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

Good Thunder reading series to host Tracy Kidder, Jesmyn Ward, Tracy K. Smith

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 24, 2013 - 9:33 AM

 

Tracy Kidder

Tracy Kidder

A drive to Mankato is nothing if it means you'll find riches at the end. And the 32nd season of the Mankato State University Good Thunder Reading Series sees a wealth of writers coming through town to teach and speak.

Pulitzer Prize winners Tracy Kidder (nonfiction), Tracy K. Smith (poetry) and Jesmyn Ward (fiction) will bookend the series, which will also see poets Alex Lemon, Matt Rasmussen and Tracy K Smith, as well as a host of other writers both national and regional.

All events are open to the public and will be held in the Centennial Student Union at MSU. Most of the writers will also be interviewed for radio programs, which will be aired on KMSU-FM 89.7 as part of the Authors in Transit series.

Here's the whole schedule. Now go gas up your car.

Sept. 12: Tracy Kidder. Author of "Soul of a New Machine" (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), "Mountains Beyond Mountains," and other works of nonfiction.

Oct 3-4: Swati Avasthi, young-adult fiction, and Rachael Hanel, memoir.

Oct. 24: Alicia Catt, creative nonfiction, and Alan Davis, fiction.

Nov. 14-15: Angela Duryee, creative nonfiction, and Luis Alberto Urrea, fiction and nonfiction.

Jan. 30: Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Christopher Howell, poetry.

 

Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward

Feb. 18-21: Pete Hautman, young adult fiction, and Alex Lemon, poetry and creative nonfiction.

 

March 20: Matt Rasmussen and Tracy K. Smith, poetry. Rasmussen won the 2012 Walt Whitman Award, and Smith won the Pulitzer Prize for "Life on Mars," published by Graywolf Press.

April 10: Jesmyn Ward, fiction (and winner of the Pultizer Prize for "Salvage the Bones"), and Niky Finney, poetry.

April 24: Candace Black, poetry and creative nonfiction, and Roger Sheffer, fiction.

 

 

Graywolf title wins International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: June 6, 2013 - 2:53 PM

 

Kevin Barry.

Kevin Barry.

Kevin Barry's novel "City of Bohane," published last year by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press, has won the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, one of the most significant literary prizes in the world.It comes with a cash prize of 100,000 euros (about $130,000) and is open to any book published in English.

 

Barry beat out a stellar crowd. Also in the running for the award were "1Q84," by Haruki Murakami, "Pure," by Andrew Miller, "The Buddha in the Attic," by Julie Otsuka, "The Tragedy of Arthur," by Minnesota writer Arthur Phillips, "Swamplandia!," by Karen Russell, "From the Mouth of the Whale," by Sjon, "The Faster I Walk the Smaller I am," by Kjersti A. Skomsvold, and "Caesarian," by Tommy Wieringa.

Previous winners include Colm Toibin, Edward P. Jones, Orhan Pamuk, and Graywolf author Per Petterson, for "Out Stealing Horses."

Barry also recently won the Sunday Times Short Story Award for his "Beer Trip to Llandudno," which will appear in "Dark Lies the Island," a collection of stories to be published this fall by Graywolf Press.

 

Robert Bly reads to a packed house

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: April 3, 2013 - 6:24 AM

 

Robert Bly at the American Swedish Institute, launching "Airmail." Star Tribune photo by Jerry Holt.

Robert Bly at the American Swedish Institute, launching "Airmail." Star Tribune photo by Jerry Holt.

 

It was only at the very end of the evening, when Robert Bly read a poem by his longtime friend Tomas Tranströmer, that he grew animated, his voice dipping and swaying, gaining in power. He crisply enunciated the words, added that famous little Bly twist, and looked straight out at the crowd.

Up until then, he had been a bit subdued, reading aloud softly from his new book, "Airmail: The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer," not looking up. He launched the book Tuesday evening at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, reading aloud some of the letters he had written to Tranströmer in the 1960s and 70s and 80s. Roland Thorstensson of Gustavus Adolphus College read the Tranströmer replies.
 
The room was packed, 300 people there to listen to three dignified and serious men on stage--Bly, Thorstensson, and poet Thomas R. Smith, who spent ten years editing the collection, which was published this month by Minneapolis’ Graywolf Press.
 
Do not think he spent the full decade on the book, Smith told the crowd in his opening remarks. “The manuscript languished half-finished in a drawer until October 2011, when Tomas Tranströmer won the Nobel Prize for literature--after which I worked on it furiously.”
 
Jeff Shotts, Graywolf Press’s executive editor, called Smith a “tireless, passionate poet and editor,” noting that in the course of his research Smith had discovered among the letters a Tranströmer poem that had never been published.
 
“I can’t tell you what a remarkable moment that was,” Shotts said.
 
Thomas R. Smith and Robert Bly sign books after Tuesday's reading.

Thomas R. Smith and Robert Bly sign books after Tuesday's reading.

Later in the evening Bly and Thorstensson read that poem, “Conflict,” Bly reading it in English, Thorstensson in Swedish.
 
But the night really belonged to Bly, 86, a man whose “contributions to global literature cannot be exaggerated,” Shotts said.
 
His famous mane of white hair is shorter, and he was a little shaky mounting the steps to the stage, but his voice remains sweet and nasal and—especially when he read poetry—strong and true.
 
The letters, sometimes teasing, sometimes serious, always affectionate, reflect the close friendship between the two poets. They touched on life in the country (both in Minnesota and in Sweden), the Vietnam war, Lyndon Johnson, and their own work. Getting published in Bly’s magazine, The Sixties, Transtromer wrote, is “fully comparable to arriving in Valhalla and drinking beer with the heroes.”
 
At the end of the evening, Shotts read one last letter—a note written Monday by Tranströmer and sent, this time, by e-mail rather than airmail.
 
“Robert, we both have reached that time in life when we must avoid the really long trips,” Tranströmer wrote. “That’s why I am not right now by your side as our letters are opened in Minneapolis for everyone to read. But, as always, I await a spirited letter from you about this evening.”
 
He ended with a postscript, congratulating Bly on receiving the Robert Frost Medal, the highest award from the Poetry Society of America. Bly and his wife, Ruth, will travel to New York later this week for the ceremony.
 
And as Bly sat quietly in his chair on the stage, the 300 people in the room rose to their feet, and applauded.

Charles Baxter to judge National Book Awards

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: April 1, 2013 - 12:05 PM

 

Charles Baxter.

Charles Baxter.

 

The names of the judges for this year's National Book Awards were announced this morning, and included in the stellar group are Minnesota writer Charles Baxter and Graywolf Press poet D.A. Powell.

Baxter, author of "The Feast of Love," a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award, is the Edelstein-Keller Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota. His most recent book is "Gryphon," a collection of short stories.

He will be joined as fiction judge with novelist Gish Jen ("Typical American"), Rene Steinke, a 2005 National Book Award Finalist for "Holy Skirts," and -- for the first time in many years -- two people who are not authors, Charles McGrath, fromer editor of the New York Times Book Review, and Rick Simonson, a bookseller at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle.

Judges for nonfiction are Jabari Asim, Andre Bernard, M.G. Lord, Lauren Redniss, and Eric Sundquist.

Poetry judges are Nikky Finney, author of "Head Off & Split," which won the 2011 National Book Award; Ada Limon, Graywolf Press poet D.A. Powell, who won a 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for "Useless Landscape: Or, A Guide for Boys"; Jahan Ramazani, and Craig Morgan Teicher, author of "Cradle Book."

Young people's literature will be judged by Deb Caletti, Cecil Castellucci, Peter Glassman, E. Lockhart, and Lisa Von Drasekis.

The awards will be announced in New York City on Nov. 20.

 

 

 

Peter Bognanni wins Rome Prize

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: March 13, 2013 - 9:24 AM

 

Peter Bognanni. Photograph by Melissa Copon.

Peter Bognanni. Photograph by Melissa Copon.

 

The American Academy of Arts and Letters issued its annual honors and awards today, and there are so many familiar names on the list--Katherine Boo. (Is there nothing she hasn't won?) Kevin Powers, for "The Yellow Birds."  Short story writer Lydia Davis. Graywolf Press poet D.A. Powell (ditto him).

And Macalester visiting instructor Peter Bognanni, author of "House of Tomorrow," (a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award, and winner of the Los Angeles Times First Novel Award and an ALA Alex Award), has won one of two Rome Prize fellowships. 

The Rome Prize is a one-year residency at the American Academy in Rome. Bognanni is a native of Iowa and a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop.

Here's our review of "House of Tomorrow."

And here's the full list of the American Academy awards:

Arts and Letters Awards in Literature: Katherine Boo, Joanna Klink, Neil LaBute, Bill McKibben, Bruce Norris, Darryl Pinckney, D.A. Powell, and Brad Watson.

Benjamin H. Danks award, $20,000 for an exceptional playwright: Amy Herzog.

E.M. Forster Award, $20,000 to a young writer from the U.K. or Ireland to stay in the U.S.: Adam Foulds.

Sue Kaufman Prize for  First Fiction: Kevin Powers.

Award of Merit Medal: $10,00 for outstanding short story writing: Lydia Davis.

Addison M. Metcalf Award, $10,000 for a young writer: Mischa Berlinski.

Rome Fellowships: Peter Bognanni and Peter Streckfus

Rosenthal Family Foundation award, $10,000 to a young writer for work published in 2012: Claire Vaye Watkins.

John Updike Aard, $20,000 for mid-career writer of excellence: Jennifer Egan.

Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award, $10,000: Christopher Benfey

E.B. White Award, $10,000 for children's literature: Natalie Babbitt.

 

 

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