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Heather A. Slomski

Heather Slomski is the author of The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award and a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. She received her MFA from Western Michigan University and held the Axton Fellow in Fiction at the University of Louisville. A recipient of a Minnesota State Artist Initiative Grant and a Minnesota Emerging Writers Grant, she currently lives in Moorhead with her husband and two young sons and is at work on a novel and a pair of novellas.

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Sarah Stonich

Beginning with Vacationland, Stonich’s Northern Trilogy continued in September 2018 with the release of Laurentian Divide, winner of the Minnesota Book Award. Both have been chosen as community reads in a dozen cities. These Granite Islands was a Barnes & Noble Great New Writers pick with multiple translations, as was The Ice Chorus. Her Fishing with RayAnne trilogy is being published by University of Minnesota Press beginning with Fishing! in 2020, to be followed in 2021 by Reeling. Her memoir, Shelter: Off the Grid in the Mostly Magnetic North, won a NEMBA award. Stonich is a frequent speaker at libraries, universities, conferences, and festivals and has been a writer-in-residence here and abroad with international fellowships in five countries.

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Andrea Swensson

Andrea Swensson is an author, radio host, and music journalist. Her first book, Got to Be Something Here: The Rise of the Minneapolis Sound, received a 2018 Minnesota Book Award. She hosts a weekly program about the Minnesota music scene, The Local Show, at Minnesota Public Radio’s 89.3 The Current and has contributed music journalism to NPR Music, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, and Paisley Park, where she has written several tour guide books for Prince’s museum. Prior to joining MPR, she was the music editor at City Pages, where she founded the AAN AltWeekly Award-winning Gimme Noise music blog.

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Roberta Walburn

Roberta Walburn is a Minneapolis attorney who has been named among the most influential members of the legal profession in state history and recognized by the University of Minnesota for “shaping the legal landscape for the benefit of society.” Previously, she worked as a reporter for the Star Tribune and as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone. She also served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Miles Lord. Her debut book, Miles Lord: The Maverick Judge Who Brought Corporate America to Justice, was a finalist for the 2018 Minnesota Book Awards.

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신 선 영 Sun Yung Shin

Sun Yung Shin was born in Seoul, Korea. She is the author of poetry/essay collections Unbearable Splendor (Minnesota Book Award); Rough, and Savage; Skirt Full of Black (Asian American Literary Award); editor of A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota; co-editor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, and author of bilingual illustrated book for children Cooper’s Lesson. With poet Su Hwang she co-founded and co-directs Poetry Asylum, a poetry-centered organization that exists to create platforms and spaces for marginalized voices, and operates under three commitments: all language is political, no one is illegal, and poetry is a human right.

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Cathy Wurzer

Cathy Wurzer is one of Minnesota’s most recognizable broadcast journalists who has spent her career behind a microphone and in front of television cameras with time carved out to write books and produce documentaries. A multiple Emmy Award winning journalist, Wurzer is the co-host of “Almanac” on Twin Cities Public Television. On weekdays, she is the host of Minnesota Public Radio’s Morning Edition.

Wurzer wrote Tales of the Road: Highway 61, about the sites and secrets of an iconic US highway, and We Know How This Ends: Living Well While Dying, co-written with Dr. Bruce Kramer, an educator and musician who recognized that living a meaningful life with ALS meant embracing his imminent death. Her work with Dr. Kramer sparked a statewide effort dedicated to living and dying well called “End in Mind.” She is currently working on a book and documentary about Minnesota broadcast history.

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Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang is an award-winning Hmong-American writer. She holds degrees from Carleton College and Columbia University. Yang is the author of The Latehomecomer, The Song Poet, What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color, and the picture book A Map Into the World. In 2020, Yang has two more picture books coming, The Shared Room and The Most Beautiful Thing, and a collective memoir called Somewhere in the Unknown World. She lives in Saint Paul with her family. Yang is also an educator and public speaker.

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Virginia Wright-Peterson

Virginia Wright-Peterson’s book, Women of Mayo Clinic: The Founding Generation, was a finalist for the 2017 Minnesota Book Award and won an award from the American Association for State and Local History in 2017. A Chinese translation of the book was published in 2018. A common reaction to her book and presentation is, “I had NO idea!” People are surprised by these fascinating stories about courageous, intelligent, and compassionate women. Wright-Peterson is working on another book uncovering the amazing contributions made by women in Minnesota during World War II in the military, industry, and home. Stand by for more great stories!

With a Ph.D. in English, Wright-Peterson currently teaches writing at University of Minnesota, Rochester. She has also taught as a Fulbright Scholar in Algeria and been employed by the American Red Cross on a military base in Iraq.

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Julie Gard

Julie Gard’s prose poetry collections include Scrap: On Louise Nevelson and Home Studies, which was a finalist for a 2016 Minnesota Book Award. Her chapbooks are Obscura: The Daguerreotype Series and Russia in 17 Objects. Gard’s poems, stories, and essays have appeared in Gertrude, Fourth River, Clackamas Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, Ekphrasis, and Blackbox Manifold, among other journals and anthologies. A former Fulbright Graduate Fellow in Vladivostok, Russia, she lives in Duluth and is Associate Professor of Writing at the University of Wisconsin, Superior.

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Patricia Kirkpatrick

Patricia Kirkpatrick received the first Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize for Odessa and was awarded a 2013 Minnesota Book Award. Her new poetry collection, Blood Moon, is forthcoming. Kirkpatrick’s awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bush Foundation, Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Loft, and Minnesota State Arts Board. Her poetry has been set to music by composers Carol Barnett and Libby Larsen. She has taught writing at many colleges, including the University of Minnesota MFA program, and conducted writing workshops, residencies, panels, and inservices in elementary classrooms, the Princeton Theological Seminary, and various school districts and libraries. As poetry editor for the literary journal Water-Stone Review (2001-2012), she worked with nationally known and emerging writers and solicited and published writing in Dakota and Ojibwe languages. A past board member of the Loft and Saint Paul Almanac, she serves on the executive board for the musical ensemble Cantus and works as a freelance editor and private teacher.

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