Kay Sexton Award Winners

Sponsored by Saint Catherine University’s Master of Library and Information Science Program

Presented annually, the Kay Sexton Award recognizes an individual or organization for long-standing dedication and outstanding work in fostering books, reading and literary activity in Minnesota. The award honors Kay Sexton, a book buyer for many years at Dayton’s and B. Dalton Bookstores in the Twin Cities. She was the first recipient of the award in 1988.

2017 Kay Sexton Honoree: Lou Bellamy

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.

2016 Kay Sexton Honoree: Jim Sitter

For more than thirty years, Jim Sitter has been one of the most prolific and effective arts leaders in the state. He embodies the spirit of the Kay Sexton Award with an extraordinary array of accomplishments, helping to make the literary and book arts community in Minnesota what it is today

2015 Kay Sexton Honoree: Mary François Rockcastle

Through her unique and unparalleled activities as Director of The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University, Mary François Rockcastle has devoted herself to the education of writers in Minnesota for more than 20 years.

2014 Kay Sexton Honoree: Mark Vinz

One of the finest, most respected figures in the state’s literary history, Vinz served as a professor of English at Minnesota State University Moorhead for forty years where he mentored countless emerging writers and left a lasting mark on the literary culture at MSU.

2013 Kay Sexton Honoree: Robert Hedin

“Whether Robert Hedin is tending to the immediate needs of the current residents, planning future literary events, working with the greater community on arts outreach, or promoting the work of Minnesota writers, his leadership and generosity set the tone for the Anderson Center,” says Sheila O’Connor.

2012 Kay Sexton Honoree: Allan Kornblum

Allan Kornblum, founder and senior editor of Minneapolis-based Coffee House Press, was honored with the Kay Sexton Award at the 24th annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala. Throughout his trailblazing, 40-year career in publishing, Kornblum has exemplified everything the Sexton Award stands for.

2011 Kay Sexton Honoree: Carol Connolly

Connolly works tirelessly for the betterment of the community at large. She is committed to supporting other writers, exposing readers to diverse literary voices, and bringing poetry to the streets. Carol’s commitment to literature spans several decades and cuts across the many invisible lines that tend to divide us.

2010 Kay Sexton Honoree: Carolyn Holbrook

Since the early 1980s, Holbrook’s vision has been to promote the inclusion of disparate voices in the global community. She remains committed to writers, readers, and spoken word artists—reaching out to individuals and communities whose access to opportunities for exploration of writing is limited or nonexistent.

2009 Kay Sexton Honoree: Pat Coleman

As Acquisitions Librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS), where he has worked for the last thirty years, Pat Coleman identifies, selects, and procures books for the Library. He is considered both a pioneer and classicist. Coleman has expanded the horizons of collecting, making the MHS Library’s collection a vital resource for all users:

Kay Sexton Honorees Archive

A complete list of all the Kay Sexton award honorees since its inception. The award honors Kay Sexton, a book buyer for many years at Dayton’s and B. Dalton Bookstores in the Twin Cities. She was the first recipient of the award in 1988.