In 2013, South Dakota State University (SDSU) established the Great Plains Emerging Tribal Writer Award to encourage the development of American Indian writers who are in the early phases of their writing careers.  This award allows aspiring tribal writers to share their stories, culture, and heritage with a larger audience for the first time.

The award winner will receive $500 and the winning submission will be considered for publication in Oakwood, SDSU’s literary and art magazine.

The purpose of this award is to increase the number of American Indian writers presenting and publishing in the Great Plains region.  More importantly, this award is intended to help inspire a new generation of writers to honor and perpetuate their tribe’s rich, long-standing literary traditions.


Applicants must be tribally-enrolled writers from the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Nebraska who have not yet published a book of creative writing.  There is no entry fee to apply.


Please submit the following material for consideration:

  • Cover letter with a brief biographical sketch including name, tribal affiliation, and significant accomplishments.

***Finalists will be asked to submit proof of tribal enrollment.***

  • Writing sample, not to exceed 10,000 words.  Eligible genres include: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama, and screenplays.

***Please DO NOT include the author’s name on the manuscript submitted for review.***

DUE DATE: MAY 1, 2019

Please email application materials to or by post to: Emerging Tribal Writers Award, English Department, South Dakota State University, Pugsley Center 301/Campus Box 2218, Brookings, SD 57007.

Sponsored by SDSU’s English Department and American Indian Studies Program