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2006 Book Award Reviews:

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J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award:
Trudy McFarland
, District 1, Topeka
Diary of a German War Bride

Diary of a German War Bride, by Trudy McFarland2006 J. Donald Coffin Award Selection Committee: Susan Marchant, Manager of Special Collections, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and former Director of the Kansas Center for the Book, graciously agreed to head the 2006 Selection Committee. Other Special Collections staff members who served as readers were Susan Appleby, Brea Black, Jeannie Mithen, Trudy McFarland photoand Linda Hayse, Special Collections volunteer and retired teacher of English and Social Studies at Topeka High School.

Judges’ Statement: We were honored to have the opportunity to read such an amazing collection of books. The 27 books submitted for the Coffin Award this year were amazing in their variety and excellence—a tribute to the long tradition of fine writing by Kansas authors. The book we have selected, Diary of German War Bride by Trudy McFarland, uses a very creative form for presenting the story of the life of the author’s mother. McFarland maintained an authentic voice throughout the long work. Details of history, weather, and the city of Topeka bring the diary to life. We admired her bravery in putting her family’s story out, including all the loves and struggles that make her people so strong and real. It was a wonderful read.

2006 Ferguson History Book Award:
Stephen D. Coats, Ph.D., non-member
Gathering at the Golden Gate: Mobilizing for War in the Philippines, 1898
Dr. Coats is a professor at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth KS and received his Ph.D. in history from KU.

2006 Nelson Poetry Book Award:
Porubsky, Matthew, Non-member, Topeka
voyeur poems
voyeur poems by Matthew Porubsky
Jonathan Holden, Poet Laureate of Kansas, announced the award at the Kansas Authors Club Awards Banquet in Junction City on Sat., Sept. 30. The Nelson Award honors the best poetry book written by a Kansas resident published within the two years prior to June 1, 2006.

Complete judge’s statement (read at the announcement):
I have selected voyeur poems, an astonishing book of serious philosophical weight, having to do, like the poetry of the late Wallace Stevens, with the difference between The Imagination and “Reality,” and a courageous book because in it Matthew reveals potentially embarrassing details of his personal life. Like all serious personal poetry, this book takes many risks and triumphs over them. It gives all readers serious new permissions for emotional honesty and personal authenticity. Poetry is alive and well in Kansas.”
Jonathan Holden, Poet Laureate of Kansas (2005-2007)

Porubsky graduated from the University of Kansas in 2002 with a degree in Creative Writing and received the Harry and Jessie Jacobs Prize in Poetry. He has had numerous poems published in The Coal City Review, freefall, The Same, I-70 Review, and the Lawrence Journal-World. voyeur poems is his first book of poetry.

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