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Paper Plains Literary Festival dissolves; transfers nearly $12K to Kansas Book Festival

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Challenged from the beginning, Paper Plains Literary Festival Inc. has dissolved and transferred more than $11,700 in remaining assets to the Kansas Book Festival, according to a news release.

COVID-19’s arrival and spread beginning in March 2020 in Kansas threw off plans for the first in-person festival, which was supposed to be held that April. But organizers persisted and adapted to hold virtual events in 2020 and 2021.

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Finally, this April, the first in-person Paper Plains festival spanned two days and featured award-winning authors Colson Whitehead, Sarah Smarsh, and Angeline Boulley.

But the board of directors “decided to dissolve the Festival in 2022 so that festival organizers could focus on other priorities,” according to a news release from the organization.

“The Paper Plains Literary Festival faced unexpected challenges,” Danny Caine, festival director, said in a news release. “But in the end, thanks to the incredible community support we received, we were able to host some pretty amazing events that brought our community together around a love of books, reading, and thoughtful conversation.” 

The nonprofit organization behind the festival was founded in 2019 with the goal of hosting “a biennial collaborative, cross-media, diverse and inclusive literary festival celebrating authors and artists from the Great Plains and beyond in Lawrence, Kansas,” according to the release.

The Kansas Book Festival, founded in 2011, is hosted in Topeka each September. Under Festival Director Tim Bascom, this year’s event hosted more than 60 authors, including keynote speaker K.J. Dell’Antonia, and had more than 1,600 people in attendance, according to the release.

“We’re excited to carry on the good work done by the Paper Plains Literary Festival,” Bascom said in the release. “This gift will make the Kansas Book Festival stronger in 2023 and more sustainable in the years to come.”

Paper Plains Board Chair Sarah Bishop and Board Vice Chair Emily Ryan expressed excitement about the Kansas Book Festival.

“We can’t wait to see it continue to grow and expand, and we’re proud that Paper Plains could play a small part in its sustainability and success,” Bishop and Ryan said in the news release. “We also could not be more grateful for the many, many donors, sponsors, partners, and people who made Paper Plains the joyful experience that it was. We loved working with all of you, and we look forward to the opportunity to bring our Lawrence community together around literary events again in the near future.”

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, when the 12th annual Kansas Book Festival will be held at Washburn University. All events are free.

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