Our Programs

High-Quality Humanities Programming for South Dakotans

We celebrate literature, promote civil conversation, and tell the stories that define our state. We work with museums, libraries and other cultural, educational and community-based organizations across South Dakota to inspire curiosity and the quest for understanding our place in the world. Our programs span the entire state; we host and fund events in Sioux Falls, SD, Rapid City, S.D. and more. 

This page contains information about programs directly administered by the South Dakota Humanities Council. Some are ongoing, while others are one-off projects supported by initiatives from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which vary from year to year. The South Dakota Festival of Books is an ongoing program established in 2003, as is the Young Readers Initiative/Festival of Books, founded in 2014. We've administered many different programs over the years, such as Making Sense of the American Civil War, Democracy and the Informed Citizen, Race and Civility, etc. Visit our Past Programs page for information about programs we've conducted during past years. 

In addition to administering our own programs, we also offer other organizations opportunities to host inexpensive one-time humanities programs in their communities and apply for grants to fund larger, long-term research and discussion projects. Visit our Host A Program page if you're interested in the former and visit our grants page for information on the latter. 

2019 South Dakota Humanities Council Programs

South Dakota Festival of Books (Ongoing)

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Bringing Readers and Writers Together
As South Dakota’s premier annual literary event, held each fall, the South Dakota Festival of Books draws around 4,000 attendees and showcases more than 60 distinguished authors, scholars, and publishers. Attendees and speakers participate in panels, workshops and readings.

One Book South Dakota and its author are central to the festival. We choose one book each year to promote reading and conversation across the state. Local groups and organizations can host a One Book South Dakota discussion.

Young Readers Initiative and Young Readers Festival (Ongoing)

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Building Enthusiasm in Young Readers
Our Young Readers Initiative began in 2014 with the goal of stopping summer reading loss and building excitement about literature.

The Young Readers One Book South Dakota drives the Young Readers Initiative through an out-of-school-year book giveaway. In the fall, the students meet the Young Readers One Book author and other youth-oriented writers at the Young Readers Festival of Books, which coincides with the Festival of Books.

Veterans Story Contest (New in 2019!)

Written, Oral Submissions Accepted until Aug. 15, 2019

South Dakota State University Veterans Affairs and the South Dakota Humanities Council are sponsoring a new veterans storytelling contest that will culminate with an awards ceremony at the South Dakota Festival of Books Oct. 4-6 in Deadwood. While similar to the Veterans Writing Prize program conducted by SDHC in 2016 and 2017, the Veterans Story Contest features a new partnership with SDSU and a dual submission format allowing participants to submit 3-5 minute oral stories recorded on video or written stories of up to 1,500 words (past contests accepted written submissions only).

Submissions will be accepted from May 10-August 15 for the Veterans Story Contest, which is open to veterans or current service members of any branch of the United States military currently living in South Dakota.