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On Books

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

Poet published by Graywolf, Laura Ingalls Wilder biographer lead all-women list of book critics honorees


Layli Long Soldier

Layli Long Soldier


"Whereas," a collection of poems by writer Layli Long Soldier and published by Graywolf Press of Minneapolis, was chosen as the winner of the National Book Critics Circle prize for poetry. Long Soldier was honored at a ceremony this evening in New York City, along with five other writers--all, as it happens, women.

The list of winners includes:

Xioulu Guo, "Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China," (Grove Press), winner for autobiography.

Carina Chocano, "You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks and Other Mixed Messages," (Mariner Press), criticism.

Caroline Fraser, "Prairie Fires: the American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder," (Metropolitan Books), biography.

Joan Silber, "Improvement," (Counterpoint Press), fiction.

Frances FitzGerald, "The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America," (Simon & Schuster), nonfiction.

Some winners were previously announced, including the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, which went to critic Charles Finch; the John Leonard Prize for best first novel, which went to Graywolf Press' "Her Body and Other Parties: Stories," by Carmen Maria Machado; and the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement, which went to writer John McPhee.

The NBCC is a professional organization of about 800 book reviewers, books editors and book critics.

A sneak peek at the cover of Kate DiCamillo's new novel

Kate DiCamillo. Star Tribune file folder

Kate DiCamillo. Star Tribune file photo

You all know Kate DiCamillo, right? Children's author, rare two-time winner of the Newbery Medal, the 2014 Star Tribune Artist of the Year, lives in Minneapolis, the first Library of Congress Ambassador for Children's Literature. I could go on and on.

Her latest novel will be published in October from Candlewick Press, and it's a bit of a departure for her--it's a companion book to "Raymie Nightingale," the first time she's revisited a character in one of her novels. (This does not, of course, include pigs.) (She has revisited Mercy Watkins many times.)
We got a first peek at the cover, and it is arresting:
Here's a little about the book from the Candlewick press release:

When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

Does that last line imply another book?  We'll talk with Kate later this spring and let you know.

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