36 Finalists Blog 2024: John Rosengren

John Rosengren, author of The Greatest Summer in Baseball History

General Nonfiction Category, sponsored by Loren & Christine Danielson

Each week leading up to the 36th annual Minnesota Book Awards, we are featuring exclusive interviews with our finalists. You can also watch the authors in conversation with their fellow category finalists here.

What is one detail you wanted to include in this book, but couldn’t find a place for?   

So much happened in 1973. I stuck to five main storylines. Wish I’d had room to say more about how Yankees pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson swapped not only wives but lives – including kids, cars, houses, and dogs. I mention the swap but wish I could have gone into more detail. I mean, how often does this sort of thing happen? 

Tell us about someone who proved instrumental to the creation of this book.   

Hillel Black edited this book. By the time I met him (when he worked on an earlier book, Blades of Glory), he was a venerable old soul in publishing. I am so grateful to have had the chance to get to know him, work with him, and benefit from his sage guidance. 

Tell us about a favorite read from the past year. Why did you find it enjoyable, insightful, or memorable?  

I finally read Don Quixote this past year while traveling in Spain. Of course, it had me laughing out loud at times. More importantly, it helped me understand various aspects of Spanish culture and history the way great literature does. 

Please tell us something about yourself that is not widely known. 

After graduating from college, I spent a year living in Paris, working as an au pair and writing short stories. It sounds romantic but large cities can be isolating and lonely, especially when you don’t speak the language well. The most important lesson I learned was discipline, that if I wanted to be a writer, I had to write every day. So I did. 

Share your thoughts about the role and value of libraries.   

When I was quite young, the library across the street from my grade school opened up worlds to me in the books I discovered there. I fell in love with the library’s treasures. With time, my appreciation for libraries–where now I not only borrow books but also do extensive research–has deepened. Public libraries are a treasured resource and essential to our democracy as a repository of our culture and history. I am forever grateful to those who work in them and support them. 

John Rosengren has published ten books, and his work has been included in several anthologies and magazines. He’s been nominated for a National Magazine Award and a Pulitzer Prize.