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Stephanie Wilbur Ash

Stephanie Wilbur Ash is the author of The Annie Year, a novel about a rural woman CPA who has an extra-marital affair with the new vocational agriculture teacher in town. A former editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Ash was also one of the literary/musical comedians behind the Lit 6 Project (loud, drunken, funny, connected stories told in bars across the Midwest), the Electric Arc Radio Show (episodic musical comedy heard on Minnesota Public Radio), and Don’t Crush Our Heart! (the world’s only full-length twee-pop musical/courtroom drama). Ash works at Gustavus Adolphus College, a liberal arts college in a small prairie town in Minnesota. She is originally from rural northeast Iowa and lives in Minneapolis and Mankato, Minnesota.

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Kelly Barnhill

Kelly Barnhill is the author of four novels, most recently The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the Newbery Medal. The Witch’s Boy received four starred reviews and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards. Barnhill has been awarded writing fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and The McKnight Foundation. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children.

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Pamela Carter Joern

Pamela Carter Joern is an award-winning author of three books and numerous journal publications. In Reach won the 2015 Nebraska Book Award for Fiction (short story) and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. The Plain Sense of Things was a Midwestern Booksellers Association Connections Pick, and The Floor of the Sky received a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers designation, a Nebraska Book Award, and an Alex Award. She has twice won Minnesota Monthly magazine’s Tamarack Award for short fiction. She has written six plays that have been produced in the Twin Cities and was co-director of Role Over Productions, a theater company housed in Sabathani Community Center. She has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

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Robert Spande

Robert Spande has worked as a 911 dispatcher for Minneapolis 911 for about 19 years. He wrote The Born and the Made over 10 years. When he was finished, he figured how to make a book from YouTube. As the publisher, he submitted his novel to the Minnesota Book Awards, where it became the first handmade, self-published book ever to be considered as a finalist in the 29-year history of the awards. He loves to give presentations and welcomes opportunities to talk at bookstores and at group or book clubs. His journey has been a unique one with a positive message for writers who may not want to publish their book in the conventional manner. Spande has a lot to say about making books, which he feels is a great way for writers to get their books out to readers.

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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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Tom Rademacher

Tom Rademacher is an English teacher in Minneapolis. In 2014 he was named Minnesota Teacher of the Year. He teaches writing and has written about education in Education Week, Huffington Post, and Education Post. His debut book, It Won’t Be Easy: An Exceedingly Honest (and Slightly Unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching, was a Minnesota Book Award finalist in 2018.

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Michael Fridgen

Michael Fridgen loves theme parks, Dolly Parton, baking, Christmas, and playing the piano. His guidebook, Dollywood and Beyond, attained the top spot on Amazon’s list of bestselling books about theme parks, as did his World Traveler’s Guide to Disney. A former elementary school teacher, Fridgen began writing full-time after his first novel, Ruth3:5, was named a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. In 2014 Fridgen’s meticulously researched work about gay people in the Holocaust, The Iron Words, was the top recommendation on the Goodreads list of books about World War Two. He lives in Minneapolis where he enjoys making elaborate gingerbread houses and planning his next theme park visit.

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Sarah Ahiers

Sarah Ahiers has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and lives in Minnesota with her dogs and a house full of critters. She has a collection of steampunk hats and when she’s not writing she fills her time with good games, good food, good friends, and good family.

Ahiers writes young adult and middle grade novels and occasionally dabbles in picture books. Fantasy is her favorite genre, though she sometimes can be found playing around with horror and other things that go bump in the night. She is the author of Assassin’s Heart and Thief’s Cunning, both of which were Minnesota Book Award finalists.

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Nicole Helget

Nicole Helget is the multigenre author of six books for adults and young readers. She and her work have been recognized in People magazine’s “Critic’s Choice,” as a Barnes and Noble “Discover New Writers” selection, as a Minnesota State University “Distinguished Alumni,” and with many literary and service grants, nominations, and awards. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and is pursuing a Master of Public Policy concentrating in rural arts, education, and environmental issues. With her family, she lives in St. Peter where she works as a teacher, editor, and manuscript and story consultant.

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Anton Treuer

Dr. Anton Treuer (pronounced troy-er) is Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author of 14 books. He has a B.A. from Princeton University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is Editor of the Oshkaabewis (pronounced o-shkaah-bay-wis) Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language. Treuer has presented all over the U.S. and Canada and in several foreign countries on Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, Cultural Competence & Equity, Strategies for Addressing the “Achievement” Gap, and Tribal Sovereignty, History, Language, and Culture. He has sat on many organizational boards and has received more than 40 prestigious awards and fellowships, including ones from the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

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