Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996. She is the author of "News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist," winner of a Minnesota Book Award.

Posts about Book awards

More honors for Kate DiCamillo

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: April 11, 2014 - 11:19 AM
Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo

We're barely three months into the New Year, and Minneapolis writer Kate DiCamillo has already been showered with awards: She won her second Newbery Medal in January, just a couple of weeks after being named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress.

Now come two more: Her Newbery winner, "Flora & Ulysses," is one of 10 books to be honored with the Christopher Medal, an award that has gone for 65 years to writers, producers, directors and illustrators who affirm the highest values of the human spirit. It is given by The Christophers, a nonprofit founded in 1945 by Maryknoll Father James Keller, to honor the Judeo-Christian tradition of service to God and humanity.

The full list of Christopher winners is online here. The awards will be presented May 15 in New York.

DiCamillo also will be honored in early May at the Anderson Center for the arts in Red Wing. The A.P. Anderson Award annually is presented to a person for outstanding contributions to literature and the arts in Minnesota. Previous winners include Louise Erdrich, Emilie Buchwald, Jim Brandenburg, Joe Dowling, and Robert Bly and William Duffy. 

How to write a love poem

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: April 2, 2014 - 3:17 PM

When you saw that Garrison Keillor and Common Good Books had decided to offer a $1,000 prize for the winner of this year's love poem contest--and $250 for each of the four runners-up--you probably thought, Heck. I'll never win. It'll probably go to someone really good, like Walt Whitman, or somebody.

Fear not! Prithee! 'Zounds! And other vaguely poetic sounding exclamations! Because the bookstore is hoping to level the playing field a little--bring you up, so to speak, to Whitman's level. And so, on its website, it is offering free advice on how to write a love poem. This advice is from the tops in the field. No, not Walt Whitman (someone needs to break the news to you that Mr. Whitman is dead), but from others just as good (and very much alive).

And so we have advice from Jeff Shotts, executive editor of Graywolf Press and editor of some of the finest poets being published today. Also, advice from Washington State's poet laureate Kathleen Flenniken, Tony Hoagland (whose newest book came out in March) (and was edited by Jeff Shotts), and many others. More advice will pop up between now and the competition deadline of April 15, so check back. 

The advice is sound and simple and much of it applies to good writing in general:  Be direct and intimate, be fully honest, be unexpected. But of course, since they are poets, they said this so much better. Here's a sampling:

"While writing a love poem, you must ignore everyone but the beloved." (Shotts.)

"I learned that love poems could be more than just 'let me count the ways' and contain the dark as well as the light.." (Flenniken.)

"The love poet is advised to twist the data convincingly towards the eccentric as well as the esoteric. Show the beloved emptying a mousetrap. Describe the expression on the mouse’s face." (Hoagland)

So. Ready? Submit your poem (with a signed release, available on the Common Good Books site) by April 15. Winners will be judged by Garrison Keillor, Patricia Hampl and Tom Hennen--fine St Paul poets, all.

And even if you don't win the $1,000, when this is all over you will have written a love poem. And that's no small thing.

Five Minnesota writers win McKnight Artist Fellowships

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 25, 2014 - 10:38 AM
Sun Yung Shin. Photo by Dan Markworth

Sun Yung Shin. Photo by Dan Markworth

The Loft Literary Center has announced this year's winners of the McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers. Four Minnesota poets/spoken word artists, and one children's author have been chosen out of 135 applicants.

The poetry winners are:

Sierra DeMulder, a two-time National Poetry Slam champion and the author of "The Bones Below" and "New Shoes on a Dead Horse"; she lives in Minneapolis.

 Danez Smith, author of "hands on ya knees." His book, "[insert] Boy," will be published this year. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, PANK, The Cortland Review, and elsewhere.

Sun Yung Shin, author of "Rough, and Savage," "Skirt Full of Black," and other books. She edits the online journal "This Spectral Evidence" and lives in Minneapolis.

And Carolyn Williams-Noren of Minneapolis, who is working on her first book.

Molly Beth Griffin

Molly Beth Griffin

The winner in children's literature is Molly Beth Griffin, author of "Loon Baby" and "Silhouette of a Sparrow."

Griffin received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and now teaches at the Loft.

Honorable mention went to Rita Moe, Kristin Naca and Tracy Youngblood in poetry, and Michael Hall, David LaRochelle and Janet Lawson in children's literature.

Judges for the competition were poet Nikky Finney, whose fourth book, "Head Off & Split," won the 2011 National Book Award, and Jordan Brown, an editor who has worked with Anne Ursu, Chris Rylander, Steve Brezenoff, and many others.

This is the 32nd year for the McKnight fellowships, which are supported by the McKnight Foundation. Previous winners include Robert Bly, James Moore, Patricia Hampl, Lorna Landvik, Anne Ursu and so many others.

Kay Sexton Award, Hognander History Award announced

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 7, 2014 - 2:39 PM

The last two big awards leading up to next month’s Minnesota Book Awards gala event have been announced. The Hognander History Award, which is given every other year to the author of a significant book about Minnesota history, and the Kay Sexton Award, which is given annually to a person who has made a significant contribution to the world of books, reading and literature in the state, were announced Friday.

The Hognander award will go to Gwen Westerman and Bruce White for their book, “Mni Sota Makoce, The Land of the Dakota.” The book was published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2012 and won a Minnesota Book Award last year.

Westerman is professor of English and Humanities at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Bruce White is author of “We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People.

Mark Vinz

Mark Vinz

This year’s Kay Sexton Award winner is Mark Vinz, retired professor of English at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, co-director of the Tom McGrath Visiting Writing Series, and founding editor of the literary journal Dacotah Territory.

Vinz was also director of the college’s MFA program, editor of Dakota Arts Quarterly, and the co-founder of Plains Distribution Service, an organization that worked to get good books into small Midwestern communities.

Vinz is also a poet and fiction writer, winner of three Minnesota Book Awards, six PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, and was named a poet laureate of North Dakota.

His next collection will be published by Red Dragonfly Press.

Westerman, White and Vinz will be honored on April 5 at the 26th annual Minnesota Book Awards gala at the St. Paul Union Depot.

Minneapolis writers are finalists for Lambda Award

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 6, 2014 - 3:11 PM

Ellen HartThe Lambda Awards honor the best in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender writing. This year, Minneapolis mystery writer Ellen Hart is among the finalists. (She has won five times before. Root for her anyway!) Memoirist Barrie Jean Borich, recently of Chicago but a longtime Twin Cities writer and teacher at thee Loft, is also a finalist. Also on the list: Twin Cities novelist Edmond Manning's latest romance; a novel published by Minneapolis publisher Scarletta Press, a nonfiction book published by the University of Minnesota Press, and a collection of poetry published by Graywolf Press.

It's a long list, with lots of worthy nominees, and new this year is the category of graphic novels. Winners will be announced in June. Links to Star Tribune reviews, when available.


Nevada, a novel, Imogen Binnie, Topside Press
Tiresias, Devon Llywelyn Jones, Devon Llywelyn Jones
Wanting in Arabic, Trish Salah, TSAR Publications


Corona, Bushra Rehman, Sibling Rivalry Press
Hild: A Novel, Nicola Griffith, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
In His Secret Life, Mel Bossa, Bold Strokes Books
My Education, Susan Choi, Penguin Group/Viking
The Two Hotel Francforts: A Novel, David Leavitt, Bloomsbury


A Visit to Priapus and Other Stories, by Glenway Wescott, Ed. Jerry Rosco, University of Wisconsin Press
An Honest Ghost, Rick Whitaker, Jaded Ibis Press
The City of Devi, Manil Suri, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Damn Love, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Ig Publishing
The Desperates, Greg Kearney, Cormorant Books
Fire Year, Jason K Friedman, Sarabande Books
Local Souls, Allan Gurganus, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Mundo Cruel: Stories, Luis Negron; translated by Suzanne Jill Levine, Seven Stories Press
Necessary Errors, Caleb Crain, Penguin Books
The Red Shoes, John Stewart Wynne, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus


The Albino Album, Chavisa Woods, Seven Stories Press
Bodies of Water, T. Greenwood, Kensington
Cha-Ching!, Ali Liebegott, City Lights
Cream, Christiana Harrell, Createspace
The Daylight Gate, Jeanette Winterson, Grove/Atlantic Inc./Grove Press
Fat Angie, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Candlewick Press
Happiness, Like Water, Chinelo Okparanta, Mariner Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
She Rises: A Novel, Kate Worsley, Bloomsbury
Survival Skills, Jean Ryan, Ashland Creek Press
We Are Water, Wally Lamb, HarperCollins/Harper


The Affairs of Others: A Novel, Amy Grace Loyd, Picador
Descendants of Hagar, Nik Nicholson, AuthorHouse
Golden Boy, Abigail Tarttelin, Simon & Schuster/Atria Books
How to Shake the Other Man, Derek Palacio, Nouvella
In Between, Jane Hoppen, Bold Strokes Books
Inside, Charles L. Ross, Ink Inc.
Jane and the Whales, Andrea Routley, Caitlin Press
My Brother's Name: A Novel, Laura Krughoff, Scarletta / Scarletta Press
Prick Queasy, Ronald Palmer, Publication Studio
The Rest of Us: Stories, Guy Mark Foster, Tincture/Lethe Press


Blood, Marriage, Wine & Glitter, S. Bear Bergman, Arsenal Pulp Press
The End of San Francisco, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, City Lights Publishers
Testo Junkie, Beatriz Preciado, Feminist Press


The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television, Maria San Filippo, Indiana University Press
Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, Shiri Eisner, Seal Press
The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis, Simon & Schuster


Among the Bloodpeople, Thomas Glave, Akashic Books
Does Jesus Really Love Me?, Jeff Chu, Harper Collins
The End of the Homosexual?, Dennis Altman, University of Queensland Press
Living Out Islam: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims, Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle, NYU Press
Meet Grindr: How One App Changed The Way We Connect, Jamie Woo, Self-Published
Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants, Phil Tiemeyer, University of California Press
The Queer Limit of Black Memory Black Lesbian Literature and Irresolution, Matt Richardson, The Ohio State University Press
Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and Their Children in the United States since World War II, Daniel Winunwe Rivers, University of North Carolina Press
Tom Bianchi: Fire Island Pines. Polaroids 1975-1983, Ben Smales, Tom Bianchi, Edmund White, Damiani
White Girls, Hilton Als, McSweeney's Publishing
You Can Tell Just By Looking: And 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People, Michael Bronski, Ann Pellegrini and Michael Amico, Beacon Press


Alternative Medicine, Rafael Campo, Duke University Press
The Apartment of Tragic Appliances, Michael D. Snediker, Peanut Books (an imprint of punctum books)
Clay, David Groff, Trio House Press
Companion Grasses, Brian Teare, Omnidawn Publishing
Metaphysical Dog, Frank Bidart, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Obscenely Yours, Angelo Nikolopoulos, Alice James Books
Silverchest, Carl Phillips, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Straight Razor, Randall Mann, Persea Books
The Talking Day, Michael Klein, Sibling Rivalry Press
Unpeopled Eden, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Four Way Books


A Wild Surmise: New & Selected Poems & Recordings, Eloise Klein Healy, Red Hen Press
Chopper! Chopper! Poetry From Bordered Lives, Veronica Reyes, Red Hen Press/Arktoi Books
Chord Box, Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers, The University of Arkansas Press
The Collected Poems of Ai, Ai, W.W. Norton & Company
The Exchange, Sophie Cabot Black, Graywolf Press
Proxy, R. Erica Doyle, Belladonna Collaborative
Rise in the Fall, Ana Bozicevic, Birds, LLC
She Has a Name, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Four Way Books
Viral, Suzanne Parker, Alice James Books
We Come Elemental, Tamiko Beyer, Alice James Books


Baton Rouge Bingo, Greg Herren, Bold Strokes Books
Boystown 5: Murder Book, Marshall Thornton, MLR Press
Fierce, David Lennon, Blue Spike Publishing
Foxed, Garry Ryan, NeWest Press
The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari, Sarah Black, Dreamspinner Press
How to Greet Strangers: A Mystery, Joyce Thompson, Lethe Press
In Real Life, The 3rd Gemini & Flowers Mystery, Jonathan Gregory, Amazon Digital Services Inc
Pawn of Satan, Mark Zubro, MLR Press
Pretty Boy Dead, Jon Michaelsen, Wilde City Press
The Prisoner of the Riviera: A Francis Bacon Mystery, Janice Law, Road Media


Cross and Burn, Val McDermid, Grove/Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly Press
Death of the Demon, Annel Holt, Scribner
High Desert, Katherine V. Forrest, Spinsters Ink
The Killer Wore Leather: A Mystery, Laura Antoniou, Cleis Press
Point of Betrayal, Ann Roberts, Bella Books
The Rainey Season, R.E. Bradshaw, R.E. Bradshaw Books
She Overheard Murder, Jean Sheldon, Wellworth Publishing/Bast Press
Taken by the Wind, Ellen Hart, St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books
Turning on the Tide, Jenna Rae, Bella Books
Web of Obsessions, Diane Wood, Bella Books
The Wild Beasts of Wuhan: An Ava Lee Novel, Ian Hamilton, Picador


A Heaven of Words: Last Journals, by Glenway Wescott, Ed. Jerry Rosco, University of Wisconsin Press
The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience, Perry N. Halkitis, Oxford University Press
American Hipster: A Life of Herbert Huncke, The Times Square Hustler Who Inspired the Beat Movement, Hillary Holladay, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus
Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography, Richard Rodriguez, Penguin Group/Viking
Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns, David Margolick, Other Press
Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father, Alysia Abbott, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Farther and Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson, Blake Bailey, Alfred A. Knopf
Henry Darger, Throwaway Boy: The Tragic Life of an Outsider Artist, Jim Elledge, Overlook Duckworth
In Bed With Gore Vidal, Tim Teeman, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus
Returning to Reims, Didier Eribon, Semiotext(e)

Barrie Jean Borich.

Barrie Jean Borich.

Barrie Jean Borich.

Barrie Jean Borich.

Barrie Jean Borich.


Body Geographic, Barrie Jean Borich, University of Nebraska Press
Growing up Golem, Donna Minkowitz, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus
How Poetry Saved My Life, Amber Dawn, Arsenal Pulp Press
L Is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir, Annie Rachel Lanzillotto, SUNY Press, Excelsior Editions
Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology, Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton, Bloomsbury


Covet Thy Neighbor, L. A. Witt, Riptide Publishing
Glitterland, Alexis Hall, Riptide Publishing
Into This River I Drown, TJ Klune, Dreamspinner Press
King Mai, Edmond Manning, Pickwick Ink Publishing
My Dear Watson, L.A. Fields, Lethe Press
Pickup Men, L.C. Chase, Riptide Publishing
Play Me, I'm Yours, Madison Parker, Harmony Ink Press
Rocky's Road, Lynley Wayne, MLR Press
Unbroken, Larry Benjamin, Beaten Track Publishing
Where You Are, J.H. Trumble, Kensington


All That Lies Within, Lynn Ames, Phoenix Rising Press
At Seventeen, Gerri Hill, Bella Books
Broken Trails, D Jordan Redhawk, Bella Books
Clean Slate, Andrea Bramhall, Bold Strokes Books
Date with Destiny, Mason Dixon, Bold Strokes Books
Hold Me Forever, D. Jackson Leigh, Bold Strokes Books
Hoosier Daddy, Ann McMan, Salem West, Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company/Nuance
Last Salute, Tracey Richardson, Bella Books
Love by the Numbers, Karin Kallmaker, Bella Books
The Prince ss Affair, Nell Stark, Bold Strokes Books


Capture & Surrender, Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing
The Padisah's Son and the Fox: an erotic novella, Alex Jeffers, Lethe Press
Sensual Travels: Gay Erotic Stories, Michael Luongo (Ed.), Bruno Gmuender
Show-Offs: Gay Erotic Stories, Ed. Richard Labonte, Cleis Press
Team Players: Gay Erotic Stories, Winston Gieseke (Ed.), Bruno Gmuender


At Her Feet, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Bold Strokes Books
Best Lesbian Erotica 2014, Kathleen Warnock, Ed., Cleis Press
Wild Girls Wild Nights: True Lesbian Sex Stories, Ed. Sacchi Green, Cleis Press


An Archive of Hope: Harvey Milk's Speeches and Writings, Harvey Milk, Jason Edward Black, Charles E. Morris, University of California Press
The Feminist Porn Book, Tristan Taormino, Constance Penley, Celine Parrenas Shimizu & Mireille Miller-Young, Feminist Press
Flicker and Spark: A Contemporary Queer Anthology of Spoken Word and Poetry, Editors: Brittany Fonte and Regie Cabico, Lowbrow Press
Ghosts in Gaslight. Monsters in Steam. Gay City: Volume 5, Evan J Peterson & Vincent Kovar, Gay City Anthologies
Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba, MaThoko's Books
Queer in Aztlan: Chicano Male Recollentions of Consciousness and Coming Out, Ed. Adelaida R. Del Castillo and Gibran Guido, Cognella Academic Publishing
This Assignment Is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching, Megan Volpert, Sibling Rivalry Press
Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, T.C. Tolbert and Tim Trace Peterson, Nightboat Books
What I LOVE about being QUEER, Vivek Shraya, George Brown College
Who's Yer Daddy?: Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners, Eds. Jim Elledge and David Groff, The University of Wisconsin Press


Better Nate Than Ever, Tim Federle, Simon & Schuster, Inc./ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Boy In Box, Christopher R. Michael, Hubbub Publishing
Girls I've Run Away With, Rhiannon Argo, Moonshine Press
If You Could Be Mine, Sara Farizan, Algonquin Books
Openly Straight, Bill Konigsberg, Arthur A. Levine Books
Rapture Practice, Aaron Hartzler, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Secret City, Julia Watts, Bella Books
The Secret Ingredient, Stewart Lewis- Author, Rebecca Short-Editor, Delacorte Press (Penguin/Random House)
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Arthur A. Levine Books
Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
What Makes a Baby, Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth, Seven Stories Press/Triangle Square


Las Hociconas: Three Locas with Big Mouths and Even Bigger Brains, Adelina Anthony, Korima Press
sash & trim and other plays, Djola Branner, RedBone Press
Tom at the Farm, Michel Marc Bouchard, Talonbooks


Artifice, Alex Woolfson (author), Winona Nelson (Illustrator), AMW Comics
Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir, Nicole J. Georges, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Duck! Second Chances, Tana Ford, Bang A Left
The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker, Steve Dutro, M Press


Collaborators, Deborah Wheeler, Dragon Moon Press
Death by Silver, Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold, Lethe Press
Deprivation; or, Benedetto furioso: an oneiromancy, Alex Jeffers, Lethe Press
Dragon Slayer, Isabella Carter, Less Than Three Press
Dust Devil on a Quiet Street, Richard Bowes, Lethe Press
Hell's Belle, Marie Castle, Bella Books
Invisible Soft Return :\, Roberta Degnore, Digital Fabulists
Light, Nathan Burgoryne, Bold Strokes Books
Like Light for Flies, Lee Thomas, Lethe Press
The Stars Change, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Circlet Press, Inc.


Butch Queens Up in Pumps Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit, Marlon M. Bailey, University of Michigan Press
Feeling Women's Liberation, Victoria Hesford, Duke University Press
Just Queer Folks: Gender and Sexuality in Rural America, Colin R. Johnson, Temple University Press
Love and Money: Queers, Class, and Cultural Production, Lisa Henderson, NYU Press
Oye Loca: From the Mariel Boatlift to Gay Cuban Miami, Susana Pena, University of Minnesota Press
Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Duke University Press
Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence, Christina B. Hanhardt, Duke University Press
Shanghai Lalas, Lucetta Yip Lo Kam, Hong Kong University Press
Tomorrow's Parties: Sex and the Untimely, Peter M. Coviello, NYU Press
Transforming Citizenships: Transgender Articulations of the Law, Isaac West, NYU Press



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