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Mary Casanova

Once a can’t-sit-still reader, Mary Casanova now writes stories that matter and books readers can’t put down. She is the author of numerous award-winning books, from picture books (One-Dog Canoe) to books and book-inspired movies for American Girl (Grace); from middle grade adventure novels (Wolf Shadows and The Klipfish Code) as well as historical fiction for teens and adults (Frozen and Ice-Out). Her awards include the ALA “Notable,” Aesop Accolades by the American Folklore Society, Parent’s Choice Gold Award, Booklist Editor’s Choice, and two Minnesota Book Awards. When she’s not traveling for research or speaking, she’s “up north” on the Minnesota-Canadian border with her husband, Charlie, snowshoeing through deep woods, paddling a canoe, riding their horses down old logging trails, or reading a good book.

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Brian Malloy

Brian Malloy’s novels have been a Book Sense pick, a New York Times New and Notable title, and a Booklist editors’ choice. Other honors include a 2019 Minnesota State Arts Board artist initiative grant, a 2009 Minnesota Book Award, and a 2003 American Library Association Alex Award. In 2017 he was awarded the Loft Literary Center’s Excellence in Teaching Fellowship. His personal essays have appeared in the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology The Man I Might Become and national magazines including Out and The Readerville Journal. Malloy has taught extensively through the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA). He also teaches/has taught at the University of Minnesota, Hamline University, Quatrefoil Library, The Loft Literary Center, Emerson College (Boston), Minnesota Correctional Facility – Lino Lakes, JustUs Health, and Our Saviour’s Transitional Housing and Shelter. Malloy holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota.

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David Mura

David Mura is a poet, memoirist, essayist, novelist, and playwright. He’s written two memoirs, Where the Body Meets Memory and Turning Japanese, which won the Oakland PEN Josephine Miles Book Award and was a New York Times Notable Book. His novel, Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire, was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the John Gardner Fiction Prize, and Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award. His four books of poetry include the National Poetry Contest winner After We Lost Our Way, The Colors of Desire, which won a Carl Sandburg Literary Award, Angels for the Burning, and The Last Incantations. His newest book is A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity and Narrative Craft in Writing. In addition to teaching creative writing, he frequently speaks on issues of race and Asian American identity, and contributed an essay to A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota. Mura was awarded the 2019 Kay Sexton Award for contributions to Minnesota’s literary community.

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Laurie Hertzel

Laurie Hertzel is the senior editor for books at the Star Tribune and the author of the memoir, News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist, winner of a 2011 Minnesota Book Award readers’ choice award. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, teaches memoir writing at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, and is the President of the National Book Critics Circle board.

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Sheila O’Connor

Sheila O’Connor is the author of Where No Gods Came, Tokens of Grace, and Evidence of V: A Novel in Fragments, Facts, and Fictions. Her novels for readers (10+) include Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth, Sparrow Road, and Keeping Safe the Stars. Awards for her books include the Michigan Prize for Literary Fiction, Minnesota Book Award, International Reading Award, and Midwest Booksellers Award among others. Her books have been included in Best Books of the Year by Booklist, VOYA, Book Page, Bank Street, Chicago Public Library, and Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers. A multi-genre writer, O’Connor’s stories, poems, and essays have been published in magazines and anthologies including Bellingham Review, Minnesota Monthly, Alaska Quarterly Review, and others. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she has been awarded two Bush Fellowships, Minnesota State Arts Board grants, and a McKnight Artist Fellowship in poetry. She is a professor at Hamline University in the Creative Writing Program and Fiction Editor for Water~Stone Review. O’Connor welcomes the opportunity to partner with schools, libraries, and community organizations throughout Minnesota.

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Marlon James

Marlon James was born in Jamaica in 1970. His novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Man Booker Prize. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, and Minnesota Book Awards. James also wrote The Book of Night Women, which won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and a Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction and an NAACP Image Award. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. James lives in Minneapolis and has taught English and creative writing at Macalester College, Saint Paul, since 2007.

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William Kent Krueger

William Kent Krueger is the author of the New York Times bestselling Cork O’Connor mystery series, set in the great Northwoods of Minnesota. He is a five-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award. Among his many other accolades is the Edgar Award for Best Novel for his 2013 release Ordinary Grace. He lives in Saint Paul, a city he dearly loves, and does all his creative writing in local, author-friendly coffee shops.

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Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is the author of 16 novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, short stories, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her debut novel, Love Medicine, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Erdrich has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books.

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Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo is the author of many books for young readers. Her books have been awarded the Newbery Medal (Flora & Ulysses in 2014 and The Tale of Despereaux in 2004); the Newbery Honor (Because of Winn-Dixie, 2001), the Boston Globe Horn Book Award (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, 2006), and the Theodor Geisel Medal and Honor (Bink and Gollie, co-author Alison McGhee, 2011; Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, 2007). She is a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Emerita, appointed by the Library of Congress. A native of Florida, she now lives in Minneapolis.

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Karen Babine

Karen Babine is the author of All the Wild Hungers: A Season of Cooking and Cancer and Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life, both winners of the Minnesota Book Award for Memoir/Creative Nonfiction. She also edits Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Eastern Washington University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is an assistant professor of English at the University of Tennessee–Chattanooga.

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