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Marie Zhuikov

Marie Zhuikov is a storyteller and poet from Duluth. Her two eco-mystic romance novels, Eye of the Wolf and Plover Landing, are set in northern Minnesota. Plover Landing was nominated for a Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. Her most recent work is Going Coastal: An Anthology of Lake Superior Short Stories, which she edited and co-authored. It earned an honorable mention in the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards.

Zhuikov’s poems have appeared in several anthologies and community projects, and she is past chair of Lake Superior Writers, a nonprofit arts group in Duluth. Zhuikov has a B.A. in science journalism and an MA in public health journalism. When not writing fiction, she writes nonfiction as a science communicator for the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Program. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers.

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Richard Thieme

Richard Thieme is an author and professional speaker who addresses challenges posed by new technologies, how to redesign ourselves to meet these challenges, and creativity in response to radical change. His speaking addresses “the human in the machine,” technology-related security and intelligence issues as they come home to our humanity. He has published hundreds of articles, dozens of short stories, five books, and delivered hundreds of speeches. His novel, FOAM, was published in 2015 and A Richard Thieme Reader, fiction and non-fiction, in 2016. His column, “Islands in the Clickstream,” was distributed in 60 countries before collection as a book in 2004. When a friend at NSA said, “The only way you can tell the truth is through fiction,” Thieme returned to writing fiction and Mind Games, a collection of 19 stories about anomalies, infosec, and professional intelligence, was published.

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Sammi Jones

Sammi Jones got her start in roller derby in 2010 when she joined the Fargo Moorhead Derby Girls. She quickly fell in love with the sport and has been skating the flat track ever since. Jones earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University Moorhead and has written for a variety of publications. She currently resides in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area where she works as an editor for a trade magazine and skates for North Star Roller Derby.

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Duchess Harris

Duchess Harris was a Mellon Mays Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated with a degree in American History. She earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota and did postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School and at the Womanist Studies Consortium at the University of Georgia. In 1998, Harris joined the faculty at Macalester College. In 2007 she attended law school to expand the scope of her scholarship, and in 2008, she was chosen to be an Associate Editor for Litigation News, the American Bar Association Section’s flagship publication. In 2009, she won a $96,000 fellowship from the Bush Leadership Program which encourages recipients to create positive change in their communities. In 2010, she became the first Editor-in-Chief of Law Raza Journal, an interactive on-line race and the law journal. Harris is a scholar of Contemporary African American History and Political Theory. She earned a Juris Doctorate in 2011, and has an expertise in Civil Rights Law. In 2015, The Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers chose her to receive “The Profiles in Courage Award.”

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Greg Brick

Greg Brick, Ph.D., was employed as a hydrogeologist and has taught geology at local colleges and universities. He has published nearly 200 articles about caves and was the recipient of the 2005 Cave History Award from the National Speleological Society. His first book, Iowa Underground: A Guide to the State’s Subterranean Treasures, was published in 2004. His second book, Subterranean Twin Cities, won an award from the American Institute of Architects, and his third book, Minnesota Caves: History and Lore, was nominated for the Minnesota Book Awards. His work has been featured in National Geographic Adventure magazine as well as on the History Channel. He has led guided tours of caves for the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota College of Continuing Education.

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Lisa Bullard

Lisa Bullard is the author of more than 100 books for young readers. Her offerings range from picture books to nonfiction titles to a middle grade mystery. Her novel Turn Left at the Cow was a Maud Hart Lovelace Award nominee for the 2017-2018 school year. Bullard enjoys doing school visits and is a long-time writing teacher at the Loft Literary Center. Her Writing Road Trip blog, carried by Bookology magazine, offers tips for teaching writing to young people. She grew up in small-town Minnesota and now lives in Blaine.

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Sharon Stiteler

Sharon Stiteler has made it her goal to get paid to go birding. From bird surveys, to guiding, to writing, her life is all about birds. She currently works as a National Park Ranger and still writes in her spare time. Besides her books she’s written for Audubon Magazine, The Washington Post, Outdoor News, and British Bird Watch. In her spare time she keeps bees and adapts the works of Chuck Tingle for the stage.

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Joi Lewis

Joi Lewis is author of Healing: The Act of Radical Self-Care. She is a highly sought after speaker, mindset coach, community healer, facilitator of liberation, and social justice activist. Lewis inspires us to hold heartbreak and “joy” as we reach for our own humanity and each other’s. Her work is deeply informed by growing up in East St. Louis, Illinois and is grounded in healing justice. She completed her doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted research in South Africa, had a 20+ year career on college campuses as a Dean, Vice President, and Chief Diversity Officer before founding her successful company, Joi Unlimited. She is an unapologetic joy instigator, a certified kemetic and hot yoga teacher, a facilitator of meditation and mindfulness and a food prep pro, living in Saint Paul. Lewis is on a mission to “put healing in the hands of anyone, anywhere.”

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Allison Mann

Allison Mann is a mom, wife, and paralegal living in Minnesota with her family. She began her career as a paralegal in 2001 after graduating from college. She spent one year working in a large firm before she found her home at a small office in the Twin Cities suburbs. Mann authored her first book in 2018.

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Sean Jensen

Sean Jensen was born in South Korea, but he was raised in California, Massachusetts, and Virginia, mostly on or near military bases. Given his unique background, he’s always been drawn to storytelling, a skill he developed at Northwestern University and crafted for the last 16 years, almost exclusively covering the NFL. During his career, he’s fostered strong relationships with athletes in multiple sports, and he’s earned distinctions from the Illinois Associated Press, Minnesota Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, Pro Football Writers of America and Associated Press Sports Editors. In 2006, he received a special achievement award from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Initially inspired by his two children, he created the Middle School Rules series, which tells the inspirational, childhood stories of professional athletes. He’s humbled each time he’s provided an opportunity to speak to children about values emphasized in the books, such as gratitude, kindness, and perseverance.

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