High Plains BookFest

High Plains BookFest

High Plains Bookfest Image

DATE:   Feb. 13, 2019

CONTACT: Corby Skinner, 406-294-2390

 The Writer’s Voice to Receive $10,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Billings —National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $27 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019.  Included in this announcement is a Challenge America grant of $10,000 to The Writer’s Voice for the 2019 High Plains BookFest. Challenge America grants support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The 18th annual High Plains BookFest scheduled for October 10-12, 2019 will be a three day event of free public readings, workshops and panel discussions in Billings, Montana, by contemporary authors from the American West and Canada. The BookFest is held in conjunction with the High Plains Book Awards.

More than 200 authors from seven western states and three Canadian providences will be vying for book awards in 13 categories; the three finalists in each category will be invited to the BookFest. However, none of the authors receive honorariums. A grant from the NEA will help pay for transportation costs to Canadian finalists to attend the BookFest in Billings in October.

Touring support by U.S. or Canadian publishers is rare and cross border touring is too expensive for the many authors to do out-of-pocket. Hence, new literary work, particularly international work, is seldom heard. This grant addresses that concern, and provides opportunity for more Canadian authors to share their work with audiences in Montana. Nearly 1/3 of all books entered in the Book Awards are from Canadian authors.

“Montana and Canada share a rich cultural history and several writers such as Richard Ford, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Thomas King, and Allen Safarik have explored those common themes and connections,” said Writer’s Voice director Corby Skinner, “One of my goals for the BookFest is to open the cultural highway between our two countries,” he added.

The line that divides the US and Canada is a political reality, but as Thomas King said in The Inconvenient Indian, “historical figures such as Chief Joseph, Sitting Bull and Louis Riel moved back and forth between the two countries, and while they understood the importance of that border to Whites, there is nothing to indicate they believed in its legitimacy….stories go wherever they please.”

For more information on the BookFest and Book Awards, go to www.highplainsbookawards.org

For information on this National Endowment for the Arts, visit arts.gov/news.


The 2019 High Plains BookFest will take place in October. Please check back for details.

Visit our Facebook Community to keep updated on upcoming BookFest events.

Authors interested in taking part in a future BookFest should contact Corby Skinner, Writer’s Voice director at corby@skinnerbenoit.com.

    The Billings Public Library Board has established the High Plains Book Awards to recognize regional literary works which examine and reflect life on the High Plains, including the states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.


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    Billings, MT 59101


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