North Dakota is one of the large Midwestern states; it borders Canada to the North and has many similarities in culture and dialect with its Northern neighbour. It is renowned for the beauty and isolation of the Great Plains and its snow bound winters; it also contains within its borders the geographic centre of the North American continent.
Culturally there is a strong Native American influence which has not been entirely dissipated by European immigration; the state culture is also highly influenced by the large amount of Northern European immigrants who once flocked there, including many Scandinavians and Germans, who have carried on their Old World folk customs.
Larry Woiwode is the poet laureate of North Dakota and has spent much of his career writing about the people and the nature of this Northern state. His novel Born Brothers is a nostalgic depiction of a North Dakotan childhood. Louise Erdrich’s The Beet Queen is also set in North Dakota and traces the changes undergone by a rural family over the course of 40 years; the saga interrogates the notion of community which exists in the desolate landscape of the state. Miss LuLu Bett by Pulitzer Prize winning author Gale Zona is also set in the state and deals with similar small town family dramas.