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

Guardian Children's Prize longlist includes Kate DiCamillo

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 1, 2014 - 10:30 AM

Kate DiCamillo is just back from Las Vegas ("exhausted and overjoyed," she says on Facebook), where she was picking up the Newbery Medal that she won earlier in the year for "Flora & Ulysses," her funny, charming and poignant story about a girl, a squirrel and a vacuum cleaner. And she now finds herself on another longlist for yet another prize.

The Guardian of London has announced its longlist for The Guardian Children's Prize, a list that was described as being "challenging, funny, exciting, beautiful, thoughtful, bonkers," according to one of the judges, writer Gillian Cross.

DiCamillo's "Flora & Ulysses" is on the list, along with seven other books. Here's the list, with the UK publishers listed. (DiCamillo's US publisher is Candlewick.) The short list will be announced in August, and the winner will be annonced on Nov. 13.

"The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby: Flora in Love," by Natasha Farrant (Faber)

"Phoenix," by SF Said (David Fickling)

"Flora and Ulysses," by Kate DiCamillo (Walker)

"The Dark Wild," by Piers Torday (Quercus)

"Shine," by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling)

"We Were Liars," by E Lockhart (Hot Key Books)

"She Is Not Invisible," by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion)

"The Lost Gods," by Francesca Simon (Faber)

I don't want to jinx anyone, but wouldn't it be fun to have her report on Facebook in November that she is just back from London, exhausted and overjoyed?

American Swedish Institute to host discussion of Nordic Noir

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: June 25, 2014 - 3:31 PM

Jean Hanslin, the American Swedish Institute's book discussion leader (and a Swedish language instructor) will host a conversation in July on "Before I Burn," the Scandinavian crime novel by Gaute Heivoll and published this year by Graywolf Press.

Heivoll's book won Norway's Brage Prize, an annual prize that is considered to be the country's most significant literary award.

Participants in the July discussion are asked to read the book in advance. Coffee and treats will be provided. Register before July 13 online or by calling 612-871-4907. Cost is $20. The discussion will take place from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday July 20 at the Institute, 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis.

Hamline announces YA reading series

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: June 24, 2014 - 3:19 PM

Anne Ursu

Anne Ursu

As part of its Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults summer residency, Hamline University will host a ten-day reading series in July, featuring notable writers of books for children. Authors include Twin Cities writer Anne Ursu, whose latest book ("The Real Boy")  was on the long list for the National Book Award; Gene Yuen Lang, whose "Boxers and Saints" was a finalist for the award, and many others. The keynote address, which will take place at graduation, will be by author and illustrator Vera B. Williams, winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award.

The series runs from July 11 through July 20 and is free and open to the public. All events will be in Room 110E of the Giddens Learning Center on the Hamline Campus, except for the keynote address, which will be in the Anne Simley Theater of the Drew Fine Arts Center.

Here's the schedule:

Ron Koertge, Marsha Qualey, Laura RubyFriday, July 11, 6:45 – 8 p.m.

Clare Vanderpool: Saturday, July 12, 3:00 – 3:30 p.m.

Gary Schmidt, Jane Resh Thomas, Marsha Chall: Sunday, July 13, 6:45 – 8 p.m.

Gene Luen Yang, Anne Ursu, Phyllis Root: Monday, July 14, 6:45 – 8 p.m.

Swati Avasthi, Claire Rudolf Murphy, Jackie Briggs MartinTuesday, July 15, 6:45 – 8 p.m.

Ricki Thompson, Alicia Williams, Melinda Cordell: Wednesday, July 16, 6:45 – 8 p.m.

Sara Kvois, Mike Petry, Katie Knutson: Thursday, July 17, 6:45 – 8 p.m.

Maria Macioce, Araceli EsparzaSaturday, July 19, 6:45 – 8 p.m.

Vera Williams: Sunday, July 20, 3:30-4:30 p.m.,Drew Fine Arts Center, Anne Simley Theatre.

Journalist held prisoner 460 days in Somalia coming to the Loft

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: June 19, 2014 - 1:10 PM

Amanda Lindhout

Amanda Lindhout

As a girl, Amanda Lindhout had always wanted to see the world, and at age 27 she found herself in Baghdad, filing news reports for a couple of American networks and writing for her hometown paper in Canada. She headed for Somalia, where she hoped to do a month's worth of reporting, but on her fourth day she and the photographer she was traveling with were kidnapped by insurgents.

They were held 460 days, freed only after their families managed to raise $600,000 through fund-raisers, borrowing, donations, and other means. Lindhout (with New York Times magazine writer Sara Corbett) wrote a book about the experience, "A House in the Sky," newly out in paperback. (Here's a link to the Strib review.) 

While still a captive, Lindhout decided that if she was ever freed, she would work to help bring education and development to Somalia. She has since established the nonprofit Global Enrichment Foundation, which works with people in Somalia and Kenya. 

Lindhout will be in the Twin Cities at 7 p.m. Tuesday (June 24) at Open Book, 1011 Washington Av. S., Mpls., at an event co-sponsored by the American Refugee Committee, the Loft, and Magers & Quinn.

PEN Literary Awards shortlist announced

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: June 18, 2014 - 2:44 PM
Saïd Sayrafiezadeh

Said Sayrafiezadeh

The shortlist for the PEN Literary Awards was announced today. Winners will be announced Sept. 29.

Here's the whole list, with links to our reviews, when available.

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2013—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (Hogarth), Anthony Marra
Brief Encounters With the Enemy (The Dial Press), Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
Everybody’s Irish (FiveChapters Books), Ian Stansel
Godforsaken Idaho (Little A/New Harvest), Shawn Vestal
The People in the Trees (Doubleday), Hanya Yanagihara

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2013 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

Forty-One False Starts (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Janet Malcolm
Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls (Little, Brown and Company), David Sedaris
The Faraway Nearby (Viking Adult), Rebecca Solnit
Critical Mass (Doubleday), James Wolcott

PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): For a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of the physical or biological sciences published in 2013.

The End of Night (Little, Brown and Company), Paul Bogard
Five Days at Memorial (Crown), Sheri Fink
High Price (Harper), Carl Hart
Surfaces and Essences (Basic Books), Douglas Hofstadter & Emmanuel Sander
Wild Ones (Penguin Press), Jon Mooallem

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2013.

Duppy Conqueror (Copper Canyon Press), Kwame Dawes
Leaving Tulsa (University of Arizona Press), Jennifer Elise Foerster
domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press), Ruth Ellen Kocher
Cowboys and East Indians (FiveChapters Books), Nina McConigley
Ghana Must Go (Penguin Press), Taiye Selasi

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2013.

Lawrence in Arabia (Doubleday), Scott Anderson
Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Linda Leavell
Margaret Fuller (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Megan Marshall
American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Deborah Solomon
A Life of Barbara Stanwyck (Simon & Schuster), Victoria Wilson

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2013.

Collision Low Crossers (Little, Brown and Company), Nicholas Dawidoff
The Sports Gene (Current), David Epstein
League of Denial (Crown Archetype), Mark Fainaru-Wada & Steve Fainaru
The Emerald Mile (Scribner), Kevin Fedarko
Their Life’s Work (Simon & Schuster), Gary M. Pomerantz

PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing ($5,000): To a writer for an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book published in 2013.

Train (Orchard Books), Elisha Cooper
Tea Party Rules (Viking), Ame Dyckman
The King of Little Things (Peachtree Publishers), Bil Lepp
Crabtree (McSweeney’s McMullens), Jon & Tucker Nichols

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2013.

Even Now: Poems by Hugo Claus (Archipelago), David Colmer
Diaries of Exile by Yannis Ritsos (Archipelago), Karen Emmerich & Edmund Keeley
Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson by Yosa Buson (Copper Canyon Press), Takako Lento & W.S. Merwin
Paul Klee’s Boat by Anzhelina Polonskaya (Zephyr Press), Andrew Wachtel
Cut These Words Into My Stone: Ancient Greek Epitaphs (Johns Hopkins University Press), Michael Wolfe

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2013.

An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman (New York Review Books), Elizabeth & Robert Chandler
Transit by Anna Seghers (New York Review Books), Margot Bettauer Dembo
The African Shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa (Yale University Press), Jeffrey Gray
The Emperor’s Tomb by Joseph Roth (New Directions), Michael Hofmann
Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (New York Review Books), Joanne Turnbull & Nikolai Formozov

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