Celebrate the Library Through Fan Fiction!

Tuesday, January 2, 2024
Librarian Fan Fiction banner

What better way to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the library than by celebrating its first head librarian, Carrie Westlake Whitney. Celebrating your favorite librarian is also the perfect way to honor Carrie. At the Central Library we are going to do this by adding to her story through the use of fan fiction. While fan fiction exists in most genres, we are limited to these four: science fiction/fantasy, poetry, romance, and historical fiction.

Want to know more about Carrie Westlake Whitney? Patrick Salland, an historian in the Missouri Valley Room, has done the research for you. Carrie was a fascinating and important person in Kansas City. We will share all the information you need at our official kickoff event on Friday, January 19, 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the Central Library and on Facebook Live. Can’t make it on this day? We’ll have the presentation available virtually and printed information can be picked up at the Library.

Already have ideas and writing skills? Scroll down to see the rules and submit an entry. Need help with your writing? Join us for any or all of these classes. Please see full descriptions below and RSVP on the event pages. Use the information you learn in the classes to shape your work.

Contest submission deadline is Friday, March 15, 2024. Winners will be contacted by Friday, April 5, 2024.

Winners may be invited to read their work at an upcoming celebration for the Central Library’s 20th anniversary.

Librarian Fan Fiction Contest Rules

Who can enter

  • Anyone who lives within the Kansas City Public Library service area.


  • Original short stories or poetry.
  • Short stories written in one of the following genres: science fiction/fantasy, historical fiction, and/or romance.
  • Must use Carrie Westlake Whitney or any librarian as a primary character.
  • Maximum 1200 words.
  • One entry per person.
  • Keep it clean, it’s the library.
  • Any entries suspected of plagiarism, direct or patchwork, will be invalid.
  • Entries composed using AI (artificial intelligence) will not be accepted.
  • Use of, or allusion to, traditional folklore and characters in the public domain is permitted.

Submitting Your Entry

  • Name and save your file as Title_Firstname_Genre.
  • Upload document to the submission form below and provide your full name, title of story, home zip code, phone number, and email address.
  • In submitting entries, contestants give the Library permission to adapt or edit the content for promotions related to the contest. Your submission may be read aloud during our Carrie Westlake Whitney Appreciation Party and/or on social media.

Winning and honorable mention entries

  • Determined by a judging panel of representatives from the Kansas City Public Library.
  • Participants will be notified in late March if their work has been selected.
  • Winning entries will be announced on social media on April 5, 2024, and celebrated in the Central Library at a date in April to be announced.
  • Winning stories and honorable mention selections may be subject to minor editing for public presentations.
Submission Deadline was Friday, March 15, 2024.

Full Class descriptions

Central Room 312, 12-2 p.m., Saturday, January 27: Love Letters: Romance Writing About Kansas City’s Literary Past 
One of the hardest things for many writers is knowing where to begin, so we’re removing that roadblock in this short, fun course. For this class, we’ll learn about one of Kansas City’s literary luminaries and then write a short romance story about their life using pictures.

This exercise may sound simple, but it enables us to practice some of the fundamentals of writing. Whether you’re a beginning or experienced author, this course will teach you how to write attention-grabbing prose using concrete images to tell a story. We’ll discover the power of point of view and stretch our descriptive muscles. Participants will:

  • Use critical and observational skills to extract information from a picture
  • Write what they see
  • Discover the surprising power of images to create theme
  • Refine their piece (250-500 words) based on constructive critical feedback

This class is taught by a graduate student in the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Central Room 312, 1-3 p.m., Saturday, February 3: Prose Poetry: Hybrid Forms and Local Literary History 
What happens if you write a poem without attention to line breaks? What is a poem if it comes in the form of paragraphs instead of stanzas? Is it verse or prose?

Students in this class will learn about the rich history of the prose poem, a “genre with an oxymoron for a name,” and use the form to engage with Kansas City’s literary past. We’ll briefly touch on the foggy borderlands between flash fiction and prose poetry, then engage in close readings of prose poems by Arthur Rimbaud, Lu Xun, Rabindranath Tagore, and Emily Berry. Students will be given time to write and share their own work, and they will come away from the class with prompts and strategies for writing more prose poems.

This class is taught by a graduate student in the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Central Room 312, 12-2 p.m., Saturday, February 17: Fiction Writing: Bringing Historical Characters to Life in Sci-fi 
This class combines the genre of science fiction with history, placing historical characters in speculative settings or infusing the past with elements of science fiction. From their innermost thoughts and words to the complex choices they make, these historical characters will come to life on the page once you learn how to craft crisp dialogue, describe appearance, show action, and more. We’ll also discuss how to include sensory descriptions that will provide a sense of place and solidify the world of the story. Come read examples of historical science fiction by great authors such as Octavia Butler and write your own sci-fi adventure.

This class is taught by a graduate student in the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.