Friday, March 26, 2010

150 Eminent Kansans & new award honoring Kansas author Don Coldsmith

     The Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University puts out a great newsletter entitled Tales Out of School that is both informative and always just plain fun to read. It is geared toward Kansas K-12 teachers, is published twice a year and is available free of charge to interested persons; you do not necessarily need to be a teacher to enjoy it. A variety of subjects related to teaching Kansas history appear in Tales and each issue emphasizes a topic, teaching technique, or activity. Readers are encouraged to submit items to the newsletter that they believe will be useful to fellow teachers and so improve the teaching of Kansas history by sharing information. All past issues of Tales are available online at

     I mention the Tales here because of two items from the most recent issue are certainly worth passing on. The first involves a statewide effort entitled 150 Eminent Kansans. As part of the Kansas Sesquicentennial observance in 2010-2012, Judge G. Joseph Pierron of the Kansas Court of Appeals, along with his colleagues will be assembling a list of 150 eminent Kansans and their biographies. This document will be made available to students for the study of Kansas history. As part of this compilation, Judge Pierron is giving students the opportunity to pick their choices for the list of 150 eminent Kansans. The final list, including biographies, will be available by internet.
     The good judge and his colleagues are therefore asking all teachers and their students to come up with suggestions for the list. All entries are due by May 15, 2010, and all are asked to follow these guidelines in doing so: (1) We want a list of people who have accomplished positive things. We do not want people who are known for the evil or crimes they have committed; (2) The person or group listed should have a significant tie to Kansas and not be someone who was only briefly passing through; (3) No ties are allowed. Please pick 15 and rank them; (4) You need not defend your choices, but if you want to explain why you chose someone, please feel free to do so; (5) Keep an open mind - You may find someone who is a revelation; and (6) Please exclude present-day elected officials in order to hold down arguments and avoid the advantage of current advertising.
     Lists may be send via mail or email to:
G. Joseph Pierron, Kansas Court of Appeals
310 S. W. 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66612-1507

     The second item from the current Tales is an announcement from the organizers of the Tallgrass Writing Workshop, who are remembering one of the founders of its annual High School Writers Competition with a special award for budding authors.
     The Don Coldsmith Young Writers Award for Kansas high school juniors and seniors honors the life-long achievements of its namesake by encouraging young writers in their craft. Awards will be presented during the 25th Annual Tallgrass Writing Workshop to be held June 25 – 27 on the Emporia State University campus.
     All Kansas high school juniors and seniors are eligible to enter the competition. A minimum of five double-spaced typed pages of prose, poetry, or fiction will be juried by the workshop faculty. Winning students will receive individual instruction and critique from members of the workshop faculty and complimentary access to all workshop events during the weekend.
     All students should send their works to Max McCoy, Tallgrass Workshop Coordinator, Box 4019, Emporia State University, 1200 Commercial, Emporia, KS 66801. Deadline for receipt of submissions is May 15, 2010, and entries cannot be returned.
     Don Coldsmith was a prolific western writer and columnist who published more than 40 books, 150 magazine articles, and 1,800 newspaper pieces. His syndicated column, “Horsin’ Around,” was a weekly staple of good humor, common sense, and the most interesting and often overlooked details of life. Coldsmith passed way on June 25, 2009 at the age of 83.
     Coldsmith was the 1990 winner of the Spur Award for best novel, given by the Western Writers of America. He was also a recipient of the Owen Wister Award for lifetime achievement, named a Distinguished Kansan by Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas, and received the Edgar Wolfe Award for his contribution to literature.
     The Tallgrass Writing Workshop has a long history of excellence in serving writers at all stages of career development. Participants include teachers, novelists, poets, journalists, historians, and those writing family histories.  The workshop is offered by the ESU Center for Great Plains Studies and the Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism.

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