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SEPT 12 Sense of Place

A virtual gathering of some of North Dakota's most beloved writers.

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Time & Location





This event will feature Pulitzer-Prize winning author Louise Erdrich, author/poet Debra Marquart, and their mentor and poet Mark Vinz in conversation about connection, friendship, writing, and so much more!

Following this webinar, from 4:15-5 pm, we will host an HND member-only Q&A with the authors. The link for this additional event will be emailed to the email provided within 24 hours of the event. For more information on becoming a Humanities ND member visit 

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is one of the most gifted, prolific, and challenging of American novelists. Her fiction reflects aspects of her mixed heritage: German through her father, and French and Ojibwa through her mother. She is the author of many novels. Her novel The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her debut novel, Love Medicine, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Erdrich has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her novel Love Medicine won the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Round House, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2012, and The Night Watchman, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2021. 

Erdrich has also published volumes of poetry, children's books, short stories, and a memoir of early motherhood.  She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.

Debra Marquart

Debra Marquart is a Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University and Iowa’s Poet Laureate. She is the Senior Editor of Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment.

Marquart’s work has been featured on NPR and the BBC and has received over 50 grants and awards including an NEA Fellowship, a PEN USA Award, a New York Times Editors’ Choice commendation, and Elle Magazine’s Elle Lettres Award. Marquart teaches in Iowa State University’s interdisciplinary MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment and in the Stonecoast Low-Residency MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine.

A memoirist, poet, and performing musician, Marquart is the author of seven books including an environmental memoir of place, The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere and a collection of poems, Small Buried Things: Poems. Marquart’s most recent book, The Night We Landed on the Moon: Essays Between Exile & Belonging, was published in 2021.

Marquart’s short story collection, The Hunger Bone: Rock & Roll Stories drew on her experiences as a former road musician. A singer/songwriter, she continues to perform solo and with her jazz-poetry performance project, The Bone People, with whom she has recorded two CDs.  Her poetry collection, “Gratitude with Dogs Under Stars: New & Collected Poems” is forthcoming from New Rivers Press.

For More Information:

Mark Vinz 

Mark was born in Rugby, North Dakota, grew up in Minneapolis and the Kansas City area, and attended the universities of Kansas (BA in English 1964, MA in English, 1966, and New Mexico (two additional years of graduate study in English).  He is now Professor Emeritus at Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he taught in the English department for 39 years and also served as the first (1995-98) coordinator of MSUM's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.  His poems, prose poems, stories, and essays, have appeared in over 200 magazines and anthologies and several book-length collections.

He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowship, six Pen Syndicated Fiction Awards, three Minnesota Book Awards, the Milkweed Editions Seeing Double Competition (with Wayne Gudmundson) , and the New Rivers Press Minnesota Voices competition.  He is also co-editor of several anthologies, including Inheriting the Land:  Contemporary Voices from the Midwest (with Thom Tammaro, University of Minnesota Press) and The Party Train:  A Collection of North American Prose Poetry (with Robert Alexander and C. W. Truesdale, New Rivers Press).  From 1971-81, he was the editor of the poetry journal Dacotah Territory, and also Dacotah Territory Press, from 1973-2007, producing over 50 chapbooks of poetry by writers from the region.  He has done extensive work with K-12 students in both the North Dakota and Minnesota Writers in the Schools programs and has given poetry and jazz performances throughout the region with pianist David Ferreira and bassist Bill Law.

He was the co-founder with Joe Richardson and president of Plains Distribution Service, Inc., a non-profit distributor of small press books and magazines by Midwestern authors and presses (1975-81).  The Plains Bookbus, a kind of traveling bookstore, visited schools and libraries throughout the Upper Midwest, also sponsoring over 300 readings, lectures, and workshops in the late 70s.

Affinities, a gallery show of poetry and photography with Wayne Gudmundson, appeared at Plains Art Museum in the 1990s, as well as at several sites in North Dakota, and the House Office Building in Washington D.C.

In 2014, he was honored with the Kay Sexton Award, which is presented to an individual or organization in recognition of long-standing dedication and outstanding work in fostering books, reading, and literary activity in Minnesota.

HND Disclaimer and Value Statement

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota.

However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally.

Therefore, our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University.

To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

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