May 11, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that David Lee Garrison has won the open category of our writing contest on the theme of BREAKING FREE with "Putting Killers Away".

Dr. David Lee Garrison (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University) taught Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas in 1978-79, and then at Wright State University until his retirement in 2009. He and his wife, Suzanne Kelly-Garrison, have residences in Oakwood, Ohio, and in Prairie Village, dividing their time between the two cities. Almost all of Suzanne’s family lives in Kansas; David has a cousin in Grandview

Breaking Free Writing Contest Winner

By Karin L. Frank
Rated by Helen H.
Apr 29, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Karin L. Frank has won the essay category of our writing contest on the theme of BREAKING FREE with "Nearly Me".

Karin L. Frank (@klfrank1 and karinlfrank.com) is an award-winning author. Nurtured by the fantasies and sciences of both coasts, she eventually settled on a farm in the Kansas City area. Her poems and stories have been published in a wide variety of venues both in the U.S.A. and abroad. Her first book of poems, A Meeting of Minds, is a collection of her science-based and science fiction-based poems. It is available through

Nov 15, 2017

Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite authors, and I really enjoyed this biography about her life. Even if you are unfamiliar with Jackson, however, you can appreciate this well-researched biography that chronicles the social and political background that shaped the author's writing, as well as the mindset of America during her adult life in the 1930s through the 1960s. Each chapter describes two to four years of her life, from her birth in California in 1916, through her move to New York, until finally her death in Vermont at the age of 48. Franklin's biography, though extensive and

Camino Island

By John Grisham
Rated by Lisa J.
Aug 14, 2017

Bruce Cable is living the life he always wanted and has worked hard to attain. He lives on Camino Island and owns an independent bookstore that over the years has become the hub of culture and literature on the island. Bruce is a collector of many things: first editions, rare books, and works by young women. His bookstore hosts several book signings a month and he is a regular on most author's book tours.  

When the original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts go missing from the Firestone Library at Princeton University the world of literature is in an uproar. The FBI and Princeton's insurance

Meet the Author: Ann Ingalls

By Ann Ingalls
Rated by Helen H.
Jun 5, 2017

Ann Ingalls first started making appearances at Johnson County Library in 2009 with the release of her picture book The Little Piano Girl, a biography about the childhood of jazz prodigy Mary Lou Williams. She has another round of appearances coming soon in conjunction with her latest title. Read on to learn more about the book and the author.

This July you are spending a day traveling to some Johnson County Library locations to share your new book, Fairy Floss: The Sweet Story of Cotton Candy. Can you tell us a little about the contents and creation of the book, as well as what attendees

300 Arguments

By Sarah Manguso
Rated by Helen H.
Apr 26, 2017

Here at Johnson County Library we're always on the lookout for insightful words about writing. Sarah Manguso's latest book, 300 Arguments, contains quite a few. At its most basic level, the book is a collection of aphorisms. And, since Manguso is a professional writer and writing teacher, some cover that topic. Here are a few to mull over:

Nothing is more boring to me than the re-re-restatement that language isn't sufficiently nuanced to describe the world. Of course language isn't enough. Accepting that is the starting point of using it to capacity. Of increasing its capacity.


Meet the Author: Amy Engel

By Amy Engel
Rated by Helen H.
Apr 12, 2017

Amy Engel was born in Kansas. Over the next couple of decades, she boomeranged around the world – to Iran and back to Kansas City, to Taiwan and back to Kansas City, from the University of Kansas to Georgetown University in Washington D.C., and finally back to Kansas City. Phew! With a law degree in hand, she worked for ten years as a criminal defense attorney.

After marrying a fellow attorney and having children, she decided to be a stay-at-home mother and writer. The writing took a little longer to become a reality than the mothering. One day, a flash of inspiration hit, and she wrote her

Nov 16, 2016

In The Butterfly Hours, Dann uses “one-word memory triggers like ‘table’ or ‘car’ . . . as a way” for students, and eventually herself, “to stitch together the patches of [their lives].” Some of the stories shared are those of her students, some are her own. All are beautiful.

The reading could have gone quickly, but I saved and savored the chapters. Assignments are listed at the end of the book and a photocopy of them now rests in the cover of my journal.

Much like Abigail Thomas’ Thinking About Memoir, Dann illustrates how surprising we can be to ourselves. But we don’t have to take

Meet the Author: Eve Brackenbury

By Eve Brackenbury
Rated by Helen H.
Nov 9, 2016

Everyone knows poetry is a literary form with distinct sounds and rhythms meant to be read aloud. Eve Brackenbury, local poet and bookseller, will help participants who might never have spoken in front of a crowd learn to read poetry out loud. Her passion is evident in our interview and we hope you'll join us in learning how to turn your reading into a performance.

Tuesday, November 15th
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Central Resource Library - Logan Conference Room

Tell us about yourself. How did you get started writing?

Like many writers, I don’t really remember when I started writing. I

Meet the Author: Danyelle Ferguson

By Danyelle Ferguson
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 18, 2016

Danyelle Ferguson discovered her love for the written word in elementary school. Her first article was published when she was in 6th grade. Since then, she’s won several awards and has been published world-wide in newspapers, magazines and books. She’s grateful every day to work in her dream jobs – author, editor, and nurturing her readaholic tendencies.

Ferguson will present Let the Words Fall Out: a Study of Music Lyrics for NovelistsVoice: Making Your Manuscript Sing and will sit on a panel discussion on Writing Dialogue with Kristin Huston and Nathan Jackson at our 2016 Writers

Meet the Author: Mary Lane Kamberg

By Mary Lane Kamberg
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 13, 2016

Mary-Lane Kamberg is the author of more than 30 nonfiction books, including many for young adult readers. She has been writing since second grade. She published her first poem at the age of 10. She has a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas and roots for the Jayhawks during March Madness. In addition to her nonfiction books, she has published hundreds of articles, a poetry chapbook, and some short fiction. Her books include the I Love to Write Book: Ideas and Tips for Young WritersThe I Don't Know How to Cook Book, and Seed Rain. She is founder and director of the I Love to Write

Meet the Author: Nathan Louis Jackson

By Nathan Louis Jackson
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 11, 2016

Nathan Louis Jackson is the playwright in residence at the KC Repthrough the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency Program grant. A Kansas City, Kansas native, he is a graduate of Washington High School. He is also an alum of Kansas State University and did his graduate work at The Juilliard School.

His plays include Broke-ology (Lincoln Center 2009, KC Rep 2010), When I Come to Die (Lincoln Center in 2011, KC Rep 2014), and Sticky Traps (KC Rep 2015). He has received commissions from both Lincoln Center and The Roundabout Theater Company. At K-State, he was actively

Meet the Author: Sean Demory

By Sean Demory
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 6, 2016

Sean Demory, the brains behind Pine Float Press, was the first author I reached out to when we started Read Local. His original interview holds up just as well today as it did last year. He joins us again in preparation for our 2016 Writers Conference. Demory, with Scott Novosel and CW Cook will discuss how each of them have successfully used Crowdfunding to fund projects.

Introduce yourself. Where do you live and work?

My name's Sean Demory. I live and work in Kansas City, Missouri, where I work for the Public Works Department by day and write by whenever. I'm also the founder of Pine

May 11, 2016

Robert Benson always takes the question of “how to write a book” very seriously. For he was once "in the same spot and grateful for any help that might move [him] along . . . Sharing the things [he] knows about how a person goes about telling his story seems only right. Perhaps it is even, as the old prayer book says, a good and joyful thing.” He’s the perfect mentor to help nudge a new writer on her way.

One of my favorite things about Dancing on the Head of a Pen are the chapter titles. "Dark Marks on a Page", for instance, explains how different writers make their marks. Benson’s way is

Feb 17, 2016

Even if you aren’t quite ready to seek out editors and agents, it’s never too soon to start building your platform. And even if you aren’t interested in building an author’s platform, you should at least check out Social Media for Writers for Chuck Wendig’s Forward. That alone garners a recommendation.

Writing is serious business. If you’re a writer, especially a self-published or small-press author, you need to take social media seriously and see it as a business strategy for your work.

From blogs and Podcasting to Twitter and Instagram, if it’s a social media platform, Tee Morris and

The Serialist

By David Gordon
Rated by Don M.
Aug 25, 2015

David Gordon gives us a new twist on the serial killer novel and it’s a welcome addition. The Serialist is his first novel and was nominated for the 2011 Edgar Mystery Award.

Serial killer Darian Clay hires Harry Bloch to visit the women who send him letters and write stories about them. In exchange, Clay promises the inside story on the women he has killed (like where their heads are), guaranteeing a bestseller.

Bloch is presented as an intelligent but inept writer, and as the novel progresses the reader sees him grow into the role that is thrust upon him. Some of the gore might be off

Dear Committee Members

By Julie Schumacher
Rated by Helen H.
Jul 27, 2015

In Dear Committee Members, Schumacher puts a delightful twist on the epistolary novel. The story is told completely through LORs (Letters of Recommendation) written by a washed-up professor still teaching in “the wake of the deliberate gutting of the liberal arts, English in particular, in favor of the technological sciences…which the faceless gremlins…have condemned to indigence and ruin.”

Totally one-sided, Shumacher still paints a vivid picture of both the personal and professional life of Jason Fitger. With an ex-wife, ex-lover and trail of irritated colleagues in his wake, Fitger