Nebraska Authors

Karen Gettert Shoemaker

AKA: Karen Shoemaker

Born 1957 Atkinson, NE (USA)

Karen Gettert Shoemaker is an award-winning author and respected teacher of creative writing. Her 2014 novel The Meaning of Names has been selected for reading series including One Book, One Nebraska and Omaha Reads. As a teacher and faculty mentor at the University of Nebraska's Creative Writing program, Shoemaker has guided multitudes of writers toward success. She is the Executive Director of Larksong Writers Place in Lincoln. About teaching and learning writing, she has this to say: "I believe you learn to write by writing; you learn to write better by considering what you've written."

Places Lived

O'Neill, NE
Omaha, NE
Lincoln, NE
Hastings, NE
Chadron, NE

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Poetry


WWI; Historical Fiction


Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, 1985, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Master of Arts Degree in Creative Writing, 1991, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Ph.D. in Creative Writing, 1997, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE


Writing and Literature Professor

Places Worked

University of Nebraska, Lincoln and Omaha
Seward County Independent
Hastings College, Hastings, NE
Chadron State College, Chadron, NE
Nebraska Humanities Council


Received Bachelor's Degree with High Distinction, University of Nebraska, 1985
Nebraska Press Association Award for Feature Writing
Mari Sandoz Prairie Schooner Award
John H. Ames Reading Series, Featured Reader, 20 April 2000, 20 January 2005 and 30 March 2014
Vreeland Award for Fiction Writing, 2006
Nebraska Arts Council Merit Award, 2012
Omaha Reads, The Meaning of Names, 2014
One Book, One Nebraska, The Meaning of Names. 2016
Nebraska 150 Books honor for The Meaning of Names. 2017
Best American Short Stories 100 Distinguished Stories, Playing Horses. 2001


Prairie Trout Writer's Group
Larksong Writers Place


Night Sounds and Other Stories. 2002.
Cain's Sister. 2005.
The Meaning of Names. 2014.

Published in:
A Different Plain: Contemporary Nebraska Fiction Writers. 2004.
Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry. 2007.
Times of Sorrow/Times of Grace. 2002.
The Untidy Season. 2013.

Has been published in numerous magazines and journals.

Karen Shoemaker has been featured in the Ames Reading Series several times. The program links are below.

April, 2000:

January 2005:

March 2014:

October 2016:

In May 2023, Karen and the other members of Prairie Trout Writing Group appeared in an Ames Reading Series program and discussion:

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Karen Gettert Shoemaker

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)