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John H. Ames Reading Series: Readings by Nebraska Authors

Readings are held in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors. Programs begin at 2:00 PM. Call (402) 441-8516 for information.

Nebraska 150 BooksThe 215th John H. Ames Reading Event will be held Sunday, October 8, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in the Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors. This will be the final official event of the Nebraska 150 Books program. Readers are all Nebraska Nonfiction Authors, most of whom are represented on the Nebraska 150 Books list. Readers include: Pamela Barger, Alan Boye, John Janovy Jr., Paul Johnsgard, Mary Pipher and Barbara Schmitz

Mary Pipher photoMary Pipher was born in the Ozarks and grew up in rural Nebraska. As a girl she liked reading, writing, swimming, being outdoors and talking to her friends and family. Pipher is the author of 9 books including her first, Reviving Ophelia and her most recent, The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture. She is just finishing a new book entitled Women Rowing North: Navigating the Developmental Challenges of Aging that will be published in 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing. Pipher lives in Nebraska with her husband, Jim, and her children and grandchildren nearby. She enjoys doing the same things she liked as a girl. She is also a community organizer and activist for many causes.

Alan Boye photoAlan Boye is the author of several critically acclaimed books about nature, history and adventure. His essays and articles have appeared nationally since 1971. His first book, A Guide to the Ghosts of Lincoln was published in 1983. It gained an instant and enduring following and has never been out of print. Boye’s second book, The Complete Roadside Guide to Nebraska serves as a guide for both the mobile and the armchair traveler and directs readers to many obscure, historic and beautiful sites of the state.

For Holding Stone Hands, Boye backpacked the 1,000 mile route of the Cheyenne exodus of 1878. In it he tells the story of that tragic event intertwined with the tale of his trek northward accompanied by descendants of the surviving Cheyenne. Likewise, many of his subsequent books combine history, travel writing and memoir. In Tales from the Journey of the Dead: Ten Thousand Years on an American Desert, Boye hiked a New Mexican desert which many claim is the most isolated and uninhabited area in the continental United States. Just Walking the Hills of Vermont is a collection of short essays that investigate both the natural world around us as well as the interior world of the spirit. In his most recent book, Sustainable Compromises: A Yurt, a Straw Bale and Ecological Living, Boye takes up the practicalities of “building green,” from finances to nuts and bolts, to strains on friends and family. A firsthand account of the pleasures and pitfalls of living simply, his book is a reflection on what sustainability really means—in personal, communal, ethical, and environmental terms.

Alan has written for a variety of publications including Vermont Magazine, Yankee, Southern Humanities Review and The Old Farmer’s Almanac. He has been awarded a Hoefner award for nonfiction, and a John Neihardt Visiting Professor of Creative Nonfiction, at Wayne State College.
Boye was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. Before moving to Vermont he had lived in various states in the west. He has taught in schools in New Mexico, Oregon and Texas, and has worked as a farm laborer, a librarian, and a newspaper reporter. He is professor emeritus of humanities at Vermont’s Lyndon State College where he teaches writing and literature.

Paul A. Johnsgard is Foundation Professor of Biological Sciences Emeritus at the University of Nebraska. He is the only professor to have won the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award, Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award, a Regents Foundation Professorship and an Honorary Doctor of Science degree. To date he has written 85 scholarly books, including nine world monographs, over 250 biological papers and articles, is the world’s most prolific author of ornithological literature, and one of the world’s most prolific writers of non-fiction. He has been awarded four national conservation awards in recognition of his ornithological writing and conservation work.

Pam Herbert Barger photoPam Herbert Barger’s chapbook, The Pinball God Let Fly (Puddinghouse Press) was released in 2007. Her poetry and prose have been appeared in such publications as The Mid-America Poetry Review, West Branch, Rattle, Woman’s Day, the American Suzuki Journal, and the anthologies, Times of Sorrow, Times of Grace and Eye of My Heart: 27 Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother. Currently she’s finishing a poetry manuscript entitled, Singing Back-up with the Beatles. This March she will perform “When I Have Hurt You,” a song she set to a poem by Marjorie Saiser. (Watch for the Angels Theatre Company’s production of a play based on Marjorie’s book, Losing the Ring in the River.) A professional musician since she was seventeen, she’s currently a member of three local bands (FabTones, Toasted Ponies, and the Melody Wranglers), and has taught private piano since 1983.

Barbara Schmitz photoBarbara Schmitz is Emeritus Professor at Northeast College where she taught writing and literature for thirty years and founded the Visiting Writers Series. Her latest books are Always the Detail (SFA University Press) which won Honor Book in Poetry 2015 from the Nebraska Center for the Book and Path of Lightning: A Seeker’s Jagged Journey (memoir) from Pinyon Publishing. How Much Our Dancing Has Improved (Backwaters Press) won 2005 Award for Poetry from the Nebraska Center for the Book. A reissue of What Bob Says is due anytime from Wayne State Press. She is grandmother of Makena, lives with husband Bob in Norfolk, considering herself The Poet of Highway 81 on whose banks she lived for forty years.

John Janovy, Jr. photoWords are the weapons of choice in a cloistered environment like academia, where material stakes are so low and reputation is the currency. Author John Janovy, Jr. has thrived in this setting and knows it well. He has published over a hundred scientific papers, eleven trade books by major publishers, and the leading textbook in his discipline (Foundations of Parasitology, McGraw-Hill, with L. S. Roberts and S. A. Nadler); he’s also written the script for an internationally televised film based on his books about the western plains (Keith County Journal, 1985, Nebr ETV, 16mm and video, 58min; 1986 Corp. Publ. Broadcasting, 1st place in local information programming category). His book subjects include natural history essays (Keith County Journal, St. Martin’s; Vermilion Sea; Houghton Mifflin), high school athletics (Fields of Friendly Strife, Viking, winner of the American Health magazine book award for 1987), anti-intellectualism in America (Comes the Millennium, St. Martin’s, as Jack Blake), and higher education (Teaching in Eden, RoutledgeFalmer). He is the winner of numerous prizes for both teaching and research, including the University of Nebraska’s Distinguish Teaching Award, Nebraska Libraries Association Mari Sandoz Award, American Society of Parasitologists Clark P. Read Mentorship Award, and the University of Nebraska Outstanding Research and Creativity Award. Dr. Janovy has taught large introductory science courses throughout his career; that experience, along with his several administrative positions and service in international scientific organizations, gives him unique insight into the conflicts that often permeate the Ivory Tower. His web site is:


Book cover: Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867-2017The April 2, 2017 Ames Reading Series marked the publication of Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867–2017, edited by Daniel Simon, celebrating 150 years of the state’s rich literary history. The program included readings by State Poet Twyla Hansen and other poets featured in the anthology, including Glenna Luschei, Greg Kuzma, Greg Kosmicki, Marjorie Saiser, Mary K. Stillwell, Sarah McKinstry-Brown, J.V. Brummels, and Cat Dixon, plus remarks by editor Daniel Simon.


All Ames Reading Series programs are taped for later broadcast on LNKTV City. The broadcast schedule is available here, and recent programs can be viewed here. Many of these programs are also available for checkout on DVD.

30 Years and 200+ Readings!
Lists of the 200+ Ames Readings from the past 30 years organized by presenter and by date are available here.

Contact the Heritage Room:

The Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors
Bennett Martin Public Library
136 South 14th Street
Lincoln, NE 68508-1899

Phone: 402-441-8516


Regular hours:

Tuesday – Friday: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Sunday: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Support the Heritage Room:

Join the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association to support the Heritage Room. Donations to the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries may also be designated for the Heritage Room.

Donate Books or Papers to the Heritage Room:

We would enjoy discussing any possible donations of works by Nebraska authors or author memorabilia with you. We provide a Certificate of Gift for those who cannot visit in person.