Annual Festival Returns to Deadwood

Readers, writers learn from local, national presenters at more than 100 Festival events

Thousands of writers and readers converge in the Black Hills to share their stories at the 13th annual South Dakota Festival of Books, Sept. 23-27. Events begin in Rapid City on Wednesday and continue in Deadwood, Lead and surrounding towns through Sunday.

More than 70 presenters and authors meet their fans, share background on their books and lead writing workshops at the state’s premier literary event. Fifty exhibitors, including booksellers and publishers, will also showcase their goods for attendees. The festival is free and open to the public.

The Festival of Books kicks off Thursday night with the Festival Fundraiser & Author Reception. More than 100 workshops, discussions and special events continue through Sunday morning, headquartered at the Deadwood Mountain Grand and led by nationally-recognized and locally-known authors.

Garth Stein, author of A Sudden Light and Art of Racing in the Rain, is a keynote speaker at the SD Festival of Books, Deadwood, Sept. 25-27.

Minnesota author William Kent Krueger and his book Ordinary Grace, the 2015 One Book South Dakota selection, headline the festival with other best-selling authors Garth Stein of Art of Racing in the RainPamela Smith Hill, editor of the Laura Ingalls Wilder autobiography Pioneer Girl; and Young Readers One Book South Dakota author Megan McDonald.

The Young Readers Festival of Books, Thursday, Sept. 24, is new to the Black Hills and features McDonald’s book Stink: Twice as Incredible. In spring 2015, the South Dakota Humanities Council distributed 3,700 copies her book to second graders in 16 school districts in western South Dakota. McDonald and other children’s authors will meet students at school visits, public events and field trips in Rapid City and throughout the Black Hills.

On the final night of the Festival on Saturday, Sept. 26, the SDHC will announce the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the 2016 One Book South Dakota selection. The selection launches the council’s participation in honoring 100 years of the Pulitzer Prize.

A handful of special events require tickets, including the Festival Fundraiser & Author Reception, some writing workshops and one-of-a-kind experiences like the Historic Home Tour & Tea at the Bill Walsh and Jo Roebuck-Pearson home. Those interested can purchase tickets at, while all other events are free.

The South Dakota Humanities Council’s partnerships and donors support the continuation of the annual Festival of Books.

The 2015 presenting partners are the National Endowment for the Humanities, AWC Family Foundation, Rushmore Media, Larson Family Foundation, city of Deadwood (Historic Preservation Commission) and United Way of the Black Hills (Vucurevich Foundation and Rapid City Public Schools Foundation). Tribute sponsors include the Brass Family Foundation, Northern Hills Federal Credit Union, South Dakota Public Broadcasting and the South Dakota Arts Council.