Luverne honors life of author in year-long project
LUVERNE -- An ongoing project in Luverne is bringing new voice to the long-ago written word of renowned author and Luverne resident Frederick Manfred.
Late last week, a second set of four bookmarks was released containing the words of Manfred overlaid on artwork generated by his daughter, Marya Manfred, and grandsons Rowan and Bly Pope. Plans were to create 12 original fine art bookmarks -- four to be released at a time during January, February and March -- as an introduction to the year-long Scribe of Siouxland celebration planned in Manfred's honor. The bookmarks contain quotes taken from some of the more than 25 books Manfred wrote during his lifetime. His first book was published in 1944.
Luverne Area Chamber Director Jane Wildung Lanphere said several events are planned to honor Manfred's life and legacy in 2012. He would have celebrated his 100th birthday on Jan. 6.
"There was interest in trying to craft some sort of celebration honoring the legacy of Frederick Manfred to southwest Minnesota and literature," Lanphere said. On behalf of the planning committee established for the project, Lanphere applied for and received a $19,875 grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council. A large portion of the grant funding comes from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment dollars).
"The project involved all the fine arts, from literature to drawing ... to performance art," Lanphere said, adding that the project continues to morph into something more.
One of the projects to begin this month is Reading Rocks the County, which hopes to get residents and students in both the Luverne and Hills-Beaver Creek school districts reading about the Siouxland. It is believed that Manfred coined the term Siouxland, which further explains the Scribe of Siouxland theme. Manfred's book, Lord Grizzly -- rereleased last June -- is recommended for students in ninth grade and adults, while books for those in elementary and middle school include A Prairie Alphabet, The Long Way Westward, Lizzie & the Prairie Fire and Mr. Tucket.
On March 29-30, oral historian Jim Two Crows Wallen will share stories of the prairie, including Wagons West and Buckskins, Furs and Calico. Four presentations will be offered each day, and the programs are free and open to the public.
The Wallen visit will be followed up on March 31 with a Manfred at the Movies night at the Palace Theatre in downtown Luverne. The free, public event begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes the showing of Johnson County Wars, a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie based on Manfred's Riders of Judgment. The evening will also include a program on American Grizzle ... Portrait of the Writer with Mike Hazard, an interview with Frederick Manfred by his daughter, Freya Manfred, and My Father by the Fire with Greg Winter.
A Manfred 100th Birthday event is planned on April 21, and will include authors of Siouxland sharing their memories of Frederick Manfred. A Blue Mounds Writers Series is planned June 2 with Freya Manfred and Thomas Smith, and again on Aug. 25 with Robert Bly and Ruth Bly. Drawing and photography workshops are also planned in June, and a Manfred Memorabilia and Art Show exhibit is slated for July at the Rock County Veterans Memorial Building. The opening reception is slated for July 8, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Several of the items in the exhibit come from the Manfred family and the Center for Western Studies.
A Siouxland Writing Contest is planned in March and April, and a Siouxland Photography Contest is slated for October. Newly added to the list of events is a book review of Lord Grizzly planned March 16 and March 23 with Fred Manfred Jr.
Lanphere said during the course of planning the celebration she has learned quite a bit about Manfred. For instance, he gave the eulogy at the funeral of Sinclair Lewis and was chosen to sit with Native American artist Oscar Howe as he approached death.
"The more I learned about him, the more I realized the really significant lifestyle -- life -- he had," she said. "He's been gone for almost 20 years. You forget what a legendary figure he was in literature. He was nominated for a Nobel Prize in literature four times."
As for the newly released bookmarks highlighting Manfred's writing, people may receive one free bookmark at the Luverne Area Chamber of Commerce, Carnegie Cultural Center or Rock County Community Library. The complete set of four in the second release is available for purchase at those same locations. To place an order, contact the Luverne Area Chamber at (507) 283-4061 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Bookmarks from the first series are also still available.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.