Topeka, Kan. – Michael Kleber-Diggs, of St. Paul, Minn., won the 2022 Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award in Poetry for his book “Worldly Things.” This award is sponsored by the Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection at Washburn University’s Mabee Library and the Friends of Mabee Library.

     This year's award ceremony will be on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, 4 p.m., at Mabee Library. This will be the day before the annual Kansas Book Festival which will be held on the Washburn University campus. 

     Kleber-Diggs was born and raised in Kansas and now lives in St. Paul. He won the 2020 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize. His works have appeared in Poem-a-Day, Poetry Daily, Poetry Northwest, Great River Review, Water~Stone Review, Potomac Review, Hunger Mountain, Memorious and several other journals and anthologies. Kleber-Diggs teaches poetry and creative non-fiction through the Minnesota Prison Writers Workshop.

     Patricia Traxler, the 2019 Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award in Poetry award winner for “Naming the Fires” served as the judge this year.

     “’Worldly Things’ is a wonder, and its author, Michael Kleber-Diggs, is a brilliant poet—sensitive and deft in his approach to contemporary life, to humanity and to sexual politics,” said Traxler. “He doesn't shy away from sensitive or difficult subjects. There's a comforting familiarity in his work, and at the same time a freshness and originality that kept me surprised, engaged. What pushed me across the finish line with Michael's book was the passion and power of his writing combined with his sensitivity, tenderness and insight.”

     The Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award is an annual award that rotates between poetry, fiction and nonfiction (2023 will be fiction, 2024 will be literary nonfiction and 2025 will return to poetry). For more information about the Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award, and learn more about Michael Kleber-Diggs and his poetry, please visit:

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For further information, contact:
Tom Averill
Washburn University Professor Emeritus of English
Joy Bailes
Washburn University Assistant Director of Public Relations
Office: 785-670-2153
Cell: 785-230-1648
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