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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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Patricia Kirkpatrick

Patricia Kirkpatrick received the first Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize for Odessa and was awarded a 2013 Minnesota Book Award. Her new poetry collection, Blood Moon, is forthcoming. Kirkpatrick’s awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bush Foundation, Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Loft, and Minnesota State Arts Board. Her poetry has been set to music by composers Carol Barnett and Libby Larsen. She has taught writing at many colleges, including the University of Minnesota MFA program, and conducted writing workshops, residencies, panels, and inservices in elementary classrooms, the Princeton Theological Seminary, and various school districts and libraries. As poetry editor for the literary journal Water-Stone Review (2001-2012), she worked with nationally known and emerging writers and solicited and published writing in Dakota and Ojibwe languages. A past board member of the Loft and Saint Paul Almanac, she serves on the executive board for the musical ensemble Cantus and works as a freelance editor and private teacher.

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Elizabeth Verdick

Elizabeth Verdick writes a mix of nonfiction and fiction for children. Her main reading audience is toddlers and preschoolers. She has also written nonfiction for elementary-age kids. Verdick is a graduate of Hamline University’s MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she has taught picture-book writing classes and done manuscript critiques to help other writers with their craft.

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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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Jon Lurie

Jon Lurie is the author of the memoir Canoeing with José and also the coauthor, with Clyde Bellecourt, of The Thunder Before the Storm, a Minnesota Book Award finalist. Lurie has worked as a wilderness guide, as a teen mentor at a Native American journalism program, and as an editor at the Anchorage Press and The Rake. His journalism has been published in a wide range of publications including Metro magazine. A graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Minnesota, Lurie has taught creative writing at Macalester College and the University of Minnesota, where he currently teaches experiential learning. He is director of the Mother of Waters Project, a cultural outreach program that combines experiential learning with arts education, focusing on the health of Minnesota’s fresh water resources. He lives on an island in the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

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Caren B. Stelson

Caren Stelson is a Minneapolis writer for children and young adults, with a passion for nonfiction. Her work explores stories that struggle with issues of war and peace. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story is such a book, revealing the horrors of nuclear war and Sachiko Yasui’s long arc toward peace. Stelson visited Nagasaki, Japan five times to research and interview Sachiko’s story. Sachiko was longlisted for a 2016 National Book Award, honored as a 2017 Minnesota Book Awards Finalist for Middle Grade Literature, won the ALSC Robert F. Sibert Honor Award for Informational Books, and was presented with the 2017 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award for Books for Older Children. Her new picture book, A Bowl Full of Peace, is forthcoming in May 2020.

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Heid E. Erdrich

Heid E. Erdrich is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media. Her non-fiction memoir-in-recipes, Original Local, was a 2014 City Pages Top Food Book. She co-edited the anthology of Native American women’s writings Sister Nations and is editor of New Poets of Native Nations. A visual arts curator, Erdrich has collaborated with artists on several award-winning short-short films. Her most recent poetry collection incorporates her poem videos via QR codes. She is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain and teaches in the Augsburg College Low-residency MFA program.

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Gwen Nell Westerman

Gwen Westerman is an award-winning writer and visual artist who lives in southern Minnesota, as did her Dakota ancestors. Her roots are deep in the landscape of the tallgrass prairie and reveal themselves in her art and writing through the languages and traditions of her family. She is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Neither of her parents spoke English before they were sent away to boarding schools in Oklahoma and South Dakota, so she knows the importance of the role language plays in who we are. A first-generation college student, she is now Professor in English and Director of Humanities at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is the author of Dakota in Minnesota; Follow the Blackbirds, a poetry collection in Dakota and English; and co-author of the Minnesota Book Award-winning Mni Sota Makoce: Land of the Dakota. Her essays and poems have appeared in numerous journals and collections, including Yellow Medicine Review, Water~Stone Review, A View from The Loft, Natural Bridge, POETRY, and New Poets of Native Nations.

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Bruce White

Bruce White is a historian and anthropologist who lives in St. Paul. He writes books and articles on early Minnesota and Midwestern history. Through his company Turnstone Historical Research, he consults and does research for Indian tribes and government agencies. He testified in federal court in the landmark 1994 Mille Lacs treaty hunting and fishing rights case and continues to testify in other cases relating to Indian treaties.

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Nancy O’Brien Wagner

Nancy O’Brien Wagner is a historian and partner at Bluestem Heritage Group, a museum consulting firm. In addition to her consulting work, she works as an independent writer. Her article “Awfully Busy these Days” about the role of Minnesota Red Cross women in France during World War I was a winner of the Solon J. Buck award for best article in Minnesota History magazine. This article was the foundation for her book, Alice in France, published in 2017. This book documents the letters and experience of her great-aunt who served in France during WWI as a Red Cross volunteer. Wagner has been honored with three St. Paul Heritage Preservation awards, and her book Alice in France was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.

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