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 Workshops and conferences

Writers head north to the land of tall pines and Paul Bunyan

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: May 31, 2013 - 10:44 AM


Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Star Tribune file photo by Chris Welsch.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Star Tribune file photo by Chris Welsch.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Star Tribune file photo by Chris Welsch.


 The fourth annual Bemidji Library Book Festival will draw writers from all over the state to teach and read and sign books. Paid for with money from the state Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (commonly known as the Legacy Fund), the festival is free and open to all, though some sessions require preregistration.

Speakers over the week-long festival include children's writers Alison McGhee, Lise Lunge-Larsen, John Coy and David LaRochelle; poet Joyce Sutphen; mystery writers Chuck Logan, William Kent Krueger and Brian Freeman; and authors Brenda Child, Anton Treuer, and Will Weaver.

The festival opens at 10:30 a.m. Monday, June 17, with Alison McGhee speaking at the library, and will close at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 22, with a reading by State Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen at the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts.

Call 218-751-3963 to register, or visit the Kitchigami Regional Library System website for more information and for a full schedule.

Rain Taxi announces lineup for Twin Cities Book Festival

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: September 20, 2012 - 10:56 AM


The Twin Cities Book Festival 2011. Photo by Laurie Hertzel.

The Twin Cities Book Festival 2011. Photo by Laurie Hertzel.


If you've not yet spent an afternoon at the Twin Cities Book Festival, here's what you can expect: writers everywhere.Readers everywhere. Workshops and sessions on all aspects of the craft.  Tables full of books, and journals, and zines; publishers and publicists; games for children; a smattering of music; the occasional gigantic spider. (No worries--last year's Bug Booth was well supervised.)


7-year-old Baxter Heino checks out the Bug Booth in 2011.

7-year-old Baxter Heino checks out the Bug Booth in 2011.

This year's festival is the 12th annual, still sponsored by Rain Taxi Review of Books, still bringing in big names, but different this year in that it's moving from downtown Minneapolis to the State Fairgrounds.


Here's the lineup of authors, and their newest books:

Kate Bornstein, author of "A Queer and Pleasant Danger."

Mark Z. Danielewski, "The fifty Year Sword."

Susan Isaacs, "Goldberg Variations."

Sharon Olds, "Stag's Leap."

Candace Savage, "A Geography of Blood."

Gerald Stern, "Stealing History" and "In Beauty Bright."

Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, "The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories."

Chris Ware, "Building Stories."

Panelists for the many sessions include Amanda Hocking, John Medeiros, Jocelyn Hale, Lorna Landvik, Bree Despain, Anne Greenwood Brown, and many others.

For kids, there's Chris Monroe, Molly Beth Griffin, Kevin Kling, Nancy Carlson ... and more.

It's all free. Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Historic Progress Center at the fairgrounds, 1265 Snelling Av., St. Paul.

A week on Madeline Island

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: August 7, 2012 - 10:24 AM


The view from the farmhouse porch. Photo by Laura Hansen.

The view from the farmhouse porch. Photo by Laura Hansen.



For one glorious week, I had the privilege of serving as writer-in-residence at the Madeline Island Center for the Arts, an idyllic place to work and just four hours and one magical ferry ride away from the Twin Cities.

The arts center is in an exquisitely refurbished old dairy farm outside of the island town of La Pointe.  I stayed in the farmhouse, and from my window I could see the wrap-around porch with its comfortable chairs,  a sandhill crane, picking delicately through the grass, and, beyond, the magnificent prairie, sprinkled with tall yellow wild flowers bending in the wind.
Biking on Madeline island was delightful: there are dedicated bike lanes on roads cooled by shady tall trees. No one locks bicycles at the beach or even in town. What a thrill it was to pedal the bumpy state park road from the scenic point to the beach. On one trip, a deer paused, perhaps not quite recognizing me as a human on wheels.
Laura Hansen, a poet and the owner of Bookin’ It bookstore in Little Falls, was writing at MISA that week as well. We laid out her manuscript on a long line of tables, poems parading in their potential sections while the sun streamed in the large windows of the Milk House.
The moon over the arts colony. Photo by Laura Hansen.

The moon over the arts colony. Photo by Laura Hansen.

When writing became hard in the afternoons, I hit the beach with the yoga students. We lay on grass mats in the warm sunshine, sand cradling us, then swam in the cold waters of Lake Superior. We could see the hills of Michigan cresting on the eastern horizon. Some days Superior’s waves were high, giving us mouthfuls of water, but other days the top barely rippled, and our swimming strokes were relaxed and slow.
The moon was gloriously full, shining on the water and creeping up each evening through orange and pink clouds until it beamed above the pointed pine trees, round and transcendent. It was easy to sleep as the cool breeze fluttered the curtains, night birds calling for peaceful dreams.
On Friday as I stood on the top deck of the ferry, white-sailed boats raced across the bay as we chugged across the water. More cool wind and warm sun. It was an inspiring week for sure.
This week MISA is hosting Katherine Lanpher’s op-ed class August 6-10. Upcoming writing classes include poetry with Jude Nutter September 24-28, book development with Mary Carroll Moore September 24-28, a novel boot camp with Brian Malloy October 1-5, and a prose workshop with Paulette Allen Bates October 8-12. To register, contact Jenna Erickson at 715-747-2054.
Kathryn Kysar is the author of two poetry books, "Pretend the World" and "Dark Lake." She teaches creative writing, composition, and literature at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and lives with her family in St. Paul.

Talk of the Stacks lineup for fall/winter announced

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 30, 2012 - 11:23 AM

Calvin Trillin. Staff photo by Joel Koyama.

Calvin Trillin. Staff photo by Joel Koyama.

It's excellent to see Calvin Trillin's name among the list of this fall's Talk of the Stacks guests. He had been set to come last season, but health problems forced him to postpone. Now, he is scheduled to be in Minneapolis on Dec. 6 to talk about his new book, "Dogfight: An Occasionally Interrupted Narrative Poem About the Presidential Campaign," and to launch the paperback edition of "Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of His Funny Stuff."

Here's a link to the interview we did with him last September.

The other Talk of the Stacks authors coming this fall are just as venerable:

On Sept. 21, Michael Chabon, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, will discuss his latest novel, "Telegraph Avenue." Chabon is the author of "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" and Wonder Boys," among other books.

On Oct. 4, Naomi Wolf will talk about her new book, "Vagina: A New Biography." Wolf is a social critic, political activist and author, perhaps best known for her best-selling book, "The Beauty Myth."

And on Nov. 17, Geoff Dyer will be in conversation with Graywolf Press publisher Fiona McCrae, discussing "Otherwise Known as the Human Condition."  Here is a link to our review of the book, which came out last year and which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.

And just for fun, here's a link to a review of Dyer's more recent book, "Zona," a meditation (with digressions) on the 1979 film "Stalker."

All Talk of the Stack events are free and open to the public and held at the Minneapolis Central Public Library on the Nicollet Mall. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.; events begin at 7 p.m. and are followed by book-signings.



Edwidge Danticat, Tayari Jones to be part of this fall's Good Thunder series

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: June 19, 2012 - 3:21 PM


Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat

The Good Thunder Reading Series, held annually at Minnesota State University at Mankato, includes readings and signings, residencies, discussion of craft, and radio interviews. Though they are happy to accept subscriptions, the events are free and open to everyone.


This year's lineup has been announced, and, as always, it's an impressive mix of national names and strong regional writers. The series begins in September and runs through next April.

September 13:

Poets Carl Adamshick and Dorianne Laux

October 4

Graphic artist and writer Alison Bechdel

October 25

Fiction writer Nick Healy, fiction writer and memoirist Nicole Helget and fiction writer Nate LeBoutillier

November 15

Angela Mullen and Edwidge Danticat

January 31

Novelist Tayari Jones

February 19-22

Poet Bao Phi and novelist Marlon James

March 28


Robert Hedin

Robert Hedin

Fiction writer Brett Biebel and poet and translator Robert Hedin


April 11

Poet Kris Bigalk and fiction writers Thomas Maltman, and Scott Wrobel

 April 25

YA writerGeoff Herbach and memoirist Diana Joseph



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