who volunteered their time and expertise
to judge the 2021 Kansas Authors Club
Youth Writing Contests.
Poetry Grades 3-4 and Grades 5-6
Kristine A. Polansky wrote puppet plays and some poetry as a child but her dream was to write and publish short stories. She took a fiction writing class from James Gunn at the University of Kansas and went on to teach middle school English and social studies ten years before returning to school and obtaining a law degree. Wanting a creative outlet but pressed for time while practicing law, she started writing poems. She experiments with different poetic forms and studies how content and form shape each other. Four of her poems were published in Tallgrass Voices edited by Gary Lechliter. Her poem, “Turning Points” won the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Art and Writing Contest, adult division, Manhattan, Kansas. She has received numerous awards from KAC for her poetry and was named KAC Poet of the Year twice, most recently October 2020.
Poetry Grades 7-8 and 9-12
Roy Beckemeyer is a past-President of the Kansas Authors Club and was KAC Poet of the Year for a number of years. He has four books of poetry published and his poems appear in poetry anthologies as well as in print and online poetry and literary publications. He is a retired engineer and scientific journal editor and has studied fossil insects for over 20 years.
Fiction Grades 3-4 and Grades 5-6
Krista Reed graduated from Pittsburg State University with a degree in Elementary Education, and went on to receive her Master's Degree in Education from Baker University. She has more than 25 years of experience teaching grades 2-8. Her passion is watching children develop to their fullest potential, both educationally and emotionally. In her free time, she enjoys camping, reading, and spending time with her family. Her newest title as "Gammy" is most rewarding and cherished.
Fiction Grades 7-8 and 9-12
Curtis Becker is a teacher, editor, and publisher living in Topeka, KS. His work has appeared in anthologies, literary journals, and magazines. He has presented on writing and teaching at academic conferences and to small groups. Becker’s book, He Watched and Took Note, was released in 2018. An educator for over fifteen years, Becker currently teaches at Holton Middle School in Holton, KS. He sponsors the yearbook and coaches scholars bowl at HMS. Additionally, he coaches debate and forensics at Holton High School. Becker earned a Bachelors and Masters in English and Creative Writing and holds professional licensure in Kansas, highly qualified in English Language Arts and Speech Communications.
Robin Clasen Wunderlich
Non-Fiction Grades 3-4 and 5-6
Robin Clasen Wunderlich is the editor and publisher of the Eureka Herald and President of the Kansas Press Association Board of Directors. Robin is the daughter of the late Dick and Rachel Clasen. Dick Clasen was a KPA president and member of the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame, as was his father, George H. Clasen II. Robin and her husband, Wes have two children and live south of Eureka, Kansas.
Non-Fiction Grades 7-8 and Grades 9-12
Anna Curry is a mother of four busy children on a ranch in east central Kansas. She enjoys sharing stories about her children and their rural life on her blog as a way to not only preserve cherished memories but also advocate for agriculture. Anna has always enjoyed writing as a creative outlet as well as woodworking. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and master’s from Texas A&M.