This year, the folks with the National Book Awards are doing things a little differently. Rather than just announcing the finalists, this year they're releasing long lists this month, short lists next month, and the winners in November.
They're also drawing out the excitement by announcing one category per day. Today is young adult literature, and there are two Minneapolis authors on the list. Kate DiCamillo made the long list for "Flora and Ulysses," her tale of a little girl and her buddy, a squirrel with superpowers. DiCamillo is a Newbery Award winner for her second book, "The Tale of Despereaux."
Also on the list is Anne Ursu, author of "The Real Boy," the story of a young shop assistant to a magician. Ursu's most recent book, "Breadcrumbs," was widely acclaimed and was named a Junior Literary Guild selection and this year she won a McKnight Artist Fellowship.
Both writers live in Minneapolis. (Keep in mind that the winner of last year's National Book Award for young adult literature was Minneapolis author Will Alexander. We have a reputation to uphold.)
DiCamillo will be in conversation with Minnesota Public Radio's Cathy Wurzer next Tuesday night at the Fitzgerald; Ursu will launch her book at Red Balloon later this month.
Here's the full list:
Kathi Appelt: "The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp."
Kate DiCamillo: "Flora and Ulysses."
Lisa Graff: "A Tangle of Knots."
Alaya Dawn Johnson: "The Summer Prince."
Cynthia Kadohata: "The Thing About Luck."
David Levithan: "Two Boys Kissing."
Tom McNeal: "Far, Far Away"
Meg Rosoff: "Picture Me Gone."
Anne Ursu: "The Real Boy."
Gene Luen Yang: "Boxers & Saints."
The short list will be announced Oct. 16.
Tomorrow: the long list for poetry.
Amanda Coplin is really a Pacific Northwest writer--she was born in Washington state, earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Portland and now lives in Portland. But her MFA is from the University of Minnesota, where she studied under Charles Baxter and others, and her career since graduation has been remarkable. Her first novel, "The Orchardist" (yes, yes, set in the Pacific Northwest) was a New York Times best-seller, garnered wide critical praise (including this review in the Star Tribune), was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Awards finalist, and made several best-of-the-year lists (including the Washington Post).
And now, more accolades: shortly after winning the Washington State Book Award for fiction (the nonfiction award went to Timothy Egan for "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher"), Coplin was named one of the National Book Foundation's "Five under 35." (The other four: Molly Antopol, NoViolet Bulawayo, currently on the Man Booker Prize short list, Daisy Hildyard and Merritt Tierce.)
Each of the five was chosen by a previous National Book Award winner. And who chose Coplin? Why, Louise Erdrich, of course. Definitely not from the Pacific Northwest.
They say that Ireland has more writers per capita than any other country, right? And that St. Paul has more Irish people than any other ethnicity? (Except possibly Hispanic and German, but never mind.) So it makes sense that this weekend's Irish Fair on Harriet Island will add a Literary Corner to its demonstrations of dancing, music, sheepherding, rope-pulling and hurley.
From the days of the traveling story tellers, the seanachies, the spoken and written word has been vital to Irish society. The writers chosen for this year's Literary Corner are all storytellers--fiction, poetry, memoir. Each one has some connection to Ireland, and each will do a brief chat about their lives and work and then will do a short reading.
The Literary Corner will be held in the Pavilion, and the Eoin McKiernan Speakers Tent--a different and longstanding literary tradition at the fair--will continue as usual.
Here's the lineup:
Richard Broderick, poet, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday
Carol Connolly, poet,1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Mike Faricy, fiction, 12:30 p.m. Saturday, 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Mike Finley, poetry, noon and 4 p.m. Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. Sunday
Erin Hart, fiction, 2 p.m. Saturday,
Amanda Hughes, historical fiction: 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday.
Ethna McKiernan, poetry, 3 p.m. Sunday
Paddy O'Brien, memoir and poetry, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, noon Sunday.
Jim Rogers, nonfiction and poetry, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, 1:30 p.m. Sunday
Sarah Stonich, fiction, 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. Sunday
The new low-residency MFA program at Minneapolis' Augsburg College will host its first summer residency, which includes a week of public events by visiting writers and faculty. The MFA program has a broad focus, including fiction, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, poetry and playwrighting. Here's the lineup; all readings begin at 7:30 p.m. and will take place in the Tjornhom-Nelson Theater in the Foss Center of Augsburg College.
Tonight: Stephan Clark and Jack El-Hai. Stephan Clark writes fiction, nonfiction, and screeplays. His collecetion of stories, "Vladimir's Mustache," was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
Jack El-Hai writes literary journalism and creative nonfiction and is the author of "The Lobotomist." His new book, "The Nazi and the Psychiatrist," will be published this fall.
Saturday: Christina Lazaridi. Christina Lazaridi, a screenwriter, wrote "One Day Crossing" and "Coming Up Roses."
Monday: Sue William Silverman. Sue William Silverman's memoir, "Love Sick: One Woman's Journey through Sexual Addiction," has been made into a Lifetime television movie. She is also the author of "Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You," winner of the AWP creative nonfiction award.
Tuesday: Cass Dalglish and Cary Waterman. Cass Dalglish is a novelist, poet and journalist. Her novel, "Sweetgrass," was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
Cary Waterman is a poet and writer of creative nonfiction. Her collection, "When I Looked Back You Were Gone," was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
Wednesday: Ed Bok Lee. Ed Bok Lee is a poet, author of "Whorled," winner of a 2012 American Book Award and a Minnesota Book Award.
Friday, Aug. 2: Benjamin Percy. Benjamin Percy is the author of "Red Moon," and "The Wilding," and has won an NEA Fellowship, a Whiting Writer's Award, and a Pushcart Prize.
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.
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.
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