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Robert Spande

Robert Spande has worked as a 911 dispatcher for Minneapolis 911 for about 19 years. He wrote The Born and the Made over 10 years. When he was finished, he figured how to make a book from YouTube. As the publisher, he submitted his novel to the Minnesota Book Awards, where it became the first handmade, self-published book ever to be considered as a finalist in the 29-year history of the awards. He loves to give presentations and welcomes opportunities to talk at bookstores and at group or book clubs. His journey has been a unique one with a positive message for writers who may not want to publish their book in the conventional manner. Spande has a lot to say about making books, which he feels is a great way for writers to get their books out to readers.

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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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Marion Dane Bauer

Marion Dane Bauer has published over 100 books, ranging from board books and picture books through early readers, both fiction and nonfiction, books on writing, middle-grade, and young-adult novels. She is the editor of the ground-breaking collection of gay-and-lesbian-themed short stories, Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence. She was one of the founders and the first Faculty Chair of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her novel, On My Honor, was a Newbery Honor book in 1987, and her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

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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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Margi Preus

Margi Preus is the author of the Newbery Honor book Heart of a Samurai; the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon; Shadow on the Mountain, a Notable Book for a Global Society, and The Bamboo Sword, which Bookpage called “historical fiction at its best.” Her newest, The Clue in the Trees, is the second in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. Her books have won multiple awards, landed on many “best of” lists, including the New York Times Bestseller list, been honored as ALA/ALSC Notables, selected as an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, chosen for community reads, and translated into many languages.

Preus enjoys traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world. At home in Duluth, she likes to hike, ski, paddle, or sit quietly with a book in her lap.

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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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