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On Books

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

2 Twin Cities publishers have books on finalist lists for National Book Critics Circle awards

Tommy Orange. Photo by Elena Seibert

Tommy Orange. Photo by Elena Seibert.

Two books published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press, one by Milkweed Editions and one by the University of Wisconsin Press are among the finalists for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards. For the second year in a row, a memoir told as a graphic novel is among the finalists. And poet Terrance Hayes has two books among the finalists -- one in poetry and one in criticism.

NBCC board members deliberated most of Saturday before choosing the finalists.The finalists were announced today, as were winners in three special categories. The winner of the John Leonard Prize for first book will go to Tommy Orange for "There There." Winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing is Maureen Corrigan. And the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Arte Público Press.

Here are the finalists--five each in fiction, nonfiction, biography, poetry and criticism, and six in autobiography.


Beard, Richard, "The Day That Went Missing" (Little, Brown)

Chung, Nicole "All You Can Ever Know" (Catapult)

Gonzalez, Rigoberto "What Drowns the Flowers in Your Mouth" (University of Wisconsin Press)

Krug, Nora "Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home" (Scribner)

Painter, Nell "Old in Art School" (Counterpoint)

Westover, Tara, "Educated" (Random House)


Bonanos, Christopher. "Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous." (Henry Holt & Company)

Leavy, Jane. The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created." (Harper/HarperCollins)

Brown, Craig. Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Huang, Yunte. "Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History." (Liveright)

Lamster, Mark "The Man in the Glass House: Philip Johnson, Architect of the Modern Century." (Little, Brown)


Robert Christgau, "Is It Still Good to Ya?: Fifty Years of Rock Criticism, 1967-2007." (Duke University Press)

Stephen Greenblatt, Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics.( W.W. Norton)

Terrance Hayes, "To Float in the Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight." (Wave)

Lacy Johnson, "The Reckonings" (Scribner)

Zadie Smith, "Feel Free" (Penguin Press)


Burns, Anna. Milkman (Graywolf) 

Chamoiseau, Patrick. Trans. Linda Coverdale. Slave Old Man (The New Press) 

Kushner, Rachel. The Mars Room (Scribner)  

Johnson, Denis. The Largesse of the Sea Maiden (Random House) 

Urrea, Luis Alberto. The House of Broken Angels (Little, Brown)  


Cantu, Francisco, "The Line Becomes a River" (Riverhead Books)

Coll, Steve, "Directorate S: The CIA and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan" (Penguin Press)

Lukianoff, Greg and Haidt, Jonathan. "The Coddling of the American Mind" (Penguin Press)

Winkler, Adam, "We the Corporations" (Liveright)

Wright, Lawrence, "God Save Texas" (A.A. Knopf)


Limón, Ada. The Carrying. (Milkweed)

Hayes, Terrance. American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin. (Penguin Random House)

Meitner, Erika. Holy Moly Carry Me. (Boa)

Seuss, Diane. Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl. (Graywolf)

Zagajewski, Adam. Asymmetry. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

The winners will be announced at a free ceremony on March 14 at the New School in New York City. The event will be followed by a reception and party.

Minnesota's Kate DiCamillo announces new 'Raymie Nightingale' book

Kate DiCamillo. Star Tribune file photo by Tom Wallace

Kate DiCamillo. Star Tribune file photo by Tom Wallace

In her 2016 novel "Raymie Nightingale," Minnesota writer Kate DiCamillo created three friends--Raymie, Louisiana and Beverly. They called themselves the Three Rancheros.Last fall, DiCamillo published her first-ever sequel (or companion book) when she wrote about the second Ranchero, Louisiana, in "Louisiana's Way Home."

Could the third Ranchero be far behind?

Apparently not--that third Ranchero, Beverly, was close behind. Very close!

The third novel in the books for middle-grade students, "Beverly, Right Here," will be published in September by Candlewick Press. This is fast for DiCamillo, who usually publishes a novel every two years.

"Yes, this is the smallest gap between major novels for Kate, but I think once she started discovering their stories, the writing went quickly," said Tracy MIracle, DiCamillo's longtime publicist and senior executive director of publicity at Candlewick. "She says that it 'was like it was all just waiting. And once I opened it, everything came out.'"

The books are not a true series--they are really companion books to each other featuring some of the same characters and can be read in any order.

The Three Rancheros all have problematic childhoods. In the first book, Raymie is grappling with the fact that her father has left the family. In "Louisiana's Way Home," Louisiana must build a life after her grandmother deserts her. 

In "Beverly, Right Here," Beverly's dog has died, her father has been long gone, and her mother has been emotionally absent. "Determined to make it on her own, Beverly finds a job and a place to live. ... She doesn't want to depend on anyone, and she definitely doesn't want anyone to depend on her. But despite her best efforts, she can't help forming connections with the people around her -- and gradually she learns to see herself through their eyes."

"Raymie Nightingale" was a finalist for a National Book Award. DiCamillo is a two-time winner of the Newbery Award and a former National Ambassador for Young People's LIterature, appointed by the Librarian of Congress.


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