BROOKINGS – ‘The Queen of Beach Readings’ is coming to the South Dakota Party!
Popular thriller and romance novelist Mary Kay Andrews will help celebrate 20 years of reading and writing at the 2022 Festival of Books, September 23-25 in Brookings.
Andrews was originally scheduled to appear at the 2021 festival before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to go virtual for the second year in a row. She was one of a handful of authors who chose to postpone their involvement until they could meet readers in South Dakota in person.
“All of our presenters have missed meeting us in person for the past two years,” said Jennifer Widman, director of the Center for the Book at the South Dakota Humanities Council. “They certainly enjoyed virtual festivals, but in 2021 many were feeling some fatigue around online events. They jumped at the chance to wait a year and fulfill their initial contracts in person.
During the festival, Andrews will discuss his 30th novel, ‘The Homewreckers’, inspired in part by his two favorite hobbies – treasure hunting, or ‘junking’, and using his finds to repair old homes. The book, which will be released in May, combines a disastrous house flip, a love triangle and the unsolved disappearance of a young wife and mother.
“Mystery and romance are popular with many festival-goers, and Mary Kay Andrews combines the two in a distinctive style that keeps readers turning pages,” Widman said. “She’s a seasoned novelist with many stories to tell, and her presentations are every bit as entertaining and engaging as her writing would lead you to expect.”
From journalism to fiction
Andrews, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia. After a 14-year career as a journalist at newspapers such as The Savannah Morning News, The Marietta Journal and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she spent the last 10 years of her career, she left journalism in 1991 to write fiction.
She didn’t look back. In 2006, “Hissy Fit” became his first New York Times bestseller, followed by 14 other New York Times, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers. To date, her novels have been published in German, Italian, Polish, Slovenian, Hungarian, Dutch, Czech and Japanese.
Andrews and his family split their time between Atlanta and Tybee Island, Georgia, where they whip up new recipes at two restored beach houses, “The Breeze Inn” and “Ebbtide” – both named after fictional locations in his novels.
Remaining authors from 2021: Fiction
Marj Charlier is a former Wall Street Journal reporter and author of 12 novels and three short stories. His first historical novel, “The Rebel Nun,” set in sixth-century Gaul, was published in March 2021 as BuzzFeed’s “most anticipated novel.” Her second historical novel, “The Candlemaker’s Woman,” comes out in 2022. Charlier teaches writing and publishing workshops throughout Southern California and was selected for a residency at the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony last spring.
Lorna Landvik is the author of 12 novels, including the best-selling “Patty Jane’s House of Curl”, “Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons”, and “Oh My Stars”, which was made into a “proof of concept” short film. His latest book is the amusing and sometimes poignant “Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes)”. Also an actress, Landvik regularly presents an entirely improvised solo show called “Party in the Rec Room”.
Tommy Orange’s first book, “There There”, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and received the 2019 American Book Prize. Orange is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he is now a member of the faculty. A registered member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he was born and raised in Oakland and now lives in Angels Camp, California.
Faith Sullivan is the author of numerous novels, including “Gardenias”, “The Cape Ann”, “What a Woman Must Do” and most recently “Ruby & Roland”. Demonic gardener, flea market and bird feeder, she is also a tireless champion of literary culture and her fellow writers. Born and raised in southern Minnesota, she spent more than 20 years in New York and Los Angeles, but now lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Dan.
History and non-fiction
Sandy Barnard specializes in writing about the Civil War and post-war Plains Indian engagements. For nearly 25 years, he edited the annual “Greasy Grass” magazine published by the Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association. A US Army veteran who served as an intelligence officer in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969, Barnard is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He is a professor emeritus at Indiana State University.
Wayne Fane Bust has a penchant for writing on the dark side of history and ardently defending the underdog. He was born in Sioux Falls and raised in rural South Dakota and Iowa. After serving in the US Marine Corps and playing in rock bands in California, Fanebust earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA and a law degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Now retired from the practice of law, he has written 11 non-fiction books.
Jon K. Lauck is the author of several books, including the upcoming “The Good Country: A History of the American Midwest, 1800-1900”. He earned his doctorate in history from the University of Iowa and his law degree from the University of Minnesota. Lauck is currently an assistant professor of history and political science at the University of South Dakota and editor of Middle West Review.
Katherine Wiltenburg Todrys is a lawyer specializing in health and human rights research and advocacy. A former researcher at Human Rights Watch, she has reported on health conditions in African prisons, access to HIV treatment for migrants, and police abuse of sex workers in New York. His first book, “Black Snake,” examines the health effects of hydraulic fracturing in the Bakken and tells the stories of four Indigenous leaders in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
David Wolf is a professor emeritus at Black Hills State University, where he majored in the history of South Dakota and the Black Hills. He has written three books: “Industrializing the Rockies”, “Seth Bullock: Black Hills Lawman”, and “The Savior of Deadwood: James KP Miller on the Gold Frontier”. Wolff is a member of several history organizations and serves on the board of directors of the South Dakota State Historical Society and Deadwood’s Adams Museum & House. His honors include the Distinguished Faculty Member Award from Black Hills State University.
Lydia Whirlwind Soldier, born on the Rosebud Reservation, is a founding member of the Oak Lake Tribal Writers Society. A graduate of Sinte Gleska University and Pennsylvania State University, she is best known for her poetry, but is also a non-fiction author, teacher, business owner, and Indigenous artisan. Whirlwind Soldier received the 2015 South Dakota Living Indian Treasure Award in recognition of his preservation of traditional art forms.
Norma Wilson is the author of five books of poetry, including “Rivers, Wings & Sky” with visual artist Nancy Losacker; “Frog Creek Path;” and “Continuity”. She has also written “The Nature of Native American Poetry”, edited the poetry anthology “Memory, Echo, Words”, and co-edited “One Room Country School: South Dakota Stories”. Wilson, a professor emeritus at the University of South Dakota, received an award of merit for her poem “Ms. 2020” featured in Project Ms: Assembled Reformation in March at USD’s John A. Day Gallery.
Learn more at sdbookfestival.com.