Mary François Rockcastle, who leads the creative-writing programs at Hamline University, has won the 2015 Kay Sexton Award, an annual honor given by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library that recognizes "long-standing dedication and outstanding work in fostering books, reading, and literary activity in Minnesota."

In 1994 Rockcastle helped launch Hamline's MFA program in creative writing — the first in the state — and later added an MFA program in writing for children and young adults. She also founded and edits the Water~Stone Review, an award-winning national literary journal. The author of two novels published by Graywolf Press, "Rainy Lake" and "In Caddis Wood" — both Minnesota Book Award finalists — she has received a Bush Foundation Fellowship and a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction.

She will be feted on April 18 at the Minnesota Book Awards gala in St. Paul.

Previous recent winners of the 27-year-old Sexton award, named for a former B. Dalton book buyer and tireless promoter of reading, include the late Allan Kornblum, founder of Coffee House Press; St. Paul poet laureate Carol Connolly, and Carolyn Holbrook, founder of SASE: The Write Place.

Kristin Tillotson