The winner of the 2019 Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize is author C.J. Janovy for her book “No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas” (University Press of Kansas). The Center for Great Plains Studies’ book prize celebrates the most outstanding work about the Great Plains during the past year.
Janovy, an arts reporter and editor for public radio in Kansas City, Missouri, tells the compelling story of LGBT Kansans as they realized they would have to fight to create equality in their state. Using extensive interviews and research, she shares the diverse voices and experiences of LGBT community members living on the Plains and working for social change.
“Like historic Plains pioneers staking their claim, they struggled, were thwarted, persevered and finally succeeded, in the process building community and gaining allies,” said Chris Dando, book prize committee chair. “‘No Place Like Home’ makes a significant contribution to our understanding of contemporary Plains society as well as challenging assumptions about all who call the Plains home.”
Janovy said: “This is an enormous honor for me as a writer, but an even greater affirmation for the brave Kansans who shared their experiences so generously. Like hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people who live in this part of the country, the people I wrote about have deep connections to their communities, to the landscape and to the broader cultures of the Great Plains. I’m so grateful to the Center for Great Plains Studies and the members of the Stubbendieck Prize committee for recognizing the power of their stories.”
Along with a $10,000 cash prize, winners are invited to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to present a lecture on the book’s topic. First-edition, full-length, nonfiction books copyrighted in 2018 were eligible for the award. Nominations were made by publishers or authors.
Other finalists included:
“First Americans: U.S. Patriotism in Indian Country after World War I,” by Thomas Grillot (Yale University Press). Drawing from oral histories and archival sources, Grillot investigates how the histories of thousands of army veterans returning to reservation life after World War I transformed Native American identity.
“A Thirsty Land: The Making of an American Water Crisis,” by Seamus McGraw (University of Texas Press). McGraw uses Texas to tell the regional story of the Great Plains’ water struggles by talking to farmers, ranchers, businesspeople, politicians, activists and more in this deep dive into one of the biggest challenges facing the nation’s future.
“The Chisholm Trail: Joseph McCoy’s Great Gamble,” by James Sherow (University of Oklahoma Press). A new environmental interpretation of the Great Plains cattle trade, Sherow reveals the ecological and market connections that led brothers to bet their fortunes on a small way station that would become integral in transforming the cattle trade into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.