Featured Grant: South Dakota Authors Promoted in Writing Series

Pen Pearson, author of "Bloomsbury's Late Rose," a work of historical fiction about the Victorian poet Charlotte Mew, will do readings on Tuesday, March 3, at 2 p.m. (Dakota State University) and 7:30 p.m. (Madison Area Arts Council "Brick House") as part of the South Dakota Writers Series. 

'South Dakota Writers Series' Starts March 3

Supported by a South Dakota Humanities Council grant, Dakota State University and Madison Area Arts Council will host readings this spring featuring South Dakota authors.

Dakota State University Department of English in Madison received a $5,720 South Dakota Humanities Council grant for "South Dakota Writers Series." The sequence of readings features poets and writers who are from, currently living in, or who spent a meaningful part of their careers in South Dakota, and who have recently published significant work.

Writers will travel to Madison and offer two readings during a visit: the first will be on the campus of Dakota State University, and the second at the Madison Area Arts Council (MAAC) "Brick House," which hosts visual, text, and performing artists for the Madison and surrounding communities, and is the oldest arts council in the state.

The schedule is as follows (events are free and open to the public):

  • Pen Pearson, author of "Bloomsbury's Late Rose," a work of historical fiction about the Victorian poet Charlotte Mew. Pearson will do readings on Tuesday, March 3, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Brian Bedard, former South Dakota resident, will do a reading of his South Dakota-based short stories on Wednesday, April 1 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Dr. Joseph Bottum, DSU associate professor of philosophy, author of "The Decline of the Novel" and past Festival of Books presenter, will do a reading on Tuesday, April 21 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


Making Literary Arts More Accessible

"We're looking forward to hosting author Pen Pearson as she shares with us her fictionalized account of British writer Charlotte Mew on Tuesday, March 3," said a recent post from the Madison Area Arts Council. "Pen's visit is part of our new 'South Dakota Writers Series,' a partnership between Dakota State University and MAAC, with funding provided by the always amazing South Dakota Humanities Council."

Three more readings will be held this fall, featuring Christine Stewart, South Dakota's current poet laureate and author of "Bluewords Greening" and "Untrussed"; Lee Ann Roripaugh, former South Dakota poet laureate, author of "Tsunami vs. the Fukushima 50: poems"; and John Nelson, author of poetry chapbook "West River."

The fall schedule of events will be announced as soon as it is available.

DSU English professor Justin Blessinger, South Dakota Writers Series project director, said the events will "attract a diverse audience by drawing from both the university's definition of diversity and from the town surrounding communities by holding a second reading for each author at the Madison Area Arts Council facility."

The events will promote literacy and reading and promote the accessibility of language arts to South Dakotans.

"Sometimes South Dakotans perceive the literary pursuits as something done 'out there' beyond the borders of our state," Blessinger said. "A readers series devoted wholly to the recent works of writers in our state helps both to establish a regional voice, and also to promote reading in our population."


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SDHC's major grant cycle occurs twice a year; the spring grant deadline is February 28 while applications for the fall are due Oct. 15. If you'd like more information about SDHC's major grants, and to hear more about this fall's South Dakota Festival of Books, please subscribe to our e-newsletter below.