2014 Festival Approaching!


The 12th annual South Dakota Festival of Books, to be held Sept. 25-28, 2014 in Brookings and Sioux Falls, will look both to the past and to the future. Numerous Festival events will commemorate the 125th anniversary of South Dakota’s entry into the union, and a new Young Readers Festival will encourage lifelong literacy among children and teenagers.

Headlining the 2014 Festival will be acclaimed poet and essayist Kathleen Norris, author of Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, the 2014 One Book North and South Dakota. The New York Times bestselling book, in which she “paints a fine portrait of the High Plains and its people” (Publishers Weekly), was chosen in honor of both states’ 125 years of statehood.

Norris will join fellow Festival authors Diane Johnson, Jon Lauck and Dan O’Brien for a keynote panel offering “Perspectives on the Dakotas” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27 in the Orpheum Main Theater. Her appearance culminates a sixteen-city tour on which she discussed her work with readers across both Dakotas.

The rest of the Festival lineup offers something for everyone, with presenters including internationally best-selling crime writer Karin Slaughter (Cop Town), U.S. Marine Corps veteran Phil Klay (Redeployment), chef and TV personality Amy Thielen (The New Midwestern Table) and prominent Native American novelist and essayist Elizabeth Cook-Lynn (That Guy Wolf Dancing), among many others.

A big draw for aspiring writers will be “Pitchapalooza,” described by its founders as a “kinder, gentler American Idol for books,” at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26 in the Holiday Inn Skyline Room. The Book Doctors, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, will select up to 20 writers from the audience to present a one-minute pitch for their books. They will critique each pitch and select a winner, who will receive an introduction to an appropriate agent or publisher. To be considered to pitch, purchase The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published ($16.99), which also gets you a 20-minute personal consultation with The Book Doctors. Observers are welcome at no charge.

Among this year’s special events are two keynotes celebrating the inaugural Young Readers Festival of Books (click the “Young Readers Festival” tab for more information). Kate DiCamillo and Kevin Locke will address the theme “Stories Connect Us” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25 in Café Coteau at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota in Brookings, and at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26 in the Mary W. Sommervold Hall at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls.

If you’d like to rub shoulders with some of this year’s presenting authors, be sure to get a ticket to the Author Reception at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25 at the Center for Western Studies Fantle Building. This event is sponsored by Zandbroz Variety. On display in the building’s galleries is “South Dakota 2014 Art Exhibit and Sale: Observing the State's 125th Anniversary.” This unique collection of original works of art by current and past residents of South Dakota features a piece by Festival author Don Montileaux.

Another opportunity to chat with authors is the Happy Hour for Readers and Writers at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27 in the Holiday Inn Starlite Room. Continue to watch this website for more details!

Readers who want to feed their brains and their bellies at the same time have several options, including two Literary Lunches. Friday’s event, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the Holiday Inn Starlite Room, focuses on “Hollywood and the Novel.” It will feature three presenters with experience writing for both page and screen: Pete Dexter, Diane Johnson and Matthew Specktor.

Saturday’s lunch, beginning at 12:00 p.m. in the Holiday Inn Starlite Room, makes an attempt at “Solving the Mystery of C.J. Box.” In this wide-ranging interview, Rapid City author Sandra Brannan will ask Festival favorite Box all the questions his readers want answers to … and possibly more!

The Festival will close with a Book Lovers’ Brunch at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 28 in the Holiday Inn Starlite Room. Kathleen Norris will team up with former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser to discuss “Language and the Human Spirit.”

To purchase tickets for these meals, the Author Reception and six Friday morning writing workshops, click the “Tickets/Directions” tab or call 605-688-6113. At the Festival, please bring your printed ticket(s) to the event entrance.

All other Festival events are free!

2014 Presenting Partners
2014 Tribute Sponsors
Produced By:






The Ament Group of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Augustana College & The Center for Western Studies, Sheryl & Terry Baloun, BankWest, Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau, Dick & Sue Brown, Children's Museum of South Dakota, Tom & Sherry DeBoer, Friends of the South Dakota Festival of Books, The de Groot Foundation, Holiday Inn City Centre, Dan & Arlene Kirby, Larson Foundation, Judith Meierhenry, Carolyn and Mark Mollers, Orpheum Theater Center, Scott & Linda Rausch, Steven W. Sanford, Jerry & Gail Simmons, Dan & Becky Schenk, Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau, Siouxland Public Libraries, South Dakota State University Foundation & SDSU President David Chicoine, Watertown Community Foundation, Ann & Robert Weisgarber
South Dakota Center for the Book | 1215 Trail Ridge Rd., Suite A, Brookings, SD 57006 | 605-688-6113