Author Will Weaver will lead a storytelling workshop from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 27 at the Park Rapids Area Library.

The workshop will give attention to "overlooked" stories, ones that people don't feel are important, but which actually have value, certainly to the teller but perhaps having local and regional historical value as well.

"We all have those stories," Weaver says. "My goal in the workshop will include identifying the 'what next' with such stories - how to get them into recorded or written form so that they endure."

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council is sponsoring the free workshop as entries are being accepted for the Great American Story contest to be held in September.

"We hope workshop participants might consider entering their stories in the contest," says Steve Maanum, who is coordinating this year's Great American Story. He was a finalist in 2016 and winner in 2017.

Weaver grew up on a farm near Park Rapids. Thanks to some great English teachers, he says he took an interest in writing. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor's of Arts in English, and met his wife, Rose, in a Shakespeare class. They headed to California, where he completed his Master's in Creative Writing at Stanford.

His short story collections and novels are well known to local readers. "Red Earth, White Earth," Weaver's debut novel, was published by Simon & Schuster and produced as a CBS television movie. "A Gravestone Made of Wheat" won awards, including the Minnesota Book Award for Fiction. The title story was produced as the independent feature film, "Sweet Land." "Sweet Land: The Musical" debuted in early 2017.

Weaver has also written several successful novels for young adults, including "Memory Boy," which is used widely in schools across the U.S., and in 2016 was produced as a full-length opera by the Minnesota Opera.

In addition to writing, Weaver also taught creative writing and literature at Bemidji State University, where he and Rose live on the Mississippi River. He still writes full time and travels widely, speaking at schools and conventions on all matters related to writing and reading, literature and literacy.

For the past two years, Weaver has served as a judge for the Great American Story contest, where the first-place storyteller receives $1,000. Second-place receives $500 and each of the other two finalists receive $250.

For entry information and rules for the Great American Story, go to Entries no more than 10 minutes in length may be posted online or recorded on a CD or flash drive and mailed. Entry fee is $10. Entries must be posted on the website or, if mailed, postmarked no later than June 28.

The workshop and storytelling contest are made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesota, through a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.