WSC Press

About the PWS

The Plains Writers Series is held four times a year at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska, and has been an integral part of the college’s history since 1977. This reading series generally features Great Plains authors and artists in a one or two-day event open and free to the public.

No art lends itself to lifelong learning more effectively than literature. To meet and hear living writers is arguably the best way to encourage readers. Nebraska’s poets and writers, through their work, are actively defining what it is to live in this place in the here and now. They bring with them a knowledge of the heritage that includes the pioneer as well as the peoples the pioneer displaced. They are familiar with the ecological and political cries of the day. Firmly grounded in the present, they write with one eye on the past and another on the future. Access to the arts begins with an introduction to them.

The Plains Writers Series provides a forum for Nebraska’s contemporary writers and poets to share their work with Nebraska readers. The content of the project is literature, especially that of rural Nebraska. Literature will be the entire focus of the series throughout the day in the form of readings, questions and answer sessions, one-on-one conversations between the audience members and the authors presenting their work. After the day-time readings, the Plains Writers Series continues with a poetry or fiction slam in downtown Wayne.

Here are some of our past readers:

William Kloefkorn, David Lee, Kate Gale, Twyla Hansen, William Trowbridge, Matt Mason, Mark Sanders, Don Welch, Tom Paine, Poe Ballantine, Ted Wheeler, Terri Grimm, Josip Novakovich, Liz Kay, Erik Campbell, Catherine Texier, Glenn North, Rebecca Rotert, Debra Marquart, Greg Kosmicki, Marjorie Saiser, JV Brummels, Michael Skau, Neil Harrison, Steve Langan, Art Homer, Gailmarie Pahmeier, Todd Robinson, Barbara Schmitz, Richard Robbins, Amy Plettner, Margaret Lukas, Traci Brimhall, Bradford Tice, Lisa Coutley, Carson Vaughan,  Michael Catherwood, David Wyatt, Trey Moody, Kevin Clouther, Dave Mullins, Jerry Wilson, Sarah McKinstry-Brown, Jeff Alsessandrelli, and many more.

Praise for the Plains Writers Series:

“I would recommend the Plains Reading Series to any writer who’s interested in engaged audiences and truly outstanding hospitality. I’ve not felt so at home during a reading tour in a long time–everyone was articulate and kind. And the Slam event hosted by WSC will rock you! The student turnout was amazing, and the event was both fun (lots of humor) and meaningful. The people in Wayne have much to say, and they say it well.” – Gailmarie Pahmeier

“For four decades, The Plains Writers Series has brought poets and prose writers to the Wayne State campus. This program, started and nurtured by J.V. Brummels, provides a wonderful variety of authentic voices for students to hear and the opportunity for face-to-face conversation with working writers. At the same time, it offers an excellent venue for writers to introduce new books to the public. No university series in the state has been as steadfastly supportive of the region’s writers. The Plains Writers Series is sun and water to Nebraska literature.” – Lisa Sandlin

“The Plains Writers Series is simply the best of any regional, college-supported reading series, not to mention one of the longest-running Series. My first involvement in the PWS dates back to 1981, and I have watched from afar for information about the series since; it’s a great thing for Nebraska–it’s a great thing for the Great Plains! I have loved being a part of it all.” – Mark Sanders

“I can’t say enough good things about my experience with the Plains Writers Series. From the warm and welcoming reception to the lively fiction slam in the evening, I was so pleased to be included in such a unique and embracing literary tradition. Particularly as someone who has roots in the area, with my great-great-grandmother a former student at Wayne State, it was a meaningful experience in a part of the world that is too often overlooked.“
Ted Wheeler

“Reading for the Plains Writers Series and judging the Slam were some of the most fun events I’ve ever done. The community and enthusiasm for these programs is unsurpassed, and Wayne State should be extremely proud of all the work starting and sustaining this culture.“
— Trey Moody

“At the Plains Writers Series, the writers were sharp and the listeners engaged. There was a lot of sunlight in the room and no pretension whatsoever. Everybody looked happy to be there.” — Kevin Clouther

“[the PWS crowd was] always an attentive and attuned crowd. A great experience. I always have felt a vibe from the audience of students, faculty, area poets, and alumni and poetry followers from the community. A bit of a cross-section of the city though skewed towards the artsy side. Lots of the students are farm and ranch kids though and they like real poems about daily life, it seems, so I try to find poems of mine like that to read there to try to get some of them to connect to the poet inside themselves. We all know they’re out there.”
Greg Kosmicki

How to connect:

Follow the Plains Writers Series on Facebook to keep updated on upcoming events and to see pictures of past readers. @PlainsWritersSeries

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