One Book South Dakota Author Tour

Apply by April 2 for a chance to bring Melanie Benjamin to your community for a Virtual Conversation!

SDHC is now accepting applications to host 2021 One Book South Dakota Virtual Author Tour events with Melanie Benjamin, author of The Children’s Blizzard, this summer. Applicants should first review the below information about tour dates, scope, format, and requirements. They can then direct questions to
For a chance to host a Virtual Author Tour event, libraries and other organizations must apply by April 2 using this link:

What Is the One Book Author Tour?

The annual One Book South Dakota Author Tour provides South Dakotans opportunities to attend an event in their area featuring the One Book SD author. Tours, which have featured national bestselling authors like Kent Nerburn and J. Ryan Stradal, are targeted to areas around the state to accommodate readers and encourage attendance.

The One Book Author Tour is your organization’s chance to host Melanie Benjamin, author of the 2021 One Book South Dakota, The Children’s Blizzard. To engage personally with readers, Benjamin will make up to nine virtual appearances this summer. Host organizations may choose to conduct these events entirely virtually, with all audience members joining by Zoom or another online platform, or (with pandemic protocols approved by SDHC) to hold hybrid events for which some audience members gather in person with Benjamin’s video projected onto a large screen. NOTE: Benjamin will appear in person at the 2021 South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood, Oct. 1-3.

Virtual Author Tour One-Hour Event Format:

  • 10-15 min: Introduction, brief reading, opening remarks by Benjamin
  • 20-25 min: Interview-style conversation between Benjamin and moderator
  • 20-25 min: Audience Q&A with Benjamin, facilitated by moderator

Host Organization Responsibilities:

  • If possible, schedule a One Book discussion prior to the author visit:
  • IF selected for an author visit, and NOT also hosting a One Book discussion, submit $25 grant application fee to SDHC. (If you host a discussion, SDHC will waive the author visit fee; you need only pay once.)
  • Actively engage the public and promote the event within a 50-mile radius of the community.
  • Contribute in-kind support (volunteer time, technology, publicity, etc.) valued at $200 or more
  • Acknowledge funding from SDHC, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Following the event, complete an evaluation, including attendance and in-kind contribution information
  • When possible, connect attendees with a local bookseller from whom they can buy copies of The Children’s Blizzard, whether in-store or online

Selected Host Organizations Receive:

  • 10 copies of The Children’s Blizzard to give away (at community events or gathering places, or through local media) or otherwise use to promote interest in and encourage attendance at the tour event, or to keep in or donate to a library as a book club bag
  • Promotional resources (sample news release, poster/postcard, author bio and photo, etc.)
  • Benjamin’s arrangements made and expenses paid directly by SDHC
  • If desired, moderator for discussion provided by SDHC
  • If desired, event hosting over Zoom provided by SDHC

The South Dakota Humanities Council (SDHC), the sponsor of the annual One Book Author Tour, strongly encourages all author tour host applicants also to apply to host a One Book discussion, which will provide books from SDHC's lending library and, if desired, a scholar to lead the discussion. This discussion should be held prior to the author visit. Discussion program applications are available at the One Book South Dakota page.

2021 One Book South Dakota author Megan Phelps-Roper takes photos with fans and signs copies of her book,

2021 One Book South Dakota author Melanie Benjamin will conduct a virtual tour in support of The Children's Blizzard. 

Who Can Host a One Book Tour Event?

SDHC is pleased to invite libraries, museums, churches, and other cultural or community organizations to apply for a chance to host a virtual conversation with Melanie Benjamin. Up to nine communities will be selected to host tour events. The selection of host communities will consider Benjamin's schedule, as well as overall geographic balance and hosts' commitment to reaching the public.