Several winners from years past are among the finalists for this year’s Minnesota Book Awards, including children’s writer David LaRochelle, who won last year and who is a finalist twice this year. Other past winners and finalists include mystery writers William Kent Krueger, Erin Hart and Brian Freeman, novelist Kent Nerburn, and children’s author Alison McGhee.
Finalists in eight categories were chosen Saturday afternoon by 24 judges from around the state — writers, teachers, librarians and booksellers.
Here’s the list:
Children’s Literature, sponsored by Books For Africa:
“The Case of the Missing Donut,” by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Isabel Roxas; “How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans,” by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mark Fearing; “Moo!” by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka; and “Peep Leap,” by Elizabeth Verdick, illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello.
General Nonfiction, sponsored by Minnesota AFL-CIO:
“Evil Men,” by James Dawes (Harvard University Press); “Harriman vs. Hill: Wall Street’s Great Railroad War,” by Larry Haeg; “The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII,” by Jack El-Hai, and “Soda Shop Salvation: Recipes and Stories from the Sweeter Side of Prohibition,” by Rae Katherine Eighmey.
Genre Fiction, sponsored by Alerus Financial:
“The Book of Killowen,” by Erin Hart; “The Cold Nowhere,” by Brian Freeman; “Tamarack County,” by William Kent Krueger; and “Wolves,” by Cary J. Griffith.
Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by GovDelivery:
“The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo: A Child, an Elder and the Light from an Ancient Sky,” by Kent Nerburn; “Prairie Silence,” by Melanie Hoffert; “Thunder of Freedom: Black Leadership and the Transformation of 1960s Mississippi,” by Sue [Lorenzi] Sojourner with Cheryl Reitan, and “We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter,” by Rachael Hanel.
Minnesota, sponsored by MSR Architects:
“A Love Affair with Birds: The Life of Thomas Sadler Roberts,” by Sue Leaf; “Minneapolis Madams: The Lost History of Prostitution on the Riverfront,” by Penny A. Petersen; “Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison,” by W. Jackson Rushing III and Kristin Makholm, and “Survival Schools: The American Indian Movement and Community Education in the Twin Cities,” by Julie L. Davis.
Novel & Short Story, sponsored by Education Minnesota:
“Let the Dark Flower Blossom,” by Norah Labiner; “Little Wolves,” by Thomas Maltman; “The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories,” by Ethan Rutherford, and “Vacationland,” by Sarah Stonich.
Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:
“Black Aperture,” by Matt Rasmussen; “The First Flag,” by Sarah Fox; “It Becomes You,” by Dobby Gibson; and “Slip,” by Cullen Bailey Burns
Young People’s Literature, sponsored by Sit Investment Associates:
“Chasing Shadows,” by Swat Avasthi with graphics by Craig Phillips; “The Real Boy,” by Anne Ursu; “ Sex & Violence,” by Carrie Mesrobian; and “Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron,” by Mary Losure, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering.
The winners will be announced April 5 at the book award gala, this year to be held at the historic St. Paul Union Depot. That same evening three special awards will also be given — the seventh annual Book Artist Award, which has already been announced, will be awarded to Fred Hagstrom; the Kay Sexton Award, which will be announced in February, and the biennial Hognander Minnesota History Award.