William J. Karnowski, 2013 KAC Vice-President, chaired these book competitions.
2013 J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award:
Tracy Million Simmons, District 2, Emporia
Judge’s statement : L.F. Blanchat
“This book is believable and well written. I want to own a copy so that I can read it over and over again.
"Jeni Renzelman, the central character, returns to her home town of Dodge City. Her affair with a former college professor has failed, and she hopes to spend a few weeks with her family. She struggles with how to cope with the remnants of her life and hopes to find clarity on what to do next. When she is about to arrive at Dodge City, she passes a highway accident in which circus animals have been thrown from overturned cages. A white tiger has escaped into the countryside near Dodge City.
"Jeni, and some other local volunteers gather and begin searching for the white tiger. One of the other volunteers is a former high school classmate. As her friendship with him develops, she finds increased confidence in her hope for a better life. Her search for the tiger has interesting beginning and a surprise ending with a wonderful story line that keeps the reader engaged.
"Jeni Renzelman becomes a real person, and leaves the reader confident in her ultimate success.”
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2013 Ferguson History Book Award:
Glen Ediger, non-member
Leave No Threshing Stone Unturned
Judge’s statement :
Eric Anderson, Ph.D., Professor of History, Indigenous & American Indian Studies,
Haskell Indian Nations University,
“As this year's winning entry for the Ferguson Kansas History Award, I am pleased to select Leave No Threshing Stone Unturned, by Glen Ediger.
"A native Kansan, Ediger's background, heritage, and experiences combined to inspire in him a deep interest in the 'layered history of this simple limestone farming tool' (iv), and one whose existence, in fact, reveals a remarkably rich story. As he explains the rationale for writing this book and the path of research it required, we are able to see the many intersections of knowledge this journey entails. Those interested in the history of Kansas and the West, immigration patterns and influences, geology, geography, archaeology, religious communities, agricultural development, and other connected topics will all find something appealing in interacting with this fascinating work.
"Beautifully rendered, with many excellent photographs and drawings, the book is visually adroit. In addition, the narratives employed take the reader on a rollicking and often far-flung journey with numerous international and deep historical implications. Conceived as a format akin to 'a magazine,' where one can 'pick [it] up and read any article' (vi), the topics covered range from the history of cereal grains to how and why Mennonites came to Kansas to the actual construction and use of threshing stones. The text is furthermore split into two overall approaches, with a good bit of the book given over to the author's 'treasure hunt' (vi) of investigating the whereabouts and fate of remaining stones. These entries, scattered throughout the various chapters (or 'articles,' as he calls them—seventeen in all) are printed on a texture meant to resemble the surface of threshing stones, adding to the visual appeal and innovative take on a history some may at first find is obscure; doubtless they will reach quite another conclusion upon spending any substantial time with Ediger's insights.
"Finally, this work adds greatly to our understanding in that it truly is the first of its kind: no one has, until now, provided us with a full-length treatment of threshing stones and the worlds of meaning they inhabit. A labor of love, the book likewise carves out an area of historical knowledge that contributes to a variety of fields at once. Seeing those connections is part of the fun and the reader feels part of the process of recovery and learning by joining the author's quest. Designed in the style of a coffee-table book, this will make a welcome addition not only to personal collections of historical and artistic expression, but also to libraries and research facilities geared toward a fuller appreciation of our shared past.”
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2013 Nelson Poetry Book Award:
Kevin Rabas, District 2, Emporia
Sonny Kenner's Red Guitar
Judge’s statement : Dan Pohl
“Of the many wonderfully crafted books entered, one book kept drawing attention by its delicious and crunchy images.
"Readers will take great joy to learn why 'Gwen quit coming to class,' and why anyone who met her 'wanted to rest in her journals.'
"Readers will fall in love again with enough Jazz and Blues that they want to drum along with their smoky bands.
"Each poem rippled onto a willing shore, needing, wanting others to enjoy its movement, vibrant with light, guttural at times, and sweet when needed, profoundly wrapped in red, white, and blue wrapper.
"Therefore, it is a pleasure to announce the winner of the 2013 Nelson Poetry Contest as Kevin Rabas for his Sonny Kenner's Red Guitar."
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