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Tracy Youngblom

Tracy Youngblom has been living and writing in the Twin Cities for 30 years. She earned an M.A. in English from the University of St. Thomas and an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. She has published widely in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction; individual poems, stories, and essays have appeared in journals such as Shenandoah, Big Muddy, Great River Review, Cumberland River Review, Wallace Stevens Journal, St. Katherine’s Review, Briar Cliff Review, Westview, DMQ, and many other places. She teaches full-time at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and in the community as well.

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Patricia Cumbie

Patricia Cumbie is the author of two books, the memoir The Shape of a Hundred Hips, and the young adult novel Where People Like Us Live. Her writing has been supported by The Loft Literary Center’s Fiction Mentor Series, a SASE/Jerome Fellowship, a Loft Career Initiative Grant, and a Minnesota State Arts Board fellowship. She also received the Carol Bly Award for Nonfiction from Bemidji State University. Cumbie is proud to be a volunteer speaker for the Rape, Incest and Abuse National Network (RAINN).

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Gene Stark

Gene Stark writes fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, and has written a children’s book. His writing is local, rural, and outdoors-oriented. Minnesota and local interest predominate his writing. Stark’s audience is comprised of the folks who live and work in Flyover Country. He has been a teacher, farmer, and a grower and propagator of native pollinator plants. He lives, writes, and works in rural Minnesota and enjoys many outdoor activities. He and his wife, and their Labrador retriever, live on 120 acres of native prairie and wetlands.

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Carol Masters

Carol Masters is the author of Dear Descendent, poems; the biography You Can’t Do That: Mary Davidov, Nonviolent Revolutionary (finalist for the 2010 Midwest Independent Publishers Award), and The Peace Terrorist, short stories (1994 winner of MN Voices Project). She has been part of a Loft Mentor series and a Loft-McKnight winner. Her poems and short stories have appeared in anthologies and literary publications.

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Jasmine Stringer

Jasmine Stringer was living her life like so many others – on autopilot, without vision or purpose – until she was given an unexpected gift. She was laid off! As she said goodbye to her “corporate gig” she realized she hadn’t been happy or fulfilled in years. So she made a choice to do whatever work was required to find happiness wherever she could. She seized her life and got it “JAZZ’ed UP!” She found endless, little ways to connect with herself and others through DIY projects, style, entertaining, and travel on a budget.

Stringer works as a keynote speaker, an award-winning author of Seize Your Life: How to Carpe Diem Every Day, an on-air TV guest, and host of a weekly podcast and lifestyle blog — Carpe Diem with Jasmine. She has advised corporate and nonprofit clients, and through keynotes, workshops, and coaching sessions, guides people through a process of simple steps to help make their lives better. She introduces inspiration, revelation, and change by leveraging her experiences from working with some of the world’s biggest brands such as Kraft Foods, General Mills, Toyota, Box Tops for Education, Fox Searchlight, Publicis Groupe, and the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Stringer is principal of JB Stringer LLC. She graduated from American University’s Kogod School of Business in Washington, D.C. She was named a Twin Cities Fearless Woman in 2017 and a Woman of Promise by the Girl Scouts in 2012. Additionally, she was awarded Distinguished Alumna of American University. Ebony Magazine featured her as one of its “30 Future Leaders Under the Age of 30 in America.” She is based in Minneapolis, but can often be found two hours south of the city working with her husband Roger at the family farm.

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Barton Sutter

Bart Sutter is the only writer to win the Minnesota Book Award in three different categories: poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Among other honors, he has won a Bush Foundation Fellowship, a Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant (Sweden), a Loft-McKnight Award, and the Bassine Citation from the Academy of American Poets. In 2006, he was named the first Poet Laureate of Duluth. He has written for public radio, had four verse plays produced, and performs as one half of The Sutter Brothers – a poetry-and-music duo. He grew up in Roseau and Jackson Counties and has lived in Duluth for more than 30 years.

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Katya Gordon

Katya Gordon fell in love with the northern forests and Lake Superior when she first moved to Minnesota in 1991. She is a wilderness leader, a Restorative Justice facilitator and trainer, a sailor, small business owner, climate activist, radio show host, wife, homemaker, and mother of two teenage daughters. She lives in Two Harbors.

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Ryan Henning

Ryan Henning was born and raised in Minnesota, where he spent most of his formative years in the Minneapolis suburb of Victoria. There, he developed a fascination with the weather – thanks largely to his dad’s career in the airline industry. (Henning loved the radar!) After earning a degree in synoptic meteorology from Purdue University, he worked as an aviation meteorologist for eight years. He lives with his wife Katie, twin sons, and three lively pets.

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Dean Hovey

Dean Hovey is an award-winning mystery author with 11 books in print. His books include three series: Pine County mysteries, Whistling Pines cozy mysteries, and Doug Fletcher Park Ranger mysteries. Hovey’s Family Trees won the 2018 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for best fiction.

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LuAnn Nies

LuAnn Nies writes contemporary romantic suspense and historical romance. The saying, “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl,” describes Nies and the women she writes about. Her tales stem from a combination of past experiences and a lot of wishful thinking. She’s been writing since 1996 but has been dreaming up wild adventures her whole life. She resides with her family in east central Minnesota. The women in her novels are country girls, who find themselves in strange predicaments with men, who definitely have the makings of true heroes.

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