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 news

Two Graywolf Press books on longlist for National Book Award

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: September 16, 2014 - 8:27 AM

Two books published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press are on the longlist for the National Book Award for poetry. The short list will be announced Oct. 15 and the winner announced in November.

Last year's winner, "Incarnadine," by Mary Szybist, was published by Graywolf.

Here's the list:

Louise Glück, ‘Faithful and Virtuous Night,’ Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Edward Hirsch, ‘Gabriel: A Poem,’ Alfred A. Knopf

Fanny Howe, ‘Second Childhood,’ Graywolf Press

Maureen N. McLane, ‘This Blue,’ Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Brian Blanchfield, ‘A Several World,’ Nightboat Books

Fred Moten, ‘The Feel Trio,’ Letter Machine Editions

Claudia Rankine, ‘Citizen: An American Lyric,’ Graywolf Press

Spencer Reece, ‘The Road to Emmaus,’ Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Mark Strand, ‘Collected Poems,’ Alfred A. Knopf

The serial is over; long live the serial!

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: September 3, 2014 - 1:29 PM

And so, on Sunday, summer didn't just come to a close, but so did our summer serial. The last installment of Cary J. Griffith's "Savage Minnesota" ran on the Variety cover, ending both the mystery and the story.

(If you missed it, or missed any installments, or want to read it again, you can buy the e-book on our Website.)

The story was a fun one, set in Minneapolis and the south suburbs, a murder mystery with plenty of local color (and local wildlife).

And now we are starting to scout around for next summer's masterpiece. Got one?  You know you do. The story does not have to be set in Minnesota (though that helps) and it does not have to be a murder mystery, or a mystery at all (though mysteries do make good page-turners). You do not have to live here (though that also helps). The manuscript does have to be appropriate for a family newspaper, and it must be something that we can split into about 75 or 80 or 100 installments.

If you have an unpublished manuscript (unpublished either in print or online) that you would like us to consider, please email the first chapter (and only the first chapter) to books@startribune.com. If we like it, we'll ask to see more.

We will consider entries through Oct. 31.

Happy writing!

James McBride to headline the fall English @ Minnesota series

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: August 27, 2014 - 1:33 PM

 

James McBride. Photo by Chia Messina.

James McBride. Photo by Chia Messina.

This fall's English @ Minnesota series will bring in novelist (and jazz musician, and memoirist, and ...) James McBride, who will talk about "The Good Lord Bird," winner of the 2013 National Book Award (and soon to be a major motion picture, starring Jaden Smith) (and produced by McBride himself).

"The Good Lord Bird" is a funny, poignant novel about a young boy (nicknamed Onion) who travels with abolitionist John Brown in the months leading up to the Civil War.

McBride will be at Coffman Union Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 8.

The program will also host:

Jeff Sharlet, Edelstein Keller visiting writer and the author of "Radiant Truths," "The Family," and other books of literary journalism. 7 p.m. Oct. 2. Upson Room, Walter Library.

Stacey D'Erasmo, author of "Wonderland" and other books. 7 p.m. Oct. 14, Weisman Art Museum.

A conference on John Berryman at 100, the weekend of Oct. 24-26, at the Elmer L. Andersen Library. Poet Berryman, who died in 1972, won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and taught at the University of Minnesota. 

Hunger Relief, with Jess Row. This will be the seventh annual hunger relief benefit, organized by Charles Baxter. Jess Row, author of "Your Face in Mine," will join the English Department's faculty raising money for Second Harvest Heartland. The benefit will be at 7 p.m. Nov 3 in McNamara Alumni Center. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $5.

Jamaal May, Edelstein Keller visiting writer and author of "Hum," will read at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Upson Room of Walter Library.

Long lists, short lists, prizes galore

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 23, 2014 - 12:08 PM
Joshua Ferris. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan.

Joshua Ferris. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan.

So much prize news this morning that I'm just going to round it all up in one place. We have the Man Booker Prize longlist (with Americans, for the first time!); the Dylan Thomas prize longlist (hello, Coffee House Press!), and the New Rivers Many Voices prizes for both poetry and prose (hello, California and Duluth!).

Worth noting: Joshua Ferris' novel, "To Rise Again at a Decent Hour" is on the longlist for both the Booker Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize.

The Man Booker Prize longlist

This is the first year that the prestigious British literary prize has been opened to any author who writes in English. Previously, the award was restricted to writers of Ireland, UK and its commonwealth. The list includes Northfield, Minn., native Siri Hustvedt. Several of the titles have not yet been released in the United States.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, Joshua Ferris (Viking)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan (Chatto & Windus)
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Serpent's Tail)
The Blazing World, Siri Hustvedt (Sceptre)
J,  Howard Jacobson (Jonathan Cape) 
The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth (Unbound)
The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Sceptre)
The Lives of Others, Neel Mukherjee (Chatto & Windus)
Us, David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Dog, Joseph O'Neill (Fourth Estate)
Orfeo, Richard Powers (Atlantic Books)
How to be Both,  Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
History of the Rain, Niall Williams (Bloomsbury) 

The Man Booker Prize carries an award of 50,000 British pounds (about $85,000). The short list will be announced Sept. 9 and the winner Oct. 14.

The Dylan Thomas Prize

The Dylan Thomas Prize, named for the Welsh poet and administered by Swansea College in Wales, goes to a writer 39 years old or younger. Included on this list is "A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing," winner of the Baileys Award (formerly the Orange Prize) and to be published this fall by Coffee House Press.

Eimear McBride

Eimear McBride

Daniel Alarcón, At Night We Walk in Circles
Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
John Donnelly, The Pass
Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Emma Healey, Elizabeth is Missing
Meena Kandasamy, The Gypsy Goddess
Eimear McBride, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
Kseniya Melnik, Snow in May
Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion
Nadifa Mohamed, The Orchard of Lost Souls
Owen Sheers, Mametz
Tom Rob Smith, The Farm
Rufi Thorpe, The Girls from Corona del Mar
Naomi Wood, Mrs Hemingway
Hanya Yanagihara, The People in the Trees

Many Voices Project, New Rivers Press

The Many Voices Project of New Rivers Press began in 1981 and seeks to highlight new and emerging writers in poetry and prose.

The prize includes $1,000 and publication. This year's winner in poetry is Julie Gard of Duluth, and the winner in prose is Tracy Robert of southern California. Gard's poetry collection, "Home Studies," and Robert's book, "Flashcards & The Curse of Ambrosia," will be released in October 2015.

And that brings us to...

Minneapolis writer Kate DiCamillo, so recently honored with her second Newbery Award, the Christopher Medal, the Library of Congress National Ambassadorship to Young People's Literature, the AP Anderson Award, and the Guardian Children's Prize longlist, has yet another honor. (We don't know how big her house is but we are thinking she might need an addition for all of these trophies). DiCamillo has been awarded the Voice of the Heartland Award, which honors writers and institutions that value independent bookselling. DiCamillo was the brains and the enthusiasm behind the establishment this year of the first Indies First Storytime Day, a day in which writers and illustrators read books (not their own) to children in local indie bookstores. DiCamillo read to a throng at Chapter2 Books in Hudson, Wis.

She will be presented with the Voice of the Heartland award Sept. 30 at the annual Heartland Fall Forum trade show in Minneapolis.

Augsburg College author gets the 'Colbert bump'

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 22, 2014 - 4:39 PM
Stephan Eirik Clark

Stephan Eirik Clark. Augsburg College photo by Stephen Geffre

A second debut novelist got the "Colbert bump" last night on the "The Colbert Report"--this time it was St. Paul author Stephan Eirik Clark, who teaches at Augsburg College. His novel, "Sweetness No. 9"--which will be published Aug. 19--was recommended on the show by novelist Edan Lepucki.

Overnight, his book shot up from being unlisted on Powell's Books best-seller list, to number three.

Lepucki was paying it forward; her own debut novel, "California," became a New York Times best-seller after Colbert recommended it a few weeks ago as part of his attack on Amazon.

Colbert's love for first-time Hachette authors and disdain for Amazon stems from an ongoing dispute between the publishing group and the internet retailer over e-book pricing. Authors and customers are caught in the middle, as Amazon has severely restricted sales of Hachette books. (This includes books published by Grand Central, Little Brown, Hyperion, and others, and it includes authors J.K. Rowling, Kate Atkinson and David Baldacci. It also includes Lepucki and Clark--and Colbert.)

Not-yet-published Hachette books, such as Clark's, are listed on Amazon as "currently unvailable," with no option for pre-ordering. Other Hachette books face five- and six-week delays in shipping. Colbert has asked his viewers to buy books--specifically, Hachette books--from independent booksellers, and his first recommendation was for Lepucki's "California." He challenged viewers to make it a best-seller, and they did.

"Is there another Hachette author that you'd like to recommend?" Colbert asked Lepucki night. "I'm reading Stephan Eirik Clark's 'Sweetness No 9,' which is sooo good," Lepucki said. (She later said on Twitter that the book is "funny, moving, like DeLillo crossed with AM Homes.")

Clark said this morning that when his publisher and agent told him yesterday that his book would be bumped on the Colbert Report, he was left uncharacteristically speechless.

"You'd think I would burst out with an excited speech, but I just didn’t have anything to say," he said. "It was too good for words."

Clark's first book, a collection of short stories called "Vladimir's Mustache," was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. "Going with a small press for my collection, I didn’t expect to find readers," he said. "I’ve experienced the absence of readers, and so it’s encouraging to think that this one might find a readership, and I'm extremely grateful."

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