Nebraska Literary Heritage Association

NLHA Membership Button - Website 2016

Membership in NLHA is welcome to anyone interested in supporting Nebraska Authors!

“If there’s a heart to the sprawling body of Nebraska Literature, it’s quietly beating in the Heritage Room.” – Ted Kooser

The Nebraska Literary Heritage Association’s mission is to “encourage the collection, preservation, and promotion of work by and about Nebraska authors through support of the Lincoln City Libraries special collection, the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, and to foster the creation and appreciation of this literature through programs, collaborative partnerships, and the use of technology.”

Lincoln City Libraries staff began developing this special collection in 1949. It was moved to its present location on the third floor of Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1978 and was supported by city funding until 1981.

When city funding was eliminated, due to fiscal constraints, the Junior League of Lincoln formed the Nebraska Authors Project to provide continued support for the growing collection.
The Nebraska Literary Heritage Association (NLHA) grew out of this project.
NLHA was established in 1983 under the auspices of the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries.

NLHA provides financial and programming support for the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors. The room currently houses more than 13,000 volumes representing more than 4,000 authors. Financial support comes from membership dues and from the Spelling Bee (begun in 1984). The Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries administers the Heritage Room Endowment Fund which contains funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant (1989) and funds deposited by NLHA. Money raised by NLHA helps maintain public access to the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors collection and supports NLHA programs.  NLHA membership news is published in
The Bookmark, the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries newsletter.

Programs sponsored by NLHA include the Writers Write workshop for 8th graders, the Lunch at the Library programs, and the Read to Me programs in elementary schools. All are designed to encourage an interest in reading and writing and to further knowledge and understanding of Nebraska authors.

Since 1988, NLHA has sponsored the Literary Heritage Award, currently presented at the annual Spelling Bee. This award recognizes a writer or a group that promotes excellence in writing and literature in Nebraska.

To see the entire NLHA History, click Here

2022 / 2023 NLHA Board

Bruce Arant

Ed Bates

Sharon Bishop         

Devra Dragos         

Cindy Drake         

Rebecca Faber                

Erika Hamilton         

Connie Healey      

Nick Hernandez

Wendy Bumsted Hind

Leslie Huerta

Jenni Jex

Kathy Johnson


Judy Keetle

Karen Kunc

Roger Lempke

Ronda Lynch

Donna Marvin

Matt Mason

Meredith McGowan

Gail McNair

Sharon Mohatt

Mark Musick

Charlene Neely

Randy Peters

Linda Rabbe

Emily Rau

Rosemary Sekora

Steve Shively

Tessa Terry

Lois Todd-Meyer

Joyce Vannier

Milan Wall

Kay Walter

Theodore Wheeler

Becky Witulski

Jamison Wyatt


Lunch at the Library starts at 12:10 PM and are held on the 4th Floor of Bennett Martin Public Library.  

12:10 PM – 1:00 PM
Bennett Martin Public Library

 4th Floor Auditorium

Matt Steinhausen will discuss “The Least Interesting Place”. Matt is a photographer and collector of stories of all kinds about Nebraska. Matt’s book is a favorite of native Nebraskans and others interested in our state.

Sponsored by the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, support group for the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors.
For more information, call 402.441.8516 | email: [email protected]


The Writers Write program began in 1992, during the 10th anniversary year of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association (NLHA).  The workshop was created in collaboration with Lincoln Public Schools to provide an opportunity for 8th grade students to learn writing techniques from local authors and to practice creative writing as a means of expression. Lincoln teachers identify eighth-graders to take part in a daylong workshop held in the Heritage Room. Students are prompted to write, read, and discuss their work.  Occasionally the work of the students has been published.  The Heritage Room holds the original student compositions in the vertical file archive.

The original Writers Write mentor team included State Poet Bill Kloefkorn, Nancy McCleery, Marjorie Saiser and Margrethe Ahleschwede.  The 2018 mentor team includes State Poet Twyla Hansen, Sandra Mathews-Benham, Deborah McGinn, Rex Walton, Charlene Neely and, a former Writers Writer student, Laura Chapman.  These authors share with students about how they became authors and they read passages from their own work.  The authors also facilitate writing exercises with small groups of students and students read aloud from their work at the end of the workshop.


Readings are held in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors

4th Floor Bennett Martin Public Library Auditorium

Programs begin at 2:00 p.m

The John H. Ames Reading Series, begun in 1985, showcases Nebraska authors reading their own works. This series is provided by Lincoln City Libraries and held in the the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors.

Recent programs are available on demand through 5 CITY-TV at  Program DVDs are available for check-out and inter-library loans.

For more information, call 402.441.8516 | email: [email protected]




Year  –  Winning Contestant  –  Winning Word

2023 – Jim Johnson – inchoate
2022 – Larry Day – byzantine
2019 – Jim Johnson & Sheppard Perkins (tie) – (no winning word)
2018 – Rich Schroeder – xylography
2017 – Robert Goldberg – herbaceous
2016 – Tom McGowan – cachou
2015  –  Larry Day & Aimee Allard (tie)  – (unknown)
2014  –  Larry Day  –  duopsony
2013  –  Priscilla Handy  –  wattage    
2012  –  Brad Bossung  –  trichinosis

2011 – Aubrey Mathews – hectocotylus

2010 – Brent Mehling – (unknown)
2009  –  Larry Day   –  chlorella    

2008  –  Julia Doerr  –  isinglass
2007  –  Michael Cartwright  –  (unknown)    
2006  –  Brent Mehling  –  anodyne
2005  –  Larry Day  –  zebu    
2004 –  Brian Bornstein  –  adamantine
2003  –  Rod Confer  –  oubliette    
2002  –  Brian Bornstein  –  pellucid

2001   –  (not held)
2000  –  Tex Richters  –  picayune    
1999  –  George Day  –  helical
1998  –  Donald McGinley  –  chicanery    
1997  –  Kathryn Bellman  –  eiderdown
1996  –  Larry Day  –  bifurcate    
1995  –  Francois Neville  –  imbrication
1994  –  Bill Regier  –  cacophonous
1993  –  Judy Sing  –  hegemony
1992  –  Maureen Hutfless  –  samite    
1991  –  Bob Gibson  –  brougham

1990  –  Anny Gillis  –  antependium    
1989  –  Vaughn Border  –  monstrous
1988  –  Mary White  –  ossification    
1987  –  Donald McGinley  –  arcanum
1986  –  Deb Pearson  –  pyorrhea    
1985  –  Kathleen Rutledge  –  balalaika
1984  –  Sydney Lynch  –  parallelepiped



The Nebraska Literary Heritage Association began sponsoring the Literary Heritage Award in 1988. 
The award recognizes persons or groups that promote excellence in writing in Nebraska. 
It was presented at the Mayor’s Arts Awards, 1988 – 2013, and at the Annual Adult Spelling Bee, beginning in 2014.

1988         1st           John Janovy & Hilda Raz 
1989         2nd          Ted Kooser 
1990         3rd           David McCleery 
1991         4th           Bess Walt 
1992         5th           William Kloefkorn 
1993         6th           Herb Hyde
1994         7th           Jane Geske 
1995         8th           Martha Greer 
1996         9th           Marly Swick 
1997         10th         Nebraska Literature Festival 
1998         11th         Morrie Tuttle 
1999         12th         Marge Saiser 
2000         13th         Molly Fisher 
2001         14th         Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman 
2002         15th         Ruthann Young 
2003         16th         Kit Dimon & Judy Wilcox 
2004         17th         Campbell’s Nurseries & Garden Centers 
2005         18th         Carol Connor 
2006         19th         Dorothy Olson Young
2007         20th        Gerry Cox 
2008         21st         Paul A. Olson 
2009         22nd        Robert Knoll
2010         23rd         NET Radio: “All About Books” with hosts, Charles . Stephen & Otis Young
2011         24th         Jim McKee & Linda Hillegass 
2012         25th         Joe Starita 
2013         26th         Joel Sartore 
2014         27th         Mary Pipher 
2015         28th         Meredith McGowan 
2016         29th         Rod Wagner
2017         30th         Roger Welsch
2018         31st         Paul Johnsgard
2019         32nd        Ron Hull
2022         33rd         Twyla Hansen
2023         34th          Michael Forsberg