Skip To Talking Book & Braille Service Content Skip Navigation

May 20, 2011

Mary Jo Ryan

Nebraska Book Festival to Feature Award for Promotion of Literature

The Nebraska State Historical Society′s Nebraska History Museum will be the site of the 2011 Nebraska Book Festival on May 21. The Festival, Cultivating Creativity, will feature presentation of the Nebraska Center for the Book′s Mildred Bennett Award, along with readings by Nebraska authors, writers′ workshops, and a keynote panel with former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, Nebraska Repertory Theatre′s Virginia Smith, and Paul Amandes of the Theater Department of Columbia College Chicago.

The Mildred Bennett Award is given annually by the Nebraska Center for the Book to an individual who provides leadership and service in the promotion of Nebraska literature. This year′s recipient is Charles (Chuck) Peek. Charles (Chuck) Peek is a lifelong Nebraskan and a world traveler. He graduated from high school in McCook and later received his BA, MA, and PhD degrees from UNL. He was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1971.

Chuck taught American Literature at UNL, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He serves on the Willa Cather Foundation Board of Governors and has written and presented extensively about the works of Willa Cather. His scholarship also covers William Faulkner, including co-editing A William Faulkner Encyclopedia with Robert Hamblin in 1999. He has presented papers about American authors at academic conferences in Italy, Spain, Canada, and China. In 2005 he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach in China for six months and for one month in 2008. Chuck is a former member and President of the Board of Directors for the Nebraska Center for the Book. He was instrumental in the planning of the Nebraska Book Festivals that were held in Kearney. Chuck has retired from the faculty of the English Department at UNK and is currently Rector at St. Stephen′s Church in Grand Island.

The award is original artwork, “Carnivale” by Larry Bradshaw, one of a series of sixteen mixed media drawings completed in 2011. Larry Bradshaw is a full-time professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Department of Art and Art History. The 2011 Nebraska Book Festival on May 21 is sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Humanities Council, Nebraska Library Commission and the Nebraska State Historical Society, with support from Nebraska Arts Council and Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Nebraska Writers Collective, A Novel Idea Bookstore, nuVibe Juice and Java, and University of Nebraska Press. For more information, including a complete schedule of free readings and writers′ workshops, see see and


The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state′s readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the Nebraska Library Commission.


As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, bringing together people and information. The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission website,, search on News Releases.

For more information, contact Tessa Terry.