UND Writers Conference Blends Art, History And Politics To Inspire New Generation Of Creators

Cari Campbell , UND associate professor of history (left), moderates a panel on “Art and Politics” during the 49th Annual UND Writers Conference. Campbell was joined by conference featured artists Marlon James, Lauren Markham and Nicholas Galanin. Photo by Paul Wesp/UND Today.

Laura Slaathaug and Keegan Hawley found seats smack dab in the middle of roughly 200 UND Writers Conference fans filling the UND Memorial Union ballroom Wednesday night.

The firsthand experience of the storytelling of “Killers of the Flower Moon” author David Grann proved to be a flawless conclusion to a shared journey for the lovebirds – on the page and on the road.

“Four months ago I heard David on NPR, and then ordered the book, and Laura did the same,” said Hawley, who is currently stationed at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

“Keegan’s from Oklahoma, so that’s a part of his interest in the book,” added Slaathaug, a UND dietetics alum. “I recently went on a trip with him down to Oklahoma, so we traveled through some of the area and saw the Plains.”

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is Grann’s critically-acclaimed historical account of the 1920s murders of several members of Oklahoma’s Osage Nation. His research uncovered truths underlying a dynamic and chilling plot to strip the tribe of wealth gained from the discovery of oil beneath their feet.

“It’s a great book. It’s so detailed and brutal – it’s like Louis L’Amour meets George R.R. Martin,” Slaathaug said, to which Hawley chuckled, “Except, non-fiction.”

To read more about what happened at this year’s Writers Conference, click here.