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“Station Eleven” novelist to speak at Black Hills State Feb. 25

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, February 11, 2019/Categories: Events, Academic Affairs, College of Liberal Arts, Community, Events, Faculty, 2018

Novelist Emily St. John Mandel, best-selling author of “Station Eleven,” will present a lecture at Black Hills State University as part of the Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series. The lecture will be held Monday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. in Clare and Josef Meier Hall on the BHSU campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Mandel’s novel “Station Eleven” has a special tie to Spearfish this year, as the community and Spearfish High School students are reading the book as part of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant for The Big Read, a program to “broad our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.”

Dr. Amy Fuqua, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and dean of Graduate Studies at BHSU, says Mandel’s lecture will be a “culminating event” for many in the community.

“With over 1,200 copies of Mandel’s book distributed throughout our community as part of The Big Read, this is an exciting opportunity for the community of readers to hear directly from a young, successful, and upcoming novelist,” says Fuqua.

Mandel will meet with BHSU students in an Advanced Writing course as part of her visit to Spearfish. Fuqua noted that Mandel’s work was incorporated into several courses at BHSU, along with a host of activities through The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center which continue until the end of March.

Becky Naccarato Eastburn, executive director of The Matthews, says The Big Read is an opportunity to focus on the importance of arts and literature to the human experience, even after a cataclysmic societal change as in Mandel’s book.

“We are thrilled to provide an opportunity to bring a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read author to our community for the first time with special thanks to the South Dakota Humanities Council,” says Naccarato Eastburn. “We believe this event will increase our community’s interest and engagement in reading the novel and participating in the extensive programming available to them. It will also further the educational experience for our students and the community.”

For more information or details, email or call 605-642-6385.

About Emily St. John Mandel
Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently “Station Eleven,” which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Morning News Tournament of Books, and has been translated into 27 languages. A previous novel, “The Singer's Gun,” was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including “Best American Mystery Stories 2013.” Mandel is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. For more information on Mandel, please visit

About the Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series at BHSU
The Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series at BHSU was established in 1986 by a gift endowment from Madeline Young, a 1924 alumna. The speaker series was initiated at BHSU in 1987, with an address by former United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. Other Madeline Young Speakers have included: Terry Waite, former hostage, hostage negotiator and envoy for England's Archbishop of Canterbury; Felix Justice and Danny Glover, actors; Sam Donaldson, television broadcaster; Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize winner; Lech Walesa, former Polish president; Annabelle Gurwitch, host of a national reality show that encourages green living; Alexandra Fuller, author of “The Legend of Colton H. Bryant”; and Vinny Guadagnino from MTV's reality show "Jersey Shore."

About the NEA Big Read
An initiative of the NEA in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Showcasing a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery. The program annually supports approximately 75 dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection. Each community program that receives an NEA Big Read grant—which ranges between $5,000 and $15,000—is also provided with resources, outreach materials, and training on various aspects such as working with local partners, developing public relations strategies, and leading book discussions and Q&As. The Matthews, BHSU, the Grace Balloch Memorial Library, and the Spearfish School District partnered together to bring the NEA Big Read to Spearfish featuring "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel.

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It is with a troubled heart that we write this note of concern and support for the Black community. The events over the last few weeks and following the tragic senseless deaths of African Americans in Georgia, Kentucky, and Minnesota have yet again brought racial injustices to the forefront.