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 Graywolf Press

Graywolf Press adds to its honors

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: November 21, 2013 - 9:16 AM

Graywolf Press publisher Fiona McCrae and executive editor Jeff Shotts were in the audience last night when poet Mary Szybist won the National Book Award for her Graywolf book, "Incarnadine," a collection of poems about the Annunciation.

Szybist thanked Graywolf, among others, in her brief, fervent acceptance speech, praising the press for handling her book with such care.

This is the first National Book Award won by a Graywolf author, though there have been finalists (Carl Phillips, Salvatore Scibona and Deborah Baker). Graywolf writers have won, in recent years, most major literary prizes, including the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award, and the National Book Critics Circle award.

" ‘In­car­na­dine’ is a mar­vel of a book, a­bout the many ways we en­coun­ter the world and the world en­count­ers us,” Shotts, who edited "Incarnadine," said in an interview when the book was short-listed.

Other winners last night include "The Thing About Luck," by Cynthia Kadohata, for Young People's Literature; "The Unwinding," by George Packer, for Nonfiction; and "The Good Lord Bird," by James McBride, for fiction.

You can read five poems from "Incarnadine" on the Graywolf website here.

Twin Cities poet Matt Rasmussen was a finalist for "Black Aperture," his collection of poems about his brother's suicide. The book also won the Walt Whitman Award. Last night's ceremony was broadcast live on C-Span 2 and you can watch it on the National Book Foundation website here.

Minn. poet Matt Rasmussen a National Book Award finalist

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: October 16, 2013 - 7:34 AM

A history of the Scientology movement, a biography of Benjamin Franklin's sister, and a poetry collection published by Graywolf Press are among the finalists for the National Book Award, announced this morning on MSNBC's talk show, "Morning Joe."

And Minnesota poet Matt Rasmussen's debut collection, "Black Aperture," is among the finalists for poetry.

Rasmussen, born in International Falls, now lives in Robbinsdale and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College. His book, "Black Aperture," also won the Walt Whitman Award. It was published by Louisiana State University Press.

Winners will be announced Nov. 20.  Here's the whole list of finalists, with links to Star Tribune reviews, when available:


"Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin," by Jill Lepore

"Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields," by Wendy Lower. (Review runs next week.)

"The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America," by George Packer

"The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia 1772-1832," by Alan Taylor

"Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief," by Lawrence Wright.


"The Tenth of December," by George Saunders

"The Lowland," by Jhumpa Lahiri.

"The Bleeding Edge," by Thomas Pynchon. (Review scheduled.)

"The Flamethrowers," by Rachel Kushner

"The Good Lord Bird," by James McBride

Young People's LIterature:

"The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp," by Kathi Appelt

"The Thing About Luck," by Cynthia Kadohata

"Far, Far Away," by Tom McNeal

"Picture Me Gone," by Meg Rosoff

"Boxers and Saints," by Gene Luen Yang. Yang is a faculty member of Hamline University's low-residency MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults



"Metaphysical Dog," by Frank Bidart


"Illusion," by Lucie Brock-Broido

"The Big Smoke," by Adrian Matejka

"Black Aperture," by Matt Rasmussen

"Incarnadine," by Mary Szybist, published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press.

The 20 finalists were chosen from a long list, which included Minneapolis young-adult writers Anne Ursu and Kate DiCamillo.  The winners will be announced Nov. 20 in New York.



Andrew Solomon, Adam Johnson win Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: September 25, 2013 - 9:53 AM

Two books that had already received high honors were honored again today when the winners of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize were announced.  "Far From the Tree," Andrew Solomon's book about children who are vastly different from their parents, and how that affects their upbringing, won the nonfiction award. And Adam Johnson's fascinating peek inside North Korea, "The Orphan Master's Son," won the prize for fiction.

Solomon had already won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Johnson's book had won the Pulitzer Prize.

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize carries an award of $10,000 and will be presented Nov. 3 in Dayton, Ohio.

This year's runners-up were "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," by Ben Fountain (also winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award) and "Devil in the Grove," by Gilbert King.

The list of nominees had included Louise Erdrich's novel, "The Round House," winner of a National Book Award and a Minnesota Book Award, and a memoir of Romania, "Burying the Typewriter," published by Graywolf Press.

The peace prize is awarded annually to books that use the power of literature to foster peace and understanding.

More Minnesota love from the National Book Awards

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: September 17, 2013 - 9:35 AM

Matt Rasmussen.

Here comes round two of the National Book Award long lists, and here come more books with Minnesota connections. The long list for poetry was announced this morning, and here is Matt Rasmussen, winner of the 2012 Walt Whitman Award from the American Academy of Poets, nominated for "Black Aperture."  You can't get more Minnesota than Rasmussen, who was born in International Falls, lives in Robbinsdale, and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus. His book was published by Louisiana State University Press.

(Here is the Strib review of "Black Aperture.")

Other Minnesota connections on the list: "So Recently Rent a World," by Andrei Codrescu and published by Coffee House Press.  And "Incarnadine," by Mary Szybist, and published by Graywolf Press.

Yesterday's long list for young adult books included Minneapolis writers Kate DiCamillo and Anne Ursu. Tomorrow's list is nonfiction.

Here's the full long list for poetry:

"Metaphysical Dog," by Frank Bidart.

"Bury My Clothes," by Roger Bonair-Agard

"Stay, Illusion," by Lucie Brock-Broido.

"So Recently Rent a World," by Andrei Codrescu.

"Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire," by Brenda Hillman.

"The Big Smoke," by Adrian Matejka.

"American Amnesiac," by Diane Raptosh.

"Black Aperture," by Matt Rasmussen.

"Transfer of Qualities," by Martha Ronk.

"Incardine," by Mary Szybist.

Erdrich novel, Graywolf memoir are finalists for Dayton prize

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: August 20, 2013 - 10:53 AM


The shortlist for the annual Dayton Literary Peace Prize was announced today, studded with fine titles about life in North Korea, Ceausecu's Romania, American Indian reservations, and the Vietnam War.


The formidable fiction shortlist includes National Book Award-winning "The Round House," Pulitzer-winning "The Orphan Master's Son," and a couple of dark horses.

The nonfiction shortlist also includes a National Book Award winner, Katherine Boo's "Behind the Beautiful Forevers," as well as a Graywolf Press memoir, "Burying the Typewriter," by Carmen Bugan about growing up in Romania.

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize was inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia. Winners will receive $10,000 and runners-up will receive $1,000. Winners will be announced Sept. 24.

Here's the whole list, with hyperlinks to our reviews.


"The Round House," by Louise Erdrich

"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," by Ben Fountain

"The Orphan Master's Son," by Adam Johnson

"The Life of Objects," by Susanna Moore

"The Coldest Night," by Robert Olmstead

"The Yellow Birds," by Kevin Powers




"Behind the Beautiful Forevers," by Katherine Boo

"Pax Ethnica," by Karl Meyer and Shareen Brysac

"Burying the Typewriter," by Carmen Bugan

"Escape from Camp 14," by Blaine Harden

"Devil in the Grove," by Gilbert King

"Far From the Tree," by Andrew Solomon.





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters