to be posted on the NCB calendar, feel free to contact us!

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June Literary Events

June is right around the corner! A new month brings new opportunities and new literary events near you. Take a look at the NCB calendar to see what’s happening across the state this month.

Some events or workshops may require registration prior to attending or charge a fee. The time, date, and location of these events or workshops are subject to change.

Contact us if you have an event that you would like to be shared!

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NCompass Live: The Nebraska Book Awards Competition: Honoring Nebraska Literature

What are the Nebraska Book Awards? How can I nominate a book? What makes a winner?

The Nebraska Book Awards program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, recognizes and honors books that are written by Nebraska authors, published by Nebraska publishers, set in Nebraska, or concerning Nebraska

The recording of this episode of NCompass Live is now available! Learn all about this Nebraska literary competition and hear from some of the judges as they share their experiences participating in the program.

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Young Nebraskans Win Writing Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 4, 2021

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Tessa Terry
402-471-3434
800-307-2665

Young Nebraskans Win Writing Competition

Nebraska student’s competed for the twenty-second year in the annual Letters About Literature competition. They wrote to tell an author about how books can make a difference in a young person’s life. Young Nebraska writers who wrote winning letters in the Letters About Literature competition will receive award certificates signed by Gov. Pete Ricketts. Letters About Literature is a state-wide reading and writing promotion program. The competition encourages young people to read, be inspired, and write back to the author (living or dead) who had an impact on their lives.

This annual contest is coordinated and sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, Houchen Bindery Ltd., Humanities Nebraska, and Chapters Bookstore in Seward.

Young Nebraska writers to be honored are:

Winners
Oslo Gegg, of Lincoln, who wrote to Homer Hickman
Annika Srivastav, of Lincoln, for her letter to Michelle Obama
Anna Dailey, of Omaha, for her letter to Ray Bradbury

Runners-up
Alondra Ramos Figueroa, of Grand Island, who wrote to Alan Gratz
Lina Dvorak, of Lincoln, for her letter to Melissa Bashardoust
Kaydence LaPuzza, of Valley, for her letter to John Green

The students wrote personal letters to authors explaining how his or her work changed their view of themselves or the world. They selected authors from any genre, fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic. Winners were chosen from three competition levels: upper elementary, middle, and secondary school.

The Nebraska winners receive cash prizes and gift certificates, and will be honored at a virtual event on May 12th. Their winning letters are placed in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln. For more information about the competition see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/LAL.html.

The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state’s readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the Nebraska Library Commission.

As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, “bringing together people and information.”

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The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

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Literary Events in May

The month of May is quickly approaching! That means new and exciting literary events near you.

Check out the NCB calendar on our website to see what events are happening in your area and across the state of Nebraska.

Some events or workshops may require prior registration or charge a fee. The time, date, and location of the events featured on the NCB calendar are subject to change.

Due to COVID-19, some events may be cancelled, postponed, or shifted to an online/virtual formal. In addition, some venues may require you to follow social distancing practices as well as wear a face covering.

Feel free to contact us if you have an event that you would like to be featured on the NCB calendar!

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2021 marks 100 years since John G. Neihardt became Nebraska’s first poet laureate

by Marjie Ducey | Omaha World-Herald

John G. Neihardt didn’t like being called Nebraska’s Homer.

But it was his epic stories of the settling of the American West that resulted in him becoming Nebraska’s first poet laureate, and the first one in the country chosen by legislative action.

Marianne Reynolds, executive director of the poet’s state historic site in Bancroft, Nebraska, said she is swept back to those days every time she enters the center, just as she thought of the “Iliad” and “Odyssey” by Homer during a trip to Greece.

“When I was in Greece, there was nothing like stepping off the airplane into a place where an epic thing happened,” she said. “With Neihardt, and I’m not exaggerating, I can step out of my car into the American epic. We have that because of Neihardt.”

To mark the 100-year anniversary of Neihardt being named poet laureate after the writing of “A Cycle of the West,” the center has several programs planned, starting with an April 24 conference about the poet with author Carson Vaughan as the keynote speaker.

A hike to Black Elk Peak is set for May 30. That’s where Nicholas Black Elk shared his vision with Neihardt, which was the basis of the book “Black Elk Speaks.”

On June 18, a celebration of the public declaration of Neihardt as poet laureate is scheduled. By legislative proclamation, Aug. 1 is designated as Neihardt Day, and several activities are planned at the center.

Reynolds said Neihardt was one of the few people who paid attention to the cost of westward expansion in the U.S.

“He wrote about the Indian wars and the death of Crazy Horse,” she said. “He had this uncanny ability to talk about the settling of the West that is really distinctive.”

Neihardt worked for a short time at the Omaha Daily News — a precursor to the Omaha World-Herald — until being fired in 1902.

“He was just so interested in the story. He would be digging into the story and talking to people, and all the other reporters were out there getting the scoop,” Reynolds said.

He was also an eloquent speaker, and Reynolds said there are still visitors to Bancroft who recall seeing him in person.

He was beloved and respected not just in Nebraska but across the world. More than 1 million copies of “Black Elk Speaks” have been printed in multiple languages.

Reynolds said his writing is stunning.

“Besides being a really good storyteller,” she said, “he was a brilliant writer.”

March 21, 2021, Updated April 8, 2021 | omaha.com

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Kwame Dawes and the Poetry Foundation reintroduce American Life in Poetry

by Editor | Lake County News

Award-winning poet, author, and editor Kwame Dawes, PhD, has published his first weekly column as American Life in Poetry editor, in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and relaunches a new and engaging website to connect people to poetry through interests, geography, and representation.

Dawes carries the column forward after founding editor and curator, Ted Kooser, retired after 15 years as project creator and editor.

The first poem featured is “They Dance Through Granelli’s” by Pat Emile — an homage to the recently retired editorial assistant of the project for 15 years.

Dawes seeks to maintain, and expand the original vision for the column by continuing to reach readers through local news media outlets, as well as subscribers to the newsletter that publishes weekly on Mondays.

“This column is rooted in the everyday, the broad sense of Americanness that eschews elitism and that embraces a democratic sense of lives that make sense to a vast cross section of the population,” Dawes said. “I welcome readers who can engage in a wide section of American life, can find poetry that speaks to various aspects of American existence, and that somehow embraces the full range of this America.”

Along with a completely refreshed visual statement, the website features increased browsing and discovery capabilities, new photography, and an increased social media presence. Front and center allows users the ability to browse past columns by theme and region.

“The site allows for readers to dig deeper into what they may see in the newsletter or on social media,” Dawes said. “We want readers to stay on the site for awhile and get comfortable with poetry, or to find new ways to engage with poems whether that’s through a love of sports or geography.”

Dawes hopes new readers will connect with American Life in Poetry by finding columns that are approachable and speak to their interests, particularly for new poetry readers.

With over 60 different themes that can be combined while searching, users can find a poem that speaks to gardening and unrequited love from the archive which includes more than 800 poems.

Dawes is the author of 22 books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. His collection, “Nebraska” was published in 2020.

He is George W. Holmes University Professor of English, Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and also teaches the Pacific MFA Program.

He is director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

His awards include an Emmy, Nation­al Press Club Joan Frieden­berg Award for Online Jour­nal­ism, the For­ward Poet­ry Prize, the Mus­grave Sil­ver Medal for con­tri­bu­tion to the Arts in Jamaica, the Governor’s Award for ser­vice to the arts in South Car­oli­na, a Guggen­heim Fel­low­ship and the Wind­ham Camp­bell Prize for Poet­ry. In 2009 he was induct­ed into the South Car­oli­na Acad­e­my of Authors.

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

March 20, 2021 | lakeconews.com

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April Literary Events

April is almost here. A new month brings new opportunities and more literary events!

Check out the NCB calendar to see what events are happening near you and across our state during the upcoming month.

Some of these events or workshops may require registration or charge a fee. The time, date, and location of these events are subject to change. Due to the current pandemic, some may be cancelled, postponed or shift or an online format. In addition, some venues may require face masks and to follow social distancing practices.

Contact us if you have an event that you would like to share on the NCB calendar!

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2021 Nebraska Book Award Submissions Sought

Celebrate Nebraska’s rich literary tradition with the Nebraska Book Awards. The Nebraska Book Awards program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB), recognizes and honors books that are written by Nebraska authors, published by Nebraska publishers, set in Nebraska, or concerning Nebraska. The Awards competition opens every year on March 1st and entries are due by June 30th. Books published in 2020, as indicated by the copyright date, are eligible for nomination. They must be published, have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), and be bound. Books may be entered in one or more of the following categories: Nonfiction, Fiction, Children/Young Adult, Cover/Design/Illustration, and Poetry. Winners of the 2021 Nebraska Book Awards will be honored at the annual Celebration of Nebraska Books in the fall. The authors, designers and illustrators, and publishers are invited to give a short reading and speak about their winning books. Please visit the NCB website at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards/nebookawards.htm for more information and to submit your nomination. Submissions can be made on the NCB website or by mail.

The Celebration of Nebraska Books, free and open to the public, will also honor recipients of the 2021 Jane Geske and Mildred Bennett awards. The Mildred Bennett Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to fostering the literary tradition in Nebraska, reminding us of the literary and intellectual heritage that enriches our lives and molds our world. The Jane Geske Award is presented to a Nebraska organization for exceptional contribution to literacy, books, reading, libraries, or literature in Nebraska. It commemorates Geske’s passion for books and was established in recognition of her contributions to the well-being of the libraries of Nebraska. Nominations for these awards are accepted year-round at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/nominationforms.html.

The Celebration of Nebraska Books is sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book and the Nebraska Library Commission, with support from Humanities Nebraska, and History Nebraska’s Nebraska History Museum. The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state’s readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the national Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Nebraska Library Commission.

As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, “bringing together people and information.”

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