Meet the Author

Dec 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Dan Wikiera has won our Essay writing contest on the theme of The Fools Journey with his piece "I Am the Fool." 


Lifelong Kansas City resident. Lifelong reader. Lifelong writer. This is my first foray into public writing.


It started as a whisper. A vague notion. A desire to open my own business, be my own boss. Create something from nothing. The American ideal, like white picket fences and apple pie. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what. Or that I didn’t have any experience. I had the desire, the work ethic. I was naïve.


I

Blond Woman in glasses and pendant necklace

The Fools Journey Writing Contest Winner

By Diana Richards
5
Rated by Helen H.
Nov 19, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Diana Richards has won our short story writing contest on the theme of The fools Journey with her piece "Cactus." 


I can't add to the millions of statements from would-be writers as to why I write, and my biography isn't all that unique either: retired, like to write, writing is hard, love the library.


Cactus


Perhaps it was a dream, she thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn’t want to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream world, where people said “Excuse me”, and “I’m sorry”, and “How are you”

red haired woman in green sweater with a black and white dog

Tails and Tales Writing Contest Winner

By Marcia Hurlow
5
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 13, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Marcia Hurlow has won our open category writing contest on the theme of Tails and Tales with her piece "Olfaction." 


Marcia L. Hurlow's first full-length collection of poetry, Anomie, won the Edges Prize. She also has five chapbooks. More than 400 of her individual poems have appeared in literary magazines, including Poetry, Chicago Review, River Styx, Poetry East, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest, Stand, Cold Mountain, Zone 3 and The Journal, among others. She is co-editor of Kansas City Voices.


Olfaction


I walk behind Lucky as he leaps

Sep 13, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Lauren Loya has won our essay writing contest on the theme of Tails and Tales with her piece "Call Me Cuttlefish." 


Lauren Loya is a graduate of the Literature, Language, and Writing program at the University of Kansas. Her work has been featured in Coal City Review. A Kansas City native, her favorite local haunts include the Green Lady Lounge, Stroud’s, Antioch Park, and many of the shops and eateries along 39th Street West.


You can read more of her work at https://draculauren.wordpress.com/.


Call Me Cuttlefish


She pressed the

Photo of Nadine Shookman

Bodies Writing Contest Winner

By Nadine Shookman
5
Rated by Jack V.
May 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Nadine Shookman has won our open writing contest on the theme of Bodies with her piece "Oma." 


Born in Germany, Nadine Shookman lives in Overland Park with her husband Jesse and a goldendoodle named Oatmeal. She works as a catastrophe modeler and spends her free time writing, drawing, and volunteering in the community.


Oma


I remember brushing my fingertips along the inside of my great-grandmother’s wrist, struck by how different her skin felt from mine. I was around eight years old, she in her eighties. I called her “Oma,” the

Photo of Kaylin Salmen

Bodies Writing Contest Winner

By Kaylin Salmen
5
Rated by Jack V.
May 14, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Kaylin Salmen has won our open writing contest on the theme of Bodies with her piece "Self-worth." 


Kaylin is a college senior at Kansas State University studying food science. She enjoys being outside, playing dungeons and dragons with friends, and art.


Self-worth


She remarks on the scars on my body
As if they were dents left in discarded
College apartment furniture,


But these marks
can be interpreted like runes
on cuneiform tablets.


These marks are not a curse,
But a prayer.
I know because I put them there,
Along

Photo of Dr. Virginia Brackett

Bodies Writing Contest Winner

By Virginia Brackett
5
Rated by Jack V.
Feb 6, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Dr. Virginia Brackett has won our poetry writing contest on the theme of Bodies with her piece "Side Effects.”


Virginia Brackett’s 16 books have been cited by the New York Public Library; the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association; Tristate Books of Note; the American Library Association, Amelia Bloomer Project; and Booklist (Editor’s Choice, Reference Sources, 2008). Her 2019 memoir, In the Company of Patriots (Sunbury Press), focuses on her father’s death in the Korean Conflict and its effect on her family. She contributed the essay

Photo of Karen Morales

Reflections on Race Contest Winner

By Karen Morales
5
Rated by Jack V.
Jan 30, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Karen Morales has won our open writing contest on the theme of Reflections on Race with her piece "Beyond Instagram Graphics.”


Karen Morales is a high school student who is passionate about journalism.


Beyond Instagram Graphics


I am a 17-year-old Guatemalan born and raised in Kansas. One could argue that I don’t look like the typical Guatemalan or Latina. My skin color is lighter compared to the rest of my family and my green-blue eyes stand out next to my parents’ brown eyes. I have been mistaken as White multiple times at

Photo of David Garrison

Reflections on Race Contest Winner

By David Garrison
5
Rated by Jack V.
Jan 23, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that David Garrison has won our open contest on the theme of Reflections on Race with his piece "Nine Minutes."


The poetry of David Lee Garrison has appeared widely in journals and anthologies, and two poems from his book Sweeping the Cemetery were read by Garrison Keillor on his radio show, The Writer’s Almanac. The title poem from his Playing Bach in the DC Metro was featured by Poet Laureate Ted Kooser on his website, American Life in Poetry, and read on the BBC in London. His most recent book is Light in the River (Dos Madres Press).

Photo of Jacob Kittilstad

Reflections on Race Writing Contest Winner

By Jacob Kittilstad
5
Rated by Jack V.
Dec 8, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Jacob Kittilstad has won our short story contest on the theme of Reflections on Race with his piece "Milkshake."


Jacob Kittilstad has worked as a reporter in the North, the South, and the Midwest.


Milkshake


I drink a milkshake on my way home. It is the only thing I have eaten all day. The film drags down the back of my throat. I grunt to clear it on my way home.


I am not going home. I am going back to work. I tell myself that I am going home because it makes me happy. It makes me happier than saying I am going back to work.


I am

Photo of Marcia Hurlow

Reflections on Race Writing Contest Winner

By Marcia Hurlow
5
Rated by Jack V.
Oct 27, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Marcia Hurlow has won our poetry writing contest on the theme of Reflections on Race with her piece "DECONSTRUCTION.”


Marcia L. Hurlow's first full-length collection of poetry, Anomie, won the Edges Prize. She also has five chapbooks. More than 300 of her individual poems have appeared in literary magazines, including Poetry, Chicago Review, River Styx, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest, Stand, Cold Mountain, Zone 3 and The Journal, among others. Last year she received the Al Smith Fellowship for Poetry for the second time, and this year she will

Sep 23, 2020

“When did you realize poetry could be your companion? Your release?” 


In this episode of the Johnson County Library podcast Did You Hear, Dr. Randall Horton and Anishinaabekwe poet Louise K. Waakaa’igan discuss poetry both as a lifeline and as a discipline.  It’s a discussion between two people who share a gift for and love of poetry; but it’s also a discussion between two people who share a common language that only those who have been “inside” can fully understand.  


An unrelenting advocate for personal voice and perfect line breaks, Dr. Horton is equally passionate about eradicating

Aug 6, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Nick Lopez has won our essay contest on the theme of Imagine Your Story with "I am a Coconut".


Nick Lopez is a Marine Corps veteran, who served from 2005-20013, and is currently a coordinator for veteran programs at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Headquarters in Kansas City, MO. He volunteers on the board of the Kansas City Veterans Writing Team, who sponsor and hold biannual writing workshops for veterans and their family members of. Nick has been published in "Veteran's Voices" and "Haiku Journal", and most recently his painting

Jul 12, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that John Adams has won our short story contest on the theme of Imagine Your Story with "Something in His "i"s".


John Adams (he/him/his) writes about teenage detectives, pelican-people, robo-butlers, and cursed cowboys. His publication history includes Australian Writers’ Centre, Bowery Gothic, Briefly Write, Dream of Shadows, Fat Cat Magazine, SERIAL Magazine, Siren’s Call, Trembling With Fear, Triangle Writers, and Weird Christmas (forthcoming: Paper Butterfly, peculiar, The Weird and Whatnot). His plays have been produced by Alphabet Soup

Jun 4, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Virginia Brackett has won our poetry contest on the theme of Imagine Your Story with "Six".


Virginia Brackett’s 16 books have been cited by the New York Public Library; the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association; Tristate Books of Note; the American Library Association, Amelia Bloomer Project; and Booklist (Editor’s Choice, Reference Sources, 2008). She has published many articles, stories, and blog entries for readers of all ages and her short story “Mrs. Cross” won in the fall 2018 Johnson County Library creative writing

Connection Writing Contest Winner

By Joel Holland
5
Rated by Helen H.
May 11, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Joel Holland has won our writing contest in the open category on the theme of Connection with "Contemplating Connection as Zimmer’s “Chasing Cornfields” Plays in my Bedroom."


Award-winning poet Joel Holland graduated from Union University in the spring of 2019. The oldest of four siblings, Joel was born in Salisbury, Maryland, spent a portion of his youth living in Tianjin, China, lived out much of his teenage years in Springfield, Tennessee, and is currently serving a church in Kansas City. Joel has been writing since he can remember and

Connections Writing Contest Winner

By Martha Gershun
5
Rated by Helen H.
Apr 13, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Martha Gershun has won our Essay writing contest on the theme of Connection with "Emma Goldman's Amber Necklace."


Martha Gershun is a writer living in Fairway, KS. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, the New Yorker, Kveller, SELF magazine, and The Kansas City Star. She is currently working on her second book, with co-author John Lantos, MD, based on her experience donating a kidney at the Mayo Clinic to a woman she read about in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. It will be published by Cornell University Press later this year

Connection Writing Contest Winner

By Annie Newcomer
5
Rated by Helen H.
Feb 25, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Annie Newcomer has won our Poetry writing contest on the theme of Connection with "Acushla."


Annie Newcomer lives in Prairie Village with David, her husband of forty years and their daughter's Aussiedoodle, Summit. Her first published piece, "My Red Shoes" was about how her sister Patty's death affected her, then a young child herself. Patty suffered in life with severe cerebral palsy. She was a blessing and an angel.


Acushla


Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there

Dec 19, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that LeAnne Hansen has won our Essay writing contest on the theme of Unlocking the Mind with "Thoughts of Grief and Healing."


LeAnne Hansen is a mother, community volunteer, speaker, and world traveler. Her time in India, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Thailand, Vietnam, and numerous other countries have taught her to look for and value those experiences that are common to the human condition, especially as we seek to heal the divisions in our own families, communities and country. A lifelong writer, reader, and lover of libraries

Nov 8, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Kent Moore has won our Short Story writing contest on the theme of Unlocking the Mind with "The Corbomite Maneuver".


Kent Moore is a Senior Strategist for Physician Payment at the American Academy of Family Physicians, where he also serves as a contributing editor to one of its journals, FPM. He's also written for Humanities, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities. An earlier short story, "Rooted and Grounded in Love," won the Open Category of the Johnson County Library's Many in One writing contest and is available on

Oct 22, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Mary Silwance has won our poetry writing contest on the theme of Unlocking the Mind with "Remembering." Read the poem below or see the original (PDF).


Originally from Egypt, Mary Silwance lives in Kansas City. An environmental activist and speaker, award winning poet, mother and farmhand, she is a member of the Kansas City Writers Group and serves on the editorial teams of Kansas City Voices and Konza Journal. Her work appears in numerous publications including Descansos, Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity, Sequestrum

Sep 29, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Andy Rowe has won our writing contest in the Open Category on the theme of A Universe of Stories with "Heinlein and Burroughs".


Andy Rowe has enjoyed a 25-year career as an instructional designer and business trainer. He is also an award-winning business trainer, who has delivered some 900 presentations and seminars to over 50,000 people.


“You see the work of the instructional designer whenever you attend a training session,” says Andy. “There are manuals, assessments, activities, facilitator notes, PowerPoint slides. It’s the job of

Sep 22, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Duane Johnson has won our writing contest in the Open Category on the theme of A Universe of Stories with "One Small Step".


The author is a retired journalist, who now primarily writes poetry. He has published one volume of poetry, “Evolution’s Promise: Meditations of a Magical Thinker,” and is working on two other volumes of poetry. He also has published a novel, “Herald of the Resurrection.” Both "Herald" and "Evolution's Promise" can be found on Amazon. He lives in Topeka, Kan., and is married to a social worker. They have two grown

Sep 15, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Brian Daldorph has won our writing contest in the Open category on the theme of A Universe of Stories with "Wasps".


Brian Daldorph teaches at the University of Kansas and Douglas County Jail. He edits Coal City Review.


Wasps


I’m sitting in a café with one of the great storytellers of the modern world, the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.  In jeans and a red Southern Comfort sweatshirt, Murakami is short and trim, with the deep calm look of a man who could sit cross-legged on a mountaintop and write, in neat kanji, 5000 words a

Aug 28, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Martha Gershun has won our essay writing contest on the theme of A Universe of Stories with "The Hatch".


Martha Gershun is a retired non-profit executive. Her first book, Care & Custody: A Novel of Three Children at RIsk, tells the story of siblings caught up in the child welfare system. Her second book, The Radical Altruism of Organ Donation, co-written with Dr. John Lantos, will be published next year by Cornell University Press. Her published essays and academic articles can be found at www.marthagershun.com.


The Hatch


        

Aug 7, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Lori Stratton has won our essay writing contest on the theme of A Universe of Stories with "Johnny Cash".


Lori Stratton is an English teacher at Gardner Edgerton High School. Her husband is a middle school guidance counselor, and they have three young adult children and one grandchild. Lori also works for the National Education Association as a trustee for the Leaders for Just Schools initiative. Her writing can be found at Grown&Flown.com, at her personal blog, lorijstratton.com, and on her Medium account, @ljstratton50.


Johnny Cash

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
5
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

Feb 7, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Pat Daneman has won the poetry category of our writing contest on the theme of BREAKING FREE with "Congolese Refugee Family Watches Fireworks for the First Time".


Pat Daneman is from Long Island, New York and currently lives in Lenexa, Kansas. She has published fiction and poetry in many print and online magazines, including The American Journal of Poetry, Escape into Life and the Bellevue Poetry Review. Her poems have been anthologized in Best of the Net and New Poetry from the Midwest. She is the author of a chapbook, Where the World

Women's Voices Writing Contest Winner

By Virginia Brackett
5
Rated by Helen H.
Jan 11, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Virginia Brackett has won the open category of our writing contest on the theme of WOMEN'S VOICES with "Mrs. Cross".


Virginia Brackett, Professor Emeritus of English, retired in 2016 from Park University where she directed the Honors Academy and received varied teaching and service awards, including Faculty Member of the Year, 2013 for Exceptional Services to Student Veterans. She served as a discussion facilitator for the 2017 NEH-funded initiative for veterans and their families, Planting the Oar. Brackett serves on the Kansas City