2019 Annual Minnesota Book Awards Finalists Announced

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announced finalists in all nine categories for the 2019 Minnesota Book Awards, presented this year by sponsor Education Minnesota. Chosen on Saturday, January 26, by 27 judges from around the state – writers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and others from the literary community – the finalists for each category are:

Children’s Literature, sponsored by Books For Africa:

  • Best Friends in the Universe by Stephanie Watson, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Orchard Books/Scholastic Press)
  • Hush Hush, Forest by Mary Casanova, woodcuts by Nick Wroblewski (University of Minnesota Press*)
  • The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld (Dial Books For Young Readers/Penguin Young Readers)
  • Small Walt and Mo the Tow by Elizabeth Verdick, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster)

General Nonfiction, sponsored by College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University:

  • Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery (HarperOne/HarperCollins)
  • The Relentless Business of Treaties: How Indigenous Land Became U.S. Property by Martin Case (Minnesota Historical Society Press*)
  • A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity, and Narrative Craft in Writing by David Mura (The University of Georgia Press)  
  • Whaleback Ships and the American Steel Barge Company by C. Roger Pellett (Wayne State University Press)

Genre Fiction:

  • Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin Books)
  • Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia (Emily Bestler Books/Simon & Schuster)
  • The Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens (Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company)
  • The Voice Inside by Brian Freeman (Thomas & Mercer)

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction:

  • The Art of the Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl (Viking/Penguin Random House)
  • Chinese-Ness: The Meanings of Identity and the Nature of Belonging by Wing Young Huie (Minnesota Historical Society Press*)
  • The I-35W Bridge Collapse: A Survivor’s Account of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure by Kimberly J. Brown (Potomac Books/University of Nebraska Press)
  • Wild Mares: My Lesbian Back-to-the-Land Life by Dianna Hunter (University of Minnesota Press*)

Middle Grade Literature, sponsored by Education Minnesota:

  • The Collectors by Jacqueline West (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
  • The Key to Every Thing by Pat Schmatz (Candlewick Press)
  • Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)
  • Otherwood by Pete Hautman (Candlewick Press)

Minnesota Nonfiction:

  • The Children of Lincoln: White Paternalism and the Limits of Black Opportunity in Minnesota, 1860-1876 by William D. Green (University of Minnesota Press*)
  • The Crusade for Forgotten Souls: Reforming Minnesota’s Mental Institutions, 1946-1954 by Susan Bartlett Foote (University of Minnesota Press*)
  • Gichi Bitobig, Grand Marais: Early Accounts of the Anishinaabeg and the North Shore Fur Trade by Timothy Cochrane (University of Minnesota Press*)
  • Gunflint Burning: Fire in the Boundary Waters by Cary J. Griffith (University of Minnesota Press*)

Novel & Short Story:

  • A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out by Sally Franson (The Dial Press/Penguin Random House)
  • Laurentian Divide: A Novel by Sarah Stonich (University of Minnesota Press*)
  • Oranges by Gary Eldon Peter (New Rivers Press*)
  • The Patron Saint of Lost Girls by Maureen Aitken (Southeast Missouri State University Press)

Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:

  • The Body of the World by Mary Moore Easter (Mad Hat Press)
  • GeNtry!fication: or the scene of the crime by Chaun Webster (Noemi Press)
  • Not Here by Hieu Minh Nguyen (Coffee House Press*)
  • Wilder by Claire Wahmanholm (Milkweed Editions*)

Young Adult Literature:

  • Dream Country by Shannon Gibney (Dutton Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House)
  • Hooper by Geoff Herbach (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins)
  • We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
  • What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

*Indicates a Minnesota-based publisher.

Award winners will be announced at the 2019 Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 6, at the InterContinental Hotel Saint Paul Riverfront. The official hashtag for social media is #mnbookawards.

Get tickets here.

The Minnesota Book Awards is a year-long program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library that fosters our statewide literary arts community. The process begins in the fall with book submissions and continues through winter with two rounds of judging. Winners are announced at the Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony. Woven throughout the season are events that promote the authors and connect the world of Minnesota books – writers, artists, illustrators, publishers, editors, and more – to readers throughout the state. In recognition of this and its other statewide programs and services, the Library of Congress has recognized The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library as the state’s designated Center for the Book. For more information visit www.thefriends.org/mnba.  

The Star Tribune is our media sponsor. Outreach partners and supporting organizations include: Minnesota Center for Book Arts; University of Minnesota Libraries; and Twin Cities Public Television.

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library: 
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library acts as a catalyst for libraries to strengthen and inspire their communities. An independent, nonprofit organization established in 1945, The Friends invests in the Saint Paul Public Library through fundraising, advocacy, and programming; as a result, our Library is a nationally-recognized leader in serving its community. The Friends also serves libraries across the country and internationally through its consulting services, Library Strategies, and promotes literacy, reading, and libraries statewide as the Library of Congress’s designated Minnesota Center for the Book. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242 or visit thefriends.org.