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Forrest Peterson

Forrest Peterson is the author of three novels, most recently The Swineherd’s Angel. He received a B.A. in history from Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and a M.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Minnesota. He was a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years and state of Minnesota public information officer for 20 years. He has attended workshops at The Loft in Minneapolis and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival at the University of Iowa. In 2017 he received an Individual Artist Career Grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council. Peterson and his wife live near a small city in central Minnesota.

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Terry Hokenson

Terry Hokenson grew up in southeast Texas and central Minnesota and worked as a carpenter and an attorney. An avid year-round camper, he lives in Minneapolis and is active in the Minneapolis Friends Meeting (Quaker). He has one grown daughter.

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Judy McConnell

Judy McConnell’s writing career took off after retirement at age 70. Since then she has published three books: two memoirs about growing up in Minneapolis in the forties and fifties and a novel that depicts the rise of the local feminist movement during the national upheaval of the sixties and seventies. Her novel has been written up is several local newspapers. After obtaining a B.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Training & Development from the University of Minnesota, she went on to career as a Training Specialist and writer of training manuals. She currently gives presentations on writing and editing throughout the state and presents her books at book clubs and senior residences.

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Tracy Youngblom

Tracy Youngblom has been living and writing in the Twin Cities for 30 years. She earned an M.A. in English from the University of St. Thomas and an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. She has published widely in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction; individual poems, stories, and essays have appeared in journals such as Shenandoah, Big Muddy, Great River Review, Cumberland River Review, Wallace Stevens Journal, St. Katherine’s Review, Briar Cliff Review, Westview, DMQ, and many other places. She teaches full-time at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and in the community as well.

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Gene Stark

Gene Stark writes fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, and has written a children’s book. His writing is local, rural, and outdoors-oriented. Minnesota and local interest predominate his writing. Stark’s audience is comprised of the folks who live and work in Flyover Country. He has been a teacher, farmer, and a grower and propagator of native pollinator plants. He lives, writes, and works in rural Minnesota and enjoys many outdoor activities. He and his wife, and their Labrador retriever, live on 120 acres of native prairie and wetlands.

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Carol Masters

Carol Masters is the author of Dear Descendent, poems; the biography You Can’t Do That: Mary Davidov, Nonviolent Revolutionary (finalist for the 2010 Midwest Independent Publishers Award), and The Peace Terrorist, short stories (1994 winner of MN Voices Project). She has been part of a Loft Mentor series and a Loft-McKnight winner. Her poems and short stories have appeared in anthologies and literary publications.

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Barton Sutter

Bart Sutter is the only writer to win the Minnesota Book Award in three different categories: poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Among other honors, he has won a Bush Foundation Fellowship, a Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant (Sweden), a Loft-McKnight Award, and the Bassine Citation from the Academy of American Poets. In 2006, he was named the first Poet Laureate of Duluth. He has written for public radio, had four verse plays produced, and performs as one half of The Sutter Brothers – a poetry-and-music duo. He grew up in Roseau and Jackson Counties and has lived in Duluth for more than 30 years.

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Barbara Schlichting

Barbara Schlichting has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has nine books in print, including her latest title, The Broken Circle. “My grandpa gave me a pen and tablet when I was about ten, and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” says Schlicting. “My pen pal of 55 years is really the one who kept me writing and using my imagination. We wrote back and forth and we talked about everything under the sun because we were kids and she wanted me to explain things clearly.” Schlichting attended Bemidji State University where she earned a Bachelors in Education and a Masters in Special Education. She taught at the elementary school level for a couple of years before transitioning to a career as a writer. Her book of poetry, Whispers from the Wind, was followed by the First Ladies Doll House mysteries. She lives in Bemidji, Minnesota.

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Joanne Vruno

Joanne Vruno grew up in Maplewood, Minnesota, just houses away from Battle Creek Regional Park, where she spent most of her childhood days hiking and exploring. Her love for nature and the wooded parkland bordering Battle Creek created the magic of the Seasons of Elves series, just as her love for the lakes created her first novel, Loon Child. Today Vruno lives in Saint Paul with her husband. It isn’t unusual to find her working in her yard, walking her two dogs, exploring new places for another novel, or having a picnic while spoiling her five grandchildren.

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Jill Kalz

Jill Kalz is the author of The Winter Bees: Fiction, a collection of interconnected short stories set in rural Minnesota (her current home) and a 2019 Midwest Book Award finalist. She has published stories individually in American Fiction Vol. 15 and Minnesota Monthly, and poetry in the Nebraska Review, the Ohio Review, Cream City Review, and other magazines. A 2008 Minnesota Book Award finalist and winner of the Readers’ Choice Award for her picture book Farmer Cap, Kalz is also the author of more than 70 children’s books. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and works as a children’s book editor.

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