New board writes next chapter for local group


Members of the literary nonprofit Dunn County Writers (DCW) elected a new board of directors at the group’s inaugural annual meeting on May 23 at the Dunn County Museum in Dunn Center.

Board members are President Colette “Koko” Gjermundson (Marshall), Vice President Verna Wolf (Killdeer), Secretary Patricia Bailey (Dunn Center), Treasurer Ruth Granfor (Dunn Center) and general directors Julee Gartner (Killdeer) and Deb Lancaster (Halliday). Jennifer Strange (Killdeer) was appointed to another term as executive director. Terry Moore (Killdeer) was appointed to another term as fiscal agent.

Each director will serve a two-year term, attend quarterly meetings and help guide DCW on its mission to “capture and chronicle the voice of rural North Dakotans” and “to preserve a written legacy” for generations to come.

There’s never been a more pressing need for such an undertaking, Gjermundson said.

“It fills a gap for people who want to gather and use their creativity to share their own stories and family histories,” said the ranchwife, homeschool mom and agricultural journalist. “It’s important for Dunn County residents to have our daily, weekly and annual stories of life recorded on something other than a cell phone.”

Gjermundson said DCW members—longtime North Dakotans and relative newcomers alike—all care about the region.

“Most of us are rooted here for some reason, so the past, the present and the future matter to us,” she said. “It’s part of our shared humanity and culture and geography.”

Strange thanked Gjermundson and Arts North Dakota Executive Director Josh Nichols (Dickinson) for serving as appointed board members during DCW’s first year as a North Dakota nonprofit.

Strange formed the group in early 2014, with the help of Dunn County Historical Society’s Oral Historian Deb Lancaster. Lancaster had helped coordinate a November 2013 writing workshop sponsored by the North Dakota Humanities Council, which Strange attended. That’s where about half of the group’s current membership first met.

In April 2015, DCW incorporated as a North Dakota nonprofit. During DCW’s first year, it produced two Visiting Writing Series and published a booklet of original writing, “Winter Whispers.” Since then, DCW has published its second annual booklet, “A Pen for All Seasons” and produced a third Visiting Writers Series.

The membership is currently working on its 2016 booklet, “Journeys: North Dakota’s Badlands & Beyond,” to be published in December. DCW will produce its fourth Visiting Writers Series, “Native Americans in Contemporary Literature and Journalism: A Weekend of Reading, Writing & Workshopping” Sept. 17-18 at the High Plains Cultural Center in Killdeer.

“I’m thrilled there is a group that is known as Dunn County Writers,” said Gjermundson. “I’m proud of the group, of the writers and musicians we’ve hosted and of the programs we’ve pulled together to provide these creative opportunities in Dunn County.”

DCW’s next board meeting is Monday, August 22, 6 – 8 p.m. at the Dunn County Museum in Dunn Center.

The general membership meets the first Monday of every month, 6 – 8 p.m. at the museum. Monthly sessions include distribution of literary news, planning for upcoming programs and a workshop-style Guided Writing Exercise followed by sharing. The next regular meeting is Monday, Sept. 5. Writers of all genres and experience levels are welcome to attend.

For more information about DCW’s meetings, projects and programs, contact Jennifer Strange at (541) 944-4131 or

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