2023 Festival Authors & Programs

Joy Castro Dana Fritz headshot Matt Mason Headshot Carla Ketner Headshot Prairie Trout Logo John Mabry Headshot Prim Time Logo
Joy Castro Dana Fritz Matt Mason Carla Ketner Prairie Trout Writers Group The String Beans Prime Time Family Reading

Joy Castro

Joy Castro Headshot

Joy Castro is the award-winning author of eight books, including Flight Risk, a finalist for a 2022 International Thriller Award;One Brilliant Flame by Joy Castro the post-Katrina New Orleans literary thrillers Hell or High Water, which received the Nebraska Book Award. A former Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, she is currently the Willa Cather Professor of English and Ethnic Studies (Latinx Studies) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she directs the Institute for Ethnic Studies. Her latest novel One Brillant Flame is an enthralling historical novel, inspired by actual events of the 1886 Great Fire of Key West. Learn more...

Dana Fritz

Dana Fritz Headshot

Dana Fritz uses photography to investigate the ways we shape and represent the natural world in cultivated and constructed landscapes. She holds a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Arizona State University. Fritz is currently Hixson-Lied Professor of Art in the School of Art, Art History & Design at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The University of Nebraska Press published Field Guide to a Hybrid Landscape in 2023. Bivouac by Kwame Dawes It traces the evolution of the Bessey Ranger District and Nursery of the Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands. Fritz’s contemporary photographs of this unique ecosystem, with provocative environmental essays, maps, and historical photographs from the U.S. Forest Service archives, illuminate the complex environmental and natural history of the site, especially as it relates to built environments, land use, and climate change. Learn more...

Matt Mason

Matt Mason Headshot

Matt Mason is the Nebraska State Poet and, through the US State Department, has run poetry programs in Botswana, Romania, Nepal and Belarus. Mason is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Nebraska Arts Council. His work can be found in The New York Times, on NPR’s Morning Edition, in American Life in Poetry and more. Mason’s 4th book, At the Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros, was released by The Old Mill Press in 2022. Matt will be hosting a Slam Poetry Showcase featuring Greg Harries, Trac Schacht, Bianca Swift, and Noni Williams. Learn more...

Carla Ketner

Carla Kentner Headshot

Carla Ketner is the owner and manager of Chapters Books & Gifts in Seward, Nebraska. She is a former elementary school teacher and instructor of college-level children’s literature courses. Ted Kooser: More Than a Local Wonder isBivouac by Kwame Dawes her first picture book. When not reading, writing, or connecting readers with books, she is likely to be walking her grand-dog, looking up the names of local wildflowers, baking anything that lists chocolate as an ingredient, or traveling with friends and family. She and her husband have two grown sons.

Prairie Trout

Prairie Trout Headshot

Nebraska Authors and Poets Mary Pipher, Twyla Hansen, Karen Shoemaker, Pam Barger, and Marge Saiser. The Prairie Trout writing group includes award-winning authors Pam Barger, Twyla Hansen, Mary Pipher, Marge Saiser and Karen Shoemaker. For this event, they will read individually from their works and address questions about the impact of the group and the evolution of their work together.



John Mabry

John Mabry Headshot

John Mabry was the sports editor for the Lincoln Journal Bivouac by Kwame Dawes Star from 1997 to 2007. During that time he helped cover the Husker volleyball team at five NCAA Final Fours. He has written more than five hundred features for the Journal Star and the paper’s niche publications and is the author of Heart Felt: The Jenna Cooper Story. His latest book, Nebraska Volleyball: The Origin Story published in 2023 by University of Nebraska Press.



Prime Time Family Reading

Prime TIme Logot

Story hour -- Sponsored by Humanities Nebraska. Led by a storyteller and discussion leader, children and their families meet to read and discuss an award-winning children’s book. Discussion encourages critical and analytical thinking, helps develop connections between storybooks and real-life situations. Our Prime Time storyteller / discussion leader duo will be Kylie Barber and Will Teegerstrom from Calvert Elementary. The books are: Mole Music by David McPhail and The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. We will give away two copies of each book at the end of the program as door prizes.

Mole Music Mole Music The Big Orange Splot




Lincoln Journal Star
Nebraska Center for the Book
Nebraska Library Commission
University of Nebraska Press
Lincoln City Libraries
Humanities Nebraska
Friends of the University of Nebraska Press
Union Bank


Keep up with the Festival at https://www.facebook.com/NebraskaBookFestival

For more information:

Amy Lage
Festival Coordinator
Phone: 402-472-2759

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Program Schedule

FRIDAY, JUNE 9TH - TRIVIA NIGHT - White Elm Brewing (720 Van Dorn St)

6:00 PM - Join us for a casual trivia contest and enter to win more book-related prizes!

SATURDAY, JUNE 10TH -  FEATURED AUTHORS - Lincoln Community Foundation Garden (1415 N Street)

10:00-11:00 a.m. - The Stringbeans

11:00 a.m.-Noon - Prime Time Reading - Story Hour

12:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m. - Carla Ketner

12:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m. - “Pull Back the Curtain” on title selection for One Book One Nebraska and One Book One Lincoln

1:00-1:45 p.m. - Prairie Trout Writing Group Panel

2:00-2:45 p.m. - Author Panel with Joy Castro, Dana Fritz and John Mabry

3:00-4:00 p.m. - Slam Poetry Showcase with Matt Mason



 Nebraska Book Awards