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Book Festival to offer free writing workshops

The Nebraska Book Festival will offer four poetry and prose workshops on Saturday, April 6. Participants will discuss writing techniques and receive expert feedback from authors Neil Harrison, John Price, and Brent Spencer. A fourth workshop has been added for teen poets.

The festival, free and open to the public, will be held in the Thompson Alumni Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Workshops are free to attend, but seating is limited and early arrival is recommended. Advance registration is not available. Three workshops will be offered in the morning, from 9 to 10:45 a.m.

Neil Harrison, leader of the poetry writing workshop, teaches English and creative writing at Northeast Community College in Norfolk. His poetry has appeared in The Elkhorn Review, Midwest Quarterly, Nebraska Review, Nebraska Territory, The Platte Valley Review, Wordart, Writer’s Forum, his chapbook, “Story,” and his collections, “In a River of Wind,” “Into the River Canyon at Dusk,” and “Back in the Animal Kingdom.”

The non-fiction workshop will be led by John Price, Professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His memoirs include “Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships,” “Not Just Any Land: A Personal and Literary Journey into the American Grasslands,” and “Daddy Long Legs: The Natural Education of a Father” (forthcoming in spring 2013).

“Building the Story,” a fiction workshop, will be led by Brent Spencer. His published work includes a novel “The Lost Son,” short story collection “Are We Not Men?” and memoir “Rattlesnake Daddy: A Son’s Search for His Father,” winner of the 2012 Nebraska Book Award for non-fiction. Spencer teaches creative writing and screenwriting at Creighton University in Omaha.

At 1:15 p.m., the Nebraska Writers Collective and Young Chicago Authors group will lead a poetry workshop for teen writers. The festival will conclude, 6-8 p.m., with high school students performing their own original poetry in a semi-final bout of Louder than a Bomb: Omaha Youth Poetry Festival.

In addition to writing workshops, the Nebraska Book Festival will offer a keynote talk by Kurt Andersen, author of “True Believers” and “Heyday,” at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 5. Author readings, presentations and book signings continue Saturday afternoon, April 6, featuring Leo Adam Biga, Joy Castro, Art Homer, Ron Hull, Andrew Jewell, Lisa Knopp, Barb Malek, Tunette Powell, John Price, John Rector, Todd Robinson, Barbara Schmitz, Benjamin Vogt, Stacey Waite, Don Welch, and Fred Zydek.

For more information, contact Matt Mason, festival director, at See for a complete listing of festival authors and activities.

The Nebraska Book Festival is presented by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, Nebraska Library Commission, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Humanities Nebraska programming is made possible by:

and generous individuals, foundations, and businesses across Nebraska.