Skip to main content
Close Search

Great Plains Writers Conference to offer new features

With a few new activities, the 41st Great Plains Writers Conference will be held March 23-25 at the University Student Union at South Dakota State University. This literary event features readings, workshops, roundtables and manuscript consultations by award-winning novelists, poets and memoirists.

Featured writers include:

  • Heidi Czerwiec, anthology editor, essayist and author of "Conjoining;"
  • Barbara Duffey, a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow in poetry and author of "Simple Machines;"
  • Patrick Hicks, Writer-in-Residence at Augustana University and author of "The Commandant of Lubizec;"
  • Poet and memoirist Christine Stewart-Nuñez, author of "Bluewords Greening" and "Untrussed;" and
  • Steven Wingate, author of the award-winning short story collection "Wifeshopping," and the digital memoir "Daddylabyrinth."

"I'm excited to see this new focus to the Great Plains Writers' Conference and what it can do for the writers of the 'Northern Great Plains,'" said Wingate, who teaches creative writing at SDSU. "This region has a rich literary history and it needs more opportunities like the GPWC where writers can gather to create its literary future."

Each writer will give a reading of their new work and then lead a workshop or talk aimed to help participants generate new writing projects and/or develop their craft. This emphasis on workshops marks one change, as does the timing of the conference.

"Networking with other writers is important at all stages of one's writing career, especially for those just embarking on it," said Christine Stewart-Nuñez, coordinator of this year's conference. "We moved conference activities to the weekend so those solo-writers in the region can meet each other as well as get inspiration."

Also new this year is a roundtable where panelists will answer questions about how to get their work in front of audiences.

A conversation in poetry by the Women Poets Collective (WPC) will kick off this year's Great Plains Writers Conference March 23. WPC, a group of nine poets who hail from South Dakota and Minnesota, started as a manuscript consultation group in 2015. These writers meet several times each year to provide feedback on manuscripts and give readings.

The WPC members scheduled to read are: Lysbeth Benkert, Czerwiec, Duffey, Jeanne Emmons, Lindy Obach, Marcella Remund, Stewart-Nuñez and Norma C. Wilson.
All events will be held in the University Student Union's Hobo Day Gallery and Campanile Room.

  • March 23
    • 7-9 p.m., Welcome & Kickoff Reading: Women Poets Collective
  • March 24
    • 9-10:15 a.m., Patrick Hicks: workshop, Making Fiction out of Nonfiction;
    • 10:30-11:45 a.m., Steven Wingate: craft talk, Digital Literature: What it is and Why Humans Do It;
    • Noon-1:15 p.m., Barbara Duffey (lunch and reading)
    • 1:30-2:45 p.m. , Heidi Czerwiec: workshop, Making Shapely Hybrids: Poetic Form in Flash Prose
    • 3-4 p.m., Steven Wingate (reading)
    • 4-5:30 p.m., Roundtable: Routes to Publication
    • 7:30-9 p.m., Patrick Hicks (reading)
  • March 25
    • 9-10:15 a.m., Christine Stewart-Nuñez: workshop, Sentence Craft: How to Write Spellbinding Sentences
    • 10:30-11:45 a.m., Barbara Duffey: workshop, Intelligence Amplification: Using Computers for Automatic Writing
    • Noon-1:15 p.m., Heidi Czerwiec (lunch and reading)
    • 1:30-2:30 p.m., Christine Stewart-Nuñez (reading)
    • 2:45-4 p.m., Manuscript consultations*

*For an additional fee of $1 per page, you may submit a manuscript for critique by one of the featured writers or writers in the Women Poets Collective. If you are interested, please contact Tiffani Pirner. The manuscript deadline is Feb. 23.
Conference Fees:

  • All readings are free and open to the public. All workshops, craft talks, roundtables and manuscript consultations require registration.
  • Early Registration (before Feb. 28): $55 (includes all workshops/craft talks/roundtables, two lunches and appetizers Saturday afternoon).
  • Regular Registration (before March 16): $75 (includes all workshops/craft talks/roundtables, two lunches and appetizers Saturday afternoon).
  • Student Registration (high school or university) before March 16: free* (includes all workshops/craft talks/roundtables and appetizers Saturday afternoon).

*(Although free, participants must register)

To register, contact Tiffani Pirner.

More information is available at Conference readers will be present to sign copies of their books that will be available to purchase. For further information, contact Christine Stewart-Nuñez.