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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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Bill Meissner

Bill Meissner is the author of two short story collections (one from Random House Publishers), five books of poetry, and a novel, Spirits in the Grass, which won the Midwest Book Award.

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Brittany Chaffee

Brittany Chaffee is an avid storyteller, professional empath, and author. On the daily, she gets paid to strategize and create content for brands. Off work hours, it’s all about a well-lit place, warm bread, and good company. Her first book, Wild Morning was released in 2017. Her recent work, Borderline: A Series of Essays, is a collection of prose essays about memory, time, change, and wonder. She lives happily in Saint Paul.

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Susan Thurston

Susan Thurston’s grandfather loved a poem she wrote in second grade, and within the glow of his appreciation, she decided to become a writer. Later, a well-meaning adult mentioned that as a journalist, she could earn her living. She became a reporter and editor, but wouldn’t really say what she earned was a living. She did get to work with some of the finest people she has ever known. Along the way, she has created and produced adult education programs, traveled in search of her soul-deep home, mothered two fabulous kids, learned to make really good bread, and flown in a hot air balloon. And always — writing. She has published, performed, and earned awards for a lot of her poetry and some of her prose, co-authored a cookbook, published the novel Sister of Grendel, and taken a few plays from page to stage. She is the executive editor of The Black Hat Press, assumed from dear friend and fellow writer Beverly Voldseth.

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Dale A. Swanson

Dale A. Swanson is a published author, poet, screenwriter, and playwright. His historical novel, The Thirty-ninth Man, made the Star Tribune “Best book read” in 2013. The sequel, Tears of Sorrow, was released in 2018. His fantasy chapter book, The Wild Ways: Mystery of the Hanging Tower, for 9- to 99-year-old readers, was published in 2015.  He has had poetry included in two annual stage productions by the Bloomington Arts Council, and two of his radio plays have been performed live and aired statewide. Swanson’s screenplay, Creation Story, was filmed for the nonprofit, Native Strong ARC. In addition to writing, Swanson is an accomplished speaker, having given talks on the US-Dakota War of 1862 to area schools 6th-grade classes and many other venues. His talk about growing up in the ’50s has been popular with 4th-grade classes and senior centers alike.

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Adam Stemple

Adam Stemple is an author, musician, web designer, and professional card player. He has written eight novels, including Pay the Piper (with Jane Yolen), winner of the 2006 Locus Award winner for Best Young Adult Book. Of his debut solo novel, Singer of Souls, Anne McCaffrey said, “One of the best first novels I have ever read.” His recent works include The Last Tsar’s Dragons, Crow Not Crow, and Fly with Me.

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Mary Kay Rummel

Mary Kay Rummel grew up in Saint Paul. She attended St. Catherine University and the University of MN and is a professor emerita from the University of MN, Duluth. She also taught for Compas Writers-in-the Schools. Cypher Garden, her eighth book of poetry, was recently published. The Lifeline Trembles, won the 2014 Blue Light Poetry Prize. Her first book, This Body She’s Entered, was a Minnesota Book Award winner. Love in the End was an award winner from Bright Hill Press. Teaching part of the year at California State University, Channel Islands, she divides her time between Fridley and Ventura, CA where she was named a Poet Laureate of Ventura County from 2014-2016. Her work has ten Pushcart nominations and appears in numerous national and regional literary journals and anthologies including Nimrod, Miramar, Luna, Spillway, Prairie Schooner, Water-Stone Review, Great River Review, and Gyroscope Review.

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Donna Isaac

Poet Donna Isaac grew up in the South but has been part of Minnesota’s writing community for over 30 years. She has a B.A. in English (James Madison University); an M.A. in English (University of Minnesota); and an MFA in creative writing (Hamline University). She is on the Board of Cracked Walnut, member of LOMP, and runs a reading series, Literary Lights at Next Chapter Booksellers. Poetry chapbooks include Tommy; Holy Comforter; and Persistence of Vision. Her paean to American roots music and the Appalachians is a full poetry collection, Footfalls. She publishes in various journals including The St. Paul Almanac, the Penn Review, and Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel. She is a teaching artist who has worked at the Loft, Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, and through Cracked Walnut as well as in various schools.

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Margaret Hasse

Margaret Hasse’s five collections of lyric poems are grounded in the prairies and towns of the Midwest. Her poetry has been published in unusual community locations, such as in the sidewalks and on metro transit in Saint Paul. As a teaching poet, she’s conducted residencies in schools and communities statewide, taught in prisons, offered workshops, and been a mentor to other poets. Her work has won many awards, such as from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Marisha Chamberlain

Marisha Chamberlain is a multi-genre writer. Her debut novel, The Rose Variations, was favorably reviewed by the New York Times. Her play, Scheherazade, won the Dramatists Guild/CBS National Award, and in screenplay version, played on public television across the country. Her plays, available through Playscripts, Inc, have been staged all over the world. The World Beloved, her collaboration with composer Carol Barnett, out on CD on the Clarion label, is widely performed. Their collaboration, Mortals & Angels, premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2016. Chamberlain has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and the McKnight Foundation. She’s been artist in residence at MacDowell, the Anderson Center, and the Rockefeller Retreat Center in Bellagio, Italy. She has taught at Carleton College, Macalester College, and in the writing program at the University of Minnesota.

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