36 Finalists Blog: Maggie Ryan Sandford

Each day leading up to the 32nd annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony, we’ll be featuring an exclusive interview with one of our 36 finalists. Learn more about these incredible local writers and gear up to see the winners announced live in person April 28.

Interview with Maggie Ryan Sandford, author of Consider the Platypus: Evolution Through Biology’s Most Baffling Beasts, part of the General Nonfiction category

How does it feel to be a Minnesota Book Award finalist?

I’m only the writer I am today because of the writing community here in Minnesota, and the high standard its members hold for work to be thoughtful, responsible, and inclusive. The Book Awards have been a top-shelf dream of mine since I moved here for college in 2001, and I’m humbled and honored beyond words (ironically).

Tell us something about your finalist book that you want readers to know?

My book is meant to invite people of all backgrounds and education levels to see themselves as part of today’s most bleeding-edge science. It was difficult to write so that it would be easy and fun to read: a challenge I may never have been able to take on if not for the high standards of Minnesota writers and readers.

Share something about your writing process and preferences. For instance, where is your favorite place to write?

I love to write at the public library in downtown Saint Paul. The books remind me what I’m there to do. And it’s a community hub: quiet except for the hum of Minnesotans trying to get through the day for a tomorrow that’s a little better. 

Minnesota has a reputation as a state that values literature and reading. In your experience, what is it about our state that makes it such a welcoming place for writers and book creators?

We are a state of immigrants in one of the most formidable climates on Earth. If we’re not listening to all the voices around us, how else are we spending our time? Stories are what people tell around the fire.

What is something you are good at that few people know about?

Prat falls. Doesn’t really translate to the page.

What do you love about libraries?

Libraries are a constant. Like a sanctuary, where everyone is welcome and knowledge itself is the object of worship.

Maggie Ryan Sandford is a science journalist, broadcast media producer, science education researcher, and performer whose work has been featured in a variety of venues worldwide.

See the winners announced live at the Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony! Presented by Education Minnesota; media sponsor: Star Tribune.