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On Books

Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996.

Mpls writer Lesley Nneka Arimah a MacDowell fellow--again

Lesley Nneka Arimah, photo by Tom Wallace/Star Tribune

Lesley Nneka Arimah, photo by Tom Wallace/Star Tribune

Minneapolis writer Lesley Nneka Arimah joins newly-minted Pulitzer winner Andrew Scott Greer, novelist Jayne Anne Phillips, Caldecott medalist Brian Selznick, and 80 other artists, composers, writers, poets and architects in being named a MacDowell Fellow for 2018. (She was a MacDowell fellow in 2016, as well.)

The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., offers retreats for artists and writers of up to eight weeks. The fellows live in individual cabins and have their meals brought to them, giving them uninterrupted time to work.

This year's field of 84 winners was chosen from nearly 1,000 applicants.

Arimah just won the Minnesota Book Award for her debut collection of stories, "What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky," which also won the Kirkus Prize.

Here are this year's MacDowell fellows:

  • Architects Zaneta Hong, Anthony Morey, Bryony Roberts, Maxi Spina, Hans Tursack, and Andrew Witt.
  • Composers Ingrid Arauco, Mark Dresser, Michael Fiday, Mikel Kuehn, Grace McLean, Laura Schwendinger, and Kate Soper.
  • Filmmakers Cecilia Aldarondo, Zia Anger, Kanu Behl, João Rui Guerra da Mata, Christopher Harris, Jenni Olson, João Pedro Rodrigues, Jonathan Schwartz, Fern Silva, J.P. Sniadecki, Julia Solomonoff, Brett Story, and Jennifer Taylor.
  • Interdisciplinary Artists Carmina Escobar, John Kelly, and Helina Metaferia.
  • Theatre Artists Rinde Eckert, Morgan Gould, Blake Hackler, Sukari Jones, Cordelia Lynn, Ellen McLaughlin, Brian Selznick, Rebecca Taichman, and James Tyler. 
  • Visual Artists Nayland Blake, Julia Bland, Dawn Clements, Liz Collins, Adriana Farmiga, Annette Lawrence, Tod Lippy, Mary Lum, Tanya Marcuse, Kambui Olujimi, Clifford Owens, and Michael Stamm.
  • Poets Dexter Booth, Jesús Castillo, Eduardo Corral, Peter Gizzi, Solmaz Sharif, Kara Wang, and Monica Youn.
  • Nonfiction Writers Philip Clark, Katrina Dodson, Wil Hylton, David Johnson, Pamela Newkirk, Ricardo Nuila, Mimi Pond, Lauren Sandler, Jia Tolentino, Jenna Wortham, and Joshua Yaffa.
  • Fiction Writers Ayobami Adebayo, Lesley Arimah, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Andrew Greer, Stephen Kuusisto, Magogodi Makhene, Marina Petrova, Jayne Anne Phillips, Nell Stevens, João Tordo, LaToya Watkins, David Weiden, Sophia Whiteley Yanow, Eley Williams, and Jung H Yun.

Minneapolis poet Danez Smith wins Four Quartets Prize

Danez Smith. Star Tribune file photo

Danez Smith. Star Tribune file photo

“Summer, somewhere,” a sequence of poems by Minneapolis poet Danez Smith, has won the inaugural Four Quartets Prize from the Poetry Society of America and the T.S. Eliot Foundation. The award comes with a $20,000 prize. It is given annually for award is given annually for a unified and complete sequence of poems. This year's judges were Linda Gregerson, Ishion Hutchinson, and Jana Prikryl.
The "summer, somewhere" sequence is from Smith’s collection, “Don’t Call Us Dead,” published last fall by Minneapolis’ Graywolf Press. The book was a finalist for a National Book Award.
Smith, 28, was born in St. Paul and now lives in Minneapolis. They started out as a spoken-word performance artist and have performed all over the world.  Smith has also won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and the McKnight Foundation.

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