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Kathryn Sullivan

Kathryn Sullivan writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. She started writing science fiction and fantasy not long after she had finished reading all of the books in her father’s reading collection. Stories about girl agents defeating alien bad guys and tales of wizards’ apprentices looking for forgotten treasure filled school notebooks alongside her regular homework. Any place and any object is at risk of appearing in her stories – the river bluffs surrounding Winona, MN, where she lives, can become the windswept cliffs of an alien planet or the deep mysterious woods of a fantasy tale. She is owned by a large cockatoo, who graciously allows her to write about other animals, as well as birdlike aliens.

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Adam Stemple

Adam Stemple is an author, musician, web designer, and professional card player. He has written eight novels, including Pay the Piper (with Jane Yolen), winner of the 2006 Locus Award winner for Best Young Adult Book. Of his debut solo novel, Singer of Souls, Anne McCaffrey said, “One of the best first novels I have ever read.” His recent works include The Last Tsar’s Dragons, Crow Not Crow, and Fly with Me.

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Erin Soderberg Downing

Erin Soderberg Downing has written more than 50 books for kids, tweens, and young adults. Some of her most popular titles include the middle-grade novel Moon Shadow and three chapter book series: Disney’s Daring Dreamers Club, Puppy Pirates, and The Quirks. Soderberg loves creating stories that are accessible and help inspire a lifelong love of reading for fun. Before becoming an author, she was a children’s book editor, a cookie inventor, and also worked for Nickelodeon. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, three hilarious kids, and a mischievous pup named Wally (the star of Puppy Pirates!).

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Duchess Harris

Professor Duchess Harris was a Mellon Mays Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated in 1991 with a degree in American History. Six years later, she earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She did postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School and at the Womanist Studies Consortium at the University of Georgia. In 1998, Harris joined the faculty at Macalester College. She became the first Chair of the American Studies Department in 2003 and was granted tenure in 2004. In 2007 she decided that attending law school would allow her to expand the scope of her scholarship even further. In 2008, she was the only law student in the country chosen to be an Associate Editor for Litigation News, the American Bar Association Section’s quarterly flagship publication. In 2009, she won a $96,000 fellowship from the Bush Leadership Program, which encourages their recipients to create positive change in their communities. In 2010, she became the first Editor-in-Chief of Law Raza Journal, an interactive on-line race and the law journal.

Harris earned a Juris Doctorate in January 2011, and has an expertise in Civil Rights Law. In 2015, The Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers chose her to receive “The Profiles in Courage Award.” She is currently a member of Governor Tim Walz’s Board of Public Defense. She is also the proud curator of the Duchess Harris Collection, which has more than 65 books written for 3-12 graders. Macalester College President, Brian C. Rosenberg interviewed her about her title on the #MeToo Movement.

Harris is a scholar of Contemporary African American History and Political Theory. Her academic books include, Racially Writing the Republic: Racists, Race Rebels, and Transformations of American Identity, Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Clinton, Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Obama, and Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Trump.

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Marisha Chamberlain

Marisha Chamberlain is a multi-genre writer. Her debut novel, The Rose Variations, was published by Soho Press and favorably reviewed by the New York Times. Her play, Scheherazade, won the Dramatists Guild/CBS National Award, and in screenplay version, played on public television across the country. Her plays, available through Playscripts, Inc, have been staged all over the world. The World Beloved, her collaboration with composer Carol Barnett, out on CD on the Clarion label, is widely performed. Their collaboration, Mortals & Angels, premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2016. Chamberlain has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and the McKnight Foundation. She’s been artist in residence at MacDowell, the Anderson Center, and the Rockefeller Retreat Center in Bellagio, Italy. She has taught at Carleton College, Macalester College and in the writing program at the University of Minnesota.

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Sabina Mugassa Bingman

Sabina Mugassa Bingman, who also goes by “Sabby,” was born and raised in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, the tenth of eleven children. From a very young age, she enjoyed spending time with and telling stories to her nephews and nieces. She moved to the US in 1999 and graduated from Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul with a master’s degree in Management Information Technology. She currently works as a Microsoft Windows server administrator. Bingman enjoys serving in toddlers’ and babies’ classes at her local church. Her hobbies include running, listening to music, reading, writing, watching movies, and cooking. She and her husband Christopher are proud parents of two wonderful children, daughter Malaika and son Kai. They reside in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

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Lisa Bullard

Lisa Bullard is the author of more than 100 books for young readers. Her offerings range from picture books to nonfiction titles to a middle grade mystery. Her novel Turn Left at the Cow was a Maud Hart Lovelace Award nominee for the 2017-2018 school year. Bullard enjoys doing school visits and is a long-time writing teacher at the Loft Literary Center. Her Writing Road Trip blog, carried by Bookology magazine, offers tips for teaching writing to young people. She grew up in small-town Minnesota and now lives in Blaine.

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Lynne Jonell

Lynne Jonell is an author (and occasional illustrator) of 17 books for children. From picture books to chapter books to middle-grade novels for ages 8-12 and 10-14, her books all have an element of fantasy: magical hamsters, talking cats, kid-sized planes with a secret fuel, rodents with special powers, time travel, and more. Her novel Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat won the Minnesota Book Award; her latest book, Time Sight, is an action-packed time-travel set at Castle Menzies in Scotland, the castle of her grandfather’s clan. She is married, has two grown sons, and lives in Plymouth, Minnesota.

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Anika Fajardo

Anika Fajardo was born in Colombia and raised in Minnesota. She is the author of Magical Realism for Non-Believers: A Memoir of Finding Family and a forthcoming middle-grade novel, What If a Fish. A writer and editor, she teaches and serves on the board at the Loft Literary Center. She lives with her family in the very literary city of Minneapolis.

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Sean Jensen

Sean Jensen was born in South Korea, but he was raised in California, Massachusetts, and Virginia, mostly on or near military bases. Given his unique background, he’s always been drawn to storytelling, a skill he developed at Northwestern University and crafted for the last 16 years, almost exclusively covering the NFL. During his career, he’s fostered strong relationships with athletes in multiple sports, and he’s earned distinctions from the Illinois Associated Press, Minnesota Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, Pro Football Writers of America and Associated Press Sports Editors. In 2006, he received a special achievement award from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Initially inspired by his two children, he created the Middle School Rules series, which tells the inspirational, childhood stories of professional athletes. He’s humbled each time he’s provided an opportunity to speak to children about values emphasized in the books, such as gratitude, kindness, and perseverance.

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