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

The happy marriage of books and music

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 24, 2015 - 10:54 AM

Music inspired by four of last year's Minnesota Book Award-winning books will be performed on April 8 at the Bedlam Theatre in St. Paul.

The authors will also be there, to read from their books: Melanie Hoffert, winner for memoir and creative nonfiction, will read from "Prairie Silence." Carrie Mesrobian, winner in young people's literature, will read from "Sex & Violence." Matt Rasmussen will read from his debut poetry collection, "Black Aperture." And Ethan Rutherford will read from "The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories," which won in the category of novel and short story.

The accompanying music was written and will be performed by Ipsifendus Collective, a group of Twin Cities musicians who compose music for films and theater productions. The group includes musicians from a number of local bands, including Dreamland Faces, Bookhouse, Painted Saints and the Poor Nobodys.

The collaboration of books and music is sponsored by the Minnesota Book Awards, in advance of this year's gala event on April 18.  The April 8 performace at Bedlam Theatre will begin at 7 p.m. Bedlam Theatre is at 213 E. Fourth Street, at the last stop of the Green Line in Lowertown, across from the Historic Union Depot.

Five writers win McKnight Artist Fellowships

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 20, 2015 - 10:42 AM
Susan Power

Susan Power

The Loft Literary Center has announced the winners of the McKnight Artist Fellowships. This year's $25,000 grants goes to four writers of creative prose, and to one writer for children. Out of 119 applications, the prose winners are:

Susanne Aspley, Shannon Gibney, Josh Ostergaard and Susan Power. The winner in children's literature is Kelly Barnhill.

Honorable mentions are Danielle Sosin, Nancy Scott Hanway, Tami Mohamed Brown, Eric Vrooman, Megan Atwood, Laura Salas and Lynne Jonell.

Aspley's debut novel, "Ladyboy and the Volunteer," was published in 2014. She lives in Excelsior.

Susan Power is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is Yanktonia Dakota and the author of "The Grass Dancer" and "Sacred Wilderness."

Josh Ostergaard is the author of "The Devil's Snake Curve," published by Coffee House Press. His work has appeared in the New Yorker. He holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota and works for Graywolf Press.

Shannon Gibney lives in Minneapolis.  She has a book forthcoming from Lerner Publications.

Kelly Barnhill is the author of a number of books for young people, including "The Witch's Boy" and "The Mostly True Story of Jack."

Marlon James, Graywolf and Coffee House titles on PEN literary awards longlist

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 17, 2015 - 11:40 AM

Marlon James of Macalester College and Claudia Rankine, published by Graywolf Press, are both finalists for a PEN Literary Award. Star Tribune file photo.

The PEN literary awards longlist was announced today, with titles by Minneapolis publishers Graywolf Press and Coffee House Press on the list. Winners will be announced May 13 and will be honored at a ceremony in June in New York City.

Here are the finalists, with links to Star Tribune reviews when available:

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction ($25,000)

The UnAmericans (W. W. Norton & Company), Molly Antopol 

Ruby (Hogarth), Cynthia Bond 

Black Moon (Hogarth), Kenneth Calhoun 

Redeployment (Penguin Press), Phil Klay

Ride Around Shining (Harper), Chris Leslie-Hynan

The Dog (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Jack Livings

The Wives of Los Alamos (Bloomsbury), TaraShea Nesbit

The Heaven of Animals (Simon & Schuster), David James Poissant

Love Me Back (Doubleday), Merritt Tierce

Time of the Locust  (Atria Books), Morowa Yejidé 

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000)

Moral Imagination (Princeton University Press), David Bromwich

Theater of Cruelty (New York Review Books), Ian Buruma

Loitering (Tin House Books), Charles D’Ambrosio

Surrendering Oz (Etruscan Press), Bonnie Friedman

The Hard Way on Purpose (Scribner), David Giffels

Where Have You Been? (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Michael Hofmann

The Empathy Exams (Graywolf Press), Leslie Jamison

Sidewalks (Coffee House Press), Valeria Luiselli

Limber (Sarabande Books), Angela Pelster

You Feel So Mortal (University Of Chicago Press), Peggy Shinner 

PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): 

War of the Whales (Simon & Schuster), Joshua Horwitz 

How We Got to Now (Riverhead Books), Steven Johnson

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons (Little, Brown and Company), Sam Kean

The Sixth Extinction (Henry Holt and Co.), Elizabeth Kolbert

Small (Dartmouth College Press), Catherine Musemeche MD

The Age of Radiance (Scribner), Craig Nelson

Proof (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Adam Rogers

The Copernicus Complex (Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Caleb Scharf

Arrival of the Fittest (Current), Andreas Wagner 

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): 

Our Declaration (Liveright), Danielle Allen

All the Truth Is Out (Alfred A. Knopf), Matt Bai

League of Denial (Crown Archetype), Mark Fainaru-Wada & Steve Fainaru

Five Days at Memorial (Crown), Sheri Fink

The Big Truck That Went By (Palgrave Macmillan), Jonathan M. Katz

This Changes Everything (Simon & Schuster), Naomi Klein

The Bill of the Century (Bloomsbury), Clay Risen

The Impulse Society (Bloomsbury), Paul Roberts

A Chance to Win (Henry Holt and Co.), Jonathan Schuppe

Powers of Two (Eamon Dolan Books), Joshua Wolf Shenk 

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): 

An Unnecessary Woman (Grove Press), Rabih Alameddine

Fire Shut Up in My Bones (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Charles M. Blow

Team Seven (Doubleday), Marcus Burke

Every Day Is for the Thief (Random House), Teju Cole

An Untamed State (Black Cat), Roxane Gay

Streaming (Coffee House Press), Allison Adelle Hedge Coke 

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

Kinder Than Solitude (Random House), Yiyun Li 

Citizen (Graywolf Press), Claudia Rankine

The Fateful Apple (Urban Poets and Lyricists), Venus Thrash

The City Son (Soho Press), Samrat Upadhyay 

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): 

Updike (Harper), Adam Begley

Isabella (Nan A. Talese), Kirstin Downey

Rebel Yell (Scribner), S. C. Gwynne

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace (Scribner), Jeff Hobbs

John Quincy Adams (Harper), Fred Kaplan

Strange Glory (Alfred A. Knopf), Charles Marsh

Becoming Richard Pryor (Harper), Scott Saul

The Queen's Bed (Sarah Crichton Books), Anna Whitelock

Victoria (Penguin Press), A. N. Wilson

Piero's Light (Pegasus Books), Larry Witham 

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): 

Boy on Ice (W. W. Norton & Company), John Branch

Why Football Matters (Penguin Press), Mark Edmundson

Black Noon (Thomas Dunne Books), Art Garner

All Fishermen are Liars (Simon & Schuster), John Gierach

Ping-Pong Diplomacy (Scribner), Nicholas Griffin

Bird Dream (Penguin Press), Matt Higgins

Thrown (Sarabande Books), Kerry Howley

Deep (Eamon Dolan Books), James Nestor

Life Is a Wheel (Scribner), Bruce Weber 

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): 

Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon (Action Books), Don Mee Choi

Love Poems by Bertolt Brecht (Liveright), David Constantine & Tom Kuhn

I Am the Beggar of the World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Eliza Griswold

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Juana Inés de la Cruz (W. W. Norton & Company), Edith Grossman

Where Are the Trees Going? by Venus Khoury-Ghata (Curbstone Books), Marilyn Hacker

Breathturn into Timestead by Paul Celan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Pierre Joris

Guantanamo by Frank Smith (Les Figues Press), Vanessa Place

Skin by Tone Škrjanec (Tavern Books), Matthew Rohrer & Ana Pepelnik

Diana's Tree by Alejandra Pizarnik (Ugly Duckling Presse), Yvette Siegert

Autoepitaph by Reinaldo Arenas (University Press of Florida), Kelly Washbourne 

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000)

Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz (Yale/Margellos), Danuta Borchardt 

The Gray Notebook by Josep Pla (New York Review Books), Peter Bush 

The Symmetry Teacher by Andrei Bitov (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Polly Gannon 

The Master of Confessions by Thierry Cruvellier (Ecco), Alex Gilly 

The Man Who Loved Dogs by Leonardo Padura (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Anna Kushner

I Ching (Viking Books), John Minford 

Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt (Two Lines Press), Denise Newman 

Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa (Deep Vellum Publishing), Samantha Schnee

Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye (Two Lines Press), Jordan Stump 

The Woman Who Borrowed Memories by Tove Jansson (New York Review Books), Thomas Teal & Silvester Mazzarella 

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction finalists named

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 10, 2015 - 10:38 AM
Jeffery Renard Allen

Jeffery Renard Allen

The five finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction were announced today. The winner will be named on May 2. Among the finalists are Jeffery Renard Allen, whose novel, "Song of the Shank," was published by Graywolf Press of Minneapolis.

Here's the list:

Jeffery Renard Allen, "Song of the Shank."

Jennifer Clement, "Prayers for the Stolen."

Atticus Lish, "Preparation for the Next Life."

Emily St. John Mandel, "Station Eleven."

Jenny Offill, "Department of Speculation."

Anne Tyler, Ali Smith among nominees for Baileys Prize

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 10, 2015 - 10:15 AM


Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler

The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction has announced its long list today. The 20 titles were selected from 165 nominees; to be considered, the novel must have been written by a woman and published in the United Kingdom between April 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015.

Last year's winner, "A Girl is a half-Formed Thing," by Eimear McBride, was published in the United States by Coffee House Press of Minneapolis.

Here is this year's long list, with links to Star Tribune reviews, when available. The short list will be announced in April, and the winner in June. 

Rachel Cusk: Outline
Lissa Evans: Crooked Heart
Patricia Ferguson: Aren’t We Sisters?
Xiaolu Guo: I Am China
Samantha Harvey: Dear Thief

Emma Healey: Elizabeth is Missing
Emily St. John Mandel: Station Eleven
Grace McCleen: The Offering
Sandra Newman: The Country of Ice Cream Star
Heather O’Neil: The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

Laline Paull: The Bees
Marie Phillips: The Table of Less Valued Knights
Rachel Seiffert: The Walk Home
Kamila Shamsie: A God in Every Stone
Ali Smith: How to be Both

Sara Taylor: The Shore
Anne Tyler: A Spool of Blue Thread
Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests
Jemma Wayne: After Before
PP Wong: The Life of a Banana


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