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: July and August will be held on the third Tuesday). 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. >>

Meet the Finalists for the Minnesota Book Awards

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.


EVENT DETAILS

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.


PARTICIPATING 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)

Poetry
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)

Fireside Reading Series: Lara Mimosa Montes, Chris Santiago, Sun Yung Shin

Lara Mimosa Montes, Chris Santiago, Sun Yung Shin

These gifted poets explore language, meaning, and identity in new and compelling ways with their new work. 


 

Sonambulist

Lara Mimosa Montes, The Somnambulist

At once a writer’s memoir, coming-of-age story, family history, and true crime drama, Montes startling and powerful work weaves together multiple stories in fragments to create a compelling picture of a life becoming.

Lara Mimosa Montes is a writer based in New York and Minneapolis. Her work has appeared in Fence, BOMB, Poor Claudia, The Third Rail, Powder Keg, and elsewhere. Lara holds a Ph.D. in English from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She also teaches poetry at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and works as a contributing editor at Triple Canopy. Her first book, The Somnambulist, was recently published by Horse Less Press. She was born in the Bronx.


Tula

Chris Santiago, Tula

Tula: a ruined Toltec capital; a Russian city known for its accordions; Tagalog for “poem.”

Prismatic, startling, rich with meaning yet sparely composed, Chris Santiago’s debut collection of poems begins with one word and transforms it, in a dazzling sleight of hand, into a multivalent symbol for the immigrant experience. Tula: Santiago reveals to readers a distant land devastated by war. Tula: its music beckons in rhythms, time signatures, and lullabies. Tula: can the poem, he seems to ask, build an imaginative bridge back to a family lost to geography, history, and a forgotten language?

Inspired by the experiences of the second-generation immigrant who does not fully acquire the language of his parents, Tula paints the portrait of a mythic homeland that is part ghostly underworld, part unknowable paradise. Language splinters. Impossible islands form an archipelago across its landscape. A mother sings lullabies and a father works the graveyard shift in St. Paul—while in the Philippines, two dissident uncles and a grandfather send messages and telegrams from the afterlife.

Deeply ambitious, a collection that examines the shortcomings and possibilities of both language and poetry themselves, Tula announces the arrival of a major new literary talent.

Chris Santiago was awarded the 2016 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry for his manuscript Tula. His poems, short stories, and criticism have appeared in FIELDPleiades, the Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from Kundiman and the Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies, and nominations for Best New Poets and others. Born and raised in the Twin Cities, he received his PhD in the literature and creative writing program at the University of Southern California and is an assistant professor in the English department at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.


 

Unbearable Splendor

Sun Yung Shin, Unbearable Splendor

Who is guest, and who is host? Adoption, Antigone, zombies, clones, and minotaurs—all building blocks, forming and reforming our ideas.

In addition to Unbearable Splendor, Sun Yung Shin is the author of poetry collections Rough, and Savage and Skirt Full of Black, which won an Asian American Literary Award. She coedited the anthology Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, and is the author of Cooper’s Lesson, a bilingual Korean/English illustrated book for children. She’s received grants and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and elsewhere. She lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the Perpich Center for the Arts.


 

This program is free and open to the public. Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice. For additional information, call The Friends or email friends@thefriends.org. Please note, a wood-burning fire accompanies the program.

About the series >>

Fireside Reading Series: Mary Casanova

Ice-OutMary Casanova, Ice-Out

Ice-Out returns to the frigid and often brutal Prohibition-era borderland of Casanova’s beloved novel Frozen, and to the characters who made it a favorite among readers of all ages. Owen Jensen, nineteen and suddenly responsible for keeping his mother and five brothers alive, finds himself walking on thin ice – literally and figuratively – on Rainy Lake, in the northern reaches of Minnesota. Smitten with Frozen’s Sadie Rose, Owen is struggling to make something of himself at a time when no one seems to hold the moral high ground. Bootlegging is rife, corruption is rampant, and lumber barons run roughshod over the people and the land. As hard as things seem when his father dies, stranding his impoverished family, they get considerably tougher—and more complicated—when Owen gets caught up in the suspicious deaths of a sheriff and deputy on the border.

Mary Casanova is author of more than thirty books for young readers, ranging from picture books, such as Utterly Otterly Night and Wake Up, Island, to novels, such as Moose Tracks and Frozen. Her books are on many state reading lists and have earned the American Library Association Notable Award, Aesop Accolades from the American Folklore Society, Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Booklist Editors’ Choice, as well as two Minnesota Book Awards. She speaks frequently around the country at readings and library conferences. She lives with her husband and dogs in a turn-of-the-century house in Ranier, Minnesota, perched on the Canadian border.


This program is free and open to the public. Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice. For additional information, call The Friends or email friends@thefriends.org. Please note, a wood-burning fire accompanies the program.

About the series >>

Fireside Reading Series: Fred Amram

We're in America NowFred Amram, We’re In America Now: A Survivor’s Stories

These compelling stories form a riveting memoir that begins with the author’s birth during the rise of Hitler in 1930s Germany. He and his surviving family escape to Holland and sail to America where they encounter many challenges as immigrants in a new world. This country truly becomes a land of opportunity where one can build a new life and become more than a “Holocaust survivor.” Midwest Book Review states “We’re In America Now: A Survivor’s Stories is an unforgettable memoir, not only of isolation and genocide during the Holocaust of World War II, but also of hope and commitment to social justice.”

Fred Amram is a professor emeritus in General College at the University of Minnesota. He has been head of the Division of Arts, Communication, and Philosophy, as well as director of academic affairs. He has won the Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award and has taught courses in the areas of speech communication and creativity. Professor Amram is an author of books and articles about creativity, invention, robotics, and communication, and curator of several exhibitions displaying the achievements of women inventors. In addition to We’re In America Now, his articles and essays have been published in American Jewish World, Whistling Shade, and more.

Fred Amram is a retired University of Minnesota professor of communication and creativity. He spent his early years in Hanover, Germany, where he experienced the Holocaust from its inception in 1933. In addition to We’re In America Now, his articles and essays have been published in American Jewish World, Whistling Shade, and more.


 

This program is free and open to the public. Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice. For additional information, call The Friends or email friends@thefriends.org. Please note, a wood-burning fire accompanies the program.

 

About the series >>

Fireside Reading Series: Larry Millett

Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf EnigmaLarry Millett, Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma

Dogged by depression, doubt, and—as a trip to the Mayo Clinic has revealed—emphysema, 66-year-old Sherlock Holmes is preparing to return to England when he receives a shock: a note slipped under his hotel room door, from a vicious murderer he’d nearly captured in Munich in 1892. The murderer, known as the Monster of Munich, announces that he has relocated to Eisendorf, a tiny village near the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. If Holmes is not what he once was, the same can be said for Eisendorf: once a thriving community founded by German idealists but now a dying town with only forty residents—two of whom have, indeed, died recently under highly mysterious circumstances. Replete with all the gothic richness of Millett’s earlier Holmes novels, Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma links events in 1892 Germany with those in small-town Minnesota in 1920 in a double mystery that tests the aging detective’s mettle—and the reader’s nerve—as never before.

Guided by Eisendorf’s peculiar archivist and taunted by the Monster, Holmes finds himself drawn into the town’s dark history of violence and secrecy, and into the strange tunnels that underscore the old flour mill where answers, and grievous danger, lie in wait. No longer the cool, flawless logician of times past, Holmes must nonetheless match wits with a fiendish opponent who taunts him right up to a final, explosive confrontation.

Larry Millett is the author of twenty books, including seven mystery novels—mostly set in Minnesota—featuring Sherlock Holmes and St. Paul detective Shadwell Rafferty. A longtime reporter and architecture critic for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Millett is also the author of numerous books on architecture, most recently Minnesota Modern: Architecture and Life at Midcentury, winner of a 2016 Minnesota Book Award.


 

This program is free and open to the public. Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice. For additional information, call The Friends or email friends@thefriends.org. Please note, a wood-burning fire accompanies the program.

 

About the series >>

Fireside Reading Series: Stephanie Wilbur Ash

The Annie YearStephanie Wilbur Ash, The Annie Year
Tall, trusted Tandy Caide, CPA, is a long-time patron of the arts in her town, which is why you will find her sitting in the front row of the high school’s annual musical production. This year is an Annie year—and it would be no different than other years were it not for the high school’s hiring of a new vocational agriculture (Vo-Ag) teacher. With his beguiling ponytail and decorative beaded belt, Kenny catches Tandy’s eye immediately. Ignoring the fact of her slovenly husband—who takes most of his meals in their hot tub—Tandy decides to entertain Kenny’s advances.

Trusted community pillar that she is, Tandy’s affair has instant repercussions. People are talking and her husband’s subsequent breakdown and check-in to a mental institution doesn’t help. At her regular meeting with the Order of the Pessimists—comprised of her deceased father’s disgruntled and drunken best friends—she is asked to step down as treasurer. Not only that, but her old lover is keeping a secret somehow connected to the Vo-Ag teacher. And meth labs—fueled by the abundance of fertilizer present in the region—keep blowing up. Somehow, it is all connected to Tandy’s ex-best friend’s daughter—the star of this year’s Annie. As Tandy pieces together the puzzle that has become her life, it becomes clear she must embark on a journey of self-discovery that might even include leaving town for good.

“Ash’s debut novel brilliantly captures the slanted quirkiness of a Midwest full of small-business owners and exploding home-methamphetamine labs . . . Darkly hilarious and weirdly beguiling.” —Kirkus Reviews
Stephanie Ash is a former editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. She lives in Minneapolis and Mankato, Minnesota, and is originally from rural Iowa. This is her first novel.


This program is free and open to the public. Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice. For additional information, call The Friends or email friends@thefriends.org. Please note, a wood-burning fire accompanies the program.

About the series >>

Fireside Reading Series: Benjamin Percy

Thrill MeBenjamin Percy, Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction
In his first book of nonfiction, Benjamin Percy challenges the notion that literary and genre fiction are somehow mutually exclusive. The title essay is an ode to the kinds of books that make many first love fiction: science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, horror, from J. R. R. Tolkien to Anne Rice, Ursula K. Le Guin to Stephen King. Percy’s own academic experience banished many of these writers in the name of what is “literary” and what is “genre.” Then he discovered Michael Chabon, Aimee Bender, Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, and others who employ techniques of genre fiction while remaining literary writers. In fifteen essays on the craft of fiction, Percy looks to disparate sources such as Jaws, Blood Meridian, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to discover how contemporary writers engage issues of plot, suspense, momentum, and the speculative, as well as character, setting, and dialogue. An urgent and entertaining missive on craft, Thrill Me brims with Percy’s distinctive blend of anecdotes, advice, and close reading, all in the service of one dictum: Thrill the reader.

Benjamin Percy is the author of three novels, most recently The Dead Lands, as well as two books of short stories. His honors include an NEA Fellowship, the Whiting Writers’ Award, two Pushcart Prizes, and the Plimpton Prize.


This program is free and open to the public. Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice. For additional information, call The Friends or email friends@thefriends.org. Please note, a wood-burning fire accompanies the program.

About the series >>