South Dakota Festival of Books

South Dakota Festival of Books

As a procrastinator extraordinaire, I often have difficulty managing my time.  However, the worst time-management challenge doesn’t come from research papers–it comes from book fairs. Events like the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, Rain Taxi, and now the South Dakota Festival of Books make life difficult by scheduling multiple sessions at the same time. This means that we must choose between the panels for each time slot and miss out on countless opportunities. Never has Hermione’s time turner from the Harry Potter books seemed so appealing! But first, a little background on the upcoming Festival of Books.


The festival is split into the Young Readers Festival of Books from September 21st to 24th and the adult book festival from September 22nd to 25th. It takes place in various locations around the Sioux Falls and Brookings area, with many events centering on South Dakota State University and the Children’s Museum of South Dakota. The website offers an interactive map with the events and several parking locations clearly marked around town.


At the festival, there are a multitude of the events we expect: author talks and book signings, literary presentations, poetry readings, author receptions, educator discussions, and writing and poetry workshops. There are also more unusual offerings, such as ale tastings, film screenings, book proposal meetings, cooking demos, an open mic night, literary lunches, readings by state and national poet laureates, book lover’s brunch, literary loot, and much more!


With so much to do and see in such a short period, I am incredibly overwhelmed, as I’m sure are many of you. Hence, I decided to do the hard work for you and come up with the ultimate itinerary for the poet/writer, the educator, and the history nerd.


  1. The Writer. This is obviously a broad category, so I tried to add a little bit of everything into this itinerary to give it a well-rounded feel.


  1. The Educator. As a lover of children’s literature, this is the path I would probably choose, and it is great for any teacher, media specialist, or other educator attending the festival.


  1. The History Nerd. There are TONS of historical subjects covered in this event, both local and national in scope. Any history buff will have a blast at the SD Festival of Books – even though it means they’ll never have a moment to spare!


Day 1: Thursday, September 22nd

Event Time The Writer The Educator The History Nerd
10 – 10:45 a.m. How Process Leads to Picture Books Starry Skies: The Lakota Way of Seeing the Night How the Pioneers Tamed the Prairie
11 – 11:45 a.m. Fascinating Facts: Researching and Writing Books Creating the Monster Who Ate the State I Am A Man: Standing Bear of the Ponca
12:30 – 1:15 p.m. Starry Skies: The Lakota Way of Seeing the Night Drawing Slimy Space Slugs & Other Creatures Labor Fights, Civil Rights and the Death of Martin Luther King
1:30 – 2:15 p.m. Writing + Drawing = Stories Writing + Drawing = Stories I’m Not Kidding: Stories and Songs
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Young Readers One Book
5 – 6:30 p.m. “Women Working from Women”
5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Booking Up Our Kids Making Sense of the New Arab Wars
7 – 9 p.m. Festival Fundraiser and Author Reception


Day 2: Friday, September 23rd

Event Time The Writer The Educator The History Nerd
10 – 10:45 a.m. Plotting a Page Turner– Workshop Wicked Problems in Peace Education The West in Myth, History, & Movies
11 – 11:45 a.m. Plotting a Page Turner– Workshop Magnolia says DON’T Telling the Story of a Complicated Man
12 – 1 p.m. Dakota Midday Book Club – Live SDPB Broadcast The Role of Humanities in Public Life Literary Lunch: The Science of Food and Drink
1 – 1:45 p.m. Cultivating Creativity: First We Imagine Poetry & Autism: Helping Students Create J. Edgar Hoover’s PR Men
2 – 2:45 p.m. Erasing Imaginary Lines: Using Books to Catalyze Social Change The Sketch Book & the Journal Political Marriages: Tue Love or Mutual Accomodation?
3 – 4 p.m. Film Screenings and Discussions Good Reads: A Book Critic’s Perspective Stonewall Stories
4 – 5 p.m. Film Screenings and Discussions Young Readers One Book Keynote Guided Tasting of British, Belgian, & German Ales
5 – 6:30 p.m. Film Screenings and Discussions Kitchens of the Great Midwest: The Inspiration behind the Book Guided Tasting of British, Belgian, & German Ales
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Mass Author Book Signing
7:30 – 8:30 p.m. One Book South Dakota Keynote
8:40 – 10 p.m. Open Mic hosted by the South Dakota Poetry Society


Day 3: Saturday, September 24th

Event Time The Writer The Educator The History Nerd
9 – 9:45 a.m. A Reading by Ted Kooser Perspectives on “Pioneer Girl” A New Deal for South Dakota
10 – 10:45 a.m. The Lyric vs. the Lyric: Writing Songs, Writing Poems Dear County Agent Guy: The Story of an Accidental Author Haunted by Jamestown
11 – 12 p.m. Building Readership Online & Off Seeing Through an Author’s Eyes When America Was Young
12 – 12:45 p.m. Literary Lunch: The Paperboys Beyond the Book Press Portrayals of Women Politicians
1 – 1:45 p.m. Creating through Collaboration Multicultural Poetry & Poetics: SD Poet Laureate Sioux Women in South Dakota
2 – 2:45 p.m. The Art of Procrastination Drawing Your Way to a Story Baseball’s No-Hit Wonders
3 – 3:45 p.m. Honesty & Humor in Memoir Writing Sustainable Reading & Book Collecting Tribal Justice: The Importance of Language in Law and Poetry
4 – 5:30 p.m. Happy Hour for Readers and Writers featuring Literary Loot!
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Mass Author Book Signing
7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Reflections on the Centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes

More information can be found at the South Dakota Festival of Books Homepage

Written by Anna Landsverk
Originally published September 13, 2016

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