By Laurie Hertzel

Twin Cities-area writers dominated the Midwest Booksellers' Choice Awards, announced earlier this month. Freya Manfred won in the poetry category for "Swimming With a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle" (Todd Boss' "Yellowrocket" was an honor book); Kate DiCamillo won in children's picture books for "Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken"; Neil Gaiman won in children's literature for "The Graveyard Book," which also won the Newbery Award and the Hugo Award; and Michael Perry won in nonfiction for "Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs and Parenting." The top fiction award went to David Wroblewski for "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle."

The other honor books were "A Reliable Wife" by Robert Goolrick; "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World," by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter; "Snow," by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Lauren Stringer; and "Savvy," by Ingrid Law.

The awards honor writers from Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota and Wisconsin. They will be presented next month.

Also ...

• "Going Blind," by Mara Faulkner, OSB, has been published by Excelsior Editions, an imprint of the State University of New York Press. The book is a memoir of growing up in North Dakota and coping with the family's shame over the father's impaired eyesight. Faulkner teaches at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn.

Spike Carlsen's "A Splintered History of Wood" is now out in paperback. Carlsen is from Stillwater; his book was a finalist for a Great Lakes Book Award.

• Who doesn't love ghost stories? Michael Norman, author of "Haunted Wisconsin," has written "The Nearly Departed: Minnesota Ghost Stories and Legends," to be published in October by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

• Humorist David Sedaris, author most recently of "When You Are Engulfed in Flames," will be at the State Theatre in Minneapolis at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14 to give a talk and sign some of the 7 million copies of books that he has in print. Tickets are $35 to $42 and are available through Ticketmaster (1-800-982-2787) or online at

• Frank Bures, of Minneapolis, has a piece in this year's "Best American Travel Writing," due in October. "A Mind Dismembered" first appeared in Harper's Magazine. The story takes place in Nigeria, as Bures attempts to track down the truth behind the phenomenon of the disappearing -- um -- um -- I don't mean to be coy, but you're just going to have to read it yourself.