Tag Archives: Nebraska Author

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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Celebrate Nebraska’s 2020 Book Award Winners at Week Long Virtual Celebration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 23, 2020

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

Celebrate Nebraska’s 2020 Book Award Winners at Week Long Virtual Celebration

Celebrate Nebraska’s 2020 Book Award winners with author readings and an awards presentation ceremony at the Nebraska Center for the Book’s week long virtual Celebration of Nebraska Books starting October 19th. Winners of the 2020 Nebraska Book Awards will be honored and the celebration will include readings by some of the winning authors, designers and illustrators of books with a Nebraska connection published in 2019. And the winners are:

Children’s Picture Book: Your Bridge to History by Portia Love & Preston Love, Jr. Illustrated by Regina Jeanpierre. Publisher: Preston Publishing

Children’s Picture Book Honor: Major: A Soldier Dog by Trevor Jones. Illustrated by Ming Hai. Publisher: Six Foot Press

Cover/Design/Illustration: The Spirit of Nebraska: A History of Husker Game Day Traditions – the Tunnel Walk, Mascots, Cheer, and More by Debra Kleve White. Design by Concierge Marketing and Publishing Services. Publisher: Cheerful Books

Fiction: See Willy See by Faith Colburn. Publisher: Prairie Wind Press

Fiction Honor Series: The Line Between: A Thriller and A Single Light: A Thriller by Tosca Lee. Publisher: Howard Books

Nonfiction Investigative Journalism: Zoo Nebraska: Dismantling of an American Dream by Carson Vaughan. Publisher: Little A

Nonfiction Nature Reference: Great Plains Birds: Discover the Great Plains by Larkin Powell. Publisher: Bison Books

Nonfiction Immigration Story: Citizen Akoy: Basketball and the Making of a South Sudanese American by Steve Marantz. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Nonfiction Nebraska Perseverance: Nebraska During the New Deal: The Federal Writers’ Project in the Cornhusker State by Marilyn Irvin Holt. Publisher: Bison Books

Nonfiction Native American History: Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power by Pekka Hämäläinen. Publisher: Yale University Press

Poetry: This Bright Darkness by Sarah McKinstry-Brown. Publisher: Black Lawrence Press

Poetry Honor: In a Good Time by Mark Sanders. Publisher: WSC Press

The virtual Celebration of Nebraska Books will also honor winners of the 2020 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.

The 2020 One Book One Nebraska selection, All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor by Donald Stratton with Ken Gire (William Morrow, 2016) will be featured in a keynote presentation. The introduction of the 2021 One Book One Nebraska book choice will conclude the festivities on Friday, October 23rd.

The Celebration of Nebraska Books is sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book and the Nebraska Library Commission, with support from History Nebraska’s Nebraska History Museum. Humanities Nebraska provides support for One Book One Nebraska. 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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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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Award-winning author Tosca Lee’s newest books take place in her home state of Nebraska

By RICK BROWN, Yard Light Media

KEARNEY — Best-selling author Tosca Lee often encounters fans who assume that she must live on either the East or the West Coast.

“When I go to events or conferences, a lot of people assume that if you’re a bestselling novelist you must live in New York or someplace like that,” the author said from her home in Fremont. “As you know, Nebraska has a rich literary tradition. There are such wonderful writers and authors living here. I’m always glad when one of us gets an award so we can help draw the focus to the talent in the state.”

An announcement by the American Book Fest currently highlights Nebraska’s literary tradition — along with Lee’s contribution to that legacy. In July the organization honored Lee’s work with two International Book Awards, one for mystery/suspense for “A Single Light” and another one for science fiction for “The Line Between.” The International Book Awards celebrates excellence in all sections of the publishing industry. More than 2,000 entries were submitted to this year’s awards.

The books feature Nebraska settings.

“I consider myself a novelist who has lived almost all my life in Nebraska,” Lee said. “These two books are my first novels that I’ve been able to set in the area just because of the subject matter I’ve written about.”

Both books tell the story of Wynter Roth, a 22-year-old woman who has escaped a Midwest cult just as a frightening disease spreads across the country. Both stories have been optioned for development for television/film.

Lee is the author of 11 novels. Her books have been translated into 17 languages.

During this time of COVID-19 shutdowns, Lee sees this as a perfect time for enjoying novels.

“This is a great time to be reading fiction, especially during this time of quarantine and lockdowns,” she said. “It’s all about escapism. I think that’s why you also saw a lot of people binge watching shows on Netflix. I’ve read varying reports; some people are reading a lot and others are having a hard time concentrating because of the current climate.”

Lee feels that fiction’s main goal is to entertain.

“It’s meant to act as a portal away from the current reality to somewhere else,” she said. “It’s meant to usher us out of reality and help us escape. This is a good time to be reading fiction as a way to deal with the stress of living through a pandemic and through uncertainty of the financial stresses that so many people are undergoing right now.”

What about reading pandemic fiction?

“That’s a different question,” Lee laughed. “In a normal time I think people turn to pandemic fiction just out of curiosity. In the back of their minds they are wondering, would I be able to survive? What would I do in these situations? I think the ‘fun’ of that literature is that it does away with the noise of everyday living. It boils everything down to the simple question of survival.”

Booksellers noted an uptick in pandemic fiction in mid-March and April.

Part of the driving force of her books relies on understanding the motivations of the characters.

“Figuring out who you can trust in a novel makes the story really fun,” she said. “It’s also something that makes our jobs, as writers, so difficult. Readers are now so savvy these days. It’s hard to pull off twists and turns that readers won’t see a mile away. That’s the challenge, especially with books like ‘Gone Girl’ where you have an unreliable narrator. Finding new ways to surprise and thrill readers — or throw a wrench into the works — is the fun and challenging part of it.”

Lee considers winning the International Book Award as a big encouragement.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had two books that have garnered quite as many awards as these,” she said. “That’s been really exciting. Practically speaking it’s also very good because I’m up for a new publishing contract now. Coming off the heels of an award like this is very good for getting my next book contracted.”

Lee co-authored a WWII story. She’s currently in the process of revising the manuscript.

“We hope to find a home for that story,” she said. “After that I plan to dive into medieval thriller. I have some other suspense ideas that I’m really excited about but it will probably be later this year before I start proposing that. We’ll just see what publishers are interested in.”

August 13, 2020 | Kearney Hub

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#NationalPoetryMonth – “Walk on the Prairie” by Twyla Hansen

Walk on the Prairie
by Twyla Hansen

There is mystery here, in the shapes of grass,
in the dim movements of an inland sea,
connections to an earlier time. Wander barefoot,
hypothesize the dance of millennia, the unbearable
carvings of the built environment, this ragtag escape.

Let its divine simplicity ooze into your pores.
Comb the steel from your hair, blanket your
tongue with orange. Your breathing will slow.
Breathing slow, unbutton the child within.
Give her permission to fly like a kite.

From Prairie Suite: A Celebration, Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, 2006.

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As part of #NationalPoetryMonth, we’re highlighting some of our favorite poems by Nebraska authors. If you have a favorite, feel free to send it to us!

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#NationalPoetryMonth – “The Story of Ferdinand the Bull” by Matt Mason

“The Story of Ferdinand the Bull” by Matt Mason

Dad would come home after too long at work
and I’d sit on his lap to hear
the story of Ferdinand the Bull; every night,
me handing him the red book until I knew
every word, couldn’t read,
just recite along with drawings
of a gentle bull, frustrated matadors,
the all-important bee, and flowers—
flowers in meadows and flowers
thrown by the Spanish ladies.
Its lesson, really,
about not being what you’re born into
but what you’re born to be,
even if that means
not caring about the capes they wave in your face
or the spears they cut into your shoulders.
And Dad, wonderful Dad, came home
after too long at work
and read to me
the same story every night
until I knew every word, couldn’t read,
                                                           just recite.

From The Baby That Ate Cincinnati, Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2013.

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As part of #NationalPoetryMonth, we’re highlighting some of our favorite poems by Nebraska authors. If you have a favorite, feel free to send it to us!

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#NationalPoetryMonth – “Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser

“Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser

He was a big man, says the size of his shoes on a pile of broken dishes by the house; a tall man too, says the length of the bed in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man, says the Bible with a broken back on the floor below the window, dusty with sun; but not a man for farming, say the fields cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves covered with oilcloth, and they had a child, says the sandbox made from a tractor tire. Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole. And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames. It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.

Something went wrong, says the empty house in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste. And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard like branches after a storm—a rubber cow, a rusty tractor with a broken plow, a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

From Sure Signs: New and Selected Poems, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1980

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As part of #NationalPoetryMonth, we’re highlighting some of our favorite poems by Nebraska authors. If you have a favorite, feel free to send it to us!

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#BookFaceFriday – “This is Not the Tropics”

Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya to #BookFaceFriday!

Since it snowed yesterday in much of Nebraska, this title couldn’t be more right. But unlike the fickle ways of Nebraska weather, NLC Book Club Kits never let you down. The Commission’s Book Club Kit service is still running like clockwork, and sending out titles like “This Is Not the Tropics: Stories” by Nebraska author, Ladette Randolph (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.) While many library services have changed, we realize your book club groups may be functioning a little differently right now. But with book pick-ups and online group discussions, book clubs are still going strong. Of course with your health in mind, we strongly encourage you to keep any in-person book club meetings to ten people or fewer.

“Ladette Randolph’s stories sink their teeth into the deep Nebraska Midwest the way that Flannery O’Connor tore into the heart of Georgia. There’s a wonderfully sly, deadpan sweetness at work here, so that it may take a moment to realize how odd and twisty the stories are. Randolph seems like such a nice, earnestly polite young woman—and then suddenly your wallet is missing and she’s driving away in your car! These are beautifully crafty, beguiling stories: witty, wise, and wicked.”—Dan Chaon, author of You Remind Me of Me and Among the Missing

This week’s #BookFace model is one of our NLC Commissioners, Lois Todd-Meyer!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “Alexander’s Bridge” by Willa Cather

Sit back and relax, it’s #BookFaceFriday!

You know all those classics you always have to lie about having read? Well now’s your chance to really read them! Nebraska OverDrive Libraries just added a huge selection of classic novels, 1,010 classics including this week’s #BookFaceFriday! “Alexander’s Bridge” (Duke Classics, 2012) by Willa Cather just one of many Cather titles available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in eBook and Audiobook format. 173 libraries across the state share this collection of 16,670 Audiobooks and 28,473 eBooks, with new titles added weekly. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use.

If your library is a part of it, ask your librarian for more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

From the book jacket

“Construction engineer and world-renowned bridge builder Bartley Alexander has everything in mid-life: wealth, good looks, and fame. Yet he finds himself restless and discontented with life—until he meets a former love from his student days and resumes his relationship with her.
Living a double life, Alexander is torn between Winifred, his American wife—a cold woman with clearly defined standards—and Hilda Burgoyne, his alluring mistress in London who helps him recapture his youth and sense of freedom. Alexander’s affair, which eventually gnaws away at his sense of propriety and honor, proves disastrous.
Willa Cather’s first novel—a fascinating study of a man’s growing awareness of the breach in his integrity—is essential reading for fans of this great American novelist.”
” … exceptionally well-conceived and well written.”—Outlook
” … told with a good deal of charm and skill.”—New York Times Book Review
” … a story of brilliant and unusual power.”—McClure’s

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is Rod Wagner, the Director of NLC!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday – “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”

#BookFaceFriday celebrates Black History Month!

We’re throwing back to one of our first-ever #BookFace photos with “The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As told to Alex Haley” by Malcolm X (Grove Press, 1963.) We originally featured this title as a Nebraska 150 Books List selection, and it’s available in our book club kit collection. Check out this Nebraska Author of color for your book club!

“Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will.”—Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father

“The most important book I’ll ever read, it changed the way I thought, it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage I didn’t know I had inside me. I’m one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better.”—Spike Lee

This post was shared from the Nebraska Library Commission Blog. Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out NLC’s past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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