South Dakota Festival of Books 2018: What You Need to Know

Planning your Festival of Books visit? Find what you need to know about the 2018 Brookings and Sioux Falls event, including important dates and times.

Plan Your Visit to the 2018 Brookings and Sioux Falls Event 

The 2018 South Dakota Festival of Books features Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, notable journalists, acclaimed authors from around the country and a world-famous novelist whose best-known work was turned into a major motion picture.

Because the Festival includes more than 60 authors and a multitude of events, you'll want a head start on planning your visit, which is why we're providing this snapshot of the 2018 Festival of Books.

While most events are free, events with food and writing workshops require tickets. Please visit our ticket page to reserve your spot at our ticketed events.

What's Happening the Week of Sept. 17?

While most of our Brookings and Sioux Falls events take place during our "official" dates, Sept. 20-23, 2018, the Festival will kick off on Monday, Sept. 17, with preview events throughout the week leading up to a big weekend full of author presentations, writing workshops, book signings and more.

Monday, Sept. 17 (events starting at 7 p.m.)

The Greatest Stories Rarely Told: Biblical Scholars and the Discrepancies of Scripture with Biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman, 7 p.m.-8 p.m., Performing Arts Center, Larson Memorial Concert Hall

Tuesday, Sept. 18 (events starting at 1 p.m.)

What's Happening Sept. 20-23? Dates & Times to Remember


Thursday, Sept. 20 (Sioux Falls Young Readers events starting at 10 a.m., Brookings Author Reception at 7:30 p.m.)

On Thursday, the Young Readers Festival will be hosted by the Washington Pavilion and Downtown Public Library in Sioux Falls. Events begin at 10 a.m. at the Washington Pavilion. Young Readers events continue in Brookings Friday, Sept 21.

The biggest event of the day is the Festival Fundraiser & Author Reception from 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m. at the SDSU Alumni Center, Woster Celebration Hall in Brookings. Here's your chance to mingle with Festival authors and enjoy hors d'oeuvres. Your $50 ticket includes one free drink, after which a cash bar will be available.

Times to Remember:

Readers of all ages enjoy the South Dakota Festival of Books, which includes events designed specifically for young readers and adults alike. 2018 Young Readers events at the 2018 Festival begin Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.

Readers of all ages enjoy the South Dakota Festival of Books, which includes events designed specifically for young readers and adults alike. 2018 Young Readers events begin Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.

Friday, Sept. 21 (events start at 9 a.m.)

Friday is a full day of young readers' events held at the Children's Museum of South Dakota and K-12 schools in Brookings starting at 10 a.m. For adults, Friday will feature author events and panel discussions on the SDSU campus, including public presentations in the Student Union and at the PAC. Downtown-area workshops are scheduled at the Brookings City County Building and Public Library in the morning and in the afternoon at the First United Methodist Church.

Attendees will want to head to the Community Life Center, First United Methodist Church at 1 p.m. for the opening of Exhibitors' Hall and the "Early Bird" Mass Book Signing, 3:30–4:15 p.m. That evening's keynotes at the Larson Memorial Concert Hall include a talk by 2018 One Book South Dakota author Thomas E. Patterson and a conversation with Alice Sebold, an author from PBS's The Great American Read list of 100 best-loved books.

Times to Remember:

Exhibitors' Hall is always a big hit for Festival of Books attendees, who can get autographs and talk to their favorite authors. Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, shown signing at a book at the 2017 Festival, is a returning author for the 2018 event.

Exhibitors' Hall is always a big hit for Festival of Books attendees, who can get autographs and talk to their favorite authors. Above, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve is shown signing at a book at Exhibitors' Hall at the 2017 Festival of Books. 

Saturday, Sept. 22 (events begin at 9 a.m.)

On Saturday, Exhibitors' Hall opens at 9 a.m. and concurrent events begin in the downtown area of Brookings. Sessions will take place in the Downtown and Central Historic Districts, with venues including the Brookings City County Government Building, the Brookings Public Library, and the Community Life Center and other venues at the First United Methodist Church.

The afternoon includes another Mass Book Signing in Exhibitors' Hall at 1 p.m., and the evening features keynotes in the Sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church –"American Wolf" author Nate Blakeslee followed by a panel on the evolution of coverage of tough topics by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Timothy Egan and Jacqui Banaszynski.

Times to Remember:

Sunday, Sept. 23 (events begin at 10:30 a.m.)

The 2018 Festival of Books will conclude on Sunday with a ticketed brunch at 10:30 a.m. at McCrory Gardens, Great Hall, in Brookings: Book Lovers' Brunch: The Many Faces and Functions of Fiction with Leif Enger, Patrick Hicks, Jess Lourey, C. M. Wendelboe, Rose Ross Zediker. Participants will enjoy a brunch catered by Aramark while learning more about fiction of all kinds - literary, historical, mystery, romance, and more - from best-selling authors in all these genres!

Some of the featured authors at the 2018 Festival include (from left to right): Amby Burfoot, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Annette Gordon Reed, Linsey Davis, Joseph Marshall III and Leif Enger.

Some of the featured authors at the 2018 Festival include (from left to right): Amby Burfoot, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Annette Gordon Reed, Linsey Davis, Joseph Marshall III and Leif Enger.

Who Are the Featured Presenters? 

The Festival includes authors from South Dakota and other areas of the U.S. who fall into our Festival tracks of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, literature, children's/YA, history/tribal writing, and writer's support. Leading our 2018 Festival of Books lineup is author Alice Sebold, whose novel "The Lovely Bones" vaulted her to international stardom with translations in over 45 languages and sales of more than five million copies in America alone.

With poignant prose tackling difficult subjects of rape, child murder and the fracture of families, Sebold captured international audiences with her brilliant debut novel. A film version was adapted, written and directed by Peter Jackson. It was released in 2009 and starred Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci.

Thomas E. Patterson, the 2018 One Book S.D. Author of

Thomas E. Patterson, the 2018 One Book S.D. Author of "Informing the News," is one of several journalists and authors who will discuss our 2018 initiative, "Democracy and the Informed Citizen."

Pulitzer Winners and More

To complement year-round, statewide programs focusing on public trust and the media, the Festival of Books will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and journalists providing context on changes in news gathering and delivery and discussing "infoliteracy"—thinking critically amidst the proliferation of available media.

Discussion of our "Democracy and the Informed Citizen" initiative is led by SDSU political science graduate and Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at the Harvard Kennedy School Thomas E. Patterson, who will present a keynote at the Festival and visit SDSU journalism classes.

Patterson's "Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism" is the 2018 One Book South Dakota.

2018 Festival of Books Featured Presenters

2018 Festival of Books: Video Preview

For a visual depiction of what to expect at the 2018 Brookings and Sioux Falls event, watch our Festival of Books video preview below. 

Please email info@sdhumanities.org or call 605-688-6113 if you have any questions about the event!