The last two big awards leading up to next month’s Minnesota Book Awards Gala have been announced. The Hognander History Award, which is given every other year to the author of a significant book about Minnesota history, and the Kay Sexton Award, which is given annually to a person who has made a significant contribution to the world of books, reading and literature in the state, were announced Friday.

The Hognander award will go to Gwen Westerman and Bruce White for “Mni Sota Makoce, the Land of the Dakota.” The book was published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2012 and won a Minnesota Book award last year.

Westerman is a professor of English and humanities at Minnesota State University, Mankato. White is the author of “We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People.”

This year’s Kay Sexton Award winner is Mark Vinz, a retired professor of English at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, co-director of the Tom McGrath Visiting Writing Series and founding editor of the literary journal Dacotah Territory.

Vinz was also the director of the college’s MFA program, editor of Dakota Arts Quarterly and the co-founder of Plains Distribution Service, an organization that worked to get good books into small Midwestern communities.

Vinz is also a poet and fiction writer, winner of three Minnesota Book awards, six PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry and was named a poet laureate of North Dakota.

His next collection will be published by Red Dragonfly Press.

Westerman, White and Vinz will be honored April 5 at the 26th annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala at the St. Paul Union Depot.


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