2018 Festival Author Timothy Egan Brings Award-winning Talents to S.D.

From Landmark News Stories to Landmark Books

By South Dakota Magazine & South Dakota Humanities Council

Editor's Note: A version of this feature story was originally printed in our 2018 South Dakota Festival of Books Guide, which was produced by South Dakota Magazine. Download a free copy here or by clicking the button below.

Not many writers have written both Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism pieces and National Book Award-winning books. Timothy Egan has. 

Egan's steady stream of award-winning accomplishments began during his days as a full-time writer for The New York TimesEgan, the paper's Pacific Northwest correspondent, was one of four writers who contributed essays to The New York Times' landmark series, "How Race Is Lived In America," published in 2000, which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for the newspaper.

The series was born five years earlier, when the verdict in O.J. Simpson's murder trial was announced on national television.

"Every eye in the newsroom was glued to the TV set," recalled New York Times Deputy Editor Gerald Boyd. "Whites and blacks reacted completely differently [to the not guilty verdict]. It was striking to us; we thought this split was important."

In his essay, the Seattle-based Egan wrote about three elected officials: Governor Gary Locke, the first Chinese-American to serve as governor of a mainland state; King County Executive Ron Sims and two-term Seattle mayor Norm Rice, both of whom are African-American.Each faced the question of how, and how not, to address the issue of race in their campaigns and time in office.

The 2018 South Dakota Festival of Books will be held Sept. 20-23 in Sioux Falls and Brookings.


Egan Headlines Festival of Books Non-fiction Track

Egan, fellow Pulitzer winner Jacqui Banaszynski and many other notable names headline the non-fiction track at the 16th annual South Dakota Festival of Books, which will be held Sept. 20-23, 2018 in Brookings and Sioux Falls. Other tracks include fiction, literature, history/tribal writing, children’s/YA, writers’ support, and poetry.

Egan’s work also plays a key role in SDHC's 2018 initiative, "Democracy and the Informed Citizen,” which examines the critical role of journalism and the power of the humanities to enrich understanding of local and national issues and inspire citizen engagement.  

Egan and Banaszynski are two of the journalism and social media experts featured at the South Dakota Festival of Books as part of the initiative. Others include viral blogger and digital storytelling expert Andy Boyle, ABC news correspondent Linsey Davis, and One Book SD author Thomas E. Patterson.

18 Years and Counting at New York Times

Egan worked for The Times for 18 years, as a regional correspondent and a national enterprise reporter. He is currently a weekly contributor to its opinion page and a prolific author — eight books and counting — whose subjects range across the contemporary and historic West.

Egan's most recent book is "The Immortal Irishman," a biography of Thomas Francis Meagher, an Irish revolutionary in the days of the Great Famine whose final chapter was a term as the territorial governor of Montana.

As a novel, Meagher's myriad adventures, escapes and triumphs between those stages could easily have been dismissed as a highly improbable tale; as nonfiction, "it is without a shadow of a doubt one of the finest Irish American books ever written," wrote Niall O'Dowd of Irish America magazine.

Award-winning author Timothy Egan will appear at the 2018 South Dakota Festival of Books in Brookings and Sioux Falls.


From Pulitzer Winner to National Book Award Winner

Egan's book on photographer Edward Curtis, "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher," was awarded the Carnegie Award for best nonfiction. His account of the Dust Bowl, "The Worst Hard Time," won the 2006 National Book Award and figured prominently in Ken Burns' 2012 film on that era.

He'll be discussing "The Worst Hard Time," the state of journalism in 2018 and much more at the 2018 South Dakota Festival of Books, Sept. 20-23 in Brookings and Sioux Falls. See his full schedule below. 

Timothy Egan 2018 Festival of Books Schedule

Brookings Events

More About Timothy Egan

Timothy Egan was raised in a family of nine, by a mother who loved books and a father with the Irish gift of finding joy in small things. A graduate of the University of Washington, he also holds honorary doctorates from Whitman College, Willamette University, Lewis and Clark College, and Western Washington University. Egan is a lifelong journalist and the author of eight books, most recently The Immortal Irishman. His account of the Dust Bowl, "The Worst Hard Time," won the 2006 National Book Award, and he was featured prominently in the 2012 Ken Burns film on the Dust Bowl. As a national correspondent for The New York Times, Egan shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 with a team of reporters for the series “How Race is Lived in America.”

More About the South Dakota Festival of Books

To read more about Timothy Egan and other authors at the 2018 South Dakota Festival of Books, and for scheduling information, click below to visit our website listing everything you need to know about the 2018 Festival.