Louise Erdrich became the most celebrated author in the state on Saturday night, becoming the first writer to win five Minnesota Book Awards. She was honored in the fiction category for “The Round House,” her National Book Award-winning novel about a teenage boy on a North Dakota reservation who tries to solve the mystery of his mother’s brutal rape.
Her previous awards were for “The Plague of Doves,” “The Painted Drum,” “The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse” and “Tales of Burning Love.”
Three men named David — Treuer, Housewright and LaRochelle — were repeat winners, in the categories of nonfiction, genre fiction, and children’s literature. Treuer and LaRochelle had each won once before, and Housewright had won twice. He was a finalist in genre fiction this year for two different titles.
A total of 256 books were nominated, with the finalist list pared to 32 in eight categories; the Readers’ Choice Award was discontinued. The winners are:
Children’s literature, sponsored by Books for Africa: David LaRochelle, “It’s a Tiger!”
General nonfiction, sponsored by Minnesota AFL-CIO: David Treuer, “Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey through Reservation Life.”
Genre fiction, sponsored by Marvin Windows and Doors: David Housewright, “Curse of the Jade Lily.”
Memoir and creative nonfiction, sponsored by Leonard, Street and Deinard: Atina Diffley, “Turn Here Sweet Corn.”
Minnesota, sponsored by Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle: Gwen Westerman and Bruce White, “Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota.”
Novel and short story, sponsored by Education Minnesota: Louise Erdrich, “The Round House.”
Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management: Patricia Kirkpatrick, “Odessa.”
Young people’s literature, sponsored by Sit Investment Associates: Geoff Herbach, “Nothing Special.”
Other awards presented Saturday included the Kay Sexton Award, which went to Red Wing poet Robert Hedin, and the Book Artist Award, which went to Jana Pullman.
This year marked the 25th anniversary of the awards, a project of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library that was attended by more than 800 people. The Readers Choice Award, which began in 2007 and proved popular initially, was suspended this year, partly because of low participation. Alayne Hopkins of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library said the committee hopes to find new ways to involve readers in the awards.