Thomas Fox Averill

Thomas Fox Averill

Author Thomas Fox Averill will read from his latest novel and share his writing influences at an hour-long public presentation at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 7, at Johnson County Community College. 

Averill is the writer-in-residence and a professor of English at Washburn University, Topeka. He will read excerpts from his latest novel, “rode,” in Hudson Auditorium in the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art on the JCCC campus. Admission is free, and the public is encouraged to attend. 

A reception for Averill will follow at 4:30 p.m. in the nearby atrium. 

The book “rode” was recently named Outstanding Western Novel of 2011 as part of the Western Heritage Awards given each year in Oklahoma City, home of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Previous winners have included James Michener, Larry McMurtry, Barbara Kingsvolver and Cormac McCarthy. 

“rode” draws its storyline from the American ballad “Tennessee Stud.”  The title of Averill’s presentation, “On the Trail of the Tennessee Stud” reflects the narrative ballad’s tale of how, according to the song’s lyrics, “there never was a horse like the Tennessee Stud.” 

Grant Tracey, editor, “The North American Review,” wrote of the book, ““Thomas Fox Averill’s rode’ is a rollicking ride through the American West, 1825. Averill’s narrative is a bountiful mix of popular song, Western mythos, episodic adventure, travelogue, folk-tale, and good old-fashioned storytelling.” 

Averill appears as the capstone speaker to the 2012 Kansas Writers Symposium, sponsored by the Kansas Studies Institute at JCCC. 

“Imagining Kansas: Within and Without” is the theme of this year’s symposium. Invited writers include historians, fiction writers, poets, essayists and journalists. The symposium’s goal is to help writers incorporate Kansas into the participants’ writing.