Author Tim O'Brien--born and educated in Minnesota--has won the 2013 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. The prestigious prize carries an honorarium of $100,000.
O'Brien was born in Austin, Minn., grew up in Worthington, Minn., and graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul. He served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970, and most of his books have dealt with that war, and its aftermath. He won the National Book Award for "Going After Cacciato," and last year won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
He is perhaps best known for his novel, "The Things They Carried," and his memoir, "If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home."
O'Brien now lives and teaches in Texas.
Previous winners of the Pritzker Award include James McPherson and Rick Atkinson. O'Brien will accept the award in November.
And why not look forward to fall, when this summer is refusing to make an appearance? Let's skip it, then, and head right for the fall books. There's lots to look forward to, locally, with Garrison Keillor and Kevin Fenton and Kate DiCamillo and Kevin Kling and Robert Bly and ....
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but here are some of the books by Minnesota writers we're looking forward to. Starting with .... poetry!
"Stealing Sugar From the Castle: Selected and New Poems 1950-2013," by Robert Bly (W.W. Norton, September). A new book by Minnesota's most venerable poet is always an event.
"O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound," by Garrison Keillor. (Grove Press, October) Named, I think for this poem about, well, about taking, a, well, how can I say this, about, um, going to the .... um.... bleeding the .... um.... let's just say this particular poem is more vulgar than profound.
"Dance," by Lightsey Darst (Coffee House Press, September). Darst, currently writer-in-residence at the Walker Art Center (you can follow her blog here), won a Minnesota Book Award for her first collection, "Find the Girl."
"Leaving Rollingstone," by Kevin Fenton. (Minnesota Historical Society Press/Borealis Books, September). Fenton won the AWP award for the novel for his first book, "Merit Badges."
"Ready for Air," by Kate Hopper (University of Minnesota Press, October). A longtime writer and writing teacher, primarily about motherhood, Hopper here writes about premature motherhood.
"Prairie Sky," by W. Scott Olsen (University of Missouri Press, September). Olsen teaches at Concordia College and is the author of several books. This collection of essays is about viewing the world from the altitude of a pilot.
Mentioned before, but worth mentioning again...
"Big Little Mother," by Chris Monroe and Kevin Kling. The sequel, of sorts, to "Big Little Brother."
"The Illuminated Adventures of Flora & Ulysses," by Kate DiCamillo. A blend of novel and graphic novel, it's the story of a little girl, a magic squirrel, and a broken marriage.
We'll get to fiction in another blog post..... For now, remember: Rainy weather is good reading weather.
You can send in questions ahead of time (by clicking here) or tune in between noon and 1 for the live conversation. Or come back later to read the chat, which will be archived on our website.
One of the most charming hits of the 2011 season was the picture book "Big Little Brother," a collaboration between a Duluth illustrator and a Twin Cities writer. Chris Monroe (the illustrator) and Kevin Kling (the writer) fit together like green eggs and ham. Both have fantastic imaginations and a quirky sense of humor, and both mine their Minnesota childhoods for their work.
Monroe writes and draws the cartoon, "Violet Days," which runs Fridays in the Star Tribune Variety section, and is the author and illustrator of the "Monkey With a Tool Belt" series. Kling is a nationally-renowned storyteller, as well as the author of the essay collections "The Dog Says How," and "Holiday Inn."
"Big Little Brother" sprang from a true story from Kling's childhood, and it is about his love-hate-love relationship with his younger brother, who was bigger than he was. This fall's book, "Big Little Mother," is about his relationship with his sister. I promised not to reveal the story, but I think I'm OK in telling you that it involves a cat, cream cheese, and a piano. Sort of.
The book pubs in November from Borealis Books, the imprint of the Minnesota Historical Society Press.
Sure, there are curmudgeons and critics out there who would say, "Fiction in a newspaper? Happens every day!" But you and your hard-working journalist friends know that's not true...until now! Beginning Sunday, in the grand tradition of newspapers of old, the Star Tribune will publish a novel in daily installments over much of the summer.
It has been a fun and exciting project to work on. (Also, occasionally, tedious, given our complicated computer system.) But once we embarked on the journey to find a worthy book--and then acquire it (and learn a lot about royalties and contracts and the like, rather on the fly), edit it, design it, get it online, get the e-book formats ready, split it into daily installments for print--a whole team of people at the Strib has been kept very busy.
The book, "Giving Up the Ghost," was written by Mary Logue, who is a powerful and versatile writer, well-known for her poetry, children's books, mysteries, nonfiction and novels. (It doesn't get much more versatile than that.) She lives in Minneapolis and in Stockholm, Wis., and is married to the equally notable writer Pete Hautman.
Her book is a ghost story, set in a cabin in Minnesota's north woods, with plenty of vivid flashbacks that take place in the Twin Cities--at the old New French Cafe, in the Warehouse District, and other places.
We're hoping, of course, that you will rush to the newspaper every day to find out what happens next. (Or to the computer--we will have a dedicated page where you can catch up.) But it might be that you don't want to wait, or you're going out of town and will miss some installments, in which case we're also offering "Giving Up the Ghost" in e-book format.
I really hope you like it. Please let us know. And on Monday at noon (June 10), Mary will be in the newsroom to do a live-chat with you and other readers. Get yer questions ready.... just don't ask her, "What happens next?" Because that's what tomorrow is for.
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