The first-ever Sunflower State Book Festival saw its inaugural festivities begin on Friday, October 9th at the Osborne Public Library in Osborne. For three hours, from four in the afternoon to seven in the evening, library played host to an open house held in honor of Dr. James F. Hoy, Emporia State University professor and recipient of the very first Don Coldsmith Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement.
Don Coldsmith (shown above) was a longtime Emporia, Kansas doctor who later in life turned to writing stories - about among other things - a Spaniard and his descendants living with Plains Indians in the 1500s and onward, inadvertedly inventing in the process an entirely new genre of American Western writing. He passed away on June 25, 2009, having written 40 novels, 150 articles, 1600 newspaper columns, served a stint as president of the Western Writers Association of America, and recently was named one of the 50 greatest Western writers of all time. Naming a Kansas literature award after this internationally-celebrated author was pretty much a no-brainer.
The Don Coldsmith Award is sponsored annually by Ad Astra Publishing LLC of Osborne, Kansas - the co-owners of which are David Readio of Westminster, Colorado, and yours truly - and will be presented to a distinquished living Kansas author each year at the Sunflower State Book Festival.
Karen Wallace, head librarian, made sure that cookies and cake were in readiness for the open house.
Dr. Hoy may have thought that the cake was a good enough award in itself!
Shown left to right are Roy Bird, Kansas State Librarian; Cathy (Mrs. James) Hoy; Jim Hoy; and Pamela Schrader of the Kansas State Library.
Karen Wallace and Roy Bird.
Cathy and Jim Hoy conversing with author Jerry Engler.
Joe Hubbard, local innkeeper of Riverbend Bed & Breakfast, shares a conversation with Merlyn Brown of Merlin Entertainment of Osborne, who filmed part of the open house.
Von Rothenberger of Osborne, left, makes a point with Carolyn and Bill Williams of Alton, Kansas.
Book Festival volunteer Kathy Bristol, center, and Osborne City Councilman John McClure, right, converse with KDSN FM personality covering the event.
The man of the hour, Jim Hoy, then spoke for nearly an hour to end the evening. A Cassoday, Kansas native, Hoy talked to an appreciative audience about his research and writing on ranching life not only of the Flint Hills and the Great Plains but from around the world as well. Hoy fielded numerous questions on his style of writing and his lengthy teaching and literary career.