Cody’s Mark Spragg will serve as keynote speaker for the John R. Milton Writers’ Conference at the
October 27-29 in Vermillion, S.D. University of South Dakota
Mark Spragg is the author of , a memoir that won the 2000 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers award, and the novels, and in 2010, . All four were top-ten Book Sense selections and , was chosen by the as the Best Book of 2004. Spragg’s work has been translated into fifteen languages. He lives in
with his wife, Virginia, with whom he wrote the screenplay for the film version of his novel, , starring Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman, and released in 2005. Wyoming
The three-day literary conference will include readings and book signings by award-winning featured authors, scholarly panel sessions exploring the conference theme of “Outlaw!: Law and (Dis)order in the American West,” as well as creative writing panels and pop culture sessions. Other conference highlights include a showcase presentation of USD graduate creative writing students, a conference book fair, as well as a poetry slam sponsored by the Vermillion Literary Project at the
pit lounge featuring poet Kristin Naca. Muenster University Center
This year’s visiting featured writers will include Mark Spragg, Sherwin Bitsui, Kristin Naca, Karen Shoemaker, William Trowbridge, and USD visiting writer David Chan, who will give readings and book signings along with permanent USD creative writing faculty Ed Allen and Lee Ann Roripaugh.
The conference features an infusion of talent from Wyoming: Mark Spragg, Cody; Lee Ann Roripaugh, Laramie native; Robert Roripaugh, Wyoming Poet Laureate emeritus; Paul Bergstraesser, Laramie; Val Pexton, Laramie; Julianne Couch, Laramie (now in Ames, Iowa); Meg Lanker, Laramie; Jeran Artery, Cheyenne; and Michael Shay, Cheyenne.
The biennial John R. Milton Writers’ Conference was established in 1998 to celebrate the life and work of University of South Dakota English Professor and founder John R. Milton. The conference pays tribute to John R. Milton’s lifelong engagement with and commitment to Western writers and literature. With respect to this year’s theme of “Outlaw!: Law and (Dis)Order in the American West,” conferees are invited to submit paper and/or panel proposals that consider (but aren’t limited to) some of the following topics: law and (dis)order in Western American literature, history, and culture; law and (dis)order in relationship to broken treaties, obligatory assimilation, as well as post-colonial and/or indigenous studies in American Indian literature, history, and culture; law and (dis)order in the American West with respect to environmental issues and ecocriticism; outlaw as myth and fantasy space in the American West; outlaw as Other; gender outlaws, and/or queering the American West; borders, border crossings, and boundary transgressions; virtual outlaws, and/or outlaws in the “new frontier” of cyber-space; and representations of outlaws and/or law and (dis)order in popular culture (including, but not limited to, HBO’s and Joss Whedon’s , Westerns (both film and television), graphic novels, and science fiction.