A LIST OF BOOKS BY KANSAS AUTHORS CLUB MEMBERS, PAST AND PRESENT
If you have examples of member books to add (your own or a friend's) please put your addition in the comments section.
--Evie Green, Coordinator of Write Stuff
A LIST OF BOOKS BY KANSAS AUTHORS CLUB MEMBERS, PAST AND PRESENT
Inspired by the June program by Denise Low, "Embellishing Prose and Poetry with Memoir," we pulled books by Kansas Authors Club nembers that illustrate the many and varied techniques of memoir writing.
If you have examples of member books to add (your own or a friend's) please put your addition in the comments section.
Anderson takes us on a journey to 1950s and 60s Kansas and treats the reader to hometown cooking in her tasty memoir Posts of a Mid-Century Kid. With humor and richly crafted details, she chronicles her mid-century childhood, offering a sampling of another era. This delightful and mischievous memoir advocates coloring vividly outside of the lines!
When World War II made her way to southwest Kansas, Edna Bell-Pearson’s life was forever changed. After meeting her husband Carl Ungerer—a pilot stationed in Liberal for the war— Edna’s moved to the opposite corner of the state, and she became one of the first private female pilots in Kansas. Her story takes place over the course of five years and tells of Ungerer Flying Service, a family-owned and operated business stationed in Marysville. As the business is born and takes on the challenges of life, Edna learns to appreciate the importance of the little things: hunting and fishing trips, a good housekeeper, and crisp, autumnal days without wind.
Running Out of Footprints is the true story of three generations of the Neff family, who arrived on the scene in Kansas City in the late 1800s full of energy and potential, contributed as political, business, religious and medical leaders in the city, and then gradually disappeared into obituaries and census data. The author, a fourth generation Neff herself, came into possession of a metal box full of old letters, documents and photographs after her father's death. The questions she asked about these keepsakes and the answers she sought and found, led to writing this collection of biographies.
"With a novelist’s eye for detail and a poet’s gift for language, Cebulska has written a visceral knockout of a memoir packed with vibrant, unforgettable family members and unexpected happenings. Cebulska is a brilliant, big-hearted, and luminous storyteller who can capture a world in a short vignette. I was entirely captivated by these intimate and moving family portraits that have shaped the author's life and work.” -Harriet Lerner, author of The Dance of Anger and Why Won’t You Apologize?
Scorching heat. Bitter cold. Relentless wind. No trees. Scarce water. That’s what settlers faced on the Kansas plains. Crawford grew up on a farm in Russell County that his great grandparents homesteaded in 1879. Tales of hardship, humor, and grit merge with details of the enormous changes in mechanization, economics, and political forces as the country transitioned from a mostly rural nation to a mostly urban one. Crawford's personal story coupled with meticulous research on the evolution of farming from the homestead years to the recent prairie fires describe the birth and transformation of his family farm. The narrative concludes with a thought-provoking discussion of the future of rural communities, the options for farmers, and High Plains farming.
Following a series of tragic losses, thirty-year old Ann Fell struggles alone in a strange and frightening world. The young widow and bereaved mother retreats to the wilderness for comfort and healing. Planning to stay forty days, she sets up a solitary camp on the river bank of her family’s abandoned farm homestead. Marooned by rising flood waters after only a few days, she faces her own mortality.
Mike and his wife, Barbara, moved to Lincoln, Illinois, in 1972. The town of 17,000 was charming, friendly, and safe. As employees of Lincoln College, a small, private junior college, they quickly grew to enjoy the subtle pleasures of small-town living. Then the campus was hit with a series of burglaries and a student disappeared. Finally, the murders began. This is Mike Hartnett’s personal story, memories that have taken him more than forty years to write. This is not a true crime exposé or a who-dunnit mystery. This is simply a story about one man on the periphery of a series of events that devastate a community for a time. It is a story about the guilt that lingers and the questions that remain.
Reginald D. Jarrell’s book of essays is a thoughtful exploration of experiences that molded him as a Black man growing up and raising his family primarily in Kansas. Mr. Jarrell also lived in Mississippi, Iowa, California, and Washington, D.C. As a pastor, lawyer, communications professional, and university professor, Mr. Jarrell is first of all a truth teller.
In this memoir collection, retired veterinarian James Kenyon recalls his days in veterinary practice. From heartwarming to heartbreaking and everything in between, Kenyon writes of his care for beloved family pets, livestock, and their human caretakers. His memories illustrate a true devotion and love for veterinary work, as well as a passion for people and local history. Each chapter relates a specific memory of working with a quirky, loyal, and loveable animal, as well as the quirky, loyal, and lovable humans who owned them. The work offers not just insight into the work of a veterinarian, but to human nature and the manner in which people relate to and care for each other, as well as their animals.
Writer of poetry, essays, memoir, and fiction—Denise Low did what so many of us did in the spring of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic sent us to spending long days at home. Denise’s jigsaw puzzling went well beyond pictures put together piece-by-piece, however. The 15 essays in this book document the pestilence that impacted our entire world. In them, Low explores the very culture of jigsaw puzzles while providing poetic lessons in art, geography, history, and more.
"Trudy McFarland's telling of her mother's story in diary form, from her parents' 'love at first sight' meeting in post World War I Germany to 1988 when her mother's very full life ends, is a remarkable account of family relationships, historical events, and the characteristics which make a family strong and memorable. It is a fascinating read!"
--Evie Green, Coordinator of Write Stuff
A childhood on the Kansas prairies in the 1930s springs vividly to life in the detailed memories of Gail Martin. Her simple accounts of long ago school days, celebrations and family life are a treasure. Travel back in time to life in the Flint Hills during the Great Depression and the time leading up to World War II. The memories include her father's work in the oil field, trips to town in the family's Model A, raising her pet badger, fishing on the Cottonwood River, and wearing dresses made from feed sack material. The book also explores her family's role in early Kansas history with details of covered wagons, homesteading, the Civil War and fledgling industries. These range from Tyro to Teterville to Eureka.
“Thirty years after my last ingestion of chemicals, I inventoried the traits and behaviors connected with my addiction, chronicled my early adult life, and wrote a book. My motivation is to help those suffering and their loved ones connect the dots between the destructive traits and behaviors—and the potential for addiction. In so doing, infuse some fresh air into the oppressive stigma that clings to addiction and mental health.
I cannot figure out who I am as a body these days, writes Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg in this powerful, tender and humorous memoir about resiliency and love in the face of cancer. Mirriam-Goldberg braves breast cancer, the breast cancer genetic mutation and the loss of a parent by connecting with an eclectic Midwest community, the land and sky, and a body undergoing vast renovation.
Learn how kids and cops connect at school. You will enjoy 33 personal stories about one officer's professional career as a deputy sheriff and school resource officer. Cop in the Classroom gives an insider's look at the emotional experiences behind the badge--and life lessons for us all.
Even though he was often vastly outnumbered by enemies on the outside and by demons on the inside, Antonio Sanchez-Day took on life. He fought against racism as a boy, fought against family troubles, and fought as a street soldier for his gang which was the “family” he’d always wanted. Then he had to fight simply to survive 13 years of incarceration. Inside the walls, Antonio found his main weapon, his pen. He wrote brilliantly, and with pen in hand, he turned his life around. The 123 pages of new, unpublished poetry in this book was put together by Antonio’s friend and mentor, Brian Daldorph, to “cement [his] legacy” (Antonio’s words).
At 54, Lisa Stewart set out to regain the fearless girl she once had been, riding her horse, Chief, 500 miles home. Hot, homeless, and horseback, she snapped back into every original cell. On an extraordinary homegoing from Kansas City to Bates and Vernon Counties in Missouri, Lisa exhausted herself, faced her past, trusted strangers, and stayed in the middle of her frightened horse to document modern rural America, the people, animals, and land.
Gravedigger's Daughter: Vignettes from a Small Kansas Town is more than a story of the author and her father. It is a reminder of the relationships we all have, more than skin deep, an examination of the complexities of the people we love and care for. It is a love letter to the individuals who always exist at our very core.
Lee Edward Atterbury was born September 1, 1924, into the Atterbury Circus family. He was the fifth of seven children born to Robert L. and Rose Atterbury. By the time Lee was old enough for school, his older siblings were accomplished aerialists and his mother was a slack wire walker. The Atterbury Circus was a road circus, traveling the highways of rural America from Iowa and the Dakotas to Texas throughout the years of the Great Depression. (written by Connie Rae White)
Memoirs of the Dysfunctional depicts the unconventional, but necessary lifestyle, and results, of a family forced to live a somewhat nomadic existence because the father, who was blinded as a child, had no means of support other than working as a street musician. The author, Joann Garrity Williams, is the oldest child of Ethel and Francis Garrity. She served for four years as state president of the Kansas Authors Club. This is the first time many, including family members and close friends, will learn the truth about Joann’s unique childhood and upbringing.
Thank you to member Cheryl Unruh from Emporia for talking to us about writing memoirs. This informative and motivational talk is now available for members to watch via our Member Pages (log-in required).
2023 PROGRAMS 3rd Saturdays of each month
Program Start Time: 1:30pm, expected to take approximately one hour per program (30- to 40-minute presentations followed by 15-20 minutes Q&A and announcements.
3rd Saturdays of each month
Program Start Time: 1:30pm, expected to take approximately one hour per program (30- to 40-minute presentations followed by 15-20 minutes Q&A and announcements. NEW: Zoom will open at 1:00pm for 1/2 hour of social time for those who want to visit.
February 18, 2023, 1:30 pm
Presenter: Cheryl Unruh
This presentation will take place in Emporia at Emporia State University, Plumb Hall, Room 406. All members are welcome to attend this presentation in person.
The presentation will also be broadcast via Zoom.
Cheryl Unruh grew up in the tiny town of Pawnee Rock in central Kansas. There, she developed a fierce love of the open land and the Kansas sky. Much of her writing is about Kansas, about a sense of place.
For 11 years, Cheryl wrote a weekly column called Flyover People for The Emporia Gazette. She has twice received the Kansas Notable Book Award for her collections of Kansas essays, Flyover People: Life on the Ground in a Rectangular State (2010), and Waiting on the Sky: More Flyover People Essays (2014), both published by Quincy Press. Meadowlark Press published her collection of poetry, Walking on Water (2017), as well as her latest book, Gravedigger’s Daughter: Vignettes from a Small Kansas Town (2021), a memoir, which won the 2022 Nelson Poetry Book Award and the 2022 Martin Kansas History Book Award from the Kansas Authors Club.
Cheryl is the editor of 105 Meadowlark Reader, a Kansas journal of creative nonfiction. She lives in Emporia, Kansas, with her husband and three cats.
Members should received a Zoom link to this meeting from their district president. If you are missing the link, submit your details below. The link is also available on this page of the member portion of our website.
Merit Award for Service to the Club
October 22, 2022
Nominated by Cheryl Unruh
The first time I heard the name Curtis Becker, it was in 2017 I believe, from Marcia Lawrence at her Ellen Plumb bookstore in Emporia. She mentioned that Curtis Becker was moving bookshelves for her, and had been doing other handy chores for her in her shop. Who is this Curtis Becker? I asked. Where did he come from? Marcia told me that he taught English at Northern Heights High School.
Eventually, I did meet this man of mystery when he joined the Emporia Writers Group. He shared his writing with us, poetry and short stories. He then published a book of his work, and he published books for other poets. He also takes charge of organizing a formal spring and fall reading for the group at the William Allen White Library.
I am nominating Curtis for this merit award for service for his dedicated and enthusiastic leadership in the Kansas Authors Club and in District 2.
Curtis has been a member of Kansas Authors Club since 2018. Curtis has served as State Newsletter Editor (2021-present), D2 Vice President (2021), and D2 Website Manager (2020-present). Curtis was one of the four-member team that made our 2020 Virtual Convention possible. He has volunteered each year since joining as a judge for our youth writing contests.
Curtis is currently serving as Chair of the Convention Planning Committee. We’ve had monthly zoom meetings and if he announces a 35-minute limit for a meeting, Curtis keeps the meeting at 35 minutes. How he accomplishes that is something of a mystery, but somehow everything gets covered and no one feels rushed. That’s good leadership.
Curtis has a good heart. He is friendly, has a great sense of humor, and makes a point to look for the positive side of things. And like those days he helped out at Emporia’s bookstore, he’s willing to jump in and help out at other writing events and gatherings - such as being the chief wrangler for this convention. Curtis Becker is a friend, a leader, a man of mystery, a man of many talents.
--Cheryl Unruh, D2 member (Emporia)
Nelson Poetry Book Award
by Cheryl Unruh
Note from the Judge:
Cheryl Unruh’s Gravedigger’s Daughter stands as a testament to how great writing uses particulars to capture the universal. While few readers may have helped to prepare graves as a child or know what the summer sky looks like from their depths, Unruh’s beautifully crafted reflections unearth the relatable joys and confusions of youth, love, and loss. While each poem preserves a carefully honed memory, the collection as a whole carries the reader through a lifetime with touching humor and heartbreaking grace. It is an intimate look into a specific family, but it stirs familiar emotions that have the magic to conjure readers’ own pasts.
Dr. Julia Galm
2022 Nelson Poetry Book Judge
Dr. Julia Galm is a Communications instructor at Cloud County Community College, where she works with budding writers to help them hone their skills and voices. She has helped to revitalize CCCC’s creative and artistic journal, The Silver Lining, and she is a board member of the Brown Grand Opera House. Though a recent transplant to Kansas, she has fallen in love with the rolling grasslands of her new home.
Note from the Judge:
Cheryl Unruh’s Gravedigger’s Daughter is an insightful, generous-spirited book that creates a vivid sense of both place and time by telling the story of growing up in Pawnee Rock, a small town in Barton County during the 1960s and ‘70s. Unruh’s relationship with her father, an unassuming yet extraordinary man, is affectionately and unsentimentally rendered. The author’s understanding of the character of her father and hometown is delineated by an original writing style that is lean, colloquial, and understated while at the same time detailed, colorful, and intense; the language is both plain-spoken and elegant. The natural and cultural history of the place are woven into the narrative in fresh and surprising ways that enable the reader to experience multiple dimensions of Kansas history while following the ups and downs of the lives of the people featured in the story.
2022 Martin Kansas History Judge
A fifth-generation Kansan, Ron Parks grew up in Minneapolis, Kansas, where he graduated from high school in 1967. Ron was executive director of the Kansas Eisenhower Centennial Commission from 1988 through October 1990. He also served for eight years as director of the Kaw Mission State Historic Site. Published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2014, his book, The Darkest Period: The Kanza Indians and Their Last Homeland, 1846-1873, won both the 2014 Prairie Heritage Book Award and the Santa Fe Trail Association’s Louis Barry Writing Award. The Darkest Period was selected as a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. Ron has also written numerous historical articles about Hays, Council Grove, and Minneapolis.
On Saturday, April 16, the Barton County Historical Society will host two Kansas authors who will discuss how the state figures into their literary works. At the 2 p.m. program, authors Cheryl Unruh and Hazel Hart will talk about how they incorporate Kansas into their writing, and each will read short segments from their books and do signings of their books for those who attend.
In her two essay books, Unruh has written about the Kansas experience, describing the skies and the landscape, the wind and weather, dirt roads and small towns. In her new memoir, “Gravedigger’s Daughter,” Unruh focused on stories about her father and her childhood in the small Barton County town of Pawnee Rock.
Hart will talk about her research on the “Pierce Family Saga,” a five-book series set in Kansas during the 19th century. She will discuss the differences in writing a story focused on the everyday lives of characters during a certain time period, and writing a story tied to specific historical events to make history come alive.
Gravedigger’s Daughter: Vignettes from a Small Kansas Town is Cheryl Unruh’s (D2) latest masterpiece, a memoir written in prose poetry that transported me to my childhood. I too, grew up with bottle caps, firecrackers, collecting stamps, and reading wanted posters at the P.O.
This memoir, dedicated to Cheryl’s father, Elgie Unruh of Pawnee Rock, is perfect. That means every word is precise.
The walls at Great Bend hospital aren’t white; they’re “vanilla hallways.” Family members at the hospital aren’t nervous. Instead, “a hospital waiting room ages you overnight,” and cooking over a campfire wasn’t just fun for Cheryl; “we tasted adventure in every bite.”
If you want adventure and delight without ever leaving your home tonight, read Gravedigger’s Daughter. It will improve your life.
--Jim Potter (D6), author of Taking Back the Bullet: Trajectories of Self-Discovery
Do you have a member book review to submit? Please submit via this form.
Emporia, KS--Flyover People essayist Cheryl Unruh, takes the stage for a literary celebration, complete with reading and book signing as Meadowlark Press releases Unruh’s new memoir, Gravedigger’s Daughter: Vignettes from a Small Kansas Town, at Lyon County History Center on Saturday, November 13 at 1:00pm.
An array of regional books will be available for purchase, including other titles by Unruh, as well as books published by Meadowlark Press.
Unruh’s memoir details a small-town childhood as the daughter of a carpenter-father, who also happens to be the town cemetery caretaker. As Cheryl grows, so does her comprehension of her father’s particular maladies, a skin-condition that is not discussed by the family, as well as his struggles with depression. Presented in short vignettes, Gravedigger’s Daughter introduces Unruh’s father from a child’s eye view, and then via observations and interactions that take us through Unruh’s adolescence to adulthood. Divided into three parts, the book covers Unruh’s childhood in Pawnee Rock, her father’s middle-age years when she lived away, and his later years.
Unruh grew up in the town of Pawnee Rock in central Kansas, population 400, in the 1960s and 70s. “The stories, or vignettes, are poem-shaped, but each captures a moment in time. I see each one as a snapshot,” Unruh says. “While I will never be able to relate the entirety and complexity of a life, I hope that some of my dad’s weird and wonderful personality shines through.”
From Laura Moriarty, author of The Chaperone: “With Gravedigger’s Daughter, Cheryl Unruh has created something so fresh and inviting—a memoir in lean vignettes. Each is moving on its own, and also part of a compelling portrait of a childhood in an isolated town with a dwindling population. Unruh’s details are too specific for sentimentalism, but places and people are observed with a loving gaze that also feels wise and honest. Her father, especially, emerges as both haunted and quietly heroic. What a beautiful book.”
Fans of Cheryl’s two previous collections of vivid Kansas essays, Flyover People (2011 KS Notable Book) and Waiting on the Sky (2015 KS Notable Book), and Walking on Water, her collection of poetry, will delight in this memoir. Unruh hopes that the book will inspire readers to write their own stories “whether they write for their own pleasure or choose to share their stories with family and friends or perhaps even go on to publish their writing.” Unruh will be scheduling a series of memoir writing workshops starting in the spring of 2022.
Gravedigger’s Daughter is available for order through meadowlark-books.square.site and may be ordered through any bookseller. Learn more at www.meadowlark-books.com.
Cheryl Unruh is presenting at the next District 2 Meeting, Saturday, November 20, 2021 from 10:00-12:00pm at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont, lower level.
For 11 years, Cheryl Unruh wrote a weekly newspaper column, Flyover People, for The Emporia Gazette. She has twice received the Kansas Notable Book Award for her collections of Kansas essays, Flyover People and Waiting on the Sky, both published by Quincy Press. Meadowlark Press published her collection of poetry, Walking on Water, as well as her brand new book, Gravedigger’s Daughter, a memoir. She is the editor of 105 Meadowlark Reader, a Kansas journal of creative nonfiction. Cheryl lives in Emporia, Kansas.
Cheryl's book launch for Gravedigger's Daughter is scheduled for November 13, at 1:00 p.m. at the Lyon County History Center, 711 Commercial, Emporia.
Carolyn Hall, D2 Member, is one of 21 Kansas Authors Club members published in the second issue of 105 Meadowlark Reader: Kansas Travel Stories.
The journal of Kansas creative nonfiction can be purchased at "Partner Bookstores" including Crow and Co Books (Hutchinson), Eighth Day Books (Wichita), Flint Hills Books (Council Grove), Raven Book Store (Lawrence), Russell Specialty Books & Gifts (Russell), and Watermark Books & Cafe (Wichita).
Subscriptions can also be purchased at Meadowlark Press.
Kansas Authors Club members featured in this issue include:
Ann Anderson (D2)
Curtis Becker (D2)
Sheryl Brenn (D7)
Annabelle Corrick (D1)
Gretchen Cassel Eick (D5)
Marie Baum Fletcher (D7)
Tammy Gilley (D6)
Michael D. Graves (D2)
Monica (Osgood) Graves (D2)
Carolyn Hall (D2)
Jerilynn Jones Henrikson (D2)
Sally Jadlow (D2)
Nancy Julien Kopp (D4)
Sandee Lee (D5)
Jim Potter (D6)
Julie A. Sellers (D1)
Mark Scheel (D2)
Tracy Million Simmons (D2)
Barbara Waterman-Peters (D1)
Brenda White (D2)
Editor, Chery Unruh (D2)
The journal is currently taking submissions for issue #3 to be published in the spring of 2022.
Theme: True Bicycle Stories
Guidelines can be found on the
105 Meadowlark Reader website.
If you want to learn about writing, editing, or publishing, then you’re invited to attend Saturday’s (May 22, 2021 - 1:30pm) District 6 meeting of the Kansas Authors Club. It’s free and open to the public.
The Zoom meeting will have five speakers. Tracy Million Simmons, founder of Meadowlark Press, and Cheryl Unruh, editor of 105 Meadowlark Reader: A Kansas Journal of Creative Nonfiction, will share their vision of gathering true Kansas stories. The first issue of the journal highlights 35 talented Kansas writers from 25 counties.
Virtual attendees will also meet the other three prolific writers, all Kansas Authors Club members, and learn how they created their essays for submission for the spring issue. Each story is an authentic Kansas experience. The speakers, their home base, and essay titles, are: Miriam Iwashige, Partridge, “A Pandemic Privilege”; Julie Stielstra, Ellinwood/Chicago, “Barton County”; and Ginger Zyskowski, Seattle (formerly Hutchinson), “A Kansan and His Machines.”
There will be time for questions and answers.
105 Meadowlark Reader may be purchased at your local book store or at 105 Meadowlark Reader.
To join the 1:30 PM (CST) meeting, or to become a part of a community of Kansas writers, contact Jim Potter, president of District 6, at email@example.com or 620-899-3144.
The following Kansas Authors Club members had essays selected for publication in the first issue of 105: Meadowlark Reader, a Kansas journal of creative nonfiction. Issue #1, with the theme of "beginnings," is expected to be delivered to subscribers in early May, featuring 35 essays, including the following:
Gretchen Eick - D5
Marie Fletcher - D7
Beth Gulley - D2
Miriam Iwashige - D6
Nancy Julien Kopp - D4
Sandee Lee - D5
Don Marler - D5
Ruth Maus - D1
Julie Nischan - D1
Kevin Rabas - D2
Mark Scheel - D2
Julie Sellers - D4
Tyler Sheldon - D2
Julie Stielstra - D6
Barbara Waterman-Peters - D1
Jon Yenser - D7
Gloria Zachgo - D5
Ginger Zyskowski - D6
Cheryl Unruh (D2) of Quincy Press is the editor of the new journal, and Tracy Million Simmons (D2) of Meadowlark Press is the publisher. Readers are encouraged to subscribe before March 1 to take advantage of introductory pricing.
For those interested in submitting essays for issue #2, the theme will be "Kansas Travel Stories" and they will begin collecting those submissions in May and June of 2021
See 105meadowlarkreader.com for complete details.
How to Submit News:
If you have news of writing events that would be of interest to all Kansas Authors Club members, or if you are a member (dues current) who would like to announce an achievement, please submit your news via this form.