The TALK of Topeka


“Today our Independent Living residents enjoyed a terrific book discussion about Zora Neale Hurston’s classic, ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God.’ [KHC makes] wonderful experiences possible for people from all walks of life across the Great State of Kansas. We appreciate all you do!”

—TALK Program Coordinator, Topeka

Since 1997, KHC has supported 180 Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) book discussions at Topeka senior living facilities. That’s 10 opportunities each year to bring readers together with a discussion leader for an engaging conversation about a good book. KHC provides the books and discussion leader to make these lifelong learning events possible. With your help, we can bring even more TALK book discussions to Topeka’s seniors.

Will you support KHC at Topeka Gives on Tuesday, June 2nd? Your gift to KHC will be matched by the Topeka Community Foundation.

Stop by Fairlawn Plaza, located at 21st and Fairlawn in Topeka, on Tuesday, June 2nd between 7 AM and 6 PM to make your donation to KHC at Topeka Gives. Download this donation form or pick one up at the event.

Your contribution to KHC at Topeka Gives will keep TALK going strong for Topeka seniors. 

Research shows that lifelong learning activities stimulate the mind, promoting a healthy brain and mental alertness.  KHC needs your support to keep these programs free and available to those who need them. Thank you for supporting TALK in Topeka.

Topeka Gives Map


Even More to TALK About

Things I’ve Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi (right, pictured with former KHC Board Member Shari Wilson) is one of the titles in the new TALK series, The Exile’s Place.

Young people coming of age. Exiled immigrants balancing life in their new home with memories of the one they left behind. Globalization bringing people from different countries and cultures together. These are the themes of three new Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) book discussion series made possible with a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.

TALK facilitated book discussions immerse readers in captivating stories and introduce different experiences through literature. Each new series – Entangled World, The Exile’s Place, and Growing Up American – addresses different aspects of the human experience through conversations about sense of place and identity.

Entangled World

Globalization has accelerated the complex interactions of people and cultures in recent years. As a result, new languages, technologies, foodways, and lifestyles spring from cultures in collision where new multicultural identities give rise to new literary characters and plots. Titles in this series include:

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2001)
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (2007)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (2007)
Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje (2000)

The Exile’s Place

People in exile face complicated struggles as they come to terms with a home lost and a new home discovered. Although immigration and exile are deeply rooted in human history, the twenty-first century is providing new voices in the world of literature as immigrants give voice to their experiences. Titles in this series include:

The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon (2008)
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003)
Things I’ve Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi (2008)
Brick Lane by Monica Ali (2003)

Growing Up American

In this series, the authors have used the coming-of-age story to comprehend both the terrain of the personal and the historically specific time period in which that character lives. Titles in this series include:

Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (1951)
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl (1998)
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead (2009)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007)

Click here find out how to bring these new TALK series to your community. You choose the series, the titles, time, date, and location, and coordinate with the discussion leaders. KHC Resource Center Support grants provide the funds necessary. For more information, contact Leslie Von Holten, program officer, at leslie(at) or (785) 357-0359.


5-Minute Films: Part One

In recognition of KHC’s 40th anniversary, KHC produced a collection of 5 short films featuring signature programs’ impact in Kansas. The first two short films in the series  look at Talk About Literature in Kansas book discussions and The Way We Worked Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition.

Stay tuned! More 5-Minute short films are coming soon to a computer near you.

Talk About Literature in Kansas

See the latest KHC “5-Minute Film” about Talk About Literature in Kansas at the Newton Public Library.

Click here to find a TALK book discussion near you. Contact Leslie Von Holten, program officer, to find out how you can bring a TALK book discussion to your community.