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

Variety of Authors Confirmed for Deadwood Event

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+ Festival Presenting Partners

  1. AWC Family Foundation logo
  2. 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 $75,000+ Endowment Donors

  1. LarsonFoundation-01.jpg

2017 $5,000+ Endowment Donors

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  2. Meierhenry - signature logo for Festival page.jpg
  3. TomJean Nicholson.png

2017 $50,000+ Young Readers 1:1 Match Donors

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2017 $15,000+ Young Readers 1:1 Match Donors

  1. South Dakota Community Foundation logo

2017 $10,000+ Young Readers 1:1 Match Donors

  1. Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation logo
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2017 $5,000+ Young Readers 1:1 Match Donors

  1. pioneer bank - foundation logo for advertising.jpg

2017 $2,500+ Donors (*indicates endowment, YR indicates Young Readers initiative)

Avera YR | Sandra Brannan 

2017 $1,000+ Donors (*indicates endowment, YR indicates Young Reader initiative)

Sheryl & Terry Baloun YR | Black Hills Power | Dakota West Books (David Strain) | Tom & Sherry DeBoer | Pete & Jacqualyn Fuller YR | Mildred K. Hugghins YR | Dr. Han & Bang Kim Fund at South Dakota State University Foundation YR | Dan & Arlene Kirby | Jason & Tatum McEntee YR | James & Kathy McMahon* | John & Kathy Miller YR | Morgan Stanley Smith Barney | Steven & Kathy Sanford* | Jerry & Gail Simmons | Orval Van Deest (in honor of Violet Van Deest) | Margaret Cash Wegner* |

2017 $500+ Donors (*indicates endowment, YR indicates Young Readers initiative)

Anonymous* | Brian & Kaija Bonde* | Dick & Sue Brown YR | W. Denny Gemeny | Sid & Diane Goss YR | Dan & Arlene Kirby YR | Joe & Jennifer Kirby* | Jason & Tatum McEntee | Demaris A. Nesheim* | Chuck & Sybil Rounds YR | SD Magazine (Katie Hunhoff) YR | Craig & Della Tschetter*YR | Ann & Robert Weisgarber YR

2017 Friends of SDHC (*indicates endowment, YR indicates Young Readers initiative)

Eric Abrahamson & Lois Facer YR | Marlyn and Nilah Adams YR | Frances Alberts | Amazon Smile Foundation | Lowell Amiotte | Katherine Amundson | Anonymous YR | Dr. Marilyn Carlson Aronson*YR | Joy Prangley Baker | Phil and Jill Baker YR | Philip Baker, Sr. | Dorothy Bauske* | Chuck and Mary Lou Berry YR | Doug & Cheryl Beste YR | Bonnie Bjork YR | Susy & Jerry Blake YR | Anne Bodman & Andrew Hollander | Elmer Brinkman YR | Loreen Bunkers YR | Lee R. Burd*YR | Susan Burgard YR | Leanna J. Bussell | Diane Clayton | Kay Rich Coddington YR | Virginia Conger YR | Paul and Mary Ellen Connelly Charitable Fund | Rebecca Converse YR | Nancy Craig YR | Marian Cramer | Doug Dams YR | Deadwood History, Inc YR | Margaret H. Denton | Lawrence Diggs YR | Holly Downing & David Post YR | Tom & Connie Earley* | Scott & Cari Eastman | Jessie Easton | Judith Edenstrom YR | Audrey Estebo YR | Douglas Estes YR | Rod Evans YR | Sheryl Faber YR | Martin Fashbaugh* | Mary Fiedler* | Kara Flynn YR | Ellen Fockler YR | Friends of the Hill City Public Library | Judy Gaalswyk* | Daniel & Julie Gergen | Doris Giago YR | David Gilbertson* | Alden Gillings | Sherilyn Goldammer YR | Anne Gormley* | Nels Granholm*YR | Joanne Groves YR | Kathy Grow | Sheryl Gudvangen YR | Beverly Hallstrom YR | Mary Alice Halverson | Lois Hart | Linda M. Hasselstrom* | Jean and Michael Haug*YR | Mary Hayenga YR | Denise Hill YR | Alan & Brenda Hodgson* | Ed & Joan Hogan YR | Joanie and Rick Holm YR | Jerome Holtzman YR | Dennis Hopfinger & Carolyn Clague YR | Maureen Horsley | Stephanie Horsley | Mildred K. Hugghins | Bernie Hunhoff YR | Kent Hyde | Gustave & Maryann Jacob | Barb James YR | Joyce Jefferson YR | Lin Jennewein | Kathryn Jensen YR | Vesta Jensen YR | Sandy Jerstad YR | Darrell Johnson-Family YR | Debra L. Johnson YR | Dr. James L. & Ardis R. Johnson YR | Janet Hovey Johnson* | Julie M. Johnson YR | Thomas & Brenda Johnson | Priscilla Jorve* | Vernon Joy YR | Jo & Larry Kallemeyn YR | Alvin Kangas* | Fern Kaufman YR | Kathleen Kayl YR | Maxine Kinsley YR | Joan Kjellsen YR | Janet C. Klawiter YR | Cheryl Kleppin YR | Nancy Tystad Koupal | Marilyn Kratz YR | Marsha Kumlien YR | Barbara Kurtis YR | David Kvernes YR | D. C. Lamphere Studio (Jane Murphy) | Joyce Lampson YR | Gerald & Alice Lange | Kathy & Jay Larsen YR | Dennis Larson YR | Jane Leite YR | Rene & Dorothy Liegl* | Bonnie A. Lievan YR | Lisa Lindell YR | Norma Linn YR | Bruce & Ila Lushbough YR | Jack Lyons YR | Mike MacDonald YR | Greg Magnuson YR | Brenda L. Martens YR | Jim & Connie McKnight YR | Russell McKnight* | Carol Merwin* YR | Beverly Kaye Mickelson YR | Peggy Miller* | Jane Miner | Maurice L. Monahan YR | Joan M. Moon | Denton Morrison YR | Gordon Mydland YR | Janet Naessig YR | John Nelson YR | Kathy Nelson YR | Genevieve M. Newell YR | Lawrence Novotny YR | Geoffrey H. & Mary Noyes | Sharon Olbertson YR | Helen Lynette Olson YR | Connie Palmer* | Susan Rich Parker | Karla Pazour YR | Estelle P. Pearson YR | Patricia Pearson YR | Mary Perpich YR | Douglas Petersen | Phyllis Petersen YR | Kenneth & Lavonne Pickering* | Susanne Piplani | Frank Pommersheim YR | Dorothy Pulscher YR | Judith Quam* | Connie Quirk YR | Ruth & Eric Raveling YR | Dr. & Mrs. Ron Reed YR | Ardelle Lundeen Roberts | Donus D. Roberts YR | Tom & Tammy Roberts YR | Molly Salcone* | Mark Sanderson YR | Kyle & Rachel Schaefer* | Rebecca Schenk* | Karen Schleusener | Jennifer Schmidtbauer YR | Phyllis Schrag*YR | Sharon Schramm | COL (Ret) Orville & Charlotte Smidt | Vance & Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve | Myrna Stanley YR | Vicki Sterling YR | Maureen Suga | Faith Sullivan YR | Deb Swanson YR | Ron & Jan Tesch YR | Marlys R. Thoms YR | Kristi Tornquist YR | Lesta Turchen* | Elizabeth Twomey YR | Julie Underwood | Pam & Merritt Warren | Kathleen M. Webb YR | Lois Wells | E. Stuart Wenzel YR | Gary & Vivian Westgard YR | Christine Wevik | Jon Steven & Linda Wiley YR | Ruth Williams YR | Jerry & Norma Wilson*YR | David Wolff YR | Charles & Sarah Woodard*YR | Ryan Woodard YR | Bruce & Beverly Wosje YR | Rose M. Zediker YR | Nancy Zuercher YR

2017 South Dakota Festival of Books begins in...