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Keynote Author

mary Gaitskill headshot

Mary Gaitskill is the author of the novels "The Mare,” "Veronica,"  which was nominated or the 2005 National Book Award, National Critic’s Circle Award, and LA Times Book Award, and "Two Girls, Fat and Thin.” Her most recent publication is her novella "This Is Pleasure" (2019). She is also the author of the story collections "Bad Behavior,” “Because They Wanted To," which was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner in 1998, and "Don’t Cry." Gaitskill’s stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, "Best American Short Stories," and "The O. Henry Prize Stories." Her most recent collection of essays, "Somebody With A Little Hammer" (2017), was published in 2017. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction and a Cullman Research Fellowship at the New York Public Library.

Featured Authors

John Domini. In 2021 appeared John's 10th book, a memoir, “The Archeology of a Good Ragù.” Before then appeared four novels, the most recent “The Color Inside a Melon,” 2019 .  The novel was praised in Washington Post as "exceptionally well-turned," and in Brooklyn Rail the book was listed among the year's best. Set in Naples, Italy, it completes a loose trilogy that began with Earthquake I.D. He also has three books of stories, the latest, “MOVIEOLA!” The Millions called this "a new shriek for a new century." Other books include a translation from the Italian, as well as fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in anthologies. John's won awards in all genres and appeared in Paris Review and The New York Times. Grants include an NEA Fellowship and an Iowa Major Artist Award. John has taught at Harvard, Northwestern, and elsewhere, and makes his home in Des Moines, with the science fiction writer Lettie Prell.


Steven Dunn headshot

Steven Dunn is the author of the novels "Potted Meat" (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2016) and "water & power" (Tarpaulin Sky 2018). He was born and raised in West Virginia, and after 10 years in the Navy, he earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. Some of his work can be found in Columbia Journal, Granta Magazine, and Best Small Fictions 2018


Karen McElmurray headshot

Karen McElmurray writes both fiction and creative nonfiction. Her memoir, "Surrendered Child," won the AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction and was listed as a “notable book” by the National Book Critics Circle. She is also the author of "Motel of the Stars," Editor's Pick from "Oxford American," and a Lit Life Book of the Year. Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven (University of Georgia Press), a novel that won the Lillie Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing and, most recently, "Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean," co-edited with Adrian Blevins, from Ohio University Press. Her essays have won the Annie Dillard Prize, the New Southerner Prize, the Orison Magazine Anthology Award and have several times been Notable in Best American Essays. A collection of her essays is forthcoming from Iris Books. Her newest book, a novel called "Wanting Radiance," will be released in April 2020 from University Press of Kentucky.


Christine Stewart-Nunez headshot

Christine Stewart-Nuñez, a professor of English at South Dakota State University, is the South Dakota Poet Laureate (2019-2023). She’s the author of four poetry books: "Untrussed" (University of New Mexico Press 2016), Bluewords Greening (Terrapin Books 2016), "Keeping Them Alive" (WordTech 2010), and "Postcard on Parchment" (ABZ Press 2008). Her work has appeared in Arts & Letters, North American Review, Prairie Schooner and Shenandoah among other magazines.


duncan b. barlow

duncan b. barlow is the author of five books including "A Dog Between Us," "The city," "Awake" and "Of Flesh and Fur." His fiction has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, The Collagist, Banango Street, Matter Press, Sleeping Fish and Word Riot. He is currently revising a novel, a memoir and a collection of short stories. He is the publisher at Astrophil Press and the managing editor at South Dakota Review. Before teaching, duncan played in punk and indie bands, releasing over 25 records and touring North America and Europe. His latest record, "Colony Collapse," is a dream pop LP about loss.


Leah McCormackLeah McCormack is an assistant professor of English at the University of South Dakota. Her stories, creative nonfiction and critical work have appeared in New England Review, Redivider, Fiction, Prairie Fire, The Portland Review, Hotel Amerika, North Dakota Quarterly, REAL: Regarding Arts & Letters, New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, Making Connections: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Cultural Diversity, and elsewhere. Her novel, "Solve for N," was a finalist for the 2019 AWP Prize for the Novel, the 2019 Nilsen Literary Prize for the Novel and a longlist honoree for the 2019 Dzanc Books Fiction contest. She has her Ph.D. in creative writing and literature from the University of Cincinnati and her M.F.A. in creative writing from the City College of New York, City University of New York. She lives in Vermillion with her husband and daughter.

Lee Ann Roripaugh

Lee Ann Roripaugh is the author of five volumes of poetry: "tsunami vs. the fukushima 50" (Milkweed Editions, 2019), "Dandarians" (Milkweed Editions, 2014), "On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year" (Southern Illinois University Press, 2009), "Year of the Snake" (Southern Illinois University Press, 2004) and "Beyond Heart Mountain" (Penguin Books, 1999). From 2015-2019, she served as South Dakota State Poet Laureate.