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South Dakota Festival of Books
September 21-24, 2017
Deadwood & Rapid City

Variety of Authors Confirmed for 2017 Festival

From an iconic war writer to a quirky "foodie" author, the 2017 South Dakota Festival of Books is packed with literary goodies.

Confirmed authors for the South Dakota Humanities Council's signature event Sept. 21-24 in Deadwood and Rapid City include Tim O'Brien, Genieve Abdo, J. Ryan Stradal and illustrator Chris Van Dusen. The annual South Dakota Festival of Books unites thousands of readers and writers for book discussions, autograph sessions and more.

2017 One Book and Young Readers One Book

"Kitchens of the Great Midwest" by J. Ryan Stradal is the 2017 One Book South Dakota, while the Young Readers selection is "Tales from Deckawoo Drive," a bind-in of three books in a series written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. Both books will be featured in book discussions, presentations and more as a part of South Dakota Humanities Council programming.

Food and family intertwine in "Kitchens of the Great Midwest." From Lutheran church bake-offs to chili-pepper eating contests, this book captures the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and the ways food creates community and influences identity.

"Kitchens of the Great Midwest" centers on Eva Thorvald, born into a food-obsessed family and blessed with a uniquely sensitive palate. By turns quirky, hilarious and vividly sensory, this book tells an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life – its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises.

"All Midwesterners will find something to relate to in this book, whether it's baking bars from old family recipes or hunting for game for the next meal," said Jennifer Widman, director of the South Dakota Festival of Books. "Stradal also provides some very timely and often humorous commentary on current food trends and the disconnect between rural and urban cultures."

As South Dakotans read and discuss this novel throughout 2017, they may also be inspired to try some of the recipes included in certain chapters. Those who wish to enhance their gatherings even further can take advantage of a Book Club Kit (, prepared by Penguin Random House with the author's input, suggesting just the right snacks, drinks, and music to create a party atmosphere.

Students around South Dakota will get a unique treat this year with their copies of the 2017 Young Readers One Book "Tales from Deckawoo Drive" – the chance to meet illustrator Chris Van Dusen and learn more about his work.

As part of the 2017 Young Readers Festival of Books, Van Dusen will visit third-graders in Rapid City on Sept. 21 and the Northern Hills Sept. 22-23, giving drawing demonstrations and sharing his experiences of illustrating his own books and books written by others. DiCamillo, a past Young Readers Festival author, will also send a video greeting to the students.

The Young Readers bind-in will include three books: "Leroy Ninker Saddles Up," "Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon," and "Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln?" The trio of books will provide endless entertainment for young readers around the state.

Conflicts Past and Present

Fans of almost any writing genre will enjoy interacting with Vietnam Veteran and author Tim O'Brien, who won the National Book Award for his fiction masterpiece, "Going After Cacciato," and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for "The Things They Carried."

"We are pleased to host an author whose visceral storytelling speaks for so many who served and are serving in the military," said Widman. "O'Brien's novels are considered 'must read' material in Veterans' circles, and we could not ask for a better author to advance our growing Veterans' Writing program."

While O'Brien uses his rare talent to convey the emotional toll the Vietnam War took on his generation, another 2017 Festival author covers a conflict that, unfortunately, continues to play out prominently on the national and international stage.

Geneive Abdo is a nonresident fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings and a fellow in the Middle East program at the Stimson Center. Her research focuses on modern Iran and political Islam.

Her most recent book, "The New Sectarianism: The Arab Uprisings and the Rebirth of the Shi'a-Sunni Divide," examines how religion is utilized for political purposes, and how it is perceived and practiced by Muslims and argues that sectarianism poses a threat to regional states and stakeholders in the wider world, including the United States and its allies.

Abdo spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent focused on coverage of the Middle East and the Muslim world. From 1998 to 2001, she was the Iran correspondent for the British newspaper The Guardian and a regular contributor to The Economist and The International New York Times (formerly the International Herald Tribune). She was the first American journalist to be based in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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The South Dakota Humanities Council will continue to announce authors as they are confirmed. For updated information, subscribe to our blog and our e-newsletter.

About the Festival
The South Dakota Humanities Council created the South Dakota Festival of Books to unite readers and writers with presentations, autograph sessions, poetry readings and more. Now in its 15th year, the Festival of Books is the state's premier literary event, having featured authors such as National Book Award winners Louise Erdrich and Michael Dirda, former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, and Newbery Medal-winning children's author Kate DiCamillo. The event is held annually on alternating sides of the state.


2017 $20,000+ Presenting Partners

  1. AWC Family Foundation logo
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  3. National Endowment for the Humanities logo
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2017 $5,000+ Festival Tribute Sponsors

  1. Brass Family Foundation
  2. South Dakota Arts Council logo
  3. South Dakota Public Broadcasting logo
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  5. First Bank and Trust logo
  6. northern hills logo.jpg

2017 $20,000+ Endowment Donors

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2017 $15,000+ Endowment Donors

  1. South Dakota Community Foundation logo

2017 $10,000+ Endowment Donors

  1. Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation logo

2017 $5,000+ Endowment Donors

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  2. Meierhenry - signature logo for Festival page.jpg
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2016 $2,500+ Donors (*indicates endowment)

3M | Avera | Black Hills State University Foundation | Sandra Brannan* | Judith & Mark Meierhenry* | Carolyn Mollers* | Scott & Linda Rausch* | South Dakota Art Museum | South Dakota State University Office of the President* | Washington Pavilion

2016 $1,000+ Donors (*indicates endowment)

The Ament Group of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management | Brookings School District | Dick & Sue Brown* | Tom & Sherry DeBoer (in memory of Charles Larson)* | Delta Dental of South Dakota | Den-Wil Hospitalities | Glacial Lake & Prairies Tourism Association | Denise LaRue* | James & Kathy McMahon* | Steven & Kathy Sanford* | SDSU College of Arts & Sciences | SDSU English Department | Jerry & Gail Simmons | Sioux Falls School District | South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum | Keri Thompson 

2016 $500+ Donors (*indicates endowment)

Eric Abrahamson & Lois Facer* | Brian Bonde* | Patricia S. Fishback | Tom & Mary Beth Fishback* | Edward & Joan Hogan | Diane Kay & William Kent Krueger* | Joe & Jennifer Kirby Charitable Fund of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation* | Jason & Tatum McEntee | Matthew C. Moen* | Tom & Jean Nicholson* | Jack & Linda Stengel | Robert & Ann Weisgarber 

2016 Friends of SDHC (*indicates endowment)

Anonymous | Marty Ackerman | Katherine AmundsonMads & Chloe Andenas | R. P. Anderson*Jessica Andrews & Allen Day* | Dr. Marilyn Carlson Aronson | J. D. & Maylou Austin | Martha Baker | Philip Baker | Reuben J. Bareis* | Patricia K. Beattie | Kathleen Bergeson | Mary Lou Berry | Cheryl Beste | Darla Biel | Elizabeth Birmingham* | Dorothy Blair | Susan Blake | Margy Brenden | Loreen Bunker* | Susan Burgard | Chuck Cecil | Dr. O. J. "Chals" Christensen & Dr. Joan England | Carol Christianson* |Rebecca Converse* | Judith A. Danielsen | K. D. Danker | Suzanne DeBoom | Tom & Kathy Dean | Prudence DeBates | Tom & Deb Delaney* Margaret Denton | Kristi Desaulniers* |  Kathleen Donovan* |  Holly Downing* | Monica Draeger | Thomas & Connie Earley | Janice Ebersdorfer | Helen Ellerbach | Lewayne M. Erickson | Ann R. Esse | Audrey Estebo | David & Jan Evans | Sheryl Faber | Wayne Fanebust* |  Martin Fashbaugh* | Mary Fiedler | Mary S. Freeman | Katie Fritz | Jacqualyn Fuller* | Judy Gaalswyk* | W. Denny Gemeny* | Doris Giago | Alden Gillings | Keith & Irene Goehring | Sherilyn Goldammer* | Tricia Gomulinski | Lillian Greenbaum | Janet Gritzner | Kathy Grow | Nancy T. Hacker | Emily A. Haddad* | Lois Haertel | Mary Alice Halverson | Candy Hamilton | Lois Hart | Linda M. Hasselstrom* |Lillian Haug | Michael & Jean Haug | Mary Hayenga* | Roger P. Headrick | Arlene M. Hendrickson | Ronald Hill | Alan Hodgson* | Larry & Mary Holland | Richard Holm | Fr. Jerome Holtzman | Dennis Hopfinger | Maureen Horsley | Dr. Jay W. Hubner | Bernie Hunhoff | Katie Hunhoff* | John Husmann | Elizabeth A. Hustad | Karla Hyde | Joyce Jefferson | Redetta Jensen* | Vesta Jensen | Sandy Jerstad | Dr. James L. Johnson | Jan Hovey Johnson | Thomas Johnson | Priscilla Jorve | Alvin Kangas | Claudia Kapp* | Karen Kildahl* | Esther Marie Knutson | Cheryl Koch | Linda Kottkee | Nancy Tystad Koupal* | Marilyn Kratz | Barbara Kurtis | Carol Kurtzhals | David Kvernes | D. C. Lamphere Studio | Joyce Lampson | Gerald F. Lange | Jay Larsen* | Dolores Larson* | Janice Law | Renae Lehman | Jane Leite* | Bonnie Lievan* | Lisa Lindell | Norma Linn | Bruce & Ila Lushbough | Jack Lyons | Steven Lust Automotive* | Greg Magnuson* | Martha Marken | Mr. & Mrs. T. F. Martin | Connie McKnight | Mary McQuillen | Carol Merwin | Kent & Zindie Meyers* | Beverly Kaye Mickelson |  Jason Miller, Micro Computer Systems | Peggy Gordon Miller | Jane Miner | Lillian Misar | Marsha Warren Mittman | Mary Moeller | Maurice Monahan | Mary Montoya | Ruth Morrill | Denton Morrison | Ann Morrow | Ted Muenster* | Dr. Don & Lorraine Nemer* | Sister Eileen Neville | Genevieve Newell | Lawrence C. Novotny | Sharon Olbertson | Estelle P. Pearson | Julie Moore Peterson | Kenneth & Lavonne Pickering* | Susanne Piplani | Judith Quam* | Kathryn Cole Quinones | Connie Quirk | Jill D. Rallis | Eric Raveling | Marian V. Reed | Betsy Rice* | Steve Riedel | Riverfront Broadcasting (Carolyn Becker)* | Ardelle Lundeen Roberts | Gail & Rosemary Robertson | The Joel & Susan Rosenthal Charitable Gift Account* | Frances Ruebel-Alberts | Kyle & Rachel Schaefer* | Rebecca Schenk* | Jan Schock* | Vonnie Shields* | COL Orville & Charlotte Smidt* | Charline Smith* | Vance & Virginia Sneve | Legia Spicer* | Peggy Stout | (Helen) Faith Sullivan | Harriet Swedlund | Robert Talley* | Gaytha Ten Eyck | Ron & Jan Tesch | Mark & Lynne Thompson | Helen R. Tieszen | Trucount CPA | Craig & Della Tschetter | Judith B. Tulloch | Kathie Tuntland | Mike & Lesta Turchen | Julie Underwood* | Van Buskirk Companies (Myron Van Buskirk) |  Dr. Orval Van Deest | Nancy Veglahn | Lynn Verschoor | Vern Voelzke | Grace Wangberg | Pam Warren | Gary & Vivian Westgard | John & Peggy Whalen | Carol White | Jennifer & Rich Widman* | Linda Wiley | JoAnn Willgohs | Clyde V. Williams* | Ruth Williams | Jerry & Norma Wilson | Ruby Wilson | Geoffrey H. & Mary N. Wold | David A. Wolff* | Charles & Sarah Woodard | Elizabeth Young* | Rose Ross Zediker | Thomas & Sharon Zeller

2016 South Dakota Festival of Books begins in...