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Waldorf Hosts Pushcart Prize Nominee Dana Yost

Published author Dana Yost.

By: Angel Massee

The creative writing program hosted author, Dana Yost on Tuesday, Feb. 1, where Yost read an excerpt from his novel.

“You get so much out of an event like this because you get the backstory and can ask questions,” said Lydia Knudston. Knudston, a creative major at Waldorf University. Knudston was glad there was a bigger turnout in numbers but wished more students were able to attend.

Yost graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University and has lived mostly in Minnesota his whole life. He did spend more than 6 years in Forest City, Iowa and now currently lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Being the daily newspaper editor of Marshall Independent and West Central Tribune, Yost has written eight books and had poems published in magazines. Also he has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize.

Reading his new book, “Before I Get Old”, we get to meet a character named Wilcy Schmidt struggling during the Great Depression.

“He did a good job at describing Literary 2scene, giving imagery for the setting and making it flow as a cohesive narrative,” said Knudston.

The book is based on some experiences from his paternal grandfather. This story is a fiction book, which is the first he has written.

“I found a newspaper article from two weeks before his graduation that said the sky was just pitch black, cannot see anything, the wind was so strong,” said Yost.

His grandfather graduated during the time of farming crisis, where the high winds were blowing the top soil. Yost wanted to explore the idea of following your duty or dream. His grandfather wanted to stay on Lake Michigan but the farm needed him.

“Another big challenge was trying to find a way to fictionalize my grandfather’s life and still make it believable,” said Yost.

He found the character development to be the most difficult aspect. While researching his grandfather, he learned their experience on the farm wasn’t much different from his own. Yost enjoyed writing this novel and the experience he gained writing fiction.

“I do not think I’ll ever have another fiction, but then again I wrote 710 page book, 5 years ago and said I never write another big book,” said Yost.