Category Archives: Minnesota writers

Minnesota Book Awards 2017 – Nominees Named

HOT OFF THE PRESS!

MINNESOTA BOOK AWARDS – SAVE THE DATE – APRIL 8, 2017

We have just received this message from Friends of the St Paul Library, current sponsor of the Minnesota Book Awards:

We are pleased to announce the finalists in all nine categories for the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards. Chosen on Saturday, January 28, by 27 judges from around the state – writers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and others from the literary community – the finalists are….

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

Tell Me a Tattoo Story, by Alison McGhee, illus. by Eliza Wheeler (Chronicle Books)

This Is NOT a Cat! By David LaRochelle, illus. by Mike Wohnoutka (Sterling Children’s Books)

Worm Loves Worm, by .J. Austrian, illus. by Mike Curato (Balzer + Bray)

Yellow Time, by Lauren Stringer (Beach Lane Books)

GENERAL NONFICTION

Canoes: A natural history in North America, by Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims (University of Minnesota Press *)

Designing Our Way to a Better World, by Thomas Fisher (University of Minnesota Press *)

Thrill Me: Essays on fiction, by Benjamin Percy (Graywolf Press *)

The War on Science: Who’s waging it, Why it matters, What we can do about it, by Shawn Otto (Milkweed Editions *)

GENRE FICTION

The Born and the Made, by Robert Spande (Self-published)

The Heavens May Fall, by Aalen Eskens (Seventh Street Books)

Rise of the Spring Tide, by James Stitt (Self-published)

Stealing the Countess, by David Housewright (Minotaur Books)

MEMOIR /CREATIVE NONFICTION

I Like Inside: Memoirs of a babe in toyland, by Michelle Leon (Minnesota Historical Society Press *)

The Song Poet: A memoir of my father, by Kao Kalia Young (Metropolitan Books)

This Is Where I Am: A memoir, by Zike Caigiuri  (University of Minnesota Press*)

The Thunder Before the Storm: The autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt, by Clyde Bellecourt, as told to Jon Lurie (Minnesota Historical Society Press *)

MIDDLE GRADE LITERATURE

Little Cat’s Luck, by Marion Dane Bauer, illus. by Jennifer A. Bell (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

Sachiko: A Nagasaki bomb survivor’s story, by Caren Stelson (Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group *)

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse, by Brian Farrey (Algonquin Young Readers/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)

Sticks & Stones, by Abby Cooper (Farrar Straus Giroux/Macmillan)

MINNESOTA NONFICTION

The Big March: The story of a lost landscape, by Cheri Register (Minnesota Historical Society Press *)

The Ford Century in Minnesota, by Brian McMahon (University of Minnesota Press *)

Women of Mayo Clinic: The founding generation, by Virginia M. Wright-Peterson (Minnesota Historical Society Press*)

NOVEL & SHORT STORY

The Annie Year, by Stephanie Wilbur Ash (Unnamd press)

Do Not Find, by Kathleen Novak (The Permanent Press)

LaRose, by Louise Erdrich (Harper Collins Publishers)

Wintering, by Peter Geye (Alfred A Knopf)

POETRY

May Day, by Gretchen Marquette (Graywolf Press *)

Tula, by Chris Santiago (Milkweed Editions *)

Unbearable Splendor, by Sun Yung Shin (Coffee House Press *)

Yes Thorn, by Amy Munson (Tupelo Press)

YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE

Assassin’s Heart, by Sarah Ahlers (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Publishers)

LGBTQ+ Athletes Claim the Field: Striving for equality, by Kristin Cronn-Mills (Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner Publishing Group *)

The Memory Book, by Lara Avery (Poppy/Little Brown and Company)

Original Fake, by Kristin Cronn-Mills, art by E. Eero Johnson (GP.Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House)

* Indicates Minnesota publisher

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Award winners will be announced at the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 8, at the InterContinental Hotel Saint Paul Riverfront.   The Preface reception begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the Awards Ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40-$55 and available by visiting http://www.thefriends.org or calling 651-222-3242. The official hashtag for social media is #mnbookawards. All are encouraged to use it when posting comments, status updates or tweeting about any of the authors or their books.

 

 

 

 

 

Poken Sword – A space where love of language matters

The evening’s program is so rich and varied that I contacted the planner to be certain that all of these people, all of the talent, all of these ideas will be shared in just one evening at Poken Sword!   Yes they are, and here are the details!!!

“A luminous evening dedicated to the Love of Language” is the tagline for Poken Sword.   The phrase sings out as we as a nation come to grips with the reality that words matter, truth matters.

The theme for this week’s Poken Sword literary salon is “Solitude.” Guests this week include Franklin Knoll, legislator, judge and poet.   Joining Franklin Knoll are writer and artist Hannah Kreibich, Judoka poet Gumo Orenji (Eric Tu), writer Noel Labine, Earl Crosby and Jason Wells. Each will share an original work on the theme of “Solitude.”

The evening is one in a monthly series of literary salons, gathered the fourth Friday of each month at 2001 A Space, located at 2001 5th Street NE in the heart of the vibrant Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area. Doors open at 6:30 PM.   Salons are free and open with a simple $5 voluntary contribution.

Each salon features original work by local writers and thinkers; each will focus on a specific theme – future salons are these:

  • February 24 – Passion
  • March 24 – Turbulence
  • April 28 – Fools
  • May 26 – Joy

Learn more about Poken Sword in this interview with  founders, Christine Jaspers and Dean Hawthorne:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=Z6by48NS1V4&feature=youtu.be

Learn more about this month’s and future guests here: http://www.pokensword.com

 

 

Honoring the Writers of Northeast Minnesota

Organizers of the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA) have posted a “date due” notice – not for loaned library books but for nominations of books for the 29th Annual NEMBA. The awards recognize books that are substantially representative of northeastern Minnesota which includes Aitkin, Carleton, Cook, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Pine and St. Louis counties. Categories include these:

  • Nonfiction
  • Fiction
  • Art and Photography
  • Children’s literature
  • Poetry

Eligible titles must have been originally released in 2016; nominations should include a nonrefundable entry fee ($25) for each title.

The annual awards are co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library and the Friends of the Duluth Public Library. An awards reception honoring all nominated authors will be held on Thursday, May 18, in the Kirby Ballroom on the UMD campus. The reception is free and open to the public.

For past recipients and more about the awards, click here: http://www.d.umn.edu/lib/nemba/award.htm

Questions? Call 218 726 7889 or email libnemba@d.umn.edu.

 

 

Making Time for the Joy of Poetry

The crown of literature is poetry. Somerset Maugham

Writer’s Almanac, the perfect post to the start the day, reminded readers this morning that it was on this day in 1985 that President Ronald Reagan signed a bill establishing an official Poet Laureate for the United States – the story of which may have the longest e-address ever! The LC description is brief and well worth a read. (https://www.loc.gov/poetry/about_laureate.html?utm_campaign=TWA+Newsletter+for+December+20%2c+2016&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua&utm_content=The+Writer%27s+Almanac+for+December+20%2c+2016&elqTrackId=7b2a150483574910ad46f5d560051013&elq=49e5474782b94259a19032223d173dd2&elqaid=25815&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=22661)

Thinking about Poets Laureate soon led me to dig a little deeper to learn just who those exalted men and women of words were.   In short order I discovered a great complementary website, again gathered and shared by the staff of the Library of Congress. Did you know that a few states have state poems? And several, including Minnesota, have Poets Laureate. https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/poethttp://www.loc.gov/rr/main/poets/minnesota.htmlslaureate/

Learn much more about the history of Minnesota’s Poets Laureate, past and present here: https://www.loc.gov/rr/main/poets/minnesota.html. The state’s    current Poet Laureate, is Joyce Sutphen, who has held the position since 2011. Learn more about Joyce Sutphen on her website: http://www.joycesutphen.com

On a cold winter day, when one hasn’t quite finished holiday cards or gifts, it’s just too enticing to keep on probing the literary treasures that capture the spirit of the day. So I was at the ready when the email from Poets.org popped up. As is their special way, the folks there have gathered a selection of winter poems – a sort of happy holiday literary escape to lift the spirits of weary readers. Their picks:

“To Winter” by William Blake
“Winter is good – his Hoar Delights (1316)” by Emily Dickinson
“Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden
“Winter Field” by Joanna Klink
“The Feast of Lights” by Emma Lazarus
“Noel” by Anne Porter
“Recollections of My Christmas Tree” by Mary Ruefle
“Elegy in Joy [excerpt]” by Muriel Rukeyser
“Why Is the Color of Snow?” by Brenda Shaughnessy
“The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens
“The Coming of Light” by Mark Strand

As a special holiday gift the editors at Poets.org then dipped into their archives to share the charm of E.E. Cumming (yes, i was lower case back in the day)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.E.Cumming)  Take time to enjoy Cummings’ 1960 holiday greeting and some reminders of his delightful way with words and ideas!  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/archive-e-e-cummingss-christmas-card?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Academy%20of%20American%20Poets%20Newsletter%20December%2020&utm_content=Academy%20of%20American%20Poets%20Newsletter%20December%2020+Version+A+CID_51548827ec6a7804f752ca6728e4f693&utm_source=Email%20from%20Campaign%20Monitor&utm_term=read-more

Lively mix of issues and media at ESFL this month!

The East Side Freedom Library (www.eastsidefreeodmlibrary.org) continues to explode with creative ideas, provocative programs, and an open door to all who wish to share the energy that fuels this amazing community resource. Here’s what’s up in the weeks to come:

  • Wednesday, October 5, 7:00 p.m. Free and open — Deregulating Desire: Flight attendant activism, family politics, and workplace . Author and former flight attendant and union activist Ryan Murphy will discuss his book by this title. Held at the ESFL 1105 Greenbrier Street in St. Paul.
  • Friday, October 7, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Screening and Discussion of What Happened Miss Simone? (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4284010/mediaviewer/rm346220288) The evening, is co-hosted with A Greener Read Used Bookstore. (http://www.agreenerread.com.  Festivities  begin at 5:00 p.m. at the bookstore (506 Kenny Road) with viewing and discussion of the documentary. This will be followed by discussion of Come Back Africa (https://comebackafrica.com) at 7:00 at the ESFL, 1105 Greenbrier Street.
  • Friday & Saturday, October 15-16, it’s a “political graphics workshop” featuring Design and Screenprint from the Living Proof Print Collective. (https://wehavelivingproof.com) Presenters are Aaron Johnson-Ortiz and Aaron Rosenblum. Attend one day or both – it’s free but take time to register at http://goo.gl/forms/NXeFeJVBV7tqewlf2
  • If you actually survive Election Day 2016 you‘ll need to pause and reflect on it all by taking in a series of post-election talks on “Turbulent Times in the Race for the Presidency: An Historical Overview.” The series will explore the issues that have “driven political energies in the past two years – and in the more distant past. Presentations are set for Tuesdays in November (the 15th, 22nd, and 29th) 12:30 p.m. at the Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Avenue North. The series features presentations by Peter Rachleff, History Professor Emeritus at Macalester and founding Co-ED of the East Side Freedom Library.   The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is co-sponsor of the series.

Questions? info@eastsidefreedomlibrary.org or 651 230 3294.

 

Thinking about seeds, ideas and communities – and how they grow

This is my season for reflecting – mostly about how ideas and projects and movements evolve. The advantage of age is that we can remember when a seed was planted, we watched it grow, and now we rejoice in the harvest.

And so, while writing about the forthcoming Twin Cities Book Festival my thoughts drift back to The Minnesota Festival of the Book, the 1988 extravaganza when writers, publishers, booksellers, librarians and, most of all, readers gathered in Rice Park in downtown St. Paul!

Sponsored by The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the Festival brought together the myriad voices of what later came to be known as Minnesota’s vibrant “community of the book.” The grand goal of the Friends was “to throw a party for books and reading that will entertain and enlighten all ages.

And so the 1988 celebration of the written word was alive with all things bookish – from author signings to Braille editions to government publications, dozens of Minnesota publishers, libraries’ special collections, Friends groups, a host of bookstores, storytellers – not to mention the Sherlock Holmes display hosted by the Norwegian Explorers Club.

One feature of the Minnesota Festival of the Book was the inauguration of the Minnesota Book Awards. Originally sponsored by the Minnesota Center for the Book the awards continue today as an elaborate event sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.

As I reflect on that beautiful September day “back in the day” I remember well the words of a colleague and metro regional economist, who viewed the Rice Park energy and observed – presciently – “now that’s how economic vitality begins.”

Though there is no direct organizational link between the 1988 Festival and this fall’s festival event at the Fairgrounds it is clear to me that the seed planted over a quarter century ago continues to bear fruit in countless ways. Over the years a host of institutions and communications channels have evolved to serve as common ground for the community of the book to thrive in a time of economic, social and technological change.

If you dig deep and keep peeling the onion, artists and freelance writers are the leaders in society – the people who start to get new ideas out ~~ Allan Savory

 

 

 

Rain Taxi hosts 16th annual Twin Cities Book Festival

Books, the children of the brain ~~ Jonathan Swift

Been there, done that! Not if you’re talking about the Twin Cities Book Festival set for Saturday, October 15, with an Open Night Party warm-up on Friday, October 14.  Though it may be an annual autumn ritual, know in advance that you have not seen or done everything that’s on tap for the 2016 Twin Cities Book Festival. (http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival/)

The bibliophile bonanza blasts off at 5:00 Friday evening with an Opening Night Party. http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival/2016-tcbf-opening-night-party-reading/ The evening begins with dinner ($20 – reservations required) to be followed by a free and open talk by British writer Kathryn Aalto who will celebrate the 90th birthday of the classic with a presentation on The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh. (http://www.raintaxi.com/New/media/Aalto-Flyer.pdf) Friday evening events are in the Fine Arts Center on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

The free and open Book Festival blasts off Saturday morning at 10:00. Be prepared — the robust schedule can be overwhelming and the exhibits are irresistible.

One of the best features of the TC’s Book Festival is the digital accessibility of it all — Before you head for the Fairgrounds, check the possibilities that range from the day-long Book Fair (http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival/exhibitors-and-specials/) to scores of events – ranging from “From Hell to Bacchus and Back” to “PayHomage” to numerous pavilions featuring books, events and activities for children and young adults. Pay special note of the fact that many of the events are ASL accessible.