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 Books

He writes! He sings! He reads!

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: June 1, 2011 - 10:57 AM


Bob Mould. Staff photo by Jerry Holt

Bob Mould. Staff photo by Jerry Holt


You might know him as the founding member of Husker Du and Sugar. I know him as the guy who was standing in front of me at First Avenue, blocking my view of the stage. (Yes, I am clueless.)

And now he's an author, as well. Bob Mould will be at Magers & Quinn on June 14 to launch his memoir, "See A Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody."  The evening begins at 7:30 with Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad reading from "Buzz Aldren: What Happened to You in All the Confusion?" Mould takes the stage at 9 p.m. and will read and autograph books.

The next night, he'll perform at the Dakota on the Nicollet Mall.

Star Trib writer Chris Riemenschneider has interviewed him--watch for his story later this month. Here's what Chris said about Mould's new book:  "It's loaded with Twin Cities references from his Husker Du days. The book opens with a story of Mould getting kicked out of a clothing-optional hotel in Palm Springs the same day he last played Coachella. Pretty blunt stuff, in other words."

Blunt, but fun, I think.

Magers & Quinn is at 3038 Hennepin Av. S. in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. The book appearance is free.



Does a reading in a fine-art studio just somehow sound better?

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: May 27, 2011 - 3:29 PM


Simply Jane studio, 5411 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.

Simply Jane studio, 5411 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.


Read it and weep, St. Paul.  Linden Hills poet Elissa Cottle has started a bimonthly reading series in art galleries, but only in Southwest Minneapolis.  This is partly because she is too  time-deprived (like many of us) for "schlepping all the way out to St. Paul, or wherever," whenever she's hungry for literature. (This quote is from an interview with Hmph. Well, then, St. Paul will simply have to come to her.

Since last fall, every few weeks she has gathered up four or five writers, found a welcoming gallery, and curated what might be called a lovely salon. In June, she and four writers will be at Simply Jane Open-Art Studio on 54th and Nicollet.

The event begins at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, and you can listen to George Roberts, Cottle's first writing teacher and the author of "the blessing of winter rain." (That lower-case title is his, not mine.) Also, Margaret Hasse, author of "Milk and Tides," which won a Midwest Book Award. Also, Paul Mattes, a poet and memoirist. And also Monika Deinard, who writes flash fiction and likes to ride her bike. Appetizers and beverages to follow.

It's all free, and it sounds most pleasant. Oh, and Gwendolyn? There isn't one. Cottle just likes the lyrical name.

To be considered for the Aug. 14 reading at Uniquely Yours gallery, e-mail one page of your best writing to:

Oh, and here's an update from the previous blog entry, about the overnight reading sponsored by Rain Taxi Review.  If you're a writer, and you're interested in taking part, send an email to the folks at Rain Taxi to get a time slot. They have openings from 3 to 4 a.m., and from 4 to 5 a.m.  Good luck and don't forget the no-doz.


Who wants to be a writer? Hey, kid, what about you?

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: May 25, 2011 - 12:55 PM
Dessa. Staff photo by Carlos Gonzalez

Dessa. Staff photo by Carlos Gonzalez

As a quiet, bookish teen pecking away on my portable typewriter back in the mid -1970s, I didn’t know anybody else who wrote, except my dad, and he was, well, my dad. Not exactly a peer. The idea of a day-long writing conference geared just for people my age was not something in the realm of possibility.
Kids today! They have it so easy! They can just hike down to the Loft Literary Center and spend the day with superstar Dessa, rapper, memoirist, essayist, role model. And, man, they even get a free lunch.
The Teen Writing Conference will be June 18, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Loft, 1011 Washington Ave. S., in Minneapolis. In addition to Dessa’s keynote speech, there will be classes on writing poetry, short fiction, graphic novels, blogs, screenplays, slam poetry and memoir (yes! memoir for teens! Which seems perfect, when you think about it, because who studies their own life more intensely than a teen?); classes on voice and ‘zines and revision (everybody’s favorite topic); and a vampire camp, whatever that is, I’m frankly afraid to ask.
It’s all free, co-sponsored by the Hennepin County Library. Preregistration is required and can be done online at:
One lovely summer day that--who knows?--could change a teen's life.

Nightowls and nightsiders, nighthawks and insomniacs, this one's for you

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: May 24, 2011 - 1:22 PM
Staff file photo by Brian Peterson

Staff file photo by Brian Peterson

We don't exactly have white nights here in Minnesota, but the Northern Spark Festival will do its best to light up your night, from sundown on June 4 until dawn on June 5.

To learn about the scope of the festival--which will stretch from Minneapolis to St. Paul (or from St. Paul to Minneapolis, if you prefer) along the Mississippi River--you should click on the link. above. There's more planned than I can go into here, and since this is a books blog, I'm only going to focus on one small part of it all: the bedtime stories at Walker Art Center (and sponsored by Rain Taxi Review of Books).

Beginning at 3 a.m. and ending at dawn--right around 5:30 a.m.--poets, songsters, writers and comedians will read or recite in small groups scattered across the Open Field at Walker Art Center. (The Walker's contribution to the festival, Nightshift, includes many other events, including later gallery hours, lullabyes, and stargazing.)

Each bedtime story will last just ten minutes. (Wouldn't want to put anyone to sleep, you know. Too much to do!) So far, nearly a dozen writers have agreed to forego sleep and entertain the sleepy, arty crowd--Valerie Deus,Gabrielle Civil,Terri Ford,Catherine Lundoff, John Colburn,Paula Cisewski,Gary Dop,Ute Bertog and Will Alexander--with more to come.

What will they read? What would you read at 4 a.m.? Susan Marie Swanson's "The House in the Night"? Joyce Sidman's "Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night"? Or something creepier, maybe--a little Dracula, a little "Twilight"? Too obvious? Maybe your own fevered journal entries, jotted down by the light of a full moon?

Come and see. The whole thing evaporates at dawn, with the arrival of the sun, and doughnuts.

Erdrich story featured in latest Granta

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: May 23, 2011 - 5:20 PM


Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich

 One of the joys of being a subscriber to Granta is seeing, with each issue, what theme the literary journal is going to tackle this time. Themed issues began in 1979, under editor Bill Buford, and they have been both eclectic ("What Young Men Do") and frank ("Losers"). 

The themes continued when John Freeman took over a few years back,and the most frankly-themed issue of all ("Sex") was a best-seller. And now we have "The F Word," which is not what you might think it is.

The newest issue of Granta tackles feminism, and it plunges right into the topic with pieces by Francine Prose, A.S. Byatt, and Edwidge Danticat. Eudory Welty is in here, too. So is Louise Erdrich.

"The Ojibwe Week," Erdrich's offering, is from her novel "The Antelope's Wife," which, according to the contributors' notes,is forthcoming in a newly revised edition.

The folks at Granta have created three short films, inspired by three of the pieces. One film, inspired by Helen Simpson's "Night Thoughts," is posted on the Granta website. I can't link to it here because this is a family newspaper and the film is mildly -- well, imagine what you might be thinking about when you're lying awake at 3 a.m. and there you have it, darkness and all.


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