2017 Minnesota Book Award Winners: Reading & Conversation

2017 Book Award Winners

Enjoy a brief presentation from each author, followed by a moderated question and answer session. Book sales will be available with time for signing. Participating authors are:

Participating authors include J.J. Austrian, winner of the award for Children’s Literature for Worm Loves Worm, an irresistible picture book celebrating love in all its splendid forms. Austrian is a graduate of Hamline University’s masters of fine arts program in creative writing for children and young adults. This is his first picture book.

Lara Avery is the recipient of the award for Young Adult Literature for The Memory Book, a funny and bittersweet novel chronicling the summer after a gifted high school valedictorian is diagnosed with a degenerative disease. 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.

Allen Eskens is the winner of the award for Genre Fiction for The Heavens May Fall, a mystery full of twists and turns which is 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.

Brian Farrey is the Middle Grade Literature award winner for The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse, a thrilling modern fairytale. Farrey is the author of the Vengekeep Prophecies series and the Stonewall Honor Book and Minnesota Book Award-winner With or Without You.

Peter Geye is the recipient of the award for Novel & Short Story for an epic tale of a love spanning 60 years, generations’ worth of feuds, and secrets withheld and revealed in Wintering. Geye is also the author of the novels Safe from the Sea and Lighthouse Road.

Shawn Otto is the author of the General Nonfiction award-winner The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It. Otto is an award-winning science advocate, educator, and speaker. He is the author of Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America, winner of a Minnesota Book Award, and a novel, Sins of Our Fathers.

Cheri Register’s The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape is the recipient of the award for Minnesota Nonfiction and a history of vast age-old wetlands drained away in the name of agricultural progress. Register is also the author of Packinghouse Daughter, which won a Minnesota Book Award and an American Book Award.

Kao Kalia Yang retells the life of her father, a song poet and Hmong refugee in Minnesota in The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father, winner of the Memoir & Creative Nonfiction award. 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.

This event is presented by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library with the Rochester Public Library. Funding was made possible through grants from Minnesota State Arts Board and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Books & Bars: “Wintering”

With The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, moderator Jeff Kamin brings his unique take on a public book club show to Saint Paul every first Tuesday of the month (with some exceptions). Even if you don’t like the featured book, he “guarantees a good time at our entertaining discussions.” All are welcome to try this moderated reinvention of the book club. No registration required.

5:00 Happy Hour Social | 6:15 Discussion


WinteringWintering
by Peter Geye

–Winner of the 2017 Minnesota Book Award for Novel & Short Story–
Author will be attending.

Wintering spans 30-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 is also the author of the novels The Lighthouse Road, and Safe from the Sea. He holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans and a PhD from Western Michigan University, where he taught creative writing and was editor of Third CoastMeet him on August 1 and get your book signed! 

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Books & Bars: “Saga, Volumes 1 & 2”

With The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, moderator Jeff Kamin brings his unique take on a public book club show to Saint Paul every first Tuesday of the month (with some exceptions). Even if you don’t like the featured book, he “guarantees a good time at our entertaining discussions.” All are welcome to try this moderated reinvention of the book club. No registration required.

5:00 Happy Hour Social | 6:15 Discussion


Saga Volume 1Saga Volume 2Saga, Volumes 1 & 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Saga is an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series created by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples. Published monthly by Image Comics since 2012, the series is heavily influenced by Star Wars and is based on ideas Vaughan conceived both as a child and as a parent. It depicts two lovers from long-warring extraterrestrial races, Alana and Marko, fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their newborn daughter.

The series has been met with wide critical acclaim and is one of the most celebrated comics being published. Its honors include multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards, a Hugo Award, a British Fantasy Award, and more. It has also been noted for its diverse portrayal of ethnicity, sexuality and gender social roles, and for its treatment of war.

In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly called it a “completely addictive, human story that will leave readers desperately awaiting the next volume.”

Click here for Volume 1 paperback -> https://goo.gl/WDVHCD
Click here for Volume 2 paperback – > https://goo.gl/61QJJd

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14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference


14TH INTERNATIONAL F. SCOTT FITZGERALD SOCIETY CONFERENCE

Please note this is a multi-day event.

The birthplace of F. Scott Fitzgerald – Saint Paul, Minnesota – is proud to host the 14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference, June 25 through July 1, 2017. The conference, filled with fascinating papers and presentations from scholars from all over the world, will also include a “FitzFest” – seven days of public events and Fitzgerald-related fun! The local host organization, Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, has arranged for a week of activities to appeal to serious scholars, Fitzgerald aficionados, and newcomers/students alike. Visit the conference website for more information.


 

For more information, contact Fitzgerald in Saint Paul at info@fitzgeraldinsaintpaul.org, or visit www.fitzgeraldinsaintpaul.orgFitzgerald in Saint Paul is dedicated to celebrating the life and literature of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the revered American author and cultural icon, in his hometown of Saint Paul.

Books & Bars: “Dark Matter”

With The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, moderator Jeff Kamin brings his unique take on a public book club show to Saint Paul every first Tuesday of the month (with some exceptions). Even if you don’t like the featured book, he “guarantees a good time at our entertaining discussions.” All are welcome to try this moderated reinvention of the book club. No registration required.

5:00 Happy Hour Social | 6:15 Discussion


Blake CrouchDark Matter

by Blake Crouch

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible. From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human – a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

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Club Book: Yaa Gyasi

Yaa GyasiGhanaian-American novelist Yaa Gyasi is the author behind Homegoing, one of the breakout hits of 2016. This sweeping, transcontinental family saga follows the descendants of two sisters torn apart by the African slave trade. The legacy of slavery follows six subsequent generations – through the American Civil War, to twentieth-century Harlem, and up to the modern day. It has earned a wide range of accolades and honors. The Washington Post endorses Homegoing as “[Alex Haley’s] Roots for a new generation. A bold tale of slavery… how much we know, and how much we willfully forget.” Gyasi’s unique, relevant, and engaging voice earned the 26-year-old the National Book Foundation’s highly coveted ‘5 Under 35’ Award for 2016. Random House is re-releasing the New York Times bestseller in paperback in May.

**PLEASE NOTE**

All Saint Paul libraries are closed on May 11, but Merriam Park will open at 6:30 p.m. for this special event.

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Books & Bars: “Sweetbitter”

With The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, moderator Jeff Kamin brings his unique take on a public book club show to Saint Paul every first Tuesday of the month (with some exceptions). Even if you don’t like the featured book, he “guarantees a good time at our entertaining discussions.” All are welcome to try this moderated reinvention of the book club. No registration required.

5:00 Happy Hour Social | 6:15 Discussion


Sweetbitter Book CoverStephanie DanlerSweetbitter

by  Stephanie Danler

Twenty-two, and knowing no one, Tess leaves home to begin her adult life in New York City. Thus begins a year that is both enchanting and punishing, in a low-level job at “the best restaurant in New York City.” Grueling hours and a steep culinary learning curve awaken her to the beauty of oysters, the finest Champagnes, the appellations of Burgundy. At the same time, she opens herself to friendships and love, set against the backdrop of dive bars and late nights. As her appetites sharpen, Tess is drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle that will prove to be her most exhilarating and painful lesson of all. Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and purely adrenalized world of the restaurant – conversations interrupted, phrases overheard, and suggestions below the surface. Evoking the infinite possibility of being young in New York with heart-stopping accuracy, Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment, and the wisdom that comes from experience, sweet and bitter.

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Books & Bars: “Locally Laid”

With The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, moderator Jeff Kamin brings his unique take on a public book club show to Saint Paul every first Tuesday of the month (with some exceptions). Even if you don’t like the featured book, he “guarantees a good time at our entertaining discussions.” All are welcome to try this moderated reinvention of the book club. No registration required.

5:00 Happy Hour Social | 6:15 Discussion


Locally LaidLucie AmundsenLocally Laid

by Lucie Amundsen

Lucie will be attending the event. Hear from the author, ask questions, and get your copy signed!

Lucie Amundsen is a self-described ‘reluctant farmer’ and co-owner, with her husband Jason, of Locally Laid Egg Company, a ranch enterprise in Duluth that supplies pasture-raised eggs to markets in Minnesota, Iowa, and Indiana. Amundsen holds an MFA from Hamline University and is a past contributor to the Star Tribune and Reader’s Digest Association. When this plucky couple – with no real agricultural experience between them – decided to leave their professions to start up a mid-sized chicken farm, Amundsen applied her considerable writing talents to a part-memoir, part-exposé about the experience. Kirkus Reviews recommends Locally Laid highly, stating: “The author’s skepticism and her husband’s optimism collide to create a laughable tale.” Behind the humor, however, Amundsen reveals some alarming truths about today’s egg and poultry industry, along with insights on what we can all do to turn the situation around.

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2017 O’Shaughnessy Award Recipient: Katie Donovan

Katie Donovan

Dublin-based poet Katie Donovan will receive the O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award in April. Her free public reading, which will follow a week of classroom visits and public appearances, will be on Friday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of John Roach Center at the University of St. Thomas.

The $5,000 O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry, established in 1997, honors Irish poets.  The award is named for Lawrence O’Shaughnessy, who taught English at St. Thomas from 1948 to 1950, formerly served on the university’s board of trustees and is the retired head of the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation.

Donovan, born 1962, grew up on a farm in County Wexford, and was educated at Trinity College Dublin and at UC Berkeley. She spent a year in Hungary teaching English before returning to Ireland to work as a journalist withthe Irish Times. She has published five poetry collections, all with the British publisher Bloodaxe. Currently she works as an Amatsu practitioner and has taught creative writing at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire. She is widowed and has two children.

Her books include Watermelon Man, Entering the Mare, Day of the Dead, Rootling: New and Selected Poems, and most recently, Off Duty, a collection that focuses on the year in which her husband died of throat cancer.

Learn more about the O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry >>

Writers in Conversation: “Deep Heart’s Core: Poetry & Mystery”

Katie Donovan

James Lenfesty

“Deep Heart’s Core: Poetry & Mystery” with Katie Donovan and James Lenfestey

Monday, April 17 | 7 p.m.

 

Join O’Shaughnessy Award-winning Irish poet Katie Donovan and local writer James Lenfestey for a conversation about their craft and the influence of the great mysterious in poetry. Presented with the Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas.

Donovan, born 1962, grew up on a farm in County Wexford, and was educated at Trinity College Dublin and at UC Berkeley. She spent a year in Hungary teaching English before returning to Ireland to work as a journalist with the Irish Times. She has published five poetry collections, all with the British publisher Bloodaxe. Currently she works as an Amatsu practitioner and has taught creative writing at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire. She is widowed and has two children.

Her books include Watermelon Man, Entering the Mare, Day of the Dead, Rootling: New and Selected Poems, and most recently, Off Duty, a collection that focuses on the year in which her husband died of throat cancer.

Journalist and poet James P. Lenfestey was born and raised in De Pere, Wisconsin, and educated at Dartmouth College. In 1974, he discovered the work of T’ang poet Han-shan, or Cold Mountain, whose poems offer both thematic and formal inspiration for Lenfestey’s concise, image-driven poetry. He is the author of several poetry collections, including A Cartload of Scrolls: 100 Poems in the Manner of T’ang Dynasty Poet Han-Shan and Into the Goodhue County Jail: Poems to Free Prisoners, the essay collection The Urban Coyote: Howlings on Family, Community and the Search for Peace and Quiet, and a haibun volume of interwoven poetry and prose, Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain, a Minnesota Book Award finalist.

During his career as a journalist, Lenfestey served as an editorial writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where he received three Page One Awards for excellence in journalism. He chairs the Literary Witnesses poetry program in Minneapolis.

Dublin-based poet Katie Donovan will receive the O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award in April.  Her free public reading, which will follow a week of classroom visits and public appearances, will be on Friday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of John Roach Center at the University of St. Thomas.

Learn more about the O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award. >>