Axe News

The Annual Gene DeGruson Memorial Lecture

Authors Merilyn Simonds and Wayne Grady to visit Pittsburg State University on Monday November 12th and Tuesday November 13th. A windy and serendipitous path connected PSU professor Portico Bowman with the two Canadian authors as they travelled to San Miguel, Mexico for a conference and literary festival. Since spring 2018 partners at Axe Library and professor Bowman, have been working to bring these two authors for a variety of events, readings, and presentations to PSU. The pair are scheduled to participate in different venues on both November 12th and 13th. Below is more information about the authors, events, campus partners, and more.

Merilyn Simonds:                           

Merilyn Simonds is the author of 18 books, including the novel The Holding, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and the Canadian classic nonfiction novel, The Convict Lover, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. In 2017, Bookmark Canada unveiled a plaque to honor the place of The Convict Lover in Canada’s literary landscape. Simonds’ work is anthologized and published internationally.

In 2012 she published The Paradise Project, a collection of flash fiction hand-printed on an antique press with endpapers made from plants in her garden. The experience of producing the collection in both a digital and book-arts edition is the subject of Gutenberg’s Fingerprint: Paper, Pixels, and the Lasting Impression of Books. Her most recent publication is a novel Refuge, set in Mexico City, New York City, and eastern Ontario. She shares her life with writer Wayne Grady, dividing their time between Mexico and Canada.

Marilyn Simonds website:

Wayne Grady:

Born in Ontario, CA, Wayne started his literary career writing book reviews and non-fiction. His early days were writing reviews for the Montreal Gazette and works in literary magazines. He spent years working as a science editor and later editor for Equinox magazine. Much of his experience working in science and nature writing were turned into some of his nature writing and history books. 

Wayne has written fourteen books of nonfiction and translated novels from multiple languages. He has won the Governor General’s Award for translations. His global travels, from the Gobi Desert to the North Pole, have been turned into fuel for expedition narratives, science and travel writing.

His recent worked are inspired by discoveries of his family tree and race. His two novels Emancipation Day and Up From Freedom deal with issues of identity and race.  

Wayne Grady website:

Some Key Events:

  • Monday November 12th at 11am in The Writing Center at Axe Library – “Styles and Strategies: Making Nature Writing Appealing” 
    Using his nonfiction work The Great Lakes: The Natural History of a Changing Region, Wayne will discuss strategies to elevate nature and history writing, giving it a broader appeal.
  • Monday November 12th at 2pm in the Axe Grind coffee shop – “Literature Beyond Borders” Authors Merilyn Simonds and Wayne Grady will read from their recent novels and discuss. Merilyn’s novel Refuge and Wayne’s novel Up From Freedom both released this earlier this year.
  • Monday November 12th at 4pm in Porter Hall Room 201A - Cat Jepson: Designer, PSU Alumna and founder of The Seventh Journey, and the Cat Jepson Letterpress Studio: Hands-On Letterpress Workshops and examples/Demos: Bookmaking Processes
  • Tuesday November 13th at 2pm in KTC E101 - “The Forking Paths of New Publishing: Conversations & Conundrums” with Merilyn Simonds.
  • Tuesday November 13th at 7pm in the Governor’s Room (OSC) – The Gene DeGruson Memorial Lecture. Author Merilyn Simonds will present on her work “Back to the Future of Books: Paper, Pixels, and the Lasting Impression of Books.” Lecture will be held in the Overman Student Center. Reception will follow after presentations.  

For more information:

Portico Bowman               620.235.4305 or
Jorge León                          620.235.4892 or
Steve Cox                            620.235.4883 or





Write-O-Ween Raffle

Write-O-Ween Raffle is a way to earn tickets for prizes. The drawing will be held on October 31, 2018 at a Scary Story reading at the Axe Grind, 6:00 - 7:30 pm. Prizes include some nice gift certificates, a sky box ticket for a PSU football game, and more. 

You can get raffle tickets several ways. One is by asking the Reference Desk about RefWorks, attending a Student Success workshop, creating a Writing Center account, and coming to the Writing Center after hours. 


University Author Reception

The Leonard H. Axe Library sponsors an annual Faculty/University Author Reception to highlight the accomplishments of PSU community who have published books and other creative works over the previous year. Authors, editors, composers and recording artists have been among our honorees.

The reception will take place Thursday, November 1, 2018 starting at 3:00 pm in Axe Library. Please see submission guidelines at the bottom of this page.

university authors reception

The Little Blue Books at 100: Haldeman-Julius’s Revolutionary Publishing Venture

In observance of the 100th anniversary of Emanuel Haldeman-Julius’s Little Blue Books, Pittsburg State University will hold a two day symposium: The Little Blue Books at 100: Haldeman-Julius’s Revolutionary Publishing Venture on March 29-30, 2019, at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. See below for the Call for Papers.
Haledeman Julius Symposium