Novelist Thomas Averill visits Sterling College

By Jase Brandt Sterling, KS – April 25, 2018 11:27 P.M.
Sterling College had the privilege of having Thomas Averill visit and read excerpts from his newest novel “Found Documents from the Life of Nell” Johnson Doerr on Friday, April 20 in Cornerstone, followed by discussion time and book signing. Averill was met with a small but captivated audience.

Aside from his reading, Averill also talked about his method of writing “archival fiction,” in which he creates his stories out of his research. Jesse Sheppard, freshman at Sterling College commented, “I really enjoyed the event…[and] what he was reading…I think he did a really good job writing [his book], how he crafts a narrative and how it has the historical background…I really like how he infused the history into it.”

Dr. Watney, professor of English Literature at Sterling College, commented, “I appreciated [Thomas’] reading style…He read with a sense of deep love for his own characters…Digging into the archives, he finds a character who he begins to fall in love with. And I loved that sense of rootedness in his characters. And his ability to build a story out of what he discovers in the archives. I found that fascinating… I look forward to reading [his book]”

Thomas is a writer and a professor of English at Washburn University. He is an O. Henry Award winner and a two-time winner of the Kansas Notable Book Awards. Some his works include “Secrets of the Tsil Café” and “Ordinary Genius.” His specialties include fiction, essay and poetry writing, as well as food studies, garden literature, Scottish culture, and Kansas literature and culture. His donated book collection helped establish the Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection at Washburn’s Mabee Library. More information about Thomas Averill can be found at


%d bloggers like this: