Jim Sitter, the founding executive director of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and a longtime advocate for literary projects, has been named this year’s Kay Sexton Award winner. The award goes annually to a person or an organization that has spent years dedicated to books, reading and literary activity in the state. It is named for bookseller Kay Sexton, who died last year.
Sitter attended Macalester College and worked at the former Hungry Mind Bookstore, where he began the Hungry Mind Reading Series.
In 1979, he began Bookslinger, a book distribution company that focused on books published by independent and nonprofit literary presses, such as Minnesota’s Graywolf Press, Milkweed Editions, Coffee House Press and New Rivers Press. Sitter is credited with persuading both Allan Kornblum (founder of Coffee House) and Scott Walker (founder of Graywolf) to move to Minnesota.
Sitter has been the executive director of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, and a founder of LitNet, a coalition of nonprofit literary organizations across the country.
He will be honored on April 16 at the 28th annual Minnesota Book Awards gala at the Union Depot in St. Paul.