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Local Literary Events

See listings of regularly-scheduled literary events both at the libraries (One Book – One Lincoln, John H. Ames Reading Series, Lunch at the Library) and in the surrounding Lincoln, NE community — including readings, signings, the One Book One Nebraska selection for this year and various other special presentations!

See also: Lincoln City Libraries-sponsored Book Groups | Non-LCL Book Groups

>>> Submit your own community Literary Event information! <<<

Current Lincoln City Libraries Literary Events

one book one lincoln c450Nominations for One Book – One Lincoln for 2020 ended January 31st. You can nominate year-round for future years’ consideration at our online nomination form.

You can sign up to be notified by e-mail about all new developments regarding One Book – One Lincoln. You can become a fan of One Book – One Lincoln on Facebook by “liking” the One Book – One Lincoln Facebook group. We also encourage you to stop by the One Book – One Lincoln Blog, where you can leave comments about the book selections and the entire One Book process in response to posted discussion topics.

[ One Book – One Lincoln archives: Dear Edward (2020) | The Far Away Brothers (2019) | Killers of the Flower Moon (2018) | A Gentleman in Moscow (2017) | Being Mortal (2016) | Americanah (2015) | The Light Between Oceans (2014) | The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (2013) | Destiny of the Republic (2012) | Cutting for Stone (2011) | I Am a Man (2010) | People of the Book (2009) | The Thirteenth Tale (2008) | The Worst Hard Time (2007) | The Devil in the White City (2006) | The Kite Runner (2005) | Peace Like a River (2004) | Bel Canto (2003) | Plainsong (2002) ] [ Master list of all One Book — One Lincoln finalists and selected titles [2002-2020] in PDF format. ]


During both the Spring and Fall, the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association sponsors a free monthly “brown bag” lecture series, featuring readings and talks by Nebraska authors. The programs are held in the 4th floor auditorium of the Bennett Martin Public Library downtown, at 14th and “N” Sts. Unless otherwise specified, programs begin at 12:10 p.m. and end before 1:00 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch…coffee is provided by The Mill in Lincoln.

Here is the Fall/Winter/Spring 2021-2022 schedule!

    • Wednesday, October 6, 2021 — Author and former UNL Yell Squad member Debra Kleve White provides a firsthand account of game day in Lincoln from her book. The Spirit of Nebraska: A History of Husker Game Day Traditions offers an in-depth look at where the Cornhusker fans’ spirit began and how it evolved to today’s game day experience.
    • Wednesday, November 3, 2021 —Timothy Schaffert will read from his new book The Perfume Thief. Complete with romance, espionage, champagne towers, and haute couture, this full-tilt sensory experience is a dazzling portrait of the underground resistance of twentieth-century Paris and a passionate love letter to the power of beauty and community in the face of insidious hate.
    • Wednesday, December 1, 2021 — Vicki Wood, Youth Services Coordinator for Lincoln City Libraries, presents her annual “Great Books for Giving” list.
    • Wednesday, January 5, 2022 — Rhinos in Nebraska tells the story of the Ashfall Fossil Beds, where more than two hundred perfectly preserved fossils have been found. Step into the past with author Alison Pearce Stevens and uncover the mysteries of Ashfall. [ CANCELLED DUE TO AUTHOR UNAVAILABILITY ]
    • Wednesday, February 2, 2022 — A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War – Winner of the Mark Lynton Prize in History – the story of the longest and most complex legal challenge to slavery in American history, presented by author William G. Thomas.
    • Wednesday, March 2, 2022 — Joy Castro is a former Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University. She is currently the Willa Cather Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her new novel Flight Risk is a compelling, gritty portrait of class in America. She traffics the rural-urban divide with complexity and compassion.
    • Wednesday, April 6, 2022 — Lincoln City Libraries Director Pat Leach will present her annual program on the American Library Association’s Notable Books List.

Visit the Lincoln City Libraries’ Lunch at the Library page for more information.

amesDuring both the Spring and Fall, the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors sponsors a free Sunday afternoon lecture series, featuring readings by Nebraska authors. The programs are held in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, on the 3rd floor of the Bennett Martin Public Library downtown, at 14th and “N” Sts. Ames readings are held on Sunday afternoons, starting at 2:00 p.m.

Here are the latest entries in the Ames reading schedule:

Sunday, March 6, 2022, 2:00 p.m. [ This event will be virtual — please contact the heritage room at 402-441-8516 for connection details ]

Nebraska writer and novelist Chris Harding Thornton will read from her novel, Pickard County Atlas, which has just been released in paperback. “An atmospheric, slow-burning beauty of a book, rich with raw-edged lyricism and achingly real characters.” —Tana French, author of The Searcher.

Sunday, October 24, 2021, 2:00 p.m.

Hilda Raz read from her most recent works, List and Story and Letter from a Place I’ve Never Been, and Grace Bauer read from her recently published collection of poems, Unholy Heart. This presentation was presented via Zoom and was recorded so that you can view it at this link.

Visit the Lincoln City Libraries’ John H. Ames Reading Series page for more information.

Current Non-Lincoln City Libraries Literary Events

obon200One Book One Nebraska

Following the ongoing success of the first several years of One Book One Nebraska, the Nebraska Library Commission, the Nebraska Center for the Book, the Nebraska Library Association, the Nebraska Regional Library Systems and other organizations are sponsoring yet another year of One Book One Nebraska in 2020!

Past One Book One Nebraska selections have included Willa Cather’s My Antonia (2005), Omaha mystery novelist Alex Kava’s One False Move (2006), Mari Sandoz’ classic history text Crazy Horse (2007), Nebraska State Poet William Kloefkorn’s autobiography Restoring the Burnt Child (2008), Bess Streeter Aldrich’s A Lantern in Her Hand (2009), Wright Morris’ The Home Place (2010), Ted Kooser’s Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (2011), Joe Starita’s I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice (2012), Willa Cather’s classic novel, O Pioneers! (2013), Bob Greene’s Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen (2014), Death Zones and Darling Spies by Beverly Deepe Keever (2015), The Meaning of Names by Karen Gettert Shoemaker (2016), and Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt (2017), Nebraska Presence: A Poetry Anthology (2018), This Blessed Earth by Ted Genoways (2019) and All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor by Donald Stratton and Ken Gire (2020).

The 2021 selected title is Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II, written by James J. Kimball. It takes readers across the entire state of Nebraska during the scrap metal drive early in America’s involvement in World War II. When Henry Doorly initially developed a plan to urge citizens to donate scrap metal to help with arms production, he had no idea that his plan would expan from Omaha to the entire state and then be used as a model for a national scrap drive. Prairie Forge draws readers into good discussions about the entire state’s participation in the challenge to provide scrap metal. The book covers every county’s participation in the Nebraska Plan, and how it fit into the larger effort on a national level. You can find more information about the current year’s activities at the official One Book One Nebraska Web 2021 site.

[ One Book – One Nebraska archives: Prairie Forge (2021) | All the Gallant Men (2020) | This Blessed Earth (2019) | Nebraska Presence: A Poetry Anthology (2018) | Black Elk Speaks (2017) | The Meaning of Names (2016) | Death Zones and Darling Spies (2015) | Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen (2014) | O Pioneers! (2013) | I Am A Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice (2012) | Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (2011) | The Home Place (2010) | A Lantern in Her Hand (2009) | Restoring the Burnt Child (2008) | Crazy Horse (2007) | One False Move (2006) | My Antonia (2005) ]

Other Lincoln-area ongoing Literary Events

Acoustic Open Mic for Musicians and Poets

Where: Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso (1624 South St.)
When: Every Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.

For information about events at Meadowlark Coffee, check out the events page on their website at: Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso.

Crescent Moon Reading Series

Where: Crescent Moon Coffee (140 N. 8th St.)
When: Mondays at 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Mondays at 7:00 pm is the Crescent Moon Readings Series followed by an open mic. We feature a writer for the first hour of the evening and then offer the microphone to anyone who has written poetry, stories, or songs and wished to have the opportunity to share them. The Crescent Moon Reading and Music Room is indoors across the courtyard from Crescent Moon Coffee. For more information, check out their website at: Crescent Moon Events.

Lincoln Open Mic Night at Night Owl Pub

Where: Night Owl Pub (3233 S. 13th St.)
When: Every Wednesday night, 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Every Wednesday night features an Open Mic available for musicians and poets.

Lincoln Scrabble® Club

Where: Braeda Fresh Express Cafe – 4231 S. 33rd St. (33rd & Pioneers)
When: The second and fourth Tuesdays of every month from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Lincoln Scrabble® Club is a group of casual to competitive Scrabble® players from the Lincoln, Nebraska area. All ages and all skills levels are welcome. We play by the game rules of the National Scrabble® Association. For more information, you can call Judy at 402-730-8974 or email at trudy2(at)

Speak, Poet

Where: The Bay (2005 Y St.)
When: Last Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Open Mic poetry night on the last Thursday of every month.

Star City Slam

Where: Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso (1624 South St.)
When: Not regularly scheduled – see their events page for updates

Offering featured performers and a cash prize for first place, it’s a poetry slam where the winner can never use the same winning poems again to get that top prize, in this winner takes all rhetoric throw down. For information about events at Meadowlark Coffee, check out the Events page on their website at: Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso.

Writer’s Night

Where: Gratitude Cafe & Bakery (1551 N. Cotner)
When: Fourth (last) Saturday of each month at 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The only prime time weekend writer’s night in town, with a featured reading, open mic and discussion for poets, novelists, and short story writers. Gratitude Cafe Events Schedule.

Past Literary Events – Historical Archives

mayhem2010After many years, through 2010, the annual Mayhem in the Midlands Mystery Conference over the Memorial Day weekend, apparently ended in 2011. Organizers (primarily the Omaha Public Library) sent out a press release in early March, 2011, announcing that the 2011 convention has been cancelled, after 11 straight successes. The press release ended on a positive note, asking mystery fans to check back on Mayhem in 2012, although no convention materialized!Although the weblink for the convention is not currently active, you can “like” the Mayhem in the Midlands Crime Fiction Conference on Facebook to stay up-to-date on additional developments. The latest news since 2012 was that the organizers were looking at ways to re-established the convention in the future.

romancelogo2005aFans of Romance Fiction joined with a dozen romance authors at each of Lincoln’s three Turning the Pages of Romance conferences, in 2004, 2005 and 2006. These events, co-sponsored by the Lincoln City Libraries and the Omaha Public Library, proved to be a popular way to meet and interact with professional romance authors from the midwest each Spring.

[ Turning the Pages of Romance Conferences: 2004 | 2005 | 2006 ]