2014 Presenters A-G

Read about the presenters we offered at the 2014 Festival in Sioux Falls below. Our 2015 lineup will be posted as soon as it is available!



Avi, born in 1937 and raised in New York City, is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. He started out as a playwright, then worked for many years as a librarian and began writing books for young people when the first of his kids came along. His first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970 and recently reissued. Since then he has published seventy books and won many awards, including the 2003 Newbery Medal for Crispin: the Cross of Lead, two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards and an O’Dell award, as well as many children’s choice awards. Among his most popular books are The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, Poppy, Midnight Magic, and The Fighting Ground. His most recent book, Sophia’s War: a Revolutionary War Tale, was released in 2012. Avi lives in Clark, Colorado, with his wife.


Harry Bliss*
Harry Bliss is an internationally syndicated cartoonist and cover artist for The New Yorker magazine and a successful illustrator of books for young readers. His first children's book, A Fine, Fine School by Newbery-Award-winning author Sharon Creech, was a New York Times bestseller. Bliss went on to illustrate Which Would You Rather Be? by William Steig and Countdown To Kindergarten and Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth, both by Alison McGhee. Bliss has also created the pictures for Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider and Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin. Other bestsellers include Don't Forget To Come Back by Robie H. Harris, A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee and Louise: The Adventure of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo. Raised in a family of artists, Bliss studied painting at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and illustration at The University of the Arts and Syracuse University. He lives in Vermont.  

Joseph Bottum
South Dakota’s Joseph Bottum is one of the nation’s most widely published writers, with work in journals from the Atlantic to the Washington Post. He is “a poet and critic and essayist, with a sideline in history and philosophy,” the New York Times notes—and “his name would be mandatory on any objective short list of public intellectuals in America,” adds National Review, for “Bottum is the poetic voice of modern Catholic intellectual life. His work shaped the minds of a generation.” The author of No. 1-bestselling Kindle Singles for Amazon.com, Bottum has appeared on television programs from Meet the Press to the PBS NewsHour. A contributing editor to the Weekly Standard, he holds a Ph.D. in medieval philosophy and lives in the Black Hills. His recent books include the sociological study An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America and the South Dakota memoir The Christmas Plains.  

C.J. Box

C. J. Box is the Top Five New York Times bestselling author of 18 novels, including the Joe Pickett series. In 2014, he released two new books: Stone Cold, a Joe Pickett novel, in March and Shots Fired: Stories from Joe Pickett Country in July. Among Box’s honors are the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel, the Anthony Award, the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award, and the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers’ Association Award for fiction. Three of his novels — Open Season, Blue Heaven and Nowhere to Run — have been optioned for film. Before becoming a fiction writer, Box worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, newspaper reporter and editor, and co-owner of an international tourism marketing firm. Box and his wife, Laurie, live in Wyoming and have three daughters.


Sandra Brannan
Read a Liv Bergen Mystery by Sandra Brannan and lose a night of sleep. Noah’s Rainy Day, fourth in the series, was honored on the Best Suspense of 2013 List by Suspense Magazine and named a finalist for 2013 Best Mystery by both USA Book News and Foreword Reviews. Brannan has created a heart-pounding, award-winning mystery series around the intelligent, gutsy Liv Bergen, a woman who embodies the spirit of South Dakota and nearby mountain states. Other books in the series include Widow’s Might, winner of an ABA Indie NextList Award; In the Belly of Jonah, an ABA Indie NextPick Notable; and Lot’s Return to Sodom, a Top 50 Women’s Mysteries 2011 selection for Amazon E-books. The fifth in the series, Solomon’s Whisper, releases in September 2014. Much like her fictional character, Brannan has spent her career in the mining business and lives in the Black Hills.  

Malcolm Brooks
Malcolm Brooks was raised in the rural foothills of the California Sierras and grew up around Gold Rush and Native American artifacts. A carpenter by trade, he has lived in Montana for most of two decades. His writing has appeared in Gray's Sporting Journal, Outside, Sports Afield and Montana Quarterly, among others. His first novel, Painted Horses, released in August 2014, sends a dauntless young woman on a heroic quest, sings a love song to the horseman’s vanishing way of life and reminds us that love and ambition, tradition and the future, often make strange bedfellows.  

Chris Browne
Cartooning runs in Chris Browne’s family. His father, Dik Browne, created the comic strips Hi and Lois and Hägar the Horrible. Upon his death, Chris took over Hägar, while his brother Chance Browne took over Hi and Lois. Born in South Orange, New Jersey and growing up in suburban Wilton, Connecticut, Chris Browne assisted his father on comic strips from an early age. He contributed to Hägar from the beginning of the comic in 1972 and co-authored Hägar the Horrible's Very Nearly Complete Viking Handbook in 1985. In addition to Hägar, Chris Browne has contributed cartoons to National Lampoon, Playboy, Esquire and The New Yorker and served as a contributing editor to The Funny Papers and Sarasota Magazine. His first children’s book, The Monster Who Ate the State, was recently released. Browne currently lives in Sioux Falls.  

Joseph Bruchac
Joseph Bruchac is a writer and traditional storyteller whose work often reflects his American Indian (Abenaki) ancestry and the Adirondack Region of northern New York where he lives in the house that he was raised in by his grandparents. Author of over 120 books in several genres for young readers and adults, his experiences include running a college program in a maximum security prison and teaching in West Africa. A martial arts expert, he holds a 5th degree black belt and Master’s rank in Pentjak-silat and in 2012 earned a blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. His newest books include a picture book co-authored with his son James, Rabbit’s Snow Dance, a bilingual collection of poems in English and Abenaki co-authored by himself and his younger son Jesse, Nisnol Siboal/Two Rivers, and the young adult post-apocalyptic novel Killer of Enemies, winner of the 2014 Native American Librarians Association Award.  

Sharon Chmielarz
Born and raised in Mobridge, South Dakota, Sharon Chmielarz has published eight books of poetry whose subjects include women, the Dakotas, and Nannerl Mozart, a biography which was made into an opera. She has been chosen as a finalist in the National Poetry Series, nominated several times for a Pushcart Prize, featured on American Life in Poetry and translated into French and Polish. Chmielarz received the 2012 Jane Kenyon Award from the Water~Stone Review.  Her work has been published in magazines like The Notre Dame Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, The Hudson Review, The North American Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Commonweal, Salmagundi, Margie, Salmagundi, The Seneca Review, Louisiana Literature, Ontario Review, CutBank and others.  Her latest book (2013) is Love from the Yellowstone Trail.   

Tom Clavin

Tom Clavin is the author or co-author of sixteen books. For fifteen years he covered sports, business and entertainment for The New York Times, Newsday, Good Housekeeping, Child, Cosmopolitan, Family Circle, Parade, Reader's Digest, Woman's Day, Golf, Men's Journal and Smithsonian. Clavin was also editor-in-chief of The Independent weekly newspaper chain for ten years. He is currently the investigative features correspondent for Manhattan Magazine. His most recent book is The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend, written with Bob Drury. Clavin lives in Sag Harbor, New York.


Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
A member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn was raised on the reservation in a family of tribal politicians and scholars. An editor, essayist, poet, novelist and academic, she is considered one of the nation’s leading voices on Native American issues, particularly tribal sovereignty. Cook-Lynn has been a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at Stanford University, a high school teacher in New Mexico and South Dakota, and a visiting professor at the University of California at Davis. She spent most of her academic career at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, where she was professor of English and Native American Studies. Her work includes the essay collection Why I Can’t Read Wallace Stegner and Other Essays and the novella From the River’s Edge. Her latest book, That Guy Wolf Dancing, comes out this summer.

H. Alan Day
A cowboy from the day he was born, H. Alan Day was part of the third generation to grow up on the 200,000-acre Lazy B cattle ranch straddling the high deserts of southern Arizona and New Mexico. After graduating from the University of Arizona, he managed the Lazy B for 40 years, receiving numerous awards for his dedicated stewardship of the land. In the 1980s, Alan purchased a ranch in South Dakota, which became the first government-sponsored sanctuary for unadoptable wild horses and the subject of his 2014 book, The Horse Lover. Alan and his sister, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, previously co-authored the New York Times bestselling memoir Lazy B, which chronicles the story of their family’s life on a harsh yet beautiful southwestern ranch. A member of Western Writers of America, Day divides his time between Tucson and Pinetop, Arizona.  

Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo’s books for young readers have been awarded the Newbery Medal (Flora & Ulysses, 2014, and The Tale of Despereaux, 2004), the Newbery Honor (Because of Winn-Dixie, 2001), the Boston Globe Horn Book Award (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, 2006), and the Theodor Geisel Medal and Honor (Blink and Gollie with Allison McGhee, 2011; Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, 2007). She is the 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, appointed by the Library of Congress. A native of Florida, Kate now lives in Minneapolis and describes herself this way: “I am short. And loud. I hate to cook and love to eat. I am single and childless, but I have lots of friends and I am an aunt to three lovely children and one not-so-lovely dog. I think of myself as an enormously lucky person: I get to tell stories for a living.”  

Lawrence Diggs
Lawrence Diggs is an animator, poet and interactive presentation facilitator, among other things. He is a South Dakota Humanities Scholar, South Dakota Artist in Residence as well as a South Dakota State Poetry Society and Northern Prairie Artists board member. He is the editor and designer of the South Dakota State Poetry Society’s annual competitive chapbook, Four Quarters to a Section. He also teaches poetry in prisons. Diggs is the author of several books ranging from food science to human relations to explorations of perception. His most recent book, Blind Man Holding a Dragon’s Tail, a companion book of poetry connected to his Interactive Animation Presentations, has just been published. He is now focused on exploring ways to help people absorb new and difficult information. His current explorations use animations to present the information and then engage the audience, through interactive conversation and experience, with the subject matter. He is a resident of Roslyn, South Dakota.  

Lane Dolly
Researcher and author Lane Dolly brings a rich and diverse set of professional and life experiences to her fiction writing. Grassroots politics led her from ranch country in Oklahoma to Washington, D.C., where she worked in President Ronald Reagan’s White House. Later, she served in the administrations of South Dakota Governors George S. Mickelson and Walter Dale Miller. A master’s degree in public policy drew Dolly to history, genealogy and research, which unearthed nearly forgotten tales of an abolitionist missionary ancestor. Her discoveries drove her to study the Cherokee Nation before statehood in her native Oklahoma and to memorialize the devotion and endurance of her ancestor through the first in a series of historical novels, A Distant Call: The Fateful Choices of Hattie Sheldon.  

Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
Born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe who also has Ponca heritage. She received the National Humanities Medal in 2000 and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from South Dakota State University in 2008. Her many books include The Trickster and the Troll, When Thunders Spoke and Lana’s Lakota Moons, and she has also published numerous short stories, articles and poems. Her most recent books are The Christmas Coat and Standing Bear of the Poncas. Sneve and her husband, Vance, have three children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.  

Bob Drury
Men's Health contributing editor and chief military correspondent Bob Drury has been nominated for three National Magazine Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. He has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Darfur, among other sites. He is also the author, co-author or editor of nine nonfiction books, including The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat, the recipient of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation's 2010 General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award for nonfiction. Drury’s most recent book is The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend, written with Tom Clavin. He lives in Manasquan, New Jersey.  

Jennifer Dumke
Jennifer Dumke grew up in George, Iowa, knowing from an early age that writing would be a part of her life. After graduating from South Dakota State University, she moved to Sioux Falls and worked as a TV news reporter and photographer, then began writing for print. Dumke and her husband, Brad, developed an affinity for history and decided to produce a historical documentary focused on the life and works of the architect Wallace Dow. W.L. Dow, Architect was released in May 2013 and aired on South Dakota Public Television and other public networks nationwide. After its release, Dumke was contacted by the History Press to write a companion book to the documentary. She accepted the challenge, and W.L. Dow: The Architect Who Shaped Sioux Falls was released in September 2013. The rest is history.  

Tony Earley
Tony Earley is the author of five books: Here We Are in Paradise, a story collection; the novels Jim the Boy and The Blue Star; and the personal essay collection Somehow Form a Family. His new book, Mr. Tall: a Novella and Stories, comes out in August. Winner of a National Magazine Award for fiction, he was named one of the 20 best writers of his generation by Granta in 1996 and The New Yorker in 1999. His work has appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, The New Yorker, The Oxford American, The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Best American Short Stories, New Stories from the South and many other publications. A native of North Carolina and a graduate of Warren Wilson College and The University of Alabama, Earley lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and daughters, where he is the Samuel Milton Fleming Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.  

Arielle Eckstut & David Sterry
Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are co-founders of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping authors get their books published. They are also co-authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It … Successfully. Arielle Eckstut has been a literary agent for 18 years at The Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. She is also the author of seven books and the co-founder of the iconic brand LittleMissMatched. David Henry Sterry is the best-selling author of 12 books on a wide variety of subjects, including memoir, sports, YA fiction and reference. They have taught their workshop on how to get published everywhere from Stanford University to Smith College and have appeared in media from The New York Times to NPR’s Morning Edition to USA Today.  

Richard Etulain
A specialist in the history and literature of the American West, Richard W. Etulain is the author or editor of more than 50 books. He is professor emeritus of history and former director of the Center for the American West at the University of New Mexico. His best-known books are Stegner: Conversations on History and Literature and Re-imagining the Modern American West: A Century of Literature, History, and Art. His most recent book, out this summer, is The Life and Legends of Calamity Jane.  He has also recently authored Lincoln Looks West: From the Mississippi to the Pacific and Lincoln and Oregon Country Politics in the Civil War Era. He holds a PhD from the University of Oregon and taught at Idaho State University and the University of New Mexico. He lives in the Portland, Oregon, area with his wife Joyce, a retired children's librarian.  

David Allan Evans
South Dakota’s Poet Laureate since 2002, David Allan Evans was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. He has a B.A. from Morningside College, an M.A. from the University of Iowa and an M.F.A. from the University of Arkansas. He has received writing grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bush Artist Foundation, and has twice been a Fulbright Scholar to China. In 2009 he received the South Dakota Governor’s Award for Creative Distinction in the Arts. He is the author of eight collections of poems, the most recent being The Carnival, The Life, and several books of prose. His poems, short stories, and essays have been published in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies, including Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest, Southern Review, Esquire, Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, Prairie Schooner, Reader’s Digest and many others.  

Marcia Calhoun Forecki
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Marcia Calhoun Forecki has been writing as long as she can remember. Her first book, Speak to Me, a non-fiction account of her son's deafness, was published by Gallaudet University Press and won a Book Award from the President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. She self-published a middle grade novel, Better Than Magic, in 2008, and her short stories have appeared in the Bellevue Literary Journal, Kaleidoscope, copperfieldreview.com and Fine Lines literary journal. Her story "Gift of the Spanish Lady" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. With Write Life LLC, she has published a story collection, Hurricane Blues and Other Stories, and a novel, Blood of the White Bear, written in collaboration with award-winning screenwriter and director Gerald Schnitzer. Forecki is currently working on a novel set in Clay County, Missouri during the Civil War.  




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, Farmers Insurance/Dave Schmidt Insurance Agency, Inc., 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