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Special Events

Local Author Celebration Series!

Get to know local authors in an intimate environment as they share their inspirations and writing processes with us! 

Our Local Author Celebration series is presented as an offering of the Castle & Cathedral District, with the support of the Nebraska Arts Council.

May 22 - Jon Volkmer, Author of "Brave in Season"

This form stopped accepting submissions on May 22, 2024 2:00 pm CDT.

Where: Carriage House on the Joslyn Castle & Garden Grounds (3902 Davenport Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68131).
When: Wed, May 22 from 5:30 to 7:00 (Doors open at 5pm).
What: This event is free and open to the public – an all-ages event.

Set in 1950 in the rural Midwest, and inspired by real events, this gripping novel explores what happens when an African American railroad repair crew is dropped into a tiny, tight-knit farm community. Will frictions build to an all-too familiar American tragedy, or can tensions be overcome in that uniquely American way, with balls and bats and a field of green?

Seventeen-year-old Carlin Littman has big dreams, much bigger than will fit into sleepy Julian, Nebraska, population 172. She has set her sights on college, Chicago, and beyond. The arrival of the rail workers, known as gandy dancers, is an interesting distraction in the bored summer days where her only job is looking after her little brother, Timmy. When she befriends Sam Washington, the awkward, bookish gandy a year younger than she, neither of them have any idea what they have set in motion.

Many decades later, Tim returns to Nebraska, attempting to recover the lost history through interviews with the few surviving seniors who might remember. These encounters provide the basis for a story that lies somewhere between myth and memory. A story where the mutual respect between the oldest gandy, Jerome, and the store owner, Dave, offers townsfolk an alternative to stereotype and prejudice. A story where the new rail line is being built over the route of the underground railroad, challenging a new generation of farm families to live up to that heritage. A story where an unlikely pick-up game propels players on both sides to epic performances.

Race, railroads, and baseball are iconic themes that come together in this moving story of the American heartland.

Jon’s Bio:

Jon Volkmer is a Nebraska City native with a master’s in creative writing from Denver University, and a PhD in English from UNL. His books include a travel memoir, Eating Europe, a poetry collection, The Art of Country Grain Elevators, and a YA biography of Roberto Clemente. His stories, poems and essays have appeared widely in such venues as Commonweal, Cimarron Review, Southern Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, and Platte Valley Review. He is professor of English and director of creative writing at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.


Past Presentations

May 15 - Ami Polite, Author of "Garden Your Hair"

Where: Carriage House on the Joslyn Castle & Garden Grounds (3902 Davenport Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68131)
When: WED, MAY 15 from 5:30 to 7:00 (Doors open at 5pm)
What: All ages event, FREE

How do you combine the love and art of gardening, haircare and music? You make a growing mixtape. Garden My Hair is a memoir/manual/mixtape cultivated by gardener Ami Polite. From a small sprout in the middle of the South Bronx of New York to maturing in the wide-open Great Plains of Nebraska in the late 90s and early 2000s, Ami took her frustrations of midwest living and natural haircare and directed it toward gardening. Twenty years later of pulling braids and weeds, she has enough energy in her fingers to pen her personal thoughts and observations, that not only are relatable, humorous, passionate but doable. This mix will have you watering your hair, giving your garden a Hi-Five and doing the one-two step all at the same time.

About Ami Polite:
Ami gardens in the Great Plains of the United States. She gardens for the best and the brightest in Omaha loving plants belonging to those who have busy lives. She freely volunteers, travels solo, joyfully dabbles in foreign languages, and finds the best global music. If you have a beautiful garden that escapes to the sidewalk, Ami will stalk it and love it.

Trugs and her faithful Hori Hori knife are her favorite workmates. She lives with Giselle the Ponytail Palm, Thor the Christmas Cactus, Sasha the Sansevieria and Vera her thick Aloe.

April 24 - Charles Kelly, Author of "Grace Humiston and the Vanishing"

Local Author Celebration Series featuring Charles Kelly, author of "Grace Humiston and the Vanishing"

Where: Carriage House on the Joslyn Castle & Garden Grounds (3902 Davenport Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68131).
When: Wed, APRIL 24 from 5:30 to 7:00 (Doors open at 5pm).
What: This event is free and open to the public – an all-ages event.

It’s 1917 in New York City, and lawyer Grace Humiston has made her reputation as a sleuth by saving a falsely-convicted man from death row. Now she is hired to probe the disappearance of high school student Ruth Cruger. The search will take her and Transylvanian private investigator Julius Kron through the sewers of New York police corruption, into the darkness of the international prostitution trade, and onto the high seas. Grace Humiston and the Vanishing is a novel based on the greatest triumph of America’s most remarkable forgotten woman detective.

Charles’s Bio:
Charles Kelly, formerly a reporter for The Arizona Republic, was co-winner of the Arizona Journalist of the Year Award in 1992. In his career as a reporter, he found missing heirs, helped get a wrongly convicted tugboat captain out of a Mexican prison, and investigated the 1976 murder of Republic reporter Don Bolles. Kelly is the author of the novels Pay Here, published by Point Blank Press, and Grace Humiston and the Vanishing, a semifinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. He also wrote the short story “The Eighth Deadly Sin,” published in the collection Phoenix Noir issued by Akashic Books.

John Dechant, Author of "Little Poison"

Castle & Cathedral District presents:

Local Author Celebration Series
March Author: John Dechant

Cost: Free
When: Wed, March 20 Doors open at 5pm // event begins at 5:30
Age: All ages welcome!
Where: Joslyn Castle Carriage House, 3902 Davenport Street, Omaha, NE 68131

Get to know local authors in an intimate environment as they share their inspirations and writing processes with us! In March, we're thrilled to welcome John Dechant, partner at Legacy Preservation and longtime Joslyn Castle supporter.

About John:
John Dechant is the author of Little Poison: Paul Runyan, Sam Snead, and a Long-Shot Upset at the 1938 PGA Championship. He has played golf since childhood but only recently began writing about it.

Today, Dechant lives in Omaha with his wife and children. He is the president of Legacy Preservation, a specialty publishing firm that helps families and businesses across the country preserve their history in book form. He is a graduate of Creighton University, where he received a journalism degree in 2005 and a master’s degree in 2008. While at Creighton he was a member of the men’s golf team. In 2005 he received the team’s “Most Inspirational Player” award.

About Kim:
Kim Isherwood is an Intuitive Medium, Registered Nurse, Reki Master, Hypnotherapist, yoga, and meditation teacher. She has spent her entire career as a healer, teacher, and leader. She has worked with hundreds of clients from around the world for over a decade. She also offers popular workshops and retreats. She lives in a historic home in Omaha with her husband and two dogs.

About her book:
Looking for closure after a difficult experience? Think again.

In Closure: The Lie We Tell Ourselves, intuitive medium Kim Isherwood shatters the myth of closure and offers a radical new approach to healing and acceptance.

Drawing from her years of experience connecting with the spiritual realm, Isherwood shows how the pursuit of closure can become a trap that keeps us stuck in the past, unable to move forward. With real-life examples and a down-to-earth style, she offers a fresh perspective on the complexities of grief and the power of intuition.

Whether you're a skeptic or a believer, Closure: The Lie We Tell Ourselves is sure to challenge your assumptions and leave you with a new appreciation for the mysteries of the human experience. Get ready to open your mind, embrace the messiness of life, and turn the societal rules for grief upside down.