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Black Hills State University’s writer-in-residence is receiving rave reviews for recently published novel

 Kent Meyers, Black Hills State University associate professor and writer-in-residence, has just published his fifth book, Twisted Tree, and it is receiving excellent reviews.

Kent Meyers, Black Hills State University associate professor and writer-in-residence, has just published his fifth book, Twisted Tree, and it is receiving excellent reviews.

Twisted Tree, a novel set in a fictional rural town of Twisted Tree, S.D., is about the murder of Hayley Jo Zimmerman. As her story unfolds and her secret battle with anorexia surfaces, those who knew her must come to terms with the responsibilities they did or did not take while she was alive.

According to Louisa Ermelino, reviews director for Publishers Weekly, a major trade magazine for the book industry, Twisted Tree was rated as an exceptional book. The magazine gave Meyers an outstanding review. “In his beautiful and unsettling new novel, Meyers examines the effects of a murder on the residents of a small South Dakota town. The novel uses the rippling consequences of Hayley Jo's murder to explore the smaller rural tragedies in Twisted Tree, S.D. The novel is brimming with arresting descriptions, and the western setting is employed to surprising effect….Meyers’ small masterpiece deserves comparison to the work of Raymond Carver, Joy Williams, and Peter Matthiessen.”

In addition, the New York Times and the Washington Post have both indicated they will be doing reviews. Blackstone Audio picked up the audio rights and has an audio version of the book available as well.

Meyers, longtime professor of English at BHSU, who has been a writer-in-residence at the University for four years, says the designation has allowed him to continue teaching his classes while pursuing his passion to write. He has been able to share that passion by presenting at numerous events across the country as well as on campus.

He has done a number of independent studies with BHSU students who are pursuing their goals of becoming a published writer. One of Meyers’ main goals with the writer-in-residence position was to work with the best creative writing students on campus and give them his complete attention and critique.

Meyers is quite certain he will see his students’ writing published in the future. He says it is immensely rewarding to participate in the kind of amazing growth his students have gone through.

The designation has also allowed Meyers to devote time to the new writing minor in order to further develop the BHSU writing program. He has also been involved with bringing writers to campus, such as well-known poet and author, Lia Purpura; and prominent author, Jim Reese.

Meyers’ books include: The Witness of Combines,
non-fiction/memoir; The River Warren, novel;
Light in the Crossing, a collection of short stories; The Work of Wolves, novel; and Twisted Tree, novel.

The BHSU Humanities department will host a book reading by Meyers Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Clare and Josef Meier Recital Hall on the BHSU campus.

Meyers’ new novel was chosen by the Midwest Booksellers Association (MBA) as a “Midwest Connections” book. He was one of four speakers at the MBA Tradeshow. He also presented recently during the Western Literature Association Conference. He will also be making several public appearances this fall:

• Meyers will appear on three panels during the South Dakota Festival of Books, held in Deadwood Oct. 2-4. The first appearance will include a reading from Twisted Tree.
• Meyers will hold book signings in Watertown, Sioux Falls, and Brookings Oct. 15-18.
• Notre Dame College in Baltimore, Md. will feature Meyers Oct. 27 at a symposium titled “Imagining America’s Upper Midwest: Readings in Memoir and Fiction.”
• Meyers will do appearances in Duluth Minn., Little Falls, Minn., St. Paul, Minn., Excelsior, Minn., and Winona, Minn. Nov. 19-22.

Listen to an interview with Meyers by Julia Monczunski, host of South Dakota Public Radio’s “Food For Thought” online at

Meyers received his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Minnesota-Morris and his master’s degree in English from Washington State University. He has been a member of the BHSU faculty since 1980.

Twisted Tree can be purchased in the BHSU Bookstore for $24. To learn more visit

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