Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize 2013 Winner: Gary Dop

photo by Jeff Hathaway

photo by Jeff Hathaway

The South Dakota State University English Department and Great Plains Writers’ Conference have announced the first recipient of its Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize, a new annual award designed to showcase emerging literary artists from the region. The prize will recognize outstanding authors from the broader Great Plains area who have not yet published a book.

The inaugural winner is Gary Dop of Minneapolis, whose poems have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, including Prairie Schooner, New Letters, North American Review, Poetry Northwest, Poet Lore, The New York Quarterly, Rattle, Agni, Green Mountains Review, and the Poetry Foundation’s syndicated newspaper column, American Life in Poetry. His debut poetry collection Father, Child, Water is forthcoming in 2015 from Red Hen Press of Los Angeles.

“Our selection committee explored a variety of writers in the region and we feel that Gary Dop is exactly the kind of writer we’d like to put forth as representing this prize,” says Steven Wingate, SDSU English professor and coordinator of the Great Plains Writers’ Conference. “He has published widely and paid his dues as a citizen of the literary community not only regionally but nationally. He sets a high standard for the Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize moving forward into the future.”

Dop is the Writer in Residence at North Central University, as well as a screenwriting faculty member for the University of Minnesota’s MFA Program. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Nebraska and now lives in Minneapolis with his wife and three daughters. Dop is a Board Member for the Twin Cities’ most vibrant literary organization, Rain Taxi, which publishes the Rain Taxi Review of Books and sponsors the Twin Cities Book Festival. Dop’s essays have been heard on Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and he has written, consulted for, directed, and sold scripts for video and film projects.

As a poet who values performance, Dop has entertained audiences at university and community events throughout the Midwest. He will perform during the Great Plains Writers’ Conference at 7:00pm on Tuesday, March 26 in the Hobo Day Gallery at the SDSU Student Union. The performance will be free and open to the public.

“It’s always fun to meet a new audience,” says Dop, whose work is widely recognized for its humor. “There’s nothing better than realizing people have taken a break from the heaviness of life long enough to share a few poems. Although sometimes there’s that guy glaring at you from the back row because his girlfriend surprised him with your poetry reading. I like to try to win him over.”

Although this year’s prize was awarded by committee, it will be open to submissions in 2014. The winner will receive a cash prize of $1000 and an invitation to read at next year’s Great Plains Writers’ Conference. The competition will be announced and advertised through such venues as Poets & Writers Magazine and the South Dakota Festival of Books. It will be open to writers from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, and its deadline will be November 15, 2013.  Stay tuned here for more information!

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