One of Kansas City’s most appreciated literary awards was given on Saturday, October 3 at the Central Library. The Thorpe Menn Award is sponsored by the Kansas City branch of the American Association of University Women and given each year to local author who exhibits the highest level of literary excellence.
The award was established in 1979 by the Kansas City branch of AAUW. Mr. Menn was a longtime book editor of the Kansas City Star and supported all aspects of Kansas City’s cultural life, but he held a special place in his heart for Kansas City’s authors and artists.
The Reading Committee of the Kansas City AAUW start their reading early. They diligently pursue copies of every locally published novel, collection of poetry or short stories, or nonfiction and from these many books, create a nomination list. The list is further narrowed to three honorees and from these three the Kansas City AAUW make a difficult decision to name a winner.
This year’s honorees included John Mark Eberhart for his second poetry collection, Broken Time. Matthew Eck’s debut novel, The Farther Shore, has already collected the Milkweed National Fiction Prize and the Society of Midland Authors award for fiction. The third honoree and winner of the Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence was Donna Trussell for her poetry debut, What’s Right About What’s Wrong, a collection of 20 years worth of poems.
At the AAUW Awards luncheon all the writers were honored with plaques and given the opportunity to address the room. Both Mr. Eberhart and Ms. Trussell gave moving speeches on the creative process. Ms. Trussell’s remarks can be read on her blog, and Mr. Eberhart’s comments are here. Readers interested in a list of past Thorpe Menn Award winners can view the complete list on the Kansas City Public Library website.
Round out some of your reading with notable books from local authors.