Gannon wins Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize

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Gannon wins Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize

A color portrait of Thomas C. Gannon on a red campus background
Thomas C. Gannon

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Thomas C. Gannon has won the 2024 Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize for “Birding While Indian: A Mixed-Blood Memoir” (published by Ohio State University Press, 2023).

The Center for Great Plains Studies’ Stubbendieck book prize celebrates the most outstanding work about the Great Plains during the past year, chosen by an independent group of scholars.

Gannon is an associate professor of English and ethnic studies and the associate director of ethnic studies at Nebraska. This marks the first time the book prize has been awarded to a Husker faculty member and current Great Plains Fellow.

Gannon, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, specializes in Native American literatures, critical/eco-theory, and the representations of birds and other non-human animals in discourse.

“Gannon’s book is billed as a mixed-blood memoir, but it deftly defies simple characterization,” said Gabriel Bruguier (Yankton Sioux Tribe), a member of the book prize committee and assistant professor in University Libraries. “His is a true voice from the Great Plains, who has experienced both the thrilling beauty of the natural landscape and the quotidian ugliness of its inhabitants. Gannon writes from a liminal space, taking down literary genres, literary heroes, dominant historical narratives, racist place names, all with a wicked sense of humor, innovative structure and engaging storytelling,”

Along with a $10,000 cash prize, book prize winners are invited to present a lecture on the book’s topic in Lincoln during the fall semester. First-edition, full-length, nonfiction books copyrighted in 2023 were eligible for the award, which Jim and Cheryl Stubbendieck have supported for more than a decade.

Other finalists were:

  • “The Cost of Free Land: Jews, Lakota and an American Inheritance” by Rebecca Clarren (Viking).
  • “American Burial Ground: A New History of the Overland Trail” by Sarah Keyes (University of Pennsylvania Press).

For more information about the award or the Center for Great Plains Studies, click here.

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