Book Published by Augustana's Center for Western Studies Named Midwest Book Awards Winner

“The Interior Borderlands: Regional Identity in the Midwest and Great Plains” has been named a Midwest Book Awards winner in the History-General category. The 30th annual Midwest Book Awards winners were announced on Saturday, June 27, during a regional online watch party. The awards program, organized by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MiPA), recognizes quality in independent publishing in the Midwest.

“Through its Center for Western Studies,” notes Executive Director Dr. Harry Thompson, “Augustana has the distinction of being the only university in South Dakota to have a continuously operating academic press. For more than forty years, the center has been the publisher of books of enduring value about the region surrounding Augustana, with titles in anthropology, geography, history, business, agriculture, the military, the courts, and the performing and visual arts.”

Edited by founding president of the Midwestern History Association Jon K. Lauck, “The Interior Borderlands” explores questions of geographical and cultural significance to the Midwest and Great Plains. The book is a collection of 20 essays plus a preface, “West from Here,” and introduction, “Crossing the Line: In Search of the Midwest/Great Plains Borderlands” by Thompson and Lauck, respectively. Lauck is also editor of the journal Middle West Review.

Contributors teach at colleges and universities in California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and France. Two of the essays are by Augustana Professors Dr. Debbie Hanson, department of English and journalism, and Dr. Michael Mullin, department of history.

The 2020 Midwest Book Awards was open to books published and copyrighted in 2019 in MiPA’s 12-state Midwestern region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. This year’s competition garnered 221 entries in 31 categories, which were judged by a panel of 99 librarians and booksellers from every state in the Midwestern region. John Wunder of the University of Nebraska, calls this book “special” and notes that it “rivals any and all other North American regional writings. Don’t miss it!” Western historian Richard W. Etulain says this collection “provides another notable contribution to our burgeoning understanding of the American Midwest” and is “a strong source for all readers.”

About the Center for Western Studies

Founded by English professor and writer-in-residence Herbert Krause in 1964 and officially established by the Augustana Board of Trustees in 1970, the Center for Western Studies is celebrating its 50th year in 2020.  It is one of the earliest regional studies centers in America. Today, in addition to research and publishing, the Center is the sponsor of the Boe Forum on Public Affairs, Dakota Conference on the Northern Plains, and Artists of the Plains.

About the Midwest Book Awards

Midwest Book Award winners are typically announced every year in Minneapolis at the awards gala, but observing the travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, the Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MiPA) hosted a free online watch party on Facebook. The Midwest Book Awards, which began in 1989, is organized by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association. Founded in 1984, MiPA exists today as a vibrant professional nonprofit association that serves the Midwest independent publishing community through education, networking, and peer recognition. For a complete list of finalists, visit mipa.org/midwest-book-awards. Follow @MIPAMidwestBookAwards on Facebook.


Dr. Harry Thompson, executive director and publisher, Center for Western Studies, Augustana University, 605.274.4007, harry.thompson@augie.edu

Jon K. Lauck, editor of "The Interior Borderlands: Regional Identity in the Midwest and Great Plains," editor-in-chief, Middle West Review, 605.951.4465, jlauck1941@hotmail.com

Jennifer Baum, chair, Midwest Book Awards, 248.259.0090, bookawards@mipa.org

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