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Former Florence author a finalist

Staff writer

Author Julie A. Sellers, who grew up near Florence and graduated from Marion High School, is a finalist in the 2023 High Plains Book Award contest to be announced Saturday in Billings, Montana.

The awards recognize regional literary works that examine and reflect life on the high plains, including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

She is the author of “Ann of Sunflower Lane.”

While at the conference, Sellers will give a talk on the subject, “Fiction: Better for the Brain?”

“Ann of Sunflower Lane” is one of three finalists in the young adult category, targeted for readers ages 12 to 18.

The book is laced with influence from the author’s Florence upbringing.

Sellers, born and raised near Florence, now lives in Atchison.

The book’s title character, 15-year-old Ann Alwen, finds herself living with grandparents she never met until she was removed from her father’s care in 1989 and sent to Storey, Kansas.

“I think growing up in the Flint Hills has influenced my outlook all of my life,” Sellers said. “I could see the horizon to really feel I had my bearings.”

In Sellers’s story, seeing the horizon was good for Ann and helped her see her new home, Sunflower Lane farm, as a place of new opportunity.

“She sees the horizons as opportunity and she sees all of this area where she’s come to live as home,” Sellers said.

Ann was sent to live with her grandparents after her father was ruled a neglectful parent in court. She told herself it was for only one summer and her father would find a steady job and make a stable life for her.

Ann’s grandfather gave her a copy of the book, “Anne of Green Gables,” by L.M. Montgomery. Ann identified with the title character.

Over time, Ann came to see the Flint Hills as home and integrated herself into life in the Flint Hills. She came to new understandings of family, friendship, and love.

Authors at library

Sellers also will be among nine local authors to talk at 10 a.m. Oct. 14 at Marion City Library.

Others are Lowell Ensey, ELaine and Kathy Ewert, Debbie Oelke, Thane Schwartz, Gary Schuler, Debra Stenstrom, and Cherly Unruh.

Refreshments will be served. Books will be for sale.

Last modified Oct. 5, 2023

 

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