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Sherry Quan Lee

Sherry Quan Lee earned an MFA from the University of Minnesota and taught Creative Writing at Saint Catherine University and Metropolitan State University. She is the author of Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, and How to Write a Suicide Note: Serial Essays that Saved a Woman’s Life. Quan Lee’s most recent publications include: Love Imagined: a Mixed Race Memoir, a 2015 Minnesota Book Award Finalist, and the anthology How Dare We! Write: a Multicultural Creative Writing Discourse. She was a poetry mentor for the 2015-2016 Loft Literary Center’s Series in Poetry and Creative Prose. Her essay, “Discomfort Zone, Minnesota Born and Raised,” is included in the anthology A Good Time for the Truth, Minnesota Historical Society Press, edited by Sun Yung Shin.

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Michelle Leon

Michelle Leon is a writer, musician, and teacher for Saint Paul Public Schools. She was the bass player for the influential punk band Babes in Toyland from 1987 to 1992 and again in 1997. Her writing has appeared in City Pages, the music essay compilation The First Time I Heard David Bowie, Saint Paul Almanac, and other publications. Her first book, I Live Inside: Memoirs of a Babe in Toyland, was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award in the category of Memoir & Creative Nonfiction. Leon holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She currently plays bass and sings in the band The Fox Loves and lives on the east side of Saint Paul with her husband, two children, and two dogs.

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Carter T. Meland

Carter Meland is a tall, left-handed man of White Earth Anishinaabe heritage. He takes writing seriously, but tries to do so with good humor. By day he teaches students in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota about the wicked smart, moving, and profound things that Native writers have to say about the world and by night he tries to rise to the standards they set. His novel, Stories for a Lost Child, invokes the waters of Lake Superior and the Mississippi River, and the deep woods voice of Misaabe (Bigfoot) to help his characters make sense of the problems they face in their lives. Stories for a Lost Child was a finalist for the 2018 Minnesota Book Awards in the Novel and Short Story category.

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Carrie L. Mesrobian

Carrie Mesrobian is the author of four novels. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing & Hispanic Studies and an MFA in Fiction from the Rainier Writers Workshop of Pacific Lutheran University. She has written essays and poetry for Brain, Child magazine, Calyx, the Star Tribune, and two anthologies for young adults. Her first book, Sex & Violence, was a finalist for YALSA’s William C. Morris Award and the winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2014. Her fourth book, Just a Girl, was a Junior Library Guild selection. She has taught writing classes for teenagers and adults at the Loft Literary Center for over a decade.

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Rachel Moritz

Rachel Moritz is the author of Borrowed Wave, a finalist for the National Poetry Series as well as the 2015 Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. Her second poetry collection, Sweet Velocity, won the 2016 Besmilr Brigham Women Writer’s Award from Lost Roads Press. Moritz is also the co-editor of a collection of personal essays, My Caesarean: Twenty Mothers on the C-Section Experience and After. Her poems have appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Aufgabe, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, Poetry City, 26, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, TYPO, and Volt. Among her awards are fellowships from the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board, most recently a 2017 Artist Initiative grant in prose. Moritz received an MFA in Poetry from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis, where she works as a teaching artist and a content developer for museum projects.

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Kaethe Schwehn

Kaethe Schwehn is the author of the post-apocalyptic novel The Rending and the Nest, the poetry collection Tanka & Me, and a memoir, Tailings. Her poems and prose can be found in journals such as Crazyhorse, Pleiades, jubilat, Witness, Minnesota Review, and the anthology Fiction on a Stick. She has been the recipient of a Minnesota Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, a Loft Mentor Series Award, the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and a Best of the Net Anthology award. Schwehn studied creative writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Montana and earned a B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College. She currently teaches composition and creative writing at St. Olaf College.

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James Silas Rogers

James Silas Rogers is an editor and creative writer. His book of essays and poems about cemeteries, Northern Orchards: Places Near the Dead, was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award in Memoir & Creative Nonfiction. Four of his essays have been selected as a “notable” in the annual Best American Essays volume (and as editor of New Hibernia Review, a journal of Irish Studies published by the University of St. Thomas, he has edited 15 other BAE notables). He’s the author of a chapbook of poems, Sundogs, and a poetry volume, The Collector of Shadows. His scholarly publications focus on Irish-American literature, chiefly memoir. His books include Irish-American Autobiography: The Divided Hearts of Athletes, Priests, Pilgrims, and More and Extended Family: Essays on Being Irish American from New Hibernia Review.

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Sarah Stonich

Beginning with Vacationland, Stonich’s Northern Trilogy continued in September 2018 with the release of Laurentian Divide, winner of the Minnesota Book Award. Both have been chosen as community reads in a dozen cities. These Granite Islands was a Barnes & Noble Great New Writers pick with multiple translations, as was The Ice Chorus. Her Fishing with RayAnne trilogy is being published by University of Minnesota Press beginning with Fishing! in 2020, to be followed in 2021 by Reeling. Her memoir, Shelter: Off the Grid in the Mostly Magnetic North, won a NEMBA award. Stonich is a frequent speaker at libraries, universities, conferences, and festivals and has been a writer-in-residence here and abroad with international fellowships in five countries.

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Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang is an award-winning Hmong-American writer. She holds degrees from Carleton College and Columbia University. Yang is the author of The Latehomecomer, The Song Poet, What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color, and the picture book A Map Into the World. In 2020, Yang has two more picture books coming, The Shared Room and The Most Beautiful Thing, and a collective memoir called Somewhere in the Unknown World. She lives in Saint Paul with her family. Yang is also an educator and public speaker.

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Beth Dooley

Beth Dooley has been writing about the Northern Heartland for over 20 years. She is the author of six books, including Minnesota Book Award finalist In Winter’s Kitchen. Her column, “Seasonal Kitchen,” appears weekly in the Star Tribune, and she contributes regularly to Minnesota Public Radio’s “Appetites.” Dooley is the co-author with Sean Sherman of the 2018 James Beard “Best American Cookbook,” The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen.

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