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Deborah Lysholm

Deborah Lysholm’s professional career in the performing arts spans more than four decades and includes instructing and performing dance locally and overseas in Milan, Havana, London, Geneva, and Barcelona. She built her own performing arts school, Heartbeat Studios, Inc., in 1998 and founded partner studio relationships in Tokyo and Barcelona. In addition to her professional career in the performing arts, Deborah is author of the book, Dancing to My Heartbeat: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey from Victim to Victorious, chronicling her journey to flee a physically abusive marriage of 23 years, file the first-ever domestic violence law suit in civil court, and starting a new life for her and daughter, Kristin. Her book, published in 2013, was a finalist in three national book awards and winner of the International Best Book Award (performing arts category). Her speaking engagements include legal and medical associations, Mayo Clinic, women’s groups, Minnesota Vikings keynote, and more.

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Claudia May

Claudia May, Ph.D., is a storyteller, poet, educator, spiritual director, consultant, author, and specialist in Practical Theology and African American, Caribbean, and Ethnic American literature. Her work has been published by Oxford University Press, Taylor & Francis, Walter de Gruyter, Lexington Books, and Routledge, among others. She has contributed articles and poetry to Patheos, Radix, The Mennonite, Red Letter Christians, and other publications. May is an award winning author. She received a Gold Medal in the 2019 Illumination Book Awards in the Enduring Light Christian Children’s Book Category. This award acknowledges “exemplary Christian-themed books published since the year 2000.” May is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Reconciliation Studies, Bethel University, Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is a sought-after specialist in Reconciliation Studies and has more than two decades of experience working alongside, teaching, and learning from global practitioners of reconciliation.

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W. Scott Olsen

Scott Olsen is a professor of English at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, where he also edits the literary magazine Ascent. He is the author of 12 books of nonfiction travel essays. His literary essays, newspaper articles, and aviation features have appeared in journals such as Kenyon Review, AQR, North American Review, NDQ, Flying, Plane & Pilot, and many more. His work has been listed among the notables in Best American Essays ten times.

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Richard Terrill

Richard Terrill is the author of two collections of poems, Almost Dark and Coming Late to Rachmaninoff, winner of the Minnesota Book Award; as well as two books of creative nonfiction, Fakebook: Improvisations on a Journey Back to Jazz and Saturday Night in Baoding: A China Memoir, winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award for Nonfiction. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wisconsin and Minnesota State Arts Boards, the Jerome Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as three Fulbright Fellowships. His work has appeared in journals such as Iowa Review, Georgia Review, North American Review, River Teeth, New Letters, and Crazyhorse. He is Professor Emeritus at Minnesota State University Mankato, where he was Distinguished Faculty Scholar, and currently works as a jazz saxophone player with the Larry McDonough Quartet. He lives in New Hope.

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Sarah Bamford Seidelmann

Sarah Bamford Seidelmann was a physician living a nature-starved, hectic lifestyle until a walrus entered her life and changed everything. She has trained at the Martha Beck Institute and Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies and is author of Swimming with Elephants and Born to FREAK. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota and offers transformational travel, individual healing and coaching sessions, and in-person retreats.

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Susan Power

Susan Power is the author of The Grass Dancer (winner of the 1995 PEN/Hemingway award), Roofwalker, and Sacred Wilderness. She is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her fellowships include an Iowa Arts Fellowship, James Michener Fellowship, Radcliffe Bunting Institute Fellowship, Princeton Hodder Fellowship, USA Artists Fellowship, Loft McKnight Fellowship, and Native Arts and Cultures Fellowship. Her short stories and essays have been widely published in journals, magazines, and anthologies including: The Best American Short Stories 1993, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The Southern Review, and Granta. She is currently working on both a novel and memoir.

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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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Brett Ortler

Brett Ortler is a writer and an editor from just north of the Twin Cities. He is the author of 10 books, including everything from a poetry collection, Lessons of the Dead, to nonfiction books pertaining to fireflies, mosquitoes, and ship watching on the Great Lakes. His essays, poetry, and articles appear widely, including in HuffPost, Salon, Fatherly, Ascent, The Fanzine, The Nervous Breakdown, and many other venues. He is the former editor of Knockout Literary Magazine, and a former poetry editor of Willow Springs. He founded and edits Gray Duck Press.

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Mai Neng Moua

Mai Neng Moua is a writer spinning tales of what it means to be Hmong in America. Her memoir, The Bride Price: A Hmong Wedding Story was published in 2017. She is the founder of Paj Ntaub Voice, the Hmong literary arts journal where she published more than 200 artists, and the editor of Bamboo Among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing by Hmong Americans. Her writings appear in publications such as Healing by Heart, Where One Voice Ends Another Begins, and We are the Freedom People. Her artistic awards include the Bush Artist Fellowship, the Jerome Travel Grant, and the Minnesota State Arts Board’s Artist Initiative Grant. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two girls.

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Will McGrath

Will McGrath is an award-winning writer and journalist based in Minneapolis. His debut, Everything Lost is Found Again, is about the southern African kingdom of Lesotho and won the Disquiet Open Borders Book Prize and the Bernard J. Brommel Award for Biography & Memoir.

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