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.



RSVP by Friday, Sept. 25 to Ellen Johnson at (816) 931-5288 or mail your check payable to: AAUW-KC, Attn: Ellen Johnson, 4505 Headwood Dr. #7, Kansas City, MO 64111-3439.

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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