Fenwick makes state 2021 notable book list with "Prairie Bachelor"

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Local author Lyn Fenwick, Macksville, spoke at the Ida Long Goodman Memorial Library in St. John on June 8, and shared news that her recently published book, "Prairie Bachelor" has been named a Notable Book about Kansas for 2021 by the State Librarian of Kansas.

Lyn Fenwick, graduate of Fort Hays State University, Baylor University School of Law and author from Macksville, shared news that her recently published book,  “Prairie Bachelor” was named a Notable Book about Kansas for 2021 by the State Librarian of Kansas. Fenwick's news was part of a state library release and she shared about her successes and the writing process on June 8 at the Ida Long Goodman Memorial Library in St. John.

Fenwick spoke to St. John residents about the background and research she conducted for over a ten-year period on the arrival of Issac B. Werner in the late 1870’s to homestead and make a timber claim on land in south central Stafford County. The newly developing city of St John was at the center of Issac’s life during this period.

On Sunday, June 13, Fenwick will speak at 2 p.m. at the Stafford County Museum Library, 100 N. Main in Stafford about her book and about the importance of local history museums. She will discuss how resources in local history museums assisted in the writing of her book, "Prairie Bachelor: The Story of a Kansas Homesteader and the Populist Movement" (University Press of Kansas, 2020). The program is free and open to the public. Copies of "Prairie Bachelor" are available for sale now at the museum library, and will be available for sale and autographing by the author at the program.

Background on Fenwick's book includes information about The People's Party, the most successful third party in America's history, which emerged from the Populist movement of the late 1890s. Of the People's Party, there was perhaps no more exemplary proponent than homesteader Isaac Beckley Werner of Stafford County, who is the featured subject of Fenwick's "Prairie Bachelor" book.

Very much a man of his community, Werner contributed columns to local and state newspapers, spoke at the county seat, regularly attended Populist lectures, and from 1884 until a few years before his death in 1895, kept a journal reporting on the world around him. With this journal as a starting point, Isaac Beckley Werner, prairie bachelor, becomes an eloquent guide to the practical, social, and political realities of rural life in late 19th century Kansas.

Earlier this week state Librarian Eric Norris announced the 16th annual selection of Kansas Notable Books celebrating Kansas people, places, and events, which included Fenwick's book. The fifteen books feature quality titles with wide public appeal, either written by a Kansan or a Kansas related topic and published in the previous calendar year.

“I am proud to present the 2021 Kansas Notable Book list. This year’s books bring to life the Kansas experience through the vivid storytelling of gifted writers, talented illustrators, essayists, and poets. The rich array of works on this year’s list will both entertain as well as educate,” State Librarian Eric Norris said. “Reading is more important than ever. I encourage every Kansan to contact their local public library and celebrate the artists and artistry of Kansas.”

The State Library first launched the Kansas Notable Books Program in 2006. Since then, more than 200 books have been recognized for their contribution to Kansas literary heritage. This year’s selection committee included representatives of public, university, and school libraries, teachers, academics, and historians. State Librarian Eric Norris selected the final list of 15 titles which includes nonfiction and fiction books that will appeal to a wide range of audiences and cover a variety of topics and issues.

Kansas Notable Books authors will be awarded their medals at the Kansas Book Festival on September 18 at Washburn University. The public is invited.

Kansas Notable Books is a project of the Kansas Center for the Book, a program at the State Library of Kansas which is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book. The Kansas Center for the Book exists to highlight the state’s literary heritage and foster an interest in books, reading, and libraries.

For descriptions, downloadable bookmarks, posters, and more information about Kansas Notable Books, visit kslib.info/2021KNB, call the State Library at 785-296-3296 or email infodesk@ks.gov.

2021 Kansas Notable Books are as follows: All Hallows' Shadow by Michael D. Graves (Emporia) Meadowlark Books; The Amelia Six by Kristin L. Gray (Fayetteville, AR) Paula Wiseman Books; The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia (Lyme, NH) G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Croaked! (The Misadventures of Nobbin Swill) by Lisa Harkrader (Tonganoxie) Yellow Jacket; Farmers Unite!: Planting a Protest for Fair Prices by Lindsay H. Metcalf (Concordia) Calkins Creek; Ladybird, Collected by Meg Heriford (Lawrence); Un Mango Grows in Kansas by Huascar Medina (Topeka) Spartan Press; Mawson's Mission: Launching Women's Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Kansas by L. Marlene Mawson (Lawrence) University Press of Kansas; Northern Cheyenne Ledger Art by Fort Robinson Breakout Survivors by Denise Low (Lawrence) and Ramon Powers (Topeka) University of Nebraska Press; People, Pride, and Promise: The Story of the Dockum Sit-in by Prisca Barnes (Wichita), illustrated by Priscella Brown (Wichita) Storytime Village; Prairie Bachelor: The Story of a Kansas Homesteader and the Populist Movement by Lynda Beck Fenwick (Pratt) University Press of Kansas; Premeditated Myrtle: A Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Lenexa) Algonquin Young Readers; Swimming Shelter: Poems by Al Ortolani (Lenexa) Spartan Press; What Sound is Morning? by Grant Snider (Wichita) Chronicle Books; World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Oxford MS) Milkweed Editions.

To learn more about the State Library of Kansas visit kslib.info online.