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Thomas Fox Averill

Thomas Fox Averill has established himself as the foremost authority on Kansas literature during a distinguished career as professor of English and writer-in-residence at Washburn University in Topeka. He is the author of three novels, three collections of short fiction, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories as well as being a frequent speaker on Kansas culture.

Tom lives in Topeka and divides his time between teaching, speaking, and writing. He is the recipient of the O. Henry Award for short fiction and his collection of short stories, Ordinary Genius, was on the 2006 Kansas Notable Books List.

In a career of more than thirty years at Washburn University and four decades of an abiding interest in all things Kansas, Tom has helped to found and was the first director of the Washburn Center for Kansas Studies; created a Map of Kansas Literature; and developed the Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection at Washburn’s Mabee Library. The Kansas Studies Collection consists of novels, plays, poetry, history, biography, memoirs, letters, scholarly articles, folklore, manuscripts, and ephemera, plus materials pertinent to his own career as a writer.

Since its inception, Tom has been a series advisor and occasional scholar for Sunflower Journeys, an educational television series produced by KTWU at Washburn University. He is a long-time commentator in the voice of William Jennings Bryan Oleander of fictional Here, Kansas, for Kansas Public Radio from the University of Kansas. He has edited several books for Woodley Memorial Press and the Washburn Center for Kansas Studies including Speaking French in Kansas by Robert Day and The Loose Change of Wonder (on the 2007 Kansas Notable Books List), poems by Stephen Hind. His play, Abide With Me won the first Great Plains Play Competition and was produced by the University of Kansas Theatre in 1997.

Tom edited What Kansas Means to Me: Twentieth Century Writers on the Sunflower State which was published in 1991. He has spoken for several statewide events for the State Library, the Kansas Library Association, and the Kansas Center for the Book. He is visiting many libraries in Kansas in conjunction with 2011 Kansas Reads…What Kansas Means To Me.



Previous Kansas
Reads Projects

Dreams from My Father

The Virgin of Small Plains

In Cold Blood

The Learning Tree

Kansas Center for the Book