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Aurora Whittet

Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired girl in Minnesota dreaming up stories. Today, she has completed the young adult fantasy the Bloodmark Saga trilogy and children’s books Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love in honor of her own mother and How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster. Whittet is a national award-winning graphic designer and illustrator. How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster won Gold at the 2018 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, a 2018 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize Finalist, and received Bronze at the 2018 Moonbeam Awards.

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Sarah Warren

Sarah Warren is an early childhood educator who graduated from the Loft Literary Center’s Master Track apprenticeship program. Her debut picture book, Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers was picked for the Amelia Bloomer Top Ten Book List and awarded a Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Book Award honor. Her most recent picture book is Beyoncé: Shine Your Light. Warren’s family lives in Minneapolis with their dog, Bruce Valentine.

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Artika Tyner

Dr. Artika Tyner is a passionate educator, award-winning author, sought after speaker, and advocate for justice. She is committed to empowering others to lead within their respective spheres of influence. Tyner provides leadership development and career coaching for young professionals. She has also developed leadership educational materials for K-12 students, college/graduate students, faith communities, and nonprofits.

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Cynthia (C.M.) Surrisi

Cynthia (C.M.) Surrisi has a BFA, J.D., and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She is author of picture books and middle grade cozy mysteries that are enjoyed equally by adults: The Maypop Kidnapping, Vampires On the Run, and A Side of Sabotage. Her mysteries have received The Moonbeam Award and been nominated for an Agatha. Her picture book The Best Mother is a Junior Library Guild Selection. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, National League of American Pen Women, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

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Lisa M. Bolt Simons

Lisa M. Bolt Simons has published 38 nonfiction children’s books, mostly with Capstone; two more will be published in 2020. She’s also published four middle grade “choose your path” novels as well as an adult history book. Simons has been the recipient of a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers in Children’s Literature Honorable Mention, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, an MNSCBWI Writing Mentorship, and a Shabo Award for Children’s Picture Book Writers through The Loft Literary Center. A wife to a fellow reader and a mom of boy/girl twins, Simons also loves to scrapbook and travel when she can.

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Candace Simar

Candace Simar is a Minnesota writer with a passion for history and her Scandinavian heritage. Her Abercrombie Trail Series received awards from the Western Writers of America. Shelterbelts is set in Otter Tail County, Minnesota and received finalist awards from the Willa Literary Awards in Historical Fiction. Her Escape to Fort Abercrombie is geared toward readers from age 12-100.

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Nathan Sacks

Nathan Sacks is a professional academic dissertation editor, children’s and young adult book writer, graphic novel translator, and occasional journalist. He was born and raised in Ames, Iowa and currently lives in uptown Minneapolis. He works on fiction, book-length nonfiction, and scholarly writing, and aims to provide fresh and original writing in a variety of genres while maintaining a distinctive authorial voice.

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Yvonne Pearson

Yvonne Pearson is a writer and clinical social worker who lives in Minneapolis. Her picture book, Sadie Braves the Wilderness, was published in 2017. She has also published 16 non-fiction books for children. Pearson’s poetry has appeared in Split Rock Review, Talking Stick, Main Street Rag, Wolf Head Quarterly, Open to Interpretation, Chrysalis, Sidewalks, Literary Mama, and other publications. She is a 2018 Loft-McKnight Writing Fellow and has received a Loft Creative Non-Fiction Award, the Shabo Award in children’s literature, and two Minnesota State Arts Board grants. She has also written for newspapers and magazines.

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Karen Pavlicin-Fragnito

Karen Pavlicin-Fragnito is an award-winning author, with book topics ranging from children’s fiction, to women’s journals, to guides for military families. She is a sought-after dynamic speaker known for her sense of humor and inspirational insights. She believes in the importance of community and the power of stories to transform lives.

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Priscilla Paton

Priscilla Paton writes the Twin Cities Mystery Series set in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Where Privacy Dies was published in 2018 and Should Grace Fail will be released in 2020. Paton grew up on a dairy farm in Maine. She received a B.A. from Bowdoin College, a Ph.D. in English Literature from Boston College, was a college professor, and taught in Kansas, Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Minnesota. She has also published a children’s book, Howard and the Sitter Surprise, and a scholarly book on New England poets and artists, Abandoned New England. She lives with her husband, a descendent of Norwegian immigrants, in Northfield, Minnesota, and participates in regional community advocacy and literacy programs.

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