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 Coffee House Press

Coffee House Press among winners of Bush grant

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: April 1, 2015 - 11:18 AM

MInneapolis' Coffee House Press is one of 16 organizations from Minnesota and the Dakotas to receive a $100,000 grant from the Bush Foundation. The Community Creativity Cohort is a one-time program designed by the Bush Foundation and intended to encourage organizations to integrate the arts into everyday public life.

The sixteen organizations are Coffee House Press, the First People's Fund, PIllsbury House and Theatre, Upstream Arts, Lanesboro Arts, North Dakota Council on the Arts, the Matthews Opera House and Arts Center, West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, Intermedia Arts, Theatre B, Native American Community Development Institute, Children's Theatre Company, High School for Recording Arts, the Duluth-Superior Symphony Association, the White Earth Land Recovery Project, and the Center for Hmong Arts and Talents.

The 16 one-time grants come with no restrictions. Each organization will work with the foundation over the next six months to work with efforts to engage the community and build leadership. The 16 organizations will also meet together twice over the next six months.

The grant seems tailor-made for Coffee House, which, over the last few years, has worked hard to incorporate its original mission--publishing high-quality literary books--with a broader mission to bring literary arts to people through a variety of ways.

"This is an incredible opportunity for us," Coffee House publisher Chris Fischbach said in a prepared statement. "Once we realized that publishing books is just one way that we can achieve our real goal--connecting writers and readers--everything changed, and led to additional kinds of programming.

"This grant will allow us to continue to adapt, to grow, and to learn from our cohorts."

Minnesota well-represented in L.A. Times book awards

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 4, 2015 - 5:40 PM
Shawn Lawrence Otto

Shawn Lawrence Otto

The finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize were announced today, and the list includes several books published by Minnesota publishers. Graywolf is represented in poetry (not surprising); Lerner Publications' Carolrhoda Lab imprint in young-adult (ditto); Uncivilized Books in Graphic Novels and Comics (ditto, given that they were a finalist last year, too) and Milkweed and Coffee House Press in fiction (ditto ditto ditto).

Here's the list, with links to our reviews when available. Winenrs will be announced on April 18:

BIOGRAPHY

Adam Begley, Updike, HarperCollins
Robert M. Dowling, Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts, Yale University Press
Kirstin Downey, Isabella: The Warrior Queen, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday
Stephen Kotkin, Stalin: Volume 1 – Paradoxes of Power 1878-1928, The Penguin Press
Andrew Roberts, Napoleon: A Life, Viking

CURRENT INTEREST

Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Metropolitan Books
Jeff Hobbs, The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League, Scribner
Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Spiegel & Grau
Matt Taibbi, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, Spiegel & Grau
Héctor Tobar, Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

FICTION

Donald Antrim, The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Jesse Ball, Silence Once Begun, Pantheon
Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World, Simon & Schuster
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation, Knopf
Helen Oyeyemi, Boy, Snow, Bird, Riverhead

THE ART SEIDENBAUM AWARD FOR FIRST FICTION

Diane Cook, Man V. Nature: Stories, HarperCollins
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Valeria Luiselli, Christina Macsweeney (Translator), Faces in the Crowd, Coffee House Press
Eimear McBride, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, Coffee House Press
David James Poissant, The Heaven of Animals: Stories, Simon & Schuster

GRAPHIC NOVELS/COMICS

Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir, Bloomsbury
Jaime Hernandez, The Love Bunglers, Fantagraphics
Mana Neyestani, An Iranian Metamorphosis, Uncivilized Books
Olivier Schrauwen, Arsène Schrauwen, Fantagraphics
Mariko Tamaki (Author), Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), This One Summer, First Second

HISTORY

Judith Flanders, The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London, Thomas Dunne Books
Mark Harris, Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War, The Penguin Press
Walter Isaacson, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution , Simon & Schuster
Adam Tooze, The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931, Viking
Lawrence Wright, Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, Knopf

MYSTERY/THRILLER

Tom Bouman, Dry Bones in the Valley, W. W. Norton & Company
Peter Heller, The Painter, Knopf
Laura Lippman, After I’m Gone, William Morrow
Shawn Lawrence Otto, Sins of Our Fathers , Milkweed Editions
Peter Swanson, The Girl With a Clock for a Heart, William Morrow

POETRY

Claudia Rankine. Star Tribune photo by Aaron Lavinsky

Claudia Rankine. Star Tribune photo by Aaron Lavinsky

Gillian Conoley, Peace, Omnidawn
Katie Ford, Blood Lyrics: Poems, Graywolf Press
Peter Gizzi, In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987-2011 , Wesleyan University Press
Fred Moten, The Feel Trio, Letter Machine Editions
Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric, Graywolf Press

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Michael Benson, Cosmigraphics: Picturing Space Through Time, Abrams
Martin J. Blaser, MD, Missing Microbes, How the overuse of antibiotics is fueling our modern plagues, Henry Holt and Co.
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, Simon & Schuster
Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Henry Holt and Co.
Christian Rudder, Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking), Crown Publishers

YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE

Paul Fleischman, Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines, Candlewick
Candace Fleming, The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia , Schwartz & Wade/Random House Children’s
E.K. Johnston, The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim , Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner Publishing
Andrew Smith, Grasshopper Jungle, Dutton Children’s Books
Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming, Nancy Paulsen Books

National Book Critics Circle Award finalists announced

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: January 20, 2015 - 8:51 AM
Claudia Rainkine.

Claudia Rankine.

But before we get to the finalists, here are a couple of winners:

Phil Klay, who won the National Book Award for "Redeployment," his story collection about war, was named the winner of the NBCC John Leonard First Book Prize.

Toni Morrison was honored with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, well-deserved for her lifetime of writing and teaching and mentoring. 

Minnesota represents in the finalists, with Macalester College professor Marlon James in the running for a fiction award for "A Brief History of Seven Killings," and Graywolf Press poet Claudia Rankine (a finalist for a National Book Award two months ago) a finalist in two categories--unprecedented in the NBCC awards. (She is a finalist in both poetry and criticism.) Rankine will be in Minnesota next week, speaking at 7:30 p.m. at The College of St. Benedict on Jan. 29 and at the Loft Literary Center at 7 p.m. on Jan. 30.

Graywolf writers Eula Biss and Vikram Chandra are also on the list. The University of Minnesota Press is represented by "The Essential Ellen Willis." And Coffee House Press makes the list with Saeed Jones, “Prelude to Bruise."

Here's the list, with links to Star Tribune reviews when available.  Winners will be announced March 12.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY:

Blake Bailey, “The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait” (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Roz Chast, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” (Bloomsbury)

Lacy M. Johnson, “The Other Side” (Tin House)

Gary Shteyngart, “Little Failure” (Random House)

Meline Toumani, “There Was and There Was Not” (Metropolitan Books)

BIOGRAPHY:

Ezra Greenspan, “William Wells Brown” (W.W. Norton & Co.)

S.C. Gwynne, “Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson” (Scribner)

John Lahr, “Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh” (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Ian S. MacNiven, “Literchoor Is My Beat”: A Life of James Laughlin, Publisher of New Directions (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Miriam Pawel, “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez” (Bloomsbury)

CRITICISM:

Eula Biss, “On Immunity: An Inoculation” (Graywolf Press)

Vikram Chandra, “Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty” (Graywolf Press)

Claudia Rankine, “Citizen: An American Lyric” (Graywolf Press)

Lynne Tillman, “What Would Lynne Tillman Do?” (Red Lemonade)

Ellen Willis, “The Essential Ellen Willis,” edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz (University of Minnesota Press)

FICTION:

Rabih Alameddine, “An Unnecessary Woman” (Grove Press)

Marlon James, “A Brief History of Seven Killings” (Riverhead Books)

Lily King, “Euphoria” (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Chang-rae Lee, “On Such a Full Sea” (Riverhead Books)

Marilynne Robinson, “Lila” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

NONFICTION:

David Brion Davis, “The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation” (Alfred A. Knopf)

Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, “The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book” (Pantheon)

Elizabeth Kolbert, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” (Henry Holt & Co.)

Thomas Piketty, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer (Belknap Press/Harvard University Press)

Hector Tobar, “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle that Set Them Free” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

POETRY:

Saeed Jones, “Prelude to Bruise” (Coffee House Press)

Willie Perdomo, “The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon” (Penguin Books)

Claudia Rankine, “Citizen: An American Lyric” (Graywolf Press)

Christian Wiman, “Once in the West” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Jake Adam York, “Abide” (Southern Illinois University Press)

NONA BALAKIAN CITATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN REVIEWING

Alexandra Schwartz

Coffee House debut novelist wins Baileys prize for fiction

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: June 11, 2014 - 2:39 PM

Eimear McBrideIt is always a wonderful and satisfying thing to hear that an unknown debut author has won a major prize for writing. It is not that we don't love the established writers and wish them success, but an unknown newbie rising to the top gives us hope and assurance--assurance that these competitions are fairly judged, that small independent presses are taken seriously, that the next generation of writers is as talented and accomplished (and brilliant) as the current.

And when the news that the unknown writer winning the big prize is being published in the United States by Minneapolis' Coffee House Press, well, the news is all the more welcome.

"A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing," by Irish writer Eimear McBride, was consistently rejected by mainstream publishers until last year, when it was picked up by tiny Galley Beggar Press in London. It will be published this fall by Coffee House Press.

Last week, McBride's novel won the Baileys Prize (formerly the Orange Prize); it was selected over many highly praised big novels by notable writers, including “The Goldfinch,” by Donna Tartt, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and “The Lowland,” by Jhumpa Lahiri, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize as well as the National Book Award.

“A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing” is the story of a young woman and her relationship with her brother, who has a brain tumor. The girl’s father abandons the family, her mother retreats into Catholicism, an uncle abuses her.

Coffee House Press publisher Chris Fischbach said McBride’s book floored him when he first read it, “not only by the powerful story, but by its urgent, assaulting syntax, which is both relentless and engrossing. By the time I finished, I was spent: artistically, emotionally, spiritually. I had never read anything like it. We are beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to publish the U.S. edition of this brilliant book.”

McBride’s writing can be difficult, at first, for the reader to penetrate; the book is written in long blocks of fragments with only sporadic punctuation. But critics have found the difficulty well worth the effort. The Star Tribune review, which will be published in September, calls the book “brave, dizzying, risk-taking fiction of the highest order.”

The Guardian called it “jaggedly uncompromising in both style and subject matter,” and Irish novelist Anne Enright called the book an “instant classic” and its author “a genius.”

McBride’s award follows a number of significant awards won recently by Coffee House Press authors, including Ron Padgett’s “Collected Poems,” which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award, and Patricia Smith’s “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah,” which won the Wheatley Book Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

McBride’s book has also won the Goldsmiths Prize, was named Kerry Group Irish Novel of the year, and was shortlisted for the Folio Prize. The Baileys Prize carries an award of $50,000 and goes to the best novel written in English by a woman. Originally known as the Orange Prize, the award ended briefly in 2012 when Orange telecommunications ended its sponsorship. Baileys Irish Cream announced sponsorship this year.

The other finalists for this year’s Baileys Prize were “Americanah,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Undertaking,” by Audrey Magee, and “Burial Rites,” by Hannah Kent.

L.A. Times book prize finalists announced, and lots of Minnesota connections

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: February 20, 2014 - 10:59 AM
Wazyata poet and writer Joyce Sidman. Star Tribune photo by Glen Stubbe

Wazyata poet and writer Joyce Sidman. Star Tribune photo by Glen Stubbe

So many familiar titles and publishers on the list of the L.A. Times Book Award finalists--Lawrence Wright's "Going Clear," and A. Scott Berg's biography of Woodrow Wilson, and Ruth Ozeki's fine novel, "A Tale for the Time Being."

But also--tiny little Two Dollar Radio press! And Minnesota's Joyce Sidman, and UM MFA grad (and occasional Star Tribune book critic) Ethan Rutherford, and Graywolf Press, and Coffee House Press. Also (I have just learned), Anders Nilsen, a finalist in graphic novels, is back in Minneapolis after about 20 years away, and the publisher of yet another graphic novel finalist--Uncivilized Books--is also in the Twin Cities. Whew. So much to love about this long list. The winners will be announced on April 11.

Here's the full list, with links to Star Tribune reviews:

The 2013 L.A. Times Book Prize finalists:

Biography
Marie Arana, “Bolivar: American Liberator,” Simon & Schuster
A. Scott Berg, “Wilson,” G.P. Putnam's Sons
Benita Eisler, “The Red Man's Bones: George Catlin, Artist and Showman,” W. W. Norton & Co.
Edna O'Brien , “Country Girl: A Memoir,” Little, Brown & Co.
Deborah Solomon, “American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell,” Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Current Interest 
Sheri Fink, “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital,” Crown
David Finkel, “Thank You for Your Service,” Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Charlie LeDuff, “Detroit: An American Autopsy,” The Penguin Press
Barry Siegel, “Manifest Injustice: The True Story of a Convicted Murderer and the Lawyers Who Fought for His Freedom,” Henry Holt & Co.
Lawrence Wright, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief,” Knopf

Ethan Rutherford

Ethan Rutherford

Fiction 
Percival Everett, “Percival Everett by Virgil Russell,” Graywolf Press
Claire Messud, “The Woman Upstairs,” Knopf
Ruth Ozeki, “A Tale for the Time Being,” Viking
Susan Steinberg, “Spectacle: Stories,” Graywolf Press
Daniel Woodrell, “The Maid's Version: A Novel,” Little, Brown & Co.

The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction 
NoViolet Bulawayo, “We Need New Names,” Reagan Arthur Books
Jeff Jackson, “Mira Corpora,” Two Dollar Radio
Fiona McFarlane, “The Night Guest,” Faber & Faber
Jamie Quatro, “I Want to Show You More,” Grove Press
Ethan Rutherford, “The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories,” Ecco / HarperCollins

Graphic Novel/Comics
David B., “Incidents in the Night: Volume 1,” Uncivilized Books
Ben Katchor, “Hand-Drying in America: And Other Stories,” Pantheon
Ulli Lust, “Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life,” Fantagraphics
Anders Nilsen, “The End,” Fantagraphics
Joe Sacco, “The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme,” W. W. Norton & Co.

History
Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman, “FDR and the Jews,” Belknap Press of Harvard University
Christopher Clark, “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914,” HarperCollins
Glenn Frankel, “The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend,” Bloomsbury USA
Doris Kearns Goodwin, “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism,” Simon & Schuster
Alan Taylor, “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832,” W. W. Norton & Co.

Mystery/Thriller
Richard Crompton, “Hour of the Red God,” Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Robert Galbraith, “The Cuckoo's Calling,” Mulholland Books/Little, Brown & Co.
John Grisham, “Sycamore Row,” Doubleday Books
Gene Kerrigan, “The Rage,” Europa Editions
Ferdinand von Schirach, “The Collini Case,” Viking

Poetry
Joshua Beckman, “The Inside of an Apple,” Wave Books
Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, “Hello, the Roses,” New Directions
Ron Padgett, “Collected Poems,” Coffee House Press
Elizabeth Robinson, “On Ghosts,” Solid Objects
Lynn Xu, “Debts & Lessons,” Omnidawn

Science & Technology
Matthew D. Lieberman, “Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect,” Crown
Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld, “Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience,” Basic Books
Virginia Morell, “Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures,” Crown
Annalee Newitz, “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction,” Doubleday Books
Alan Weisman, “Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?” Little, Brown & Co.

Young Adult Literature
Elizabeth Knox, “Mortal Fire,” Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Rainbow Rowell, “Fangirl,” St. Martin's Griffin 
Joyce Sidman, “What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms and Blessings,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Jonathan Stroud, “Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase,” Disney-Hyperion
Gene Luen Yang, “Boxers & Saints,” First Second/Macmillan



 

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