The Friends Receives NEA Funding

nea-logoA recent grant will help The Friends connect more readers and writers throughout the state.

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is thrilled to be the recipient of funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). NEA Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award to The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library for its “Readers Meet Writers” program. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

Through the “Readers Meet Writers” program, The Friends will present three author tours in greater Minnesota to increase awareness of work written by Minnesota authors. The program aims to increase engagement between readers and writers in the state through innovative programming and increase access to Minnesota Book Award-winning and finalist authors.

2017 programming dates and sites include:

July 20 – Minnesota Book Award Winners, Rochester Public Library
September 7 – Prized Writers with William Kent Krueger and Danielle Sosin, Virginia Public Library
September 14 – Music Meets Minnesota Lit, Grand Rapids Public Library
September 21 – Prized Writers with Lorna Landvik and Julie Schumacher, Rochester Public Library
October 12 – Music Meets Minnesota Lit, Douglas County Public Library
October 17 – Minnesota Book Award Winners, Fergus Falls Public Library

Stay tuned for more information on The Friends’ calendar.

About The Friends’ Programming
At The Friends, we invest in libraries so that they, and the communities they serve, thrive. One way we invest is by connecting people to experiences through a range of cultural programming in libraries. For over 25 years, we have offered programs that entertain, enrich, and nourish curious minds.

Our events are always open to the public and most are free. You can make an investment in the library simply by joining us at one of our upcoming programs.

Inside the Fitzgerald Rare Photo Exhibit: An Interview with Stu Wilson

In a few short weeks, F. Scott Fitzgerald fans from all over will descend upon his hometown – our beloved Saint Paul – to learn, share, and be inspired by the work and life of this celebrated author. One of the many features of the 14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference is a rare photo exhibit that provides a glimpse into Fitzgerald’s life with his family and friends, including a number of early photos from his days in Minnesota.

StuStu Wilson is lead consultant for The Friends’ consulting group Library Strategies and president of Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, the organization hosting the conference. Stu sat down with us recently to share more about the exhibit and why he is so passionate about Fitzgerald.


When did you first become interested in F. Scott Fitzgerald?

I’ve appreciated his work since college, but until moving to Saint Paul, I honestly preferred John Steinbeck and Sinclair Lewis. I began to pay more attention to Fitzgerald when I moved here in 1996. In 2000, The Friends was doing doing a lot of community events during the major renovation of Central Library. We designated Fitzgerald’s birthplace at 481 Laurel Avenue as a National Literary Landmark, and my interest deepened and grew from that point onward.

What is it about Fitzgerald and his work that you find so compelling?

Fitzgerald’s work is very accessible and sophisticated at the same time, and his writing can be absolutely beautiful. He has many passages that are worth reading over and over again. But more than that, he writes of universal themes of love, greed, and dreams that continue to touch us all.

What is one thing about Fitzgerald that you’d really like people to know who aren’t as familiar with him?

There are tons of fascinating details about Scott, but I’ll give you tow interesting, sports-related tidbits. Scott was a big football fan, and according to a recent New York Times article, he was one of the first people to suggest that football be played with two “platoons” – essentially separate offensive and defensive teams. His suggestion may have influenced the University of Michigan to institute that system in the late 30s and 40s. And, his biggest football idol was Hobey Baker, who was a national star at Princeton when Fitzgerald enrolled there, and who Fitzgerald subsequently knew. Today, Minnesotans know Baker as the namesake of the award for the best men’s collegiate hockey player of the year – even though he was more famous in his day as a footballer.

Tell me more about the photo exhibit and why Fitz fans will appreciate it.

SPL Exhibit PhotoFor Fitzgerald fans, it will be a treat to see many images of Scott and his family that they haven’t seen before. For someone more casually interested in Scott and Zelda, they’ll be able to see them as “real” people – young parents, children, siblings, playful 20-somethings, serious artists – rather than just the common, mythologized depictions of them as intense party-goers. In both cases, I think the photos will add depth and understanding to reading Fitzgerald’s books and short stories.


Stu will present a gallery talk about the exhibit alongside scholar Dave Page, author of the new book, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota, on Sunday, July 16 at 2:00 p.m. The photo exhibit, Sight Unseen: Rare Photographs of F. Scott Fitzgerald with His Family and Friends, is free and open to the public and will be on display in the Bremer Room on the 1st floor of the George Latimer Central Library. Hours are listed below. Check our calendar for more details.

Sight Unseen exhibit hours:
June 24 through July 17
Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m
Mondays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Rare Photographs of F. Scott Fitzgerald on Display in New Exhibit

SPL Exhibit PhotoA gallery talk and book presentation will accompany the exhibit at George Latimer Central Library, presented in conjunction with the 14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference in Saint Paul. Read our interview with Fitzgerald in Saint Paul president, Stu Wilson.

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, May 25, 2017 – The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, together with Fitzgerald in Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Public Library, are pleased to present the new exhibit Sight Unseen: Rare Photographs of F. Scott Fitzgerald with His Family and Friends. Free and open to the public, the exhibit will be on display in the Bremer Room on the 1st floor of the George Latimer Central Library, 90 West Fourth Street, Saint Paul.

Stu Wilson, president of Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, and scholar Dave Page will present a gallery talk about the exhibit and the new book F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota, authored by Page with photographs by Jeff Krueger.

Sight Unseen exhibit hours:
June 24 through July 17
Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m
Mondays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Gallery talk and book presentation:
Sunday, July 16, 2:00 p.m.

F. Scott Fitzgerald is considered one of America’s greatest writers, and is known worldwide for his masterwork, The Great Gatsby. The new book F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota, published by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, is a collaboration providing historical insights, stunning photographs and images, and the opportunity to re-examine and appreciate the many Minnesota connections found in Fitzgerald’s life and works.

Fitzgerald was born in Saint Paul in 1896, and the new exhibit provides glimpses into his life with his family and friends, including a number of early photos from his days in Minnesota. The exhibit was curated by Shawn Sudia-Skehan, who collected the photos while researching a forthcoming book.  While some of the photographs presented in Sight Unseen may be readily recognizable, many are relatively rare and previously unpublished. Many were selected specifically for their relevance to Fitzgerald’s years in Saint Paul.

A resident of Atlanta, curator Sudia-Skehan is a board member of the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.  Now retired after a distinguished career in non-profit public relations, she re-discovered Fitzgerald after re-reading The Great Gatsby for the first time as an adult.

The photographs in the exhibit include reproductions from:

  • The Matthew J. and Arlyn Bruccoli Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina;
  • Sara and Gerald Murphy Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library;
  • The Reginald Marsh Collection, Smithsonian Archives of American Art;
  • The Baltimore News American Collection at the University of Maryland; and
  • The Minnesota Historical Society.

Sight Unseen is presented by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, the Saint Paul Public Library, and The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library in conjunction with the 14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference in Saint Paul. For more information on the conference, visit

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library exists to help libraries, and the communities they serve, thrive. An independent, nonprofit organization established in 1945, The Friends invests in the Library through fundraising, advocacy, and programming; as a result, the Saint Paul Public 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 Minnesota Center of the Book. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242 or visit




2017 Letters About Literature Winners Announced

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, April 25, 2017The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, as the home of the Minnesota Center for the Book, is pleased to announce the state-level winners of the 2017 Letters About Literature Essay Contest, co-sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English and Common Good Books.

More than 40,000 adolescent and young adult readers nationwide in grades four through twelve participated in this year’s Letters About Literature program, which encourages young people to read, be inspired, and write back to the author who has somehow changed their view of the world or themselves. The number of entries from Minnesota’s students was 1,122, and 130 student letters made it through to the state round of judging in the three levels of competition. For more information about the contest, national winners, and free teaching resources to guide students through the reader response and writing process, visit

The winners of the Letters About Literature essay competition were selected on three levels: Level I – for grades four through six, Level II – for grades seven and eight, and Level III – for grades nine through twelve.

The winners are:

Level I

Level II

Level III

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library:

The Friends, with a staff of 18 and an operating budget of $3 million, produces 70 events per year and provides over $1.5 million in support annually to the library, resulting in the Saint Paul Public Library being recognized as a national leader in serving its community. In recognition of its statewide programs and services, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library has been recognized by the Library of Congress as the state’s designated Center for the Book. With a mission of stronger libraries for stronger communities, The Friends supports not only the Saint Paul system, but also libraries and library organizations across the country and internationally through its consulting services, Library Strategies. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242 or visit

2017 Minnesota Book Awards Winners Announced

April 10, 2017, SAINT PAUL, MN – The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce the winners of the 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards. In addition to winners in nine categories, The Friends presented the Book Artist and the Kay Sexton Awards to previously announced honorees—respectively, Steven McCarthy and Lou Bellamy. The Minnesota Book Awards are presented this year by sponsor Education Minnesota.

Close to 900 people attended the award ceremony at InterContinental Hotel on Saturday, April 8, emceed by Tom Weber, host of “MPR News with Tom Weber” and author of 100 Things to Do in the Twin Cities Before You Die. Announced at the ceremony, the winners of the 2017 Minnesota Book Awards are:

Award for Children’s Literature, sponsored by Books for Africa:
J.J. Austrian – Worm Loves Worm – illustrated by Mike Curato, published by Balzer + Bray/ HarperCollins Publishers

When a worm meets a special worm and they fall in love, you know what happens next. They get married! This irresistible picture book is a celebration of love in all its splendid forms. J.J. Austrian is a graduate of Hamline University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults program. This is his first picture book.

Award for General Nonfiction, sponsored by the College of Saint Benedict Literary Arts Institute and Saint John’s University:
Shawn Otto – The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It published by Milkweed Editions*

Otto’s provocative book investigates the reasons for why and how evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise, and offers a vision, an argument, and compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it’s too late. Otto is an award-winning science advocate, educator, and speaker, and a previous Minnesota Book Award winner.

Award for Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College:
Allen Eskens – The Heavens May Fall – published by Seventh Street Books/Prometheus Books

Eskens revisits characters from The Life We Bury in a mystery full of twists and turns, vividly told from two opposing perspectives. Eskens is also the author of The Life We Bury, a Minnesota Book Award finalist, and The Guise of Another. He was a practicing criminal defense attorney for 25 years.

Award for Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by Faegre Baker Daniels:
Kao Kalia Yang – The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father – published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company

Yang retells the life of her father, Bee Yang, the song poet – a Hmong refugee in Minnesota, driven from the mountains of Laos by America’s Secret War. Yang is also the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, which was a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award and the Asian American Literary Award, and received the 2009 Minnesota Book Award.

Award for Middle Grade Literature, sponsored by Education Minnesota:
Brian Farrey – The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse – published by Algonquin Young Readers/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

In this thrilling modern fairytale, Farrey has created an exciting new world where friendship is more powerful than fate and the most important thing is to question everything. Brian Farrey is the author of The Vengekeep Prophecies series and the Stonewall Honor Book and Minnesota Book Award-winner With or Without You.

Award for Minnesota Nonfiction, sponsored by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota:
Cheri Register – The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape – published by Minnesota Historical Society Press*

After stumbling upon her great-grandfather’s scathing critique of the draining of southern Minnesota wetlands, Register uncovers the stories of life on the Big Marsh and of the “connivers” who plotted its end: the Minneapolis land developer, his local fixer, an Illinois banker, and the lovelorn local lawyer who did their footwork. Register is also the author of Packinghouse Daughter, which won a Minnesota Book Award and an American Book Award.

Award for Novel & Short Story, sponsored by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul:
Peter Geye – Wintering – published by Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House

When elderly, demented Harry Eide escapes his sickbed and vanishes into the forbidding, northernmost wilderness that surrounds the town of Gunflint, Minnesota, he instantly changes the Eide family, and many other lives, forever. Geye has created an epic tale – a love story spanning 60 years, generations’ worth of feuds, and secrets withheld and revealed. Geye is also the author of the novels Safe from the Sea and Lighthouse Road.

Award for Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:
Sun Yung Shin – Unbearable Splendor – published by Coffee House Press*

Who is guest, and who is host? Adoption, Antigone, zombies, clones, and minotaurs – all are building blocks, forming and reforming our ideas in Shin’s groundbreaking new collection. Shin is also the author of poetry collections Rough, and Savage and Skirt Full of Black, which won an Asian American Literary Award and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. She is the editor of the anthology A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota.

Award for Young Adult Literature, sponsored by Brainfuse:
Lara Avery – The Memory Book
– published by Poppy/Little, Brown and Company

Told in letters to herself, the Future Sam, this heartfelt, funny, and bittersweet novel chronicles both the path of a high school valedictorian’s degenerative disease and the major events and little details of her life over the summer that was supposed to be pre-college. Avery is the author of A Million Miles Away and Anything But Ordinary. She lives in Minneapolis, where she is a contributor at Revolver, and at work on her next novel.

Also at the Book Awards ceremony, the tenth annual Book Artist Award was presented to Steven McCarthy, for his “Wee Go Library” project – a mobile collection of 22 altered books found in Little Free Libraries throughout the Twin Cities. The award, sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group and presented with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA), recognizes book artists for excellence of a new artistic work and demonstrated proficiency and quality in the book arts, as well as an ongoing commitment and significant contributions to Minnesota’s book arts community. McCarthy is a professor of graphic design at the University of Minnesota.

Lou Bellamy received the previously announced Kay Sexton Award. For more than four decades, Lou Bellamy has been a champion of African American literature, bringing to light works by African American playwrights, enabling artists to find their voice, and inspiring understanding of the vital role these stories play in our community and history. The Award is sponsored by St. Catherine University.

Books written by a Minnesotan and first published in 2016 were eligible for the 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards. A total of 242 books were submitted this year, and 36 books were selected as finalists. The winners were chosen by panels of judges from around the state. Submissions for next year’s awards will open in August, 2017. For more information on the Book Awards process, and a list of finalists and winners since 1988, visit

The Book Awards ceremony will be broadcast in the weeks to come on Saint Paul Neighborhood Network and TPT-MN Channel. Watch the website for updates on air dates.

The 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards is a year-long outreach program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Major funding for the Book Awards was provided by Education Minnesota, the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts, the Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation. Statewide outreach partners include The Loft Literary Center, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and Minnesota State Arts Board. Media sponsors include Minnesota Public Radio and the Star Tribune.

*Indicates a Minnesota-based publisher

36 Books in 36 Days: Rise of the Spring Tide

Each day we highlight one of the 36 finalists leading up to the April 8 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, presented by Education Minnesota. Today we feature 2017 Genre Fiction finalist:


Rise of the Spring Tide, by James StittRise of the Spring Tide by James Stitt
Category Sponsor: Macalester College

Shikha lives a lonely life, but not quite solitary. Inside her, something slumbers, while her sister Faria, half a world away, can hear her thoughts and feel her emotions. As a vagabond geneticist who has bounced from institution to institution, she sits on the cusp of discovering the mystery of her own DNA. Her sister has traversed the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent collating local myths and researching ancient cultures. Their quest, spanning 400 years, has led them on a trail that has both been intentionally obscured, yet seemingly left for them to discover. Loosely structured along the lines of a diary, Rise of the Spring Tide moves from past to present and back again, building to its final crescendo.


James Stitt, Rise of the Spring TideAbout the Author:

James Stitt has lived on the right, left and middle of the U.S. but he and his family found home in Saint Paul, where they have dwelled for over a decade. Trained as a scientist, his educational background is in Physics and Biology, with minor departures into History and Archeology. His works seek to explore the intuitive and unconscious knowledge of the ancients, who for millennia, embedded their observations of the celestial movements, the seasons, the cycles of birth, death and rebirth into myth and story. James hopes to reintroduce these myths and their connective relationships across cultures to a broader audience – within the context of engaging, approachable fiction. He is also the author of several articles in atmospheric science and remote sensing. James rails against nature itself to keep his 1968 Land Rover free of rust, desperately misses the ocean, blogs on WordPress, and can be found @stittwords.


36 Books in 36 Days: Original Fake

Each day we highlight one of the 36 finalists leading up to the April 8 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, presented by Education Minnesota. Today we feature 2017 Young Adult Literature finalist:


Original FakeOriginal Fake by Kirstin Cronn-Mills, art by E. Eero Johnson
Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House
Category Sponsor: Brainfuse

Introvert Frankie Neumann hates his life, and understandably so. He’s got a weird, tutu-wearing sister, Lou, and even weirder parents. He’s just the guy who makes pizza at Pizza Vendetta. After his shift one night, Frankie meets David and Rory, cousins and errand runners for the mysterious Uncle Epic, a legendary anonymous street artist and Frankie’s absolute idol. Little could Frankie dream that his new adventures with Uncle Epic would lead to the perfect opportunity to strike back at his insufferable sister. When things go haywire quicker than you can say “street art kicks righteous ass,” the lines are suddenly blurred between art and Frankie’s real life.


Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Original Fake and LGBTQAbout the Author:

Kirstin Cronn-Mills is a self-proclaimed word nerd who secretly wants to be a street artist. Her first YA novel, The Sky Always Hears Me and the Hills Don’t Mind, was a Minnesota Book award finalist in 2010. Her second novel, Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, won the 2014 Stonewall Award from the American Library Association. She writes a lot, reads as much as she can, and goofs around with her husband and son in North Mankato, Minnesota.

E. Eero Johnson is a Minneapolis-based illustrator, graphic designer, and comic book artist. His illustrations have appeared in GQ, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Wired, and The New York Times, and on several book jackets. Original Fake is his first fully illustrated book. His longtime comic book project, The Outliers, is being expanded into a graphic novel for 2018. Johnson lives and draws with the support of his wife, two sons, and an elderly Boston terrier. Follow Erik on Twitter and Facebook.


Rave Reviews:

“Johnson’s bold black and orange illustrations spotlight key plot points and emotions, emphasizing Frankie’s view of the world and his budding affections for David. Cronn-Mills’s consideration of the intersections between art and family is striking and heartfelt.” ─ Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“At the crux, this story of statement-making art and a love affair with creativity is all about the power of blurring lines and altering perceptions of acceptability…The book is also a balance between text and art. Johnson’s bright orange, black, and white illustrations replace what might have been Cronn-Mills’ text on the pages, continuing the narrative intermittently through visuals rather than type. The melding of these two métiers speaks to the significance of fine art as a valid voice and means of expression, a timeless tool for storytelling.” ─ Lambda Literary


Beyond the Book:

Video: Meet the authors, Minnesota State University – Mankato

Article: Cover reveal, School Library Journal website


36 Books in 36 Days: Yes Thorn

Each day we highlight one of the 36 finalists leading up to the April 8 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, presented by Education Minnesota. Today we feature 2017 Poetry finalist:


YesThorn06Yes Thorn by Amy Munson
Published by: Tupelo Press
Category Sponsor: Wellington Management, Inc.

Yes Thorn abides with mysteries—mortality, spirituality, sexuality, nature, divinity, love—and interrogates them without necessarily pressing toward or expecting explanation. Its diction is sometimes ornate, but language and images that dwell in more classically lyric places are often undercut or mixed with tougher, blunter elements.


Amy Munson, Yes ThornAbout the Author:

Amy Munson lives in Minneapolis. Her work has received grants and support from the McKnight Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board and has appeared in journals such as the Kenyon Review, the Gettysburg Review, West Branch, and Image. She received her MFA in poetry from Eastern Washington University’s Inland Northwest Center for Writers, and she teaches at the University of Northwestern–St. Paul.


Rave Reviews:

Yes Thorn uses language in new and exciting ways. And I admire how this poet asks the critical questions: What connects us, to each other and to belief? Can we be connected — to ideas, to lovers, to religious belief, to family — without also being inscribed by these connections? Can we be moved by desire and longing without becoming subject to them?” — Paisley Rekdal

“[W]hatever the origin and inspiration, this wonderful book of poems will prick you and infect your imagination long after you have read it. I truly look forward to reading more of Munson’s work in the future.” —Daniel Klawitter, NewPages

“The poems were striking: we could not forget the effect of her language, words that were perhaps familiar, but not usually found together pounding emotion onto the page, delving into both interpersonal relationships, the self and our relationship to the divine.” – Minnesota Book Awards judge


Beyond the Book:

Profile on Amy (McCann) Munson for Northwestern Examiner



36 Books in 36 Days: Wintering

Each day we highlight one of the 36 finalists leading up to the April 8 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, presented by Education Minnesota. Today we feature 2017 Novel & Short Story finalist:


Wintering, by Peter GeyeWintering by Peter Geye
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House
Category Sponsor: Fitzgerald in Saint Paul

Wintering spans thirty-some years in the lives of the Eide family in northern Minnesota. Berit Lovig has for decades been a fixture in the town of Gunflint, first as the postmistress, then as the lover of Harry Eide. As the book opens, Harry, now an old man suffering dementia, has just escaped his sickbed and disappeared into the great wilderness that surrounds the town. Given up for dead after a thorough search, Berit takes comfort and consolation in visits from Harry’s son, Gus, who tells her the story of the fated winter of 1963, when Gus and Harry ventured into what would later become the Boundary Waters/Quetico Wilderness Areas. Harry had pitched the notion as an adventure, but he had more sinister reasons for seeking the expanse of that wilderness. What greets father and son will pit them not only against the forces of that season and wilderness, but also against each other and their enemies.


Peter Geye, WinteringAbout the Author:

Peter Geye received his MFA from the University of New Orleans and his PhD from Western Michigan University, where he was editor of Third Coast. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and lives there still. He is the author of the multiple award-winning novels Safe from the Sea and The Lighthouse Road.


Rave Reviews:

“A book about love and revenge, families and small towns, history and secrets…a deftly layered and beautifully written novel that owes as much to William Faulkner and it does to Jack London…Make no mistake: Geye is a skillful, daring writer with talent to burn. Simultaneously epic in scope and deeply personal, Wintering is a remarkable portrait of the role that one’s environment—and neighbors—can play in shaping character and destiny.” —Skip Horack, The San Francisco Chronicle

“Geye’s powerful third novel journeys to the frozen places in the American landscape and the human heart…Capturing the strength and mystery of characters who seem inextricable from the landscape, Geye’s novel is an unsentimental testament to the healing that’s possible when we confront our bleakest places.” —Publishers Weekly

“Geye masterfully creates both scene and story in this haunting book about reluctantly interdependent characters and life in the borderlands. In Wintering, the borderlands are familiar, but also omnipotent, merciless and ever changing. The tone, mood and quiet power of the book remained long after the story is finished.” – Minnesota Book Awards judge


Beyond the Book:

Audio: Peter Geye speaks with MPR’s Kerri Miller

Article: “Minneapolis author Peter Geye soars in a new way with his latest novel, Wintering,” Kim Ode, Star Tribune


36 Books in 36 Days: Women of Mayo Clinic

Each day we highlight one of the 36 finalists leading up to the April 8 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, presented by Education Minnesota. Today we feature 2017 Minnesota Nonfiction finalist:


Women of Mayo Clinic: The Founding Generation by Virginia M. Wright-Peterson
Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press
Category Sponsor: Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Women of Mayo Clinic, by Virginia Wright-PetersonThe story of how the Mayo brothers and their father established an internationally renowned medical center in the middle of the prairies of Minnesota has become almost legend, but few people know the untold stories of the capable, intrepid women who contributed to Mayo Clinic’s founding and success. Women of Mayo Clinic: The Founding Generation tells the fascinating stories of more than 40 indelible women – physicians, nurses, librarians, social workers, secretaries, a janitress, an interpreter, artists, mothers, sisters, wives, and others – who were instrumental in establishing the medical center despite disease, war, and the hardships of pioneer life encountered in the remote Midwest from the 1850s to 1943. Mayo Clinic would not be the medical center that it is today without the contributions of these women.


Virginia Wright-Peterson, Women of Mayo ClinicAbout the Author:

Virginia Wright-Peterson, a native of Rochester, Minnesota, worked in administrative capacities for Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and Arizona for 17 years and has taught English and humanities for 14 years, including as a Fulbright Scholar in Algeria. She also deployed with the American Red Cross and served on a military base in Iraq. She has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and is currently on the writing faculty at University of Minnesota Rochester. Women of Mayo Clinic: The Founding Generation is her first book. She is currently researching contributions made by women in the Midwest during World War II for a possible second book.


Rave Reviews:

“A thoroughly researched exploration of a previously unexamined area of Minnesota’s history, Women of Mayo Clinic successfully integrates the lives of the women staffers – everyone from janitors to department heads – into the larger history of the clinic. Detailed enough to serve as a scholarly reference, yet accessible and engaging for the general reader.” – Dr. Peter Kernahan, University of Minnesota

“Extremely well-written and exhaustively researched. It brings to life forgotten names and stories and fluently integrates sweeping trends at Mayo.” – Minnesota Book Awards judge


Beyond the Book:

Audio: Interview on  KUMD of Duluth

Audio: Interview on North Shore Community Radio