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Lecture to cover historical fiction in the Great Plains
Novelist Ann Weisgarber will speak at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Center for Great Plains Studies on how she wrote her first book, “The Personal History of Rachel DuPree,” a historical novel set in the Great Plains. The main character, DuPree, is an African-American woman who leaves Chicago with her husband to claim homesteads in the Badlands of South Dakota in 1917. A movie production company headed by Viola Davis is working on translating the story to screen.
“The Personal History of Rachel DuPree” won the Stephen Turner Award for New Fiction and the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction. In England, the novel garnered nominations for the 2009 Orange Prize and the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers.
“A photograph in a museum inspired my first novel. An archivist showed me a telephone directory and just like that, I had the foundation for my second novel. While working on my third book, a master thesis by a history graduate student helped me write myself out of a box,” Weisgarber said. “My books exist only because others did the hard work of preserving and presenting the past.”
Weisgarber’s book “The Promise” was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and was a finalist for the Spur Award for Best Western Historical Fiction and the Ohioana Book Award for Fiction. Her latest book, “The Glovemaker,” set in Utah, was released in 2019. She was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters and is a member of the Historical Novel Society. Weisgarber lives in Galveston, Texas.
The lecture adds to the center’s work on the history of black homesteaders in the Great Plains. Learn more.
The event is part of the Paul A. Olson Great Plains lecture series and is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase during the event. Learn more.