The annual midwinter Fireside Reading Series is back for its 27th year, but this year it will be held at your fireside. And mine.
Hosted by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the series features notable Minnesota writers who have published a book in the past year.
Previously, the event has been held in the fireplace room of the Hamline Midway Public Library. There has been cocoa, and there have been cookies.
But this year the fire, the cocoa and the cookies are up to you, and you also need good Wi-Fi because — like everything else since March — the readings will be held via Zoom and Facebook Live.
(Which means you don't have to go out on a cold night and try to find parking in the snow.)
The events will be held on six consecutive Wednesdays, beginning at 7 p.m. each evening. They are free, but registration is required at thefriends.org/fireside.
Here's the lineup:
Jan. 20, Kao Kalia Yang, "Somewhere in the Unknown World: A Collective Refugee Memoir."
Yang's collection of 14 essays tells the true stories of refugees and immigrants who left their homes on the other side of the world and settled along University Avenue in the Twin Cities. She tells stories of immigrants from Somalia, Bosnia, Thailand, Russia and elsewhere. "Reading these stories," the Star Tribune review said, "is like opening doors and finding yourself in the living rooms of neighbors you've hardly talked to."
Jan. 27, Lin Enger, "American Gospel." The author of "Undiscovered Country" and "The High Divide" has returned with a novel set in the Minnesota North Woods in 1974. A farmer, felled by a heart attack, has a vision of the Rapture, and his son and a neighbor join him to wait.
Feb. 3, Yelena Bailey, "How the Streets Were Made: Housing Segregation and Black Life in America." Bailey, a former professor of English and cultural studies, is the director of education policy at Minnesota's Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board. Her book analyzes the streets through the lens of marketing campaigns, literature, hip-hop, film and television.
Feb. 10, Carolyn Holbrook, "Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify." Writer, teacher and arts advocate, Holbrook is the founder of SASE: The Write Place and a recipient of the Kay Sexton Award from the Minnesota Book Awards. Her memoir, a collection of linked essays, recalls the racist slights and humiliations she endured as a single mother as she battled her way to a successful career in the arts.
Feb. 17, Margi Preus, "Village of Scoundrels." A Duluth writer who has won the Newbery Honor award and a Minnesota Book Award, Preus tells the true story of French villagers in World War II who saved thousands of Jews. As the Star Tribune review states, "At the heart [of the novel] is a question: How can individuals act with integrity in a time of evil?" Preus is also the author of "Heart of a Samurai," "West of the Moon," and other novels for young adults.
Feb. 24, Heid E. Erdrich, "Little Big Bully." The seventh collection of poetry by Erdrich, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwes, begins with a question: How did we come to this? In answering, Erdrich offers a blend of personal myth, allegories and American and Native contexts. Erdrich also is the author of a nonfiction book about Indigenous foods and edited "New Poets of Native Nations," published by Graywolf Press. She teaches at Augsburg University in the low-residency MFA program.
Laurie Hertzel is the Star Tribune's senior editor for books. On Facebook: facebook.com/startribunebooks.