Larry Bjornson Book signing (Abilene, KS)

Apr 21, 2013 3:00pm - 4:30pm


Larry Bjornson, author of the award-winning novel Wide Open (Penguin Books), will be the featured speaker at three events to be held at the Eisenhower Presidential Library April 19, 20, and 21 in Abilene, Kansas. 

Winner of the Western Writers of America 2013 Spur Award and the 2012 Forward National Literature Award, Wide Open is based on the actual events of the 1871 Abilene, Kansas, cattle season, its greatest year as a legendary cowtown. In that post-Civil War summer, over 600,000 longhorn cattle and thousands of Texans came up the trail from the south and inundated Abilene, a small northern town of only 800 residents.

Wide Open focuses on the tense north/south culture clash and the town’s moral and political struggle to decide what kind of community, and what kind of state, Kansans would build. You also see Abilene’s marshal, Wild Bill Hickok, as he really was.

As told by fifteen-year-old Will Merritt, Wide Open is a story of wrenching change and the conflict that brings it about, a story of family, the obligations of friendship, and the earliest years of a lifelong romance. In this dangerous summer, young Will is shaped by events, evolving from self-centered youth to a young man of courage and honor.

Go to for images from the era, story background, and to learn more about the author.



Fri April 19 Writers Workshop (general public) 10:00am to Noon

Sat April 20 Annual Boy Scout Camporee 7:30 pm to 8:30pm

Sun April 21 Book Talk/Signing (general public) 3:00pm to 4:30pm



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