Twenty-four judges from around the state have winnowed a long list of fine books down to the shortlist of finalists for the 23rd annual Minnesota Book Awards.

All four finalists in fiction -- John Reimringer, Matt Burgess, Paul Kilgore and Peter Bognanni -- were nominated for debut books. In the "Minnesota" category, former Star Tribune writers Jay Weiner and Doug Grow are among the finalists.

Surprisingly, Minnesota's two Newbery Honor Books -- "Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night" by Joyce Sidman, and "Heart of a Samurai," by Margi Preus -- were not included.

Children's Literature, sponsored by Books for Africa:

"-1+1=5 and Other Unlikely Additions," by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Brenda Sexton; "Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty," by Linda Glaser, paintings by Claire A. Nivola; "My Heart Is Like a Zoo," by Michael Hall; "A Night on the Range," by Aaron Frisch, illustrated by Chris Sheban.

General Nonfiction, sponsored by Minnesota AFL-CIO:

"The Assassination of Hole in the Day," by Anton Treuer; "The Nature of College: How a New Understanding of Campus Life Can Change the World," by James J. Farrell; "The Opposite of Cold: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition," by Michael Nordskog and Aaron W. Hautala; "Paddle North: Canoeing the Boundary Waters-Quetico Wilderness," by Greg Breining and Layne Kennedy.

Genre Fiction:

"Silencing Sam," by Julie Kramer; "The Taking of Libbie, S.D.," by David Housewright; "The Tale of Halcyon Crane," by Wendy Webb; "Vermilion Drift," by William Kent Krueger.

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction:

"Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA," by Bonnie J. Rough; "Crossing the Barriers: The Autobiography of Allan H. Spear," by Allan H. Spear; "News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist," by (Star Tribune book editor) Laurie Hertzel; "She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood," by Amie Klempnauer Miller.

Minnesota, sponsored by Xcel Energy:

"North Country: The Making of Minnesota," by Mary Lethert Wingerd; "Prairie, Lake, Forest: Minnesota's State Parks," by Chris Niskanen and Doug Ohman; "This Is Not Florida: How Al Franken Won the Minnesota Senate Recount," by Jay Weiner; "We're Gonna Win, Twins!: 50 Years of Minnesota's Hometown Team," by Doug Grow.

Novel & Short Story:

"Dogfight, A Love Story," by Matt Burgess; "The House of Tomorrow," by Peter Bognanni; "Losing Camille," by Paul Kilgore; "Vestments," by John Reimringer.

Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc:

"Dreaming Man, Face Down," by Mark Conway; "Find the Girl," by Lightsey Darst; "On Speaking Terms," by Connie Wanek; "Sin Eater," by William Reichard.

Young People's Literature, sponsored by Sit Investment Associates:

"Blank Confession," by Pete Hautman; "Hamster Magic," by Lynne Jonell; "The Shadows: The Books of Elsewhere; Volume I," by Jacqueline West; "Split," by Swati Avasthi.

Winners will be announced April 16 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown St. Paul.

All Minnesotans are invited to vote for the Readers' Choice Award during the month of March at

Two other awards will be given April 16, as well -- the Book Artist Award and the Kay Sexton Award. Regula Russelle will receive the fourth annual Book Artist Award, and the winner of the Kay Sexton Award will be announced in February.