Meet the Finalists for the Minnesota Book Awards

March 21, 2017 @ 6:00 pm
Open Book
1011 Washington Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Bailey Veesenmeyer 651-222-3242 Email

Join the Minnesota Book Awards and the Loft Literary Center for a celebration of this year’s finalist books. Authors from each of the nine award categories will gather to discuss their work in a series of fast-paced Q&A sessions hosted by Twin Cities writers, editors, and booksellers. This event is free and open to the public — no reservations required.


Reception | 6:00 p.m.
Come early to meet the finalist authors and enjoy complimentary wine and light refreshments. Book sales will be provided by Magers & Quinn Booksellers and authors will be available for signing.

Program | 7:00 p.m.
Join the authors in the Target Performance Hall for a fun and fast-paced program consisting of a Q&A session for each category. A different moderator for each group of authors will get them talking about their books, how they got into writing, and much more.

Dessert | 8:30 p.m.
Grab another glass of wine and something sweet and take one last opportunity to mingle with the authors.


We are thrilled to have 24 authors and illustrators participating in the event this year! Here’s who will be there, separated by panel group:

Children’s Literature
Moderated by Lisa Von Drasek, Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota 

-David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka (This Is Not a Cat!)
-Lauren Stringer (Yellow Time)

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction
Moderated by Melanie Hoffert, 2014 Minnesota Book Award winner for Prairie Silence

-Erik Anderson (editor of This Is Where I Am: A Memoir)
-Clyde Bellecourt (The Thunder Before the Storm: The Autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt)
-Michelle Leon (I Live Inside: Memoirs of a Babe in Toyland)

Middle Grade Literature
Moderated by Jay D. Peterson, Program Manager for CHP In The Stacks at Coffee House Press, co-editor of Sky Blue Water: Great Stories for Young Readers

-Abby Cooper (Sticks & Stones)
-Brian Farrey (The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse) 
-Caren Stelson (Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story)

Minnesota Nonfiction
Moderated by Patrick Coleman, Acquisitions Librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society

-Gary Christensen and Stephen Gjertson (Richard F. Lack: Catalogue Raisonné 1943-1998) 
-Brian McMahon (The Ford Century in Minnesota)
-Cheri Register (The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape)
-Virginia M. Wright-Peterson (Women of Mayo Clinic: The Founding Generation)

Novel & Short Story / Genre Fiction
Moderated by Hans Weyandt, Manager at Milkweed Books

-Stephanie Wilbur Ash (The Annie Year)
-Peter Geye (Wintering)
-Kathleen Novak (Do Not Find Me)
-Robert Spande (The Born and the Made)

Moderated by Heid E. Erdrich, Author, Performer, Teaching Mentor at Augsburg College MFA

-Gretchen Marquette (May Day)
-Amy Munson (Yes Thorn)
-Sun Yung Shin (Unbearable Splendor)

Young Adult Literature
Moderated by Megan Atwood, Adjunct Creative Writing Instructor at Hamline University

-Sarah Ahiers (Assassin’s Heart)
-Lara Avery (The Memory Book)
-E. Eero Johnson (Original Fake)