David Mura

David Mura

Huge congratulations to all of the winners of the 2018 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants. In the categories of poetry and prose (there are also winners in dance, theater and music--full list is here), you'll see some familiar names (congratulations, David Mura! And John Reimringer! And Stephanie Watson!), and some emerging writers. But a fine, fine list.

Here, in the words of the Arts Board press release, are the winners, the award amounts, and what the writers will do with the money. I look forward to many great books and events from these folks:


D. Allen, Minneapolis

$  10,000

D. Allen will research and draft Articulations, a poetry manuscript about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). D. Allen will also present four public showcases of hybrid poetry by local writers.

Naomi Cohn, Saint Paul

$  10,000

Cohn will work with a writing mentor to complete a collection of linked prose poems about learning braille. Public reading and poetry workshops will display new skills and build teaching and artistic reputation.

Su Hwang, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Hwang will spend six months researching and writing a first rough draft of her second poetry collection, Cerigo, which explores issues of nonmotherhood. Hwang will also conduct poetry workshops and host a public reading.

Athena O. Kildegaard, Morris

$  9,995

Kildegaard will commission Linda Kachelmeier to compose a song cycle using poems from her new book. Readings and performances of the book and the music will be held in Saint Paul, Bemidji, and Duluth.

Michael Kleber-Diggs, Saint Paul

$  10,000

Kleber-Diggs will work with a mentor on his first book length collection of poems.

Thomas F. LaBlanc, Saint Paul

$  9,700

Dakota poet LaBlanc will develop and perform a site specific poetry play at various sites around Minneapolis, revealing forgotten stories and places from an indigenous perspective.

Kate Lucas, Minneapolis

$  9,498

Lucas will work with two mentor editors to finish her first book of poetry, Notes from Orbit, and improve her ability to share her work with new audiences.

Chris Martin, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Martin will work with individuals on the autism spectrum to create three chapbooks of new poems, and then undertake an essay collection exploring the resonances between poetry and neurodiversity.

David Mura, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Mura will research and write a multigenre book of poetry exploring race in contemporary America, including the legacy of the internment. This is a book of intersections of communities, histories, and types of writing.

Mary Austin Speaker, Minneapolis

$  9,700

Speaker will work toward completing her third book of poetry, Necropastorals, and hold public readings and conversations to connect with other artists and create an audience for the book.


Mike Alberti, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Alberti will conduct research at several sites and complete his first book, El Dorado, a historical novel set in rural Minnesota. The project will culminate with readings in the Twin Cities and three rural communities.

Ruth G. Berger, Minneapolis

$  4,590

Berger will work with a mentor to finish her first memoir and submit it to literary contests and agents. She will give a reading and facilitate a memoir workshop for adults with mental illness.

Erica J. Berry, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Berry will revise her essay collection, a personal and cultural exploration of fear through the lens of the wolf, and prepare a book proposal for agents. She will also organize a reading in a Minneapolis bookstore.

Eric Braun, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Braun will complete a draft of a book length collection of short stories.

Emily Brisse, Chanhassen

$  9,645

Brisse will complete her manuscript, Some Things Lost, an essay collection that examines the complexities and permutations of loss. She will lead a writing workshop through Minnetonka Community Education on this theme.

CJ Byrne, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Byrne will complete a draft of her first novel, Great and Dangerous Substances. She will conduct a public reading, and offer a free community workshop on writing researched fiction.

Martin L. Cozza, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Cozza will complete a final draft of his fantasy novel for children, Vincent's Lens, which explores a child's grappling with the meaning of mortality after his father's death.

Anika Fajardo, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Fajardo will complete, edit, and polish her middle-grade novel, What If a Fish.

Lorissa Gottschalk, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Gottschalk will complete her first memoir and conduct a writing workshop for people wanting to explore shame, grief, and addiction in their writing. She will also host a night of readings and remembrances.

Anne D. Guidry, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Guidry will prepare her first collection of short stories for publication and offer a series of writing workshops exploring the role of place in fiction.

Jennifer K. Hildebrandt, Saint Paul

$  10,000

Widow (W)rites is a grief memoir by Hildebrandt, based on two years blogging as caregiver, then widow, after losing her husband to cancer. She will host a public reading, followed by audience discussion.

Mara F. Hvistendahl, Saint Louis Park

$  10,000

Hvistendahl will work on a memoir combining her personal experience with an exploration of medical decision making in the era of abundant data and genetic information. She will hold two public readings in Minnesota.

Anessa M. Ibrahim, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Ibrahim will complete revisions of her first novel, Ray Charles Never Lost Anything Important, and will lead an open workshop on writing family stories in fiction.

John S. Jodzio, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Jodzio will complete his novel and host four literary events for emerging writers in greater Minnesota.

Gayla S. Marty, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Marty will develop a manuscript of lyric essays, Cooking in Paradise, about a year in Tunisia and its lasting impact on her life and relationship with cooking and food ways.

Harmony H. Neal, Northfield

$  10,000

Neal will develop new models for storytelling that illustrate societies grounded in human flourishing, cooperation, and environmental sustainability. She will lead a Writers Resist: Women's March on Literature event.

Yvonne E. Pearson, Saint Paul

$  7,994

Pearson will work with a mentor to revise her young adult verse novel and attend a literature conference to network with writers, agents, and editors in preparation for submitting the novel.

Junauda J. Petrus, Minneapolis

$  8,125

Petrus will research and write her first young adult novel, Death Sentence.

Amy Rea, Eden Prairie

$  9,595

Rea will complete a full draft of her novel, Epitaphs, then work on revising the novel with a professional mentor. She will give at least two readings of the work in progress to small communities in greater Minnesota.

John S. Reimringer, Saint Paul

$  10,000

Reimringer will complete a draft of Cathedral Hill, a novel about a German American family in 1920s Saint Paul, and will host a public reading and discussion with other writers whose work deals with the immigrant experience.

Vincent Reusch, Moorhead

$  10,000

Reusch will complete his novel, Circumnavigation, which chronicles the death of a young man to AIDS, and the impact of both his life and death on his family.

Emma Törzs, Minneapolis

$  10,000

Törzs will complete her first story collection by writing two new stories, and will edit the full manuscript towards publication. She'll host a reading and workshop on walls/boundaries, a central theme of her collection.

Sarah E. Warren, Minneapolis

$  9,690

Children's author Warren will write two nonfiction children's books. She will offer workshops and engage the public in practicing this exciting art form.

Stephanie E. Watson, Minneapolis

$  9,957

Watson will use grant funds to promote her fifth published children's book, Best Friends in the Universe, and write three to five new picture book manuscripts.

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