On October 5-6-7, I had the pleasure of meeting up with my writing family in Salina for the Kansas Authors Club annual convention and writers conference. I ran the book room this year (shout out to Ray "Grizzly" Racobs, my helper!), and so it was a different view that I often get, but I had a fabulous time, none-the-less.
|Cover (front & back) of the 2018 Youth Writing Contest|
Awards Book - Cover Photo by Evie Simmons
Ninety-eight kids from across the state of Kansas completed 200 entries in the annual Youth Writing Contest (categories in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction). It has been a pleasure to work with our youth contest manager each year (shout out to Sheree Downs, 2018!) and to compile the book of winning entries. I love watching the kids get copies of these books. For this highlight alone, I would return to Kansas Authors Club conventions again and again. Thanks goes to many who have encouraged and contributed to the growth of this program.
Instead of attending workshops this year, I visited with authors one-on-one in the book room. The creative energy seemed to flow beyond the walls of the conference rooms. I enjoyed reports from attendees, as well as conversations about works-in-progress and books read. I don't know how the numbers compare to previous years, but we had 35 authors in attendance with more than 100 titles for sale. And it was extremely satisfying to watch shoppers select their books. ("Here! This is it! That book by the woman we were talking to.")
|Convention Attendees from Emporia: Jolene Haas, Curtis Becker, Monica |
Graves, Michael Graves, Kevin Rabas, Cheryl Unruh, Tracy Million
Simmons, Hazel Hart, and Wendy Devilbiss - 2018 Salina
It didn't hurt that Kevin Rabas, Emporia's professor poet in residence (aka Kansas Poet Laureate) was the keynote speaker at the convention. Kevin has such skill at bringing his enthusiasm and creative drive to the workshops. He has a way of emboldening and empowering writers. I heard long-time Kansas Authors Club member, William Karnowski (poet, current state archivist, former state vice president, former district president) saying, "Kevin really gets it. He knows how to connect with people. It's not just academic," as he was leaving Kevin's workshop.
|Kevin Rabas was presented with |
the Merit Award for Achievement
in Writing at the 2018 Kansas
Authors Club Convention
|Wendy Devilbiss (here with Diane|
Wahto, state awards chair) was
presented with the Merit Award
Service to the Club, as was
Reaona Hemmingway (who was
unable to attend).
A highlight of the convention each year is the book awards, and the total given this year was five. Award winners were as follows:
J. Donald & Bertha Coffin Memorial Book Award, Flight, a novel of Beirut and the French Countryside, by Jean Grant
Nelson Poetry Book Award, Acacia Road, by Aaron Brown
Martin Kansas History Book Award (year one under the Martin name, in memory of Gail Martin, former archivist for the Club), A Cow for College and Other Stories of 1950s Farm Life, by James Kenyon
"It Looks Like a Million" Book Design Award, The Modern Bachateros: 27 Interviews, by Julie Sellers
Kansas Authors Club Children's Book Award (new in 2018, sponsored by state president, Ronda Miller), Bird, by Glendyn Buckley (Illustrated by Barbara Waterman-Peters)
|Literary Contest Winners in the Memoir/Inspiration Category:|
Julie Sellers (Honorable Mention), Jack Kline (Honorable
Mention), Micheal D. Graves (2nd Place), Tracy Million
Simmons (1st Place).
After a great weekend of workshops and inspiration, the convention was capped, as usual, with the adult literary contest awards in prose and poetry. I had five entries this year and was thrilled to take home awards in two!
I plan to share more about the award in Spoken Word Poetry soon!
Kansas Authors Club membership is open to anyone who has an interest in writing. Meetings are held in several locations across the state. Learn more about Kansas Authors Club at www.kansasauthors.org.