MARSHALL -It's not every day where you have the likes of writers Phil Dacey, Bart Sutter, Scott Phillips and Stephen Graham Jones in the same room.
"Marshall Festival '10: A Celebration of Rural Writing and Culture" will be Oct. 28-31 at Southwest Minnesota State University. The festival will feature writers from around the Midwest.
SMSU English professor Anthony Neil Smith is one of the organizers for the event. He said the works of 11 featured writers will take place each evening.
"It's sort of builds off of the one we did five years ago," Smith said. "We're inviting back old favorites and new writers."
A few of the featured writers include Philip Dacey, Ross and Bart Sutter, Heid Erdrich and Ed Bok Lee.
Thursday starts out at 1 p.m. with a reading by Mary Ann Corbett, along with readings, book signings and SMSU International students reading some of their works. Smith said
Two of the new featured authors are Kyle Minor, author of "In the Devil's Territory" and Scott Phillips, who has written four novels including "The Ice Harvest." Smith said Minor writes dark, rural fiction that takes place between the South to the Midwest.
"He writers about fundamentalist Christianity," Smith said about "He's also on the edge of rural crimewriting."
Minor has also been to Haiti a lot and is writing a book on his experiences
Phillips, Smith said, is also a welcome addition to the conference.
"He's good at dark, comic crime," Smith said about Phillips. "Really zany, bizarre." Most of it takes place around Wichita." Phillips is also slated to have a new book around the time of the festival, Smith said.
Bok Lee is also new to the conference. Smith said he is a poet with an Asian background who was raised in North Dakota.
"He talks about that mix, that clash of cultures," Smith said.
And the conference will highlight works from 50 up-and-coming writers from around the region. Many are coming from universities in five states, Smith said.
"Four of our alumni are coming back for a reading," Smith said.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, SMSU alumni Daniel Wahl, Jess Fokken, Dan Vierck and Amee Kramer will do a reading.
The premiere of Bart Sutter play "Pine Creek Parish" will be during Festival weekend. It will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the SMSU Fine Arts Theatre.
Ross Sutter will be part of childrens' activities that will take place Saturday morning.
"Both Sutter brothers have a history here,"?Smith said. There is also a "Sutter Brothers" hour at 1 p.m. Friday.
Local poet Florence Chard Dacey will also be involved with Saturday's children's activities. Smith said she'll do a poetry writing workshop for kids.
"We're going to invite English classes from area elementary schools," Smith said.
Smith said the hope is when the conference is set up for this year is to have it every other year from now on, on a smaller scale.
"Make it a sustainable conference," Smith said.