Read ND launches

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Category: Corporate

FARGO, N.D., March 23, 2006 — A new project is promoting North Dakota literature. “Read North Dakota” offers an Internet site that encourages conversation about the people, communities and values portrayed in books that have helped shape our state.

The cornerstone of the project, a Web site at, lists authors from North Dakota or those who have written books about the state, their relevant book titles, and offers a discussion board for dialogue. Jan Daley, executive director of the North Dakota Humanities Council, said the initial list offers books of fiction, but the next phase will include poetry, nonfiction, memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies.

Book clubs, individuals and educators can use the site as a resource and join in statewide readings and discussions about featured literature. Supplemental educational materials are being produced. “We created a ‘top ten’ list of North Dakota authors and are encouraging individuals, book clubs, and students to read one of these titles per year. This year, we recommend Leif Enger’s ‘Peace Like a River’ for our first selection,” added Daley.

Bob Dambach, director of television programming and production for Prairie Public Television and one of the project partners, said that long hours of planning and research have gone into developing the project. He and the other project partners began meeting in June 2005 to discuss goals and identify the content that would become

“Our purpose is to generate conversations about the literature that has shaped our state and its citizens,” said Dambach. “’Read North Dakota’ is an ambitious effort that will help North Dakotans understand our literary and cultural heritage, and help people outside the state appreciate what North Dakota has to offer.”

“It’s my hope that through this partnership and its programs there will be increased awareness of, and interest in, North Dakota authors,” said Daley. “They work in solitude and their talents are often overlooked by their fellow North Dakotans.

In September 2006, “Peace Like a River” author Leif Enger will visit with selected book clubs and make public appearances in Fargo and elsewhere, sponsored by the Read North Dakota partners.

Dambach stresses that the books listed on the site are ranked only on the project partners’ input, and they are not a complete listing. “That’s why there’s a discussion board,” Dambach said.“We want to create discussion. We want to hear from readers out there.”

The project is the cumulative ambition of Prairie Public Television, North Dakota Public Radio, the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the North Dakota Humanities Council, the North Dakota Library Association, and the North Dakota Council on the Arts.

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