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Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award

2020 Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award in Fiction (2021 in Literary Nonfiction, 2022 in Poetry)

Behind the name: Learn more about the Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award.

This award is sponsored by the Center for Kansas Studies, the Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection at Mabee Library and the Friends of Mabee Library.

Please see the award schedule and entry guidelines below.

Award Schedule

2020 Best Fiction (novel or collection of short stories)
2021 Best Literary Nonfiction
2022 Best Poetry
2023 Best Fiction
2024 Best Literary Nonfiction (memoir, essays, journalistic writing)
2025 Best Poetry (collection of poems of at least 60 pages) continuing to alternate every three years

2020 Fiction Award Guidelines

Nominations can come from publishers, authors, or anyone interested in seeing a book considered. Only one book per author may be submitted.

Books must be original work by a single author (no anthologies).

Author must establish a connection to Kansas by birth, education, employment, residence or other significant claim.

Please submit two copies of each book nominated. Those books become the property of the Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection.

Books must have an original publication date (copyright notice) within three calendar years immediately preceding the year of the competition deadline
. For example, to be eligible for the 2020 Fiction deadline, the nominee's book must have a publication date of 2017, 2018 or 2019.

Previous awardees are eligible to submit a new book.

Nominations for this year's award must be postmarked or presented by December 15, 2019.

Along with a statement of Kansas connection, author email, phone, and postal address, please submit books for consideration to:

c/o Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection
Mabee Library
1700 College
Topeka, KS 66621

Andrew Malan Milward, 2020 Fiction Award Judge
Andrew Malan Milward was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is the author of the story collections The Agriculture Hall of Fame, which was awarded the Juniper Prize for Fiction by the University of Massachusetts, and I Was a Revolutionary (HarperCollins, 2015), which was awarded the Friends of American Writers Literature Award and the Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award. His fiction has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and appeared in many places, including Zoetrope, American Short Fiction, VQR, The Southern Review, Guernica, as well as Best New American Voices. His first book of nonfiction, Jayhawker: On History, Home, and Basketball will be released Fall 2019. Milward has served as the McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, a Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University, and has received fellowships and awards from the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Corporation of Yaddo. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where he is an assistant professor of English at the University of Kentucky.

Congratulations to Patricia Traxler, winner of the 2019 Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award in Poetry! The 2019 award ceremony was held in Mabee Library on Tuesday, March 5th at 4:00 p.m.

Patricia Traxler was born and raised in California, and in 1980 moved to Kansas, where the three generations of the Traxler family before her had homesteaded and farmed in the Waterville area. Since that time she has lived in Salina, where she has taught creative writing and worked as a poet in the community.  She is an award-winning poet, essayist, and fiction writer, and the author of four poetry collections: Naming the Fires (Hanging Loose Press, Forbidden Words (University of Missouri); Blood Calendar (William Morrow); The Glass Woman (Hanging Loose Press); and a novel, Blood (St. Martin's/Macmillan).

Judge Steven Hind's thoughts on Traxler:

“In a heightened and memorable language Patricia Traxler’s work performs the ecstasies and terrors of a life experience deeply lived and vigilantly observed. Her skills and her wit are richly exhibited. During my re-readings of her collection, a Robert Frost phrase came to mind: she has ‘a lover's quarrel with the world.’ There is in Naming the Fires a brave performance of the confusions and joys on a long road to self-possession.”

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