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

St. Paul memoirist Kao Kalia Yang a finalist for prestigious Chautauqua Award

Kao Kalia Yang and her father, Bee Yang. Photo by Brian Peterson.

Kao Kalia Yang and her father, Bee Yang. Photo by Brian Peterson.

St. Paul memoirist Kao Kalia Yang is one of six finalists for the prestigious Chautauqua Prize. Yang's book was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. It is a memoir about the life of her father, Bee Yang, a traditional Hmong song poet.

The six finalists are:

"The General vs. The President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War," by H.W. Brands (Doubleday)

"The Fortunes," by Peter Ho Davies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

"Blood River Rising: The Thompson-Crimson Feud of the 1920s," by Victoria Pope Hubbell (Iris Press)

"Underground Airlines," by Ben H. Winters (Mulholland Books)

"American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good," by Colin Woodard (Viking)

"The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father," by Kao Kalia Yang (Metropolitan Books)

The prize, now in its sixth year, carries an award of $7,500 and a summer residency at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. The prize honors a book that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and a writer who ofers a significant contribution to the literary arts.

The winner will be announced in May.

St. Paul memoirist Kao Kalia Yang is one of six finalists for the prestigious Chautauqua Prize. Yang's book was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Midwest Book Award finalists are announced

The 2016 Midwest Book Awards finalists have been announced. The 80 finalists were chosen from 192 nominations in 30 categories. To qualify, a book must have been published in 2016 and submitted by a publisher in the 12-state Midwestern region. (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.)

The winners will be announced May 12 in St. Paul. 

Arts/Coffee Table Books/Photography

A Peace of My Mind: American Stories by John Noltner (John Noltner, Saint Paul, MN)

Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie by Susan J. Bandes (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI)

Twelve Twenty-Five: The Life and Times of a Steam Locomotive by Kevin P. Keefe (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI)

Autobiography/Memoir

Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir by Thomas Pecore Weso (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Madison, WI)

My Sister’s Mother: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Stalin’s Siberia by Donna Solecka Urbikas (University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI)

Suicide Survivors’ Club by Laurie Phillips and Rebecca Anderson (SSC Publishing, Saint Paul, MN)

Biography

Going for Wisconsin Gold: Stories of Our State Olympians by Jessie Garcia (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Madison, WI)

Business

Playing Through the Fence by Mary J. Dowell (HenschelHAUS Publishing, Milwaukee, WI)

Service Dogs: The Rescue and Training of Heroes by Tom and Julie Coleman (Pawsitivity, Saint Paul, MN)

The Irresponsible Pursuit of Paradise by Jim L. Bowyer (Levins Publishing, Saint Paul, MN)

Children’s Fiction

Bubblegum Mike: The Great Skeeter Battle by Geoffrey Saign (KiraKu Press, Saint Paul, MN)

Intrigue in Istanbul by Christine Keleny (CKBooks Publishing, New Glarus, WI)

The Great Sugar War by Benjamin Ellefson, illustrated by Kevin Cannon (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Children’s Nonfiction

A Beaver Tale: The Castors of Conners Creek, written and illustrated by Gerald Wykes (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI)

Children’s Picture Books

Bingo Did It!, written by Amber Harris, illustrated by Ard Hoyt (Redleaf Lane, Saint Paul, MN)

Casey’s Great Escape, written by Nancy Jo Shaw, illustrated by DC Ice (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing, originally by Charles Eastman, adapted by Michael Oren Fitzgerald, illustrated by Heidi M. Rasch (Wisdom Tales, Bloomington, IN)

Zena’s Dream, written by Patricia Lea Olson, illustrated by Sherri Faye (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Young Adult Fiction

Divided Draghons: Wyshea Shadows by Geoffrey Saign (Kiraku Press, Saint Paul, MN)

Sail into Treachery by Gary R. Bush (Forty Press, Anoka, MN)

The Beechwood Flute by Pendred Noyce (Calumet Editions, Minneapolis, MN)

Young Adult Nonfiction

I’m a Girl . . . That’s Why by Reneé Rongen (Kittleson Creek Press, Fertile, MN)

Cookbooks/Crafts/Hobbies

Secrets of the Pie Place Café: Recipes and Stories through the Seasons by Kathy Rice (Lake Superior Port Cities, Duluth, MN)

Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction by Benjamin Percy (Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, MN)

Education/Learning

Baby Bare: A Bottom-Up Approach to Growing Strong Brains and Bodies by Stephanie Johnson (Wise Ink Creative and Publishing, Minneapolis, MN)

Creative Block Play: A Comprehensive Guide to Learning through Building by Rosanne Regan Hansel (Redleaf Press, Saint Paul, MN)

Discovering the Culture of Childhood by Emily Plank (Redleaf Press, Saint Paul, MN)

Family/Parenting

Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage by Kelly Radi (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Fiction – Fantasy/SciFi/Horror/Paranormal

Camelot’s Queen by Nicole Evelina (Lawson Gartner Publishing, Maryland Heights, MO)

Daughter of Destiny by Nicole Evelina (Lawson Gartner Publishing, Maryland Heights, MO

The Devereaux Deity by Steve McEllistrem (Calumet Editions, Minneapolis, MN)

Fiction – Literary/Contemporary/Historical

Horsefever by Lee Hope (New Rivers Press, Moorhead, MN)

Into the Sun by Deni Ellis Béchard (Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis, MN)

We Got Him by Elizabeth Searle (New Rivers Press, Moorhead, MN)

Fiction – Mystery/Thriller

Behind Every Door by Cynthia A. Graham (Blank Slate Press, Saint Louis, MO)

Black Otter Bay by Vincent Wyckoff (North Star Press, Saint Cloud, MN)

Wolf’s Mouth by John Smolens (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI)

Fiction – Romance

Been Searching for You by Nicole Evelina (Lawson Gartner Publishing, Maryland Heights, MO)

When They Come Calling by Sarah Fleming Mountford (Atthis Arts, Centerville, OH)

Fiction – Short Story/Anthology

American Fiction Vol. 15, edited by Bruce Pratt (New Rivers Press, Moorhead, MN)

It Turns Out Like This by Stephen Coyne (New Rivers Press, Moorhead, MN)

Know the Mother by Desiree Cooper (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI)

Health

8 Steps to Getting Real with Cancer by Marianne C. McDonough (Sapphire River Publishing, Eden Prairie, MN)

Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength and Inspiration, compiled by Amy Zellmer (Amy Zellmer, Saint Paul, MN)

The Art of Healing from Sexual Trauma: Tending Body and Soul through Creativity, Nature, and Intuition by Naomi Ardea (Wise Ink Creative Publishing, Minneapolis, MN)

History

Hidden Thunder: Rock Art of the Upper Midwest by Geri Schrab and Robert F. Boszhardt (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Madison, WI)

Imprints: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the City of Chicago by John N. Low (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI)

World of the Teton Sioux Indians: Their Music, Life and Culture by Frances Densmore (World Wisdom, Bloomington, IN)

Humor

Firewood Happens: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Minnesota’s Northwoods by Mike Lein (Jackpine Writers’ Bloc, Menahga, MN)

Inspiration

A Peace of My Mind: American Stories by John Noltner (John Noltner, Saint Paul, MN)

I’m a Girl . . . That’s Why by Reneé Rongen (Kittleson Creek Press, Fertile, MN)

Venerable Women: Transform Ourselves, Transform the World by Dawn Morningstar (Venerable Women, Saint Paul, MN)

Nature

North Dakota’s Geologic Legacy: Our Land and How It Formed by John P. Bluemle (North Dakota State University Press, Fargo, ND)

The Essence of Place: The Story of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center by John Duren and Douglas Wood (Jay C. Nature Center, Austin, MN)

The Last Wild Places of Kansas: Journeys into Hidden Landscapes by George Frazier (University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS)

Poetry

Between Us by Margaret Hasse (Nodin Press, Minneapolis, MN)

Midnight River by Laura L. Hansen (National Federation of State Poetry Societies Press)

Winterkill by Todd Davis (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI)

Recreation/Sports/Travel

Great Lakes Island Escapes: Ferries and Bridges to Adventure by Maureen Dunphy (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI)

Religion/Philosophy

Here I Walk: A Thousand Miles on Foot to Rome with Martin Luther by Andrew L. Wilson (Brazos Press, Grand Rapids, MI)

Social Science/Political Science/Culture

Garbage Bag Suitcase: A Memoir by Shenandoah Chefalo (Mission Point Press, Traverse City, MI)

Manifold Nature by John Burroughs and the North American Review (North American Review Press, Cedar Fall, IA)

Sacred Spaces: My Journey to the Heart of Military Marriage by Corie Weathers (Elva Resa Publishing, Saint Paul, MN)

Cover Design

Amir’s Big Catch by Sheila Jones and Charis Haines, illustrated by Kevin Cannon (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Real Mountains: A Memoir by Dan Seftick, designed by Dan Pitts (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

The Christmas Horse and the Three Wise Men, written and illustrated by Isabelle Brent (Wisdom Tales, Bloomington, IN)

Illustration – Graphic

A Beaver Tale: The Castors of Conners Creek, written and illustrated by Gerald Wykes (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI)

Bingo Did It!, written by Amber Harris, illustrated by Ard Hoyt (Redleaf Lane, Saint Paul, MN)

Wakanda Whooper: The Curious Cinnamon Crane by Sandia Kosmo, illustrated by Lisa Kosmo (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

Interior Design

Chicago Monumental by Larry Broutman, design by Carol Haralson (Broutman Photography, Chicago, IL)

Feathers for Peacock by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Helen Cann (Wisdom Tales, Bloomington, IN)

Little Lek Longtail Learns to Sleep by Bette Killion, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal (Wisdom Tales, Bloomington, IN)

The Art of Healing from Sexual Trauma: Tending Body and Soul through Creativity, Nature, and Intuition by Naomi Ardea, design by Ryan Scheife (Wise Ink Creative Publishing, Minneapolis, MN)

The Christmas Horse and the Three Wise Men, written and illustrated by Isabelle Brent (Wisdom Tales, Bloomington, IN)

Total Book Design

Foreverafter: An Odd Adventure by K.J. Quint (Atthis Arts, Centerville, OH)

Hidden Thunder: Rock Art of the Upper Midwest by Geri Schrab and Robert F. Boszhardt (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Madison, WI)

The Great Sugar War by Benjamin Ellefson, illustrated by Kevin Cannon (Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, MN)

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