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 Local authors

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. 

Cracked Walnut opens its second series

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 27, 2014 - 3:35 PM

Last year, with its debut literary festival, the group known as Cracked Walnut promised a reading a day for a full month. This year they're doing almost as well: The second literary series debuts on Wednesday, April 2, and will run through May 7 with readings if not every single day, at least several times a week.

Cracked Walnut is the brainchild of Hamline University MFA candidate Satish P. Jayaraj, who found himself surrounded by writers (no surprise, in an MFA program) and was looking for a way to establish a venue for reading. 

This year's 25 readings will take place in coffee shops, galleries, libraries, museums, a hospital, and other offbeat places--mainly in the Twin Cities, but also in Duluth and Rochester--and will include more than 100 writers. Each reading carries a different theme. 

The lineup includes poets Tim Nolan, Ethna McKiernan, Adrienne Miller, Ryan Vine, Margaret Hasse and Matt Mauch. (Full disclosure: I am reading, too.)  The list is still being firmed up and you can check back at www.crackedwalnut.com for updates.

Here's the whole list, current as of today:

Wednesday April 2nd 7:00 pm (Mirror Mirror on the Wall)

Underground music Café ‘Coffee Grounds’ (1579 Hamline Ave N, St Paul, MN 55108)

featuring: Laurie Hertzel, Kelly Hansen Maher, Maya Washington, Nick Metcalf, 

Chilli Lor, Hawona Sullivan Janzen

Thursday April 3rd  7:00 pm (Richfield CW Festival Reading)

Richfield Community Center (7000 Nicollet Ave S Minneapolis, Minnesota 55423)

featuring: Vanessa Ramos, Anika Fajardo, Philip Simondet, Ted King,

Lorissa Gottschalk, Maggie Ryan Sandford,

Friday April 4th 20th 7:00 pm (Hooked)

The Coffee Shop Ne  (2852a Johnson St. NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418)

featuring: Creating community in average spaces through the magic of spoken literature, Evan Kingston, Laura Theobald
Patrick Werle, Mary Harold, Sharkhooks

Saturday April 5th 7:00pm (What Does Your Fox Say)

Blackdog Coffee and Wine Bar (308 Prince Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101)

featuring: Wendy Skinner, Mona Susan Power, Ardie Medina,

Brian Baumgart, Marjorie Hakala, George J Farrah

Sunday April 6th 11:00 am (Fitting In)

Black Sheep Coffee Cafe (705 Southview Boulevard, South Saint Paul, Minnesota 55075)

featuring: Pam Schmid, Andrea Jenkins, Lisa Ann Pierce, Kimberly Eridon
Chris Vaughan, Jennifer Bowen Hicks, Andrew Cleary

Wednesday April 9th10:20am (Amplatz Children’s Hospital CW Festival Reading)

U of M Amplatz Children’s Hospital (2450 Riverside Ave., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454)

featuring: Rebecca Ramsden, Bruce Peck, Satish Jayaraj, Anne Sawyer-Aitch

Thursday April 10th 7:00 pm (It’s a Wonderful Life)

J. Arthur’s Coffee (2441 Rice Street, Roseville, Minnesota 55113)

featuring: Paula Cisewski, Sarah Turner, Margaret Hasse
River Urke, Jamie Hagg, Kevin Hershey, Mindy Mejia

Friday April 11th 7:00 pm (Legacy and Heritage)

Royal Grounds (4161 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409)

featuring: Sandra Evans, Chay Douangphouxay, Kris Bigalk

Saturday April 12th 7:00 pm (St Thomas Academy CW Festival Reading)

St Thomas Academy (949, Mendota Heights, MN 55120)

featuring: Donna Isaac, Satish Jayaraj, Michael Kiesow Moore, Tom Ferderer

Sunday April 13th 7:00 pm (Rochester CW Festival Reading)

C4 Creative Salon (324 1st St SW, Rochester, Minnesota 55902)

featuring: Daniel Solis, Emily Urness, Steven Vogel, Josh Fischer, Katrina Wollet, Matt Dahl

Monday April 14th 7:00 pm (Be a Lady)

Diamonds Coffee Shoppe (1618 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413)

Featuring: Patricia Francisco, IBé, Matt Mauch, Rebecca Song
David Stein, Krisanne Dattir, Jenny McDougal

Thursday April 17th 7:00 pm (Divinity and Humor)

Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar (Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar)

featuring: Linda White, Kate Lynn Hibbard, Kristin Laurel, Benjamin Kowalsky,

Bryan Mazo, Lennon Sundance


Friday April 18th 7:00 pm (Home and Away)

Cahoots Coffee Bar (1562 Selby Ave Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104)

featuring: Jen March, Michael Dean, Ka Zoua Vang,

Louis Murphy, Darci Schummer

Saturday April 19th  7:00 pm (Duluth CW Festival Reading)

Prøve Gallery (21 N Lake Ave, 21 N Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802)

featuring: Ryan Vine, Satish Jayaraj, Felicia Schneiderhan 

Monday April 21st 7:00 pm (Be a Man)

Hamline Midway Library  (1558 W Minnehaha Ave, St Paul, MN 55104)

featuring: Andrew Blissenbach, Colin Mcdonald, Kate Shuknecht,

Ariane Sandford, Thomas Rohde, Moheb Soliman

Friday April 25th 7:00 pm (#phobia)

Hillside Chapel (2610 19th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418)

featuring: Leslie Adrienne Miller, Paul Canada,

Karen Youso, Sarah Hayes, Lisa Brimmer

Saturday April 26th 1:00 pm (Urbanization)

Mill City Museum (704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401)

Featuring: Saymoukda Vongsay, Tim Nolan, Carla Hagen,

Tracy Harris, Amy Salloway

Sunday April 27th 4:00pm (War and Strife)

Boneshaker Books (2002 23rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404)

featuring: Ethna Mckiernan, Khary Jackson, Dain Ingebretson,

Wednesday April 30th 7:00 pm (Beware the Elements)

Fireroast Café (3800 37th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406)

Thursday May 1st 7:00 PM (The Final Frontier)

Solar Arts Building ( 711 15th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413)

Paula Cisewski, Alison Morse, Chris Title,

Paige Riehl, Peter Stein, Lynne Kuechle,

Friday May 2nd 7:00 PM (Year of the Horse)

Solomon’s Porch(100 W 46th St, Minneapolis, MN 55419)

Featuring: Victoria Peterson Hilleque, (more to come)

Saturday May 3rd 1:00 PM (Masks of Power)

Books and Tea(325 West 7th Street, St Paul, MN 55102)

Sunday May 4th  7:00 PM (Good and Evil)

Café Bene(53 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN 55105)

featuring: Josh Wodarz (more to come)

Tuesday May 6th 7:00 PM (The Witching Hour)

Claddagh Coffee (459 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102)

Wednesday May 7th 6:00 PM (Transmutation)

Peace Coffee shop Wonderland Park(3262 Minnehaha Ave. Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406)

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.

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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