At the recent Missouri Writers’ Guild Annual Conference, Paul Bass, a former Ouachita Baptist University staff member, received the first place Walter Williams Major Work Award in the President’s Contest for his book, Robert S. Kerr: Oklahoma’s Pioneer King.
“It is wonderful to see Paul honored in this way,” said Dr. Jeff Root, dean of OBU’s School of Humanities who worked with Bass for a number of years.
Bass served at Ouachita as director of campus activities from 1990-2007, an adjunct professor for speech communication and Christian ministries as well as the coach for the debate team from 2001-2007. In 2008, the Oklahoma State University School of International Studies named Bass a Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Fellow for his biography of Dr. Bennett, a 1907 Ouachita graduate and longtime president of Oklahoma State University.
“I’m glad to see Paul has continued to write biographies, and this account of the life of Robert Kerr is a vital new addition,” Root said. “Paul has supplied key information on the life of Kerr, who was one of the important political figures of his generation.”
“My motive in writing,” Bass said, “has been to create an historical record of significant historical figures and events that have received little literary attention.”
Robert S. Kerr, the subject of Bass’ award-winning book, was born in 1896 in Ada, Okla. Kerr attended Oklahoma Baptist University and the University of Oklahoma. He served as the 12th governor of Oklahoma from 1943-1947 and as a U.S. senator from 1949-1963.
“Kerr’s life is an example of determination, overcoming great adversity and providing leadership for a state and a nation,” Bass said.
Missouri Writers’ Guild President Steve Wiegenstein presented Bass with the Walter Williams Major Work Award, named in honor of the founder of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. The Missouri Writers’ Guild serves as the statewide organization for professional writers in all genres.
“I have discovered that one does not have to be a great writer to publish a book,” Bass said. “One must have a strong message and love of organization and research. Then one must be lucky enough to find a great editor and enthusiastic publisher. I have been blessed with all of these.”
By Rachel Gregory