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Marilène Phipps

Marilène Phipps was born and grew up in Haiti. She held fellowships at the Guggenheim Foundation, Harvard’s Bunting Institute, the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, and the Center for the Study of World Religions. The Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti, won the 2010 Iowa Short fiction Award. Her poetry won the 1993 Grolier prize, and her collection, Crossroads and Unholy Water, won the Crab Orchard Poetry Prize. Her new book, Unseen Worlds, literary nonfiction, is published by Calumet Editions. She has contributed to American anthologies and collections such as The Best American Short Stories; Haiti Noir: The Classics; The Beacon Best; Ploughshares; River Styx; Callaloo; and Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and she edited Jack Kerouac: Collected Poems for The Library of America. Phipps is the recipient of the NAACP’s Award of Excellence for outstanding commitment in advancing the culture and causes for communities of color.

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Vincent Wyckoff

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Vincent Wyckoff dedicated a career to the U.S. Postal Service. His first book, Beware of Cat, celebrates the life stories of people on his route. For a short time he lived on the Northshore of Lake Superior, from which he developed the background for Black Otter Bay. He and his wife, Sybil, are long-time residents of south Minneapolis. They have three children and six grandchildren.

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Marie Zhuikov

Marie Zhuikov is a storyteller and poet from Duluth. Her two eco-mystic romance novels, Eye of the Wolf and Plover Landing, are set in northern Minnesota. Plover Landing was nominated for a Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. Her most recent work is Going Coastal: An Anthology of Lake Superior Short Stories, which she edited and co-authored. It earned an honorable mention in the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards.

Zhuikov’s poems have appeared in several anthologies and community projects, and she is past chair of Lake Superior Writers, a nonprofit arts group in Duluth. Zhuikov has a B.A. in science journalism and an MA in public health journalism. When not writing fiction, she writes nonfiction as a science communicator for the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Program. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers.

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Bill Meissner

Bill Meissner is the author of two short story collections (one from Random House Publishers), five books of poetry, and a novel, Spirits in the Grass, which won the Midwest Book Award.

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Clare Hexom

Clare Hexom is an American novelist, native of Ohio, who has lived in Minnesota since her youth. She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing and Minor in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. The Truth About Mallory Bain was her debut psychological thriller. She lives in Minnesota with her family and is currently awaiting publication of her latest novel, Porcelain Dolls.

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Brittany Chaffee

Brittany Chaffee is an avid storyteller, professional empath, and author. On the daily, she gets paid to strategize and create content for brands. Off work hours, it’s all about a well-lit place, warm bread, and good company. Her first book, Wild Morning was released in 2017. Her recent work, Borderline: A Series of Essays, is a collection of prose essays about memory, time, change, and wonder. She lives happily in Saint Paul.

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Roma Calatayud-Stocks

Award-winning novelist and composer Roma Calatayud-Stocks holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music and Psychology from the University of Minnesota, and post-graduate studies in creative writing from the University of St. Thomas. She is the author of two historical novels, A Song in My Heart, and A Symphony of Rivals. The third installment of the series, An Ode to Joy, will be published in 2020. And in line with her life passion to bring forth the contributions of all cultures through the arts, her narratives, set to music, provide a window to locations across the world, politics of the era, cultural diplomacy, and history.

Calatayud-Stocks has 20 years of experience working for arts organizations, including Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Vocal Essence, and Walker Art Center. She has toured the United States to present her work at universities, libraries, and book fairs.

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Christine Bauer

Christine (Chris) Bauer’s first book Those Three Words: A Birth Mother’s Story of Choice, Chance, and Motherhood was published in 2018, after decades of work. Her book, which has been described as “heartwarming and heartbreaking,” “beautiful and insightful,” and “honest and raw,” chronicles her journey of experiencing an unplanned pregnancy at age 18, the agonizing decision she needed to make, and its impact on her life.

Bauer has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota, and attended Mankato State University in Mankato, Minnesota, where she majored in Mass Communications and hoped to one day be part of a Woodward and Bernstein-type team who saved the world through ground-breaking journalism. Soul searching and need for employment led her to a gratifying career in corporate communications, public relations, and marketing.

Her greatest achievement and most profound joy are being the mother of three kind-hearted children and two beautiful grandchildren. In addition to being a mom and grandma of humans, Bauer is also the proud mom to one very spoiled dog and an equally spoiled granddog. She admits there were moments in the motherhood journey where she preferred the canines.

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Maren Cooper

Maren Cooper, an avid reader and keen observer of human nature throughout her career as a health care executive in the Midwest, now resides in Minnesota. She writes best on the shore of Lake Superior where she retreats frequently. Her debut novel, A Better Next, was published in 2019.

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Susan Thurston

Susan Thurston’s grandfather loved a poem she wrote in second grade, and within the glow of his appreciation, she decided to become a writer. Later, a well-meaning adult mentioned that as a journalist, she could earn her living. She became a reporter and editor, but wouldn’t really say what she earned was a living. She did get to work with some of the finest people she has ever known. Along the way, she has created and produced programs for adult education, traveled in search of her soul-deep home, mothered two fabulous kids, learned to make really good bread, flown in a hot air balloon, and a lot of other things. And always — writing. She has published, performed, and earned awards for a lot of her poetry and some of her prose, co-authored a cookbook, published the novel Sister of Grendel, and taken a few plays from page to stage. She is also the executive editor of The Black Hat Press, assumed from dear friend and fellow writer Beverly Voldseth.

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