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2014 Mari Sandoz Symposium, September 26, 2014


The 2014 Mari Sandoz Symposium was held September 25-26, 2014 at Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska and featured authors and scholars including: Dr. Kurt Kinbacher (Chadron State College), Dr. P. Jane Hafen (UNLV), Sean Doolittle (author), and doctoral students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Raul Palma, Tom Bennitt, Jordan Farmer, William "Nick" White and Casey Pycior.

Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Tom Bennitt practiced law in Pittsburgh for seven years before pursuing a creative writing and teaching career.He received his MFA in Fiction at the University of Mississippi, where he held a Grisham Fellowship and was Co-Editor of The Yalobusha Review. His short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Texas Review, Binnacle, Burnt Bridge, Twisted Tongue, Monongahela Review, River Walk Journal, and Fiction Writers Review, among others. Honors and awards include a Pushcart Prize nomination, Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Contest (finalist), and the Ropewalk Press Fiction Chapbook Contest (finalist). Tom was also a resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Currently, he is a graduate instructor and PhD candidate at Nebraska-Lincoln, where he lives with his wife and two dogs.

Sean Doolittle is the critically-acclaimed author of several crime and suspense novels. His first book, Dirt, was named one of the 100 Best Books of 2001 by the editors of His second book, Burn, won the Gold Medal in the Mystery category of ForeWord Magazine's 2003 Book of the Year Award. The Cleanup received the 2007 Barry Award, the Crimespree Magazine reader's choice award, a Spinetingler Award, and a Nebraska Honor Book Award, and is currently in development as a feature film. Lake Country received the 2013 International Thriller Writers Award for best paperback original novel and a Nebraska Honor Book Award. Doolittle's books have been licensed for translation in several languages. His short fiction has appeared in The Year's Best Horror Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, and elsewhere.  Doolittle received undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, where he received the Mari Sandoz Prize for Graduate Fiction. He currently lives in western Iowa with his family.

Jordan Farmer is originally from Logan, West Virginia and is currently a Ph.D. student studying creative writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he teaches 20th Century Fiction and Creative Writing. His fiction has been a finalist of both the Sycamore Review Wabash Fiction Prize and Cutbank’s Montana Prize in Fiction and has appeared or is forth coming in the Southwest Review, Southern Humanities Review, Appalachian Heritage, Kestrel, and Rip Rap Journal. He is currently finishing a novel set in a juvenile detention center and a collection of stories. 

Dr. P. Jane Hafen (Taos Pueblo) is a Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She serves as an advisory editor of the Great Plains Quarterly, on the editorial board of Michigan State University Press, American Indian Series, on the board of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, and is an Associate Fellow at the Center for Great Plains Studies.  She is a Frances C. Allen Fellow, D’Arcy McNickle Center for the History of the American Indian, The Newberry Library, and is a Clan Mother of the Native American Literature Symposium.  She received the William H. Morris Teaching Award for the College of Liberal Arts, UNLV and the UNLV Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award.  She edited Dreams and Thunder: Stories, Poems and The Sun Dance Opera by Zitkala-Sa, co-edited The Great Plains Reader, and is author of Reading Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine and articles and book chapters about American Indian Literatures.  She recently edited a collection of essays, Critical Insights: Louise Erdrich.

Kurt E. Kinbacher is an Assistant Professor of History at Chadron State College.  He is co-editor of Reconfigurations of Native North America and author of several articles and book chapters that focus on identity construction, human migrations, and region.  His teaching interests are global in scope with favoritism towards East Asia and North America from a world-wide perspective. 

Raul Palma is a PhD student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he works as an editorial assistant for Prairie Schooner and teaches composition and rhetoric and creative writing. His critical work focuses on 20th century American and Cuban Literature, particularly the relationship between migration, identity, and language. Winner of the 2014 Mari Sandoz/Prairie Schooner Short Story Prize and the 2012 Soul-Making Keats Mary Mackey Short Story Prize, Palma's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alimentum, decomP magazinE, Midwestern Gothic, Lalitamba, NANO Fiction, Naugatuck River Review, Prairie Schooner, Rhino, Saw Palm: Florida Literature & Art, and elsewhere. His novella, Immaculate Mulch, is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press in the spring. 

Casey Pycior was born and raised in Kansas City.  He earned his MA in Literature at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, his MFA in fiction writing at Wichita State University, and he is currently a PhD candidate in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Big Muddy, Front Porch, Pear Noir!, Beloit Fiction Journal, Watershed Review, Midwestern Gothic, and Harpur Palate, among other places, and his short story collection, Bald Horizons, was a finalist for the 2014 Iowa / John Simmons Short Fiction Award.  He lives in Lincoln with his wife and son.  

William "Nick" White’s fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Hopkins Review, Indiana Review, and elsewhere. A graduate of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Ohio State University, he is currently pursuing a doctorate in English at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.