Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award

ThorpeMennsmThe Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award was established in 1979 by AAUW-KC to honor Thorpe Menn (1912-1979), long-time book editor of the Kansas City Star, who supported all aspects of Kansas City’s cultural life, especially authors and artists.


thorpemennlogoCALL to LOCAL AUTHORS

Nominations for the 38th Annual Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award Now Being Accepted

Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award nominations will be accepted until May 1, 2016.  The award, presented by the American Association of University Women-Kansas City Branch and the Kansas City Public Library is presented to a local author in recognition for their excellence in writing. The award will be presented at a luncheon in October 2016 at the Central Library and includes a $500 check, certificate of recognition, and listing on the library’s website.


• Nominations must be submitted by May 1, 2016.

• Nominations may be published works of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books or poetry. Text books, guide books, and how-to manuals are not eligible.

• Nominated authors must reside in the greater Kansas City area – Jackson, Cass, Clay, Lafayette and Platte counties in Missouri, and Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties in Kansas.

• All nominations must be published in 2015. Additional copyright information may be requested.

• Previous first-place winners are not eligible.

• eBooks must be submitted in PDF (Portable Document Format) format only. (Judges must be able to view your eBook on any device, print it, and make a backup copy.)

• eBooks must not contain any DRM (Digital Rights Management*) protection.

If the eBook is sold in DRM format only, most publishers will be able to provide a non-DRM file for use in a judging competition. If the publisher is not able to provide a non-DRM format, many formats can be converted to a PDF using free conversion software available online. All reformatted non-DRM submissions will be used for judging only.

Two copies of the nominated printed book should be submitted to:

Thorpe Menn Nominations

Attn: Linda Daugherty

P.O. Box 8831

Kansas City, MO 64114

eBook nominated files should be emailed to

Please include a contact name, mailing address, email and telephone number with all submissions.

For more information, please call Linda at (913) 449-1130 or email

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2014 Thorpe Menn Award goes to Maija Rhee Devine


The 2014 Literary Excellence Award was presented to Maija Rhee Devine for her book The Voices of Heaven. The finalists were: Suzanne Kelly for Stolen Child and Deborah Shouse, Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregivers Journey. Congratulations to all of the 26 nominated authors!

AAUW-KC honored Crosby Kemper III for a decade of generous support of the Thorpe Menn Award – with his help we have been able to honor and recognize over 150 local authors.

Special thanks to keynote speaker Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star Editorial Columnist; Vivien Jennings and Roger Doeren of Rainy Day Books; and all of our table hostesses and volunteers.

2013 Thorpe Menn Award goes to Samuel Arbesman

TMAWARDS2013photoAuthors, members and guests gathered at the KC Central Library for the 35th Annual Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award on Saturday, Oct. 5.

The 2013 Award was presented to Samuel Arbesman for his book The Half-Life of Facts. The finalists were: Hughes Keenan, The Harvest Is Past; and Debra McArthur, A Voice for Kanzas. Congratulations to all 17 nominated local authors!

“35 Authors: Where Are They Now?”, a special tribute to the past winners, was presented by guest speaker Vivien Jennings, president of Rainy Day Books. The tribute was a compilation of author interviews, research, and a video produced by event and reading committee members.


2012 Thorpe Menn Award goes to Candice Millard

Over 100 authors, members and guests gathered at the Central Library for the 34th Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award on Oct. 6.  The 2012 Award was presented to Candice Millard for her book Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President.

The finalists for this year’s award were Carolyn Glenn Brewer for Caught Ever After – Children of the Ruskin Heights Tornado; and Andrea Warren, Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London.

Congratulations to all of the 2012 nominated local authors!

“Who Was Thorpe Menn?”, a theatrical performance, was presented as an homage to  Thorpe Menn (1912–1979), longtime book editor of The Kansas City Star. We were honored to have his daughters, Gretchen Menn and Becky Menn-Hamblin in attendance, traveling from Virginia and Tennessee!

Watch the tribute performance at


2011 Thorpe Menn Award goes to Christie Hodgen

On Saturday, Oct. 1, nearly 100 guests gathered in support of local Kansas City authors for lunch at the 33rd Annual Thorpe Menn Award event, sponsored by AAUW-KC and the KC Public Library.

The 2011 award went to Christie Hodgen for Elegies for the Brokenhearted. The finalists were Tasha Haas for Certain Dawn, Inevitable Dawn, and Barbara Stuber, Crossing the Tracks.

Candice Millard, distinguished local author, delivered the keynote address, and captivated the audience with details about her new book, The Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine & the Murder of a President.

Books by the winner, finalists and speaker were available for purchase courtesy of Rainy Day Books and authors provided autographs following the event.


The Kansas City Public Library, a generous supporter of the Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award, provides a list of winning authors and books from the first recipient in 1979 to the most recent on their website at