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South Dakota Festival of Books
A Program of the South Dakota Center for the Book
2013 One Book SD author Danielle Sosin.
2013 Festival of Books brings crowds to Deadwood
The Black Hills were alive with the rhythms of poetry, the cadences of prose and even the groans of zombies at the 11th annual South Dakota Festival of Books, Sept. 20-22 in Deadwood.
Several fan favorites, such as National Book Award winner Pete Dexter, were in attendance, while new events such as a zombie walk leading up to a discussion of apocalyptic literature put a fresh spin on this year’s Festival.
Preliminary numbers suggest that nearly 4,000 people attended events in Deadwood throughout the weekend. Large crowds came out to see keynote presenters ranging from Walter Dean Myers, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, to Danielle Sosin, author of the 2013 One Book South Dakota, "The Long-Shining Waters."
Western mystery writers proved especially popular in Deadwood, with individual events by Wyoming writers C.J. Box and Craig Johnson selling out early, as well as a Western Crime Wave panel for which the two joined Lori Armstrong, Sandra Brannan, Ann Charles and C.M. Wendelboe for a lively discussion of their characters and plots.
History-themed presentations also drew large audiences, as did opportunities to see current best-sellers like Peter Heller, B.A. Shapiro and David Treuer. Pulitzer Prize winners Ted Kooser (two-time U.S. Poet Laureate) and Michael Dirda (Washington Post book critic) not only spoke formally to Festival-goers, but also mingled with them at a reception at the Deadwood Public Library.
New this year, several “preface” events led up to the Festival itself, allowing readers throughout the Hills to meet local, state and national authors a few days early. Many of these events touched on South Dakota history, such as a panel discussion at the Homestake Mine and a screening of Justin Koehler’s film “The Buffalo King.” Others, like a Women Behaving Badly gathering with Lori Armstrong and Rhiannon Frater at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City, focused purely on entertainment.
The Festival proper kicked off with an Author Reception in the beautiful Historic Homestake Opera House in Lead on Thursday evening and hit its stride with a water-themed Literary Feast on Friday. Saturday provided all-day concurrent sessions to fit every interest, and the Festival closed Sunday with a provocative panel on “Gazing into the Future of Books and Publishing.”
The South Dakota Humanities Council would like to thank all of the sponsors, venues, presenters, booksellers, volunteers, SDHC board members and everyone else who made the 2013 South Dakota Festival of Books a tremendous success! We hope you’ll mark your calendars for next year’s event, Sept. 26-28 in Sioux Falls!
About the Festival
Each year thousands of people converge on the annual South Dakota Festival of Books, a weekend-long event that features more than 40 well-known authors participating in book signings, presentations, panel discussions, and readings. Author presentations are separated into six tracks: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s/young adult, history/tribal, and writer’s support.
Over the course of 11 festivals, many distinguished authors and cultural figures have attended, such as Sherman Alexie, Marilynne Robinson, Ted Kooser, Sonia Monzano, Annie Proulx, Quincy Troupe, Dan O'Brien, Susan Power, Louise Erdrich, Roy Blount Jr., Pete Dexter and Ivan Doig, and publishing industry representatives including Judy Hottensen, John Glusman, and Paul Cirone.