Matt Stewart is a well-known Kansas City reporter and anchor with Fox 4. What viewers may not realize is that he has also published four books and is passionate about narrative storytelling. His latest book is Unique Eats and Eateries of Kansas City, profiling Kansas City’s dynamic chefs and restaurants.
Stewart will share his knowledge and insights at Central Resource Library in January and February. It’s a chance to discuss his work and motivate other writers to overcome their fears, sharpen their prose and share their gifts.
“After I published my first book, I had a ton of people writing asking me, ‘How did you do this?’ I shared with them that this was a lifelong dream,” Stewart said. “I hope I can inspire people to take their work and share it with others. People are scared of rejection. But their writing can inspire others and entertain them.”
On Jan. 24, Stewart will join Andrea Broomfield, author of “Iconic Restaurants of Kansas City,” and restaurateur Jasper Mirabile for a conversation. On Jan. 25 he will discuss his writing process and how he turned his hobby into a successful second career. On Feb. 1 and Feb. 4 he will host workshops on crafting convincing dialogue and helping aspiring writers to polish their own work.
“I’m excited to share my story with people,” he said.
Stewart grew up in Omaha, where his mother instilled in him a love of reading and libraries. He attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and began a career in television news. He and his wife Chrissy moved in 2004 to the Kansas City area. They have three teenaged children.
Stewart worked eight years at KCTV Channel 5 and has been with Fox 4 for a decade. Despite a very busy career and family life he has always made time to write, often late at night. For his first book, he took to heart the mantra “write what you know” and realized he had a great story to tell.
He had been a walk-on strong safety for Northwestern’s football team in 1993 and played all four years. During that time, the team went from worst to first in the Big 10. He turned that experience into the memoir “The Walk-On,” offering an insider’s fascinating account of an amazing college football transformation. He couldn’t find a New York publisher but self-published it in 2012. It won sports-writing awards and rave reviews from readers.
He followed that up with a fictional murder mystery (set in a small town TV newsroom) and with a science fiction time-travel novel. Both also won popular acclaim. More information is available at MattStewartBooks.com.
Kansas City author Anne Kniggendorf recommended Stewart to St. Louis-based Reedy Press, which approached him in 2021 to write a Kansas City-focused book. He realized that while people know about Kansas City’s great restaurants, they don’t know the chefs’ incredible untold stories.
“I wanted to put the spotlight on these local chefs, who are so talented and create such amazing meals,” he said.
In promoting the book, Stewart reached out to Johnson County Library. He and his family are avid patrons at the Lenexa City Center branch. He is delighted that the Library programs will highlight both his book and the writer’s craft.
“They wanted to do something unique to really honor this book and the restaurants I profiled,” Stewart said, adding that he’s also eager to encourage other writers. “If I can help people shore up their knowledge and share their work, then that will have been worth my time.”