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Nancy O’Brien Wagner

Nancy O’Brien Wagner is a historian and partner at Bluestem Heritage Group, a museum consulting firm. In addition to her consulting work, she works as an independent writer. Her article “Awfully Busy these Days” about the role of Minnesota Red Cross women in France during World War I was a winner of the Solon J. Buck award for best article in Minnesota History magazine. This article was the foundation for her book, Alice in France, published in 2017. This book documents the letters and experience of her great-aunt who served in France during WWI as a Red Cross volunteer. Wagner has been honored with three St. Paul Heritage Preservation awards, and her book Alice in France was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.

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Tom Rademacher

Tom Rademacher is an English teacher in Minneapolis. In 2014 he was named Minnesota Teacher of the Year. He teaches writing and has written about education in Education Week, Huffington Post, and Education Post. His debut book, It Won’t Be Easy: An Exceedingly Honest (and Slightly Unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching, was a Minnesota Book Award finalist in 2018.

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Lori Sturdevant

Lori Sturdevant retired in January 2019 after 43 years at the Star Tribune, 26 of them as an editorial writer and weekly columnist covering state politics and government. She continues as an occasional columnist for that publication. Sturdevant joined the Minneapolis Star Tribune as a summer replacement reporter in 1975, returned as a reporter in 1976, and was lead Capitol reporter and a newsroom assignment editor before joining the editorial staff in 1992.

A native of South Dakota, Sturdevant is a graduate of Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a member of that institution’s Board of Trustees. She has been the author, ghostwriter, or editor of 11 books, including Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women’s Movement and The Pillsburys of Minnesota. Her latest book, When Republicans Were Progressive by Dave Durenberger, was released in September 2018. She is a three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award. She lives in Saint Paul with her husband; they have three grown children.

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Michael Fridgen

Michael Fridgen loves theme parks, Dolly Parton, baking, Christmas, and playing the piano. His guidebook, Dollywood and Beyond, attained the top spot on Amazon’s list of bestselling books about theme parks, as did his World Traveler’s Guide to Disney. A former elementary school teacher, Fridgen began writing full-time after his first novel, Ruth3:5, was named a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. In 2014 Fridgen’s meticulously researched work about gay people in the Holocaust, The Iron Words, was the top recommendation on the Goodreads list of books about World War Two. He lives in Minneapolis where he enjoys making elaborate gingerbread houses and planning his next theme park visit.

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Charles Baxter

Charles Baxter is the author of five novels and six books of short stories, including There’s Something I Want You to Do and The Feast of Love, which was a National Book Award finalist and the basis of a movie starring Morgan Freeman. He is also the author of two books on fiction: Burning Down the House and The Art of Subtext. Baxter has taught at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Iowa. He lives in Minneapolis.

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Sarah Ahiers

Sarah Ahiers has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and lives in Minnesota with her dogs and a house full of critters. She has a collection of steampunk hats and when she’s not writing she fills her time with good games, good food, good friends, and good family.

Ahiers writes young adult and middle grade novels and occasionally dabbles in picture books. Fantasy is her favorite genre, though she sometimes can be found playing around with horror and other things that go bump in the night. She is the author of Assassin’s Heart and Thief’s Cunning, both of which were Minnesota Book Award finalists.

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Nicole Helget

Nicole Helget is the multigenre author of six books for adults and young readers. She and her work have been recognized in People magazine’s “Critic’s Choice,” as a Barnes and Noble “Discover New Writers” selection, as a Minnesota State University “Distinguished Alumni,” and with many literary and service grants, nominations, and awards. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and is pursuing a Master of Public Policy concentrating in rural arts, education, and environmental issues. With her family, she lives in St. Peter where she works as a teacher, editor, and manuscript and story consultant.

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Lesley Nneka Arimah

Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up wherever her father was stationed for work, which was sometimes Nigeria, sometimes not. Her work has received grants and awards from Commonwealth Writers, AWP, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and others. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Her short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky was published by Riverhead in April 2017 and won the 2017 Kirkus Prize. She currently lives in Minneapolis.

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Bao Phi

Bao Phi was born in Saigon and raised in Minneapolis. He has been a spoken word poet for more than two decades, with two published collections of poems, Sông I Sing and Thousand Star Hotel. His first children’s picture book, A Different Pond, illustrated by Thi Bui, was published in 2017. It earned seven starred reviews, a Caldecott Honor, Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Honors, The Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the Charlotte Zolotow Award for Excellence in picture book writing, and a spot on many books of the year lists. He was named by Minnesota Monthly as Best Author 2016 and an Artist of the Year and Author of the Year by City Pages, 2017 and 2018. He works at the Loft Literary Center and lives in Minneapolis with his daughter.

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Anton Treuer

Dr. Anton Treuer (pronounced troy-er) is Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author of 14 books. He has a B.A. from Princeton University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is Editor of the Oshkaabewis (pronounced o-shkaah-bay-wis) Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language. Treuer has presented all over the U.S. and Canada and in several foreign countries on Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, Cultural Competence & Equity, Strategies for Addressing the “Achievement” Gap, and Tribal Sovereignty, History, Language, and Culture. He has sat on many organizational boards and has received more than 40 prestigious awards and fellowships, including ones from the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

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