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Author Talk

Author Talk with C.J. Janovy

Far from the coastal centers of culture and politics, Kansas stands at the very center of American stereotypes about red states. In the American imagination, it is a place LGBT people leave. No Place Like Home is about why they stay.

MondayJAN 29 from 7-8:30 PM in our Auditorium, C.J. Janovy will join us to talk about her book and its epic story of how, “a few disorganized and politically naïve Kansans, realizing they were unfairly under attack, rolled up their sleeves, went looking for fights, and ended up making friends in one of the country’s most hostile states.” (SOURCE: University Press of Kansas)


C.J. Janovy is the Arts Reporter at KCUR. She also spent many years as an alt-weekly journalist in Kansas City, including a decade as editor of The Pitch, whose writers won local, regional, and national awards and were published in several Best American writing anthologies. She then spent a few years in academia, serving as director of communications at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where reporters frequently gave her a taste of her own medicine.

A native of Nebraska, C.J. majored in English at the University of California, Berkeley and earned a master’s degree in creative writing from Boston University.


New Series! Local Authors Outside

Starting DEC 16, spend some Saturdays outdoors with local authors in the natural spaces that inspire and influence their work.

We’ll start with a 20-minute talk, then enjoy a hike! Wear comfy shoes and dress for the winter weather; moderate hiking and uneven surfaces are possible. If you’re looking for more info, Shirley’s got it:

This event is co-sponsored by Lawrence Public Library and Kansas Native Plant Society. If there is inclement weather, we’ll meet inside each noted address.


Caleb Morse
SAT | Dec 16 | 1–2:30 PM | McGregor Herbarium | 2045 Constant Avenue
Visit woodland trails at Douglas County Lake with Caleb Morse, contributor to Flora of North America. If there is inclement weather, we’ll meet inside the Herbarium.

Denise Low + Thomas Pecore Weso
SAT | Dec 30 | 1-2:30 PM | Lyons Park | 700 North Lyon Street
Walk to the former Delaware trading post on Lake Street. Denise Low, second Kansas Poet Laureate, is an award-winning author of prose and poetry, including The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival. Thomas Pecore Weso wrote the award-winning Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir. If there is inclement weather we will meet inside the Ballard Center, 708 Elm Street.

Elizabeth Schultz
SAT | Jan 6 | 1-2:30 PM | Prairie Park | 2730 Harper Street

Visit the prairie with the author of The Sauntering Eye: Kansas Meditations. If there is inclement weather we will meet inside the Prairie Park Nature Center.

Ken Lassman
SAT |Jan 27 |1-2:30 PM | Baker Wetlands Discovery Center |1365 N 1250 Road
Visit the Wakarusa Wetlands with the author of Wild Douglas County. If there is inclement weather, we will meet inside the Baker Wetlands Discovery Center.

George Frazier
SAT | Feb 10 |1-2:30 PM | Baker Wetlands Discovery Center |1365 N 1250 Road
Visit the Breidenthal Woods with the author of The Last Wild Places of Kansas: Journeys into Hidden Landscapes. If there is inclement weather, we will meet inside the Baker Wetlands Discovery Center. RSVP required: or (785) 843-3833.

Annette Hope Billings
SAT | Mar 10 |1-2:30 PM | Location TBA

Meet the author of A Net Full of Hope. If there is inclement weather, we will meet inside.

Kelly Kindscher
SAT | May 5 |1-2:30 PM | Location TBA
Meet the author of Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotanical Guide. If there is inclement weather, we will meet inside.

Author Talk: Legendary Statistician Solves a Serial Killer Mystery

On ThursdayNOV 9 from 7-8:30 PM, celebrated baseball statistician and true crime expert Bill James, along with his daughter and researcher Rachel McCarthy James, will be here to talk about their new book, The Man From the Train.

When James first learned about a string of murders between 1898 and 1912—all within walking distance from the local train station—he began to investigate others that fit the same pattern.

After sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery, and in turn, they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America. We’ll meet in the Auditorium.

Photo courtesy of The Kansas City Star


An Evening with Mary O’Connell

On Tuesday, May 30 from 7-8:30 PM in our Auditorium, local author Mary O’Connell will read and talk about her latest book, Dear Reader.

This sharply funny and heartbreaking love letter to Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is about finding your people, the books that make us who we are, and the teachers who help us discover them (Source:

The Raven Bookstore will sell copies for Mary to sign!

An Evening with J. Robert Lennon

J. Robert Lennon has always been at home with the strange and the scary, but Broken River truly raises the bar. On Thursday, May 18 from 7-8:30 PM, Lennon will talk about his new book which begins with a young girl’s narrow escape from a brutal crime scene near her home.

The novel picks up the thread years later to follow the family who moves into this same house with a few problems of their own. Told by a gradually awakening consciousness called The Observer, Lennon filters the purely entertaining pleasures of a psychological thriller through his singular imagination. (Source:

We’ll met in our Auditorium. The Raven will sell books for him to sign.

An Evening with Patricia Lockwood

Lawrence’s own ribald poet is back! On Thursday, May 11 from 7-8:30 PM in our Auditorium, hear Lockwood read and talk about her latest book — a vivid, heartbreaking and funny memoir about having a married Catholic priest for a father.

Lockwood pivots from the raunchy to the sublime, from the comic to the deeply serious, exploring issues of belief, belonging, and person-hood.

Priestdaddy is an entertaining, unforgettable portrait of a deeply odd religious upbringing, and how one balances a hard-won identity with the weight of family and tradition. (Source:

The Raven will be selling books for her to sign!

Tanner Colby: Some of My Best Friends are Black

On Wednesday, April 19 at 7:30 PM, Tanner Colby and Clarence Lang, Professor of African and African American Studies at KU, will talk about Colby’s book, Some of My Best Friends are Black at Plymouth Congregational Church. They will explore the endemic problems of segregation and racism that still affect our country, “where equality is the law, but actual integration is hard to find.” A book signing will follow Colby’s talk and the Raven Book Store  will sell copies of his book. In partnership with Freedom’s Frontier, Johnson County Library, the Langston Hughes Center at KU, and Plymouth Congregational Church.

Women in Science with Author Rachel Ignotofsky

All ages are invited to meet celebrated author and illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky on Thursday, JAN 12 from 7-8:30 PM in the Auditorium.

Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world.

Full of Rachel Ignotofsky’s striking, singular art, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary. The trailblazing women profiled include well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more! (source:

The New Kansas Cookbook: Rural Roots, Modern Table with Frank & Jayni Carey

TUE | Nov 1 | 7-8:30 PM | Auditorium

Just in time for Thanksgiving! Learn about the recipes and the stories behind them. Nearly thirty years ago, cooking team Frank and Jayni Carey (of Jayni’s Kitchen) gave us The Kansas Cookbook: Recipes from the Heartland, a classic, much-loved volume chronicling the state’s favorite recipes and food traditions. Now they’re back with The New Kansas Cookbook: Rural Roots, Modern Table, a look at modern and innovative foodways straight from their kitchen in the heart of the Midwest. Sourced from the publisher, University Press of Kansas.

The Raven Bookstore will be on hand to sell copies of their book, and artist Louis Copt, the illustrator, will be selling prints of his work (they will make excellent holiday gifts for the prairie foodie in your life!).