NORFOLK, Neb. — The project began as a compilation of 26 stories about Nebraska authors by their surnames — from A to Z.
The final product, “Nebraska Authors, Volume 1,” features 52 authors — two for each letter of the alphabet.
Barbara Dush-Micek, editor of the Nance County Journal, and Nancy Hansen, who is involved in health education, began collecting names in 2009 after discussing the poetry of a longtime teacher at Central Community College-Platte Campus. They talked about “how the world is familiar with Willa Cather and Mari Sandoz, and how Nebraska has so many talented writers just like them, but some are not getting the recognition they deserve.”
Dush-Micek said that conversation “turned into a brainstorming session about how we could accomplish that goal.”
The project has involved thousands of hours, miles and keystrokes.
Dush-Micek said that “every author in the book is a favorite.” However, she said the late Dorthy (Knouse) Koepke of Norfolk has been one of her inspirations.
“Dorthy had such an obvious passion for writing that even in the midst of raising 10 children, dressing chickens and canning beans, she never stopped authoring books and articles,” Dush-Micek said.
Hansen said she has no particular favorite author of the 52 featured. She said she was intrigued by what made the writers “want to share their expertise or passion about a subject and the history that was going on around each author as they wrote.”
The featured authors covered such subjects as the Civil War; history of prayer in America; Native Americans; travel; Orphan Train riders; the state's beef industry; earthquakes; NASCAR and the cowboy way of life.
Hansen and Dush-Micek paid to publish the book “because we want this Nebraska history to be out there,” Hansen said.
The two women are at work on volume II and also are finishing “Nebraskans Remember,” a salute to Nebraskans in the military.