The University of Nebraska at Omaha Bookstore and Criss library are giving local authors a chance to step into the spotlight with the Read Local Author Showcase.
The Read Local Author Showcase on March 9 is an event that will allow six different local writers to share details about their books, writing processes and answer questions. The lineup of writers for this year will be Leo Biga, J. C. Christian, Ryan Roenfeld, Lisa Sandlin, Sean Doolittle and Matthew Hebert. Each writer will have around 45 minutes to speak and answer audience questions.
This year’s Read Local Author Showcase is an inaugural occurrence, with plans to continue in future years. Additionally, the event is open to everyone—students, faculty and staff and non-students alike.
“It’s not all about the money,” said Andrea Dunn, the events and student coordinator for the UNO Bookstore. “There is hope and desire that this becomes profitable, but at this time it’s more or less about campus connectivity.”
What sets the Read Local Author Showcase apart from other author workshops is the fact that entire event will be taking place during a single day. Depending on the success of this year’s showcase this may be subject to change in future years.
“I think this really kind of goes hand in hand with the overall fibers of UNO’s campus,” Dunn said.
While most of the authors don’t have direct ties to UNO, the authors do all hail from Omaha or the surrounding areas. Two speakers, Roenfeld and Sandler, are both directly involved with the university. Roenfeld is a student and Sandler is a professor in the College of Communications, Fine Arts and Media.
Roenfeld will be speaking about his new book “Wicked Omaha.” The book is about Omaha’s past reputation as a city running rampant with crime. “Wicked Omaha” is a historical collection written from Roenfeld’s unique perspective.
“It’s an examination of how Omaha benefitted from exploiting people,” Roenfeld said, “because of course everyone has the imagination that the Wild West in somewhere in the desert—but it wasn’t. It was really downtown Omaha, Nebraska.”
His book’s topic plays into the Read Local Author Showcase’s purpose of bringing in local attention. In addition to “Wicked Omaha,” Roenfeld has several other published works concerning local history. These writings are aimed at illuminating a history that many don’t realize exists.
“I’ll be running my mouth for forty-five minutes,” Roenfeld said, “and then hopefully selling some books.”
In addition to hearing authors speak, those attending the showcase will also have an opportunity to purchase a book and have it signed by the author. Roenfeld is currently working with his publisher to have books delivered to the showcase on time.
“I think this is a wonderful and valuable thing,” Roenfeld said, “and I’m very happy and grateful for UNO’s Criss library for having it.”