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Frank Weber

Frank Weber is a forensic psychologist who completes assessments in homicide and sexual assault cases. He is the recipient of the MCA President’s Award for his forensic work and has written murder mysteries which have received great reviews from the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. His work has ranged from assessing murderers chained to the cement floor in the basement of a prison and assessing psychopaths to providing therapy for wealthy professionals who’ve engaged in multiple affairs. He has testified as an expert witness in numerous sexual assault and homicide cases, written seven different treatment workbooks, and in 2015 published a training series for psychologists which has been accredited by the MN Board of Psychology.

He has received the President’s Award from the Minnesota Correctional Association for his forensic work, and recently received an award for excellence in his clinical work. Weber has used his unique understanding of how predators think, victim trauma, and actual court cases to create a thrilling mystery.

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Susan Wardell

Susan Wardell grew up in Saint Paul and graduated from St. Cloud State University in Special Education. She taught preschool and ECFE for many years, but when their youngest graduated from college, she and her husband took the plunge and sold their home in the city and moved to their lake cabin, which is now home. After the birth of their first grandchild, Wardell became inspired to write children’s books. Her passions include advocating for children and working with dogs and cats at their local shelter, Paws and Claws.

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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 BA 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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Naomi Musch

Naomi Musch is an award-winning author who crafts her stories from the pristine, Lake Superior north woods, where she and her husband Jeff live as epically as God allows near the families of their five adult children. Naomi is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Lake Superior Writers. Though she has written in a variety of venues on topics ranging from homeschooling to homesteading, her great love is historical fiction. She enjoys roaming around on the farm, snacking out of the garden, relaxing in her vintage camper, and loving on her passel of grandchildren. Naomi would love to meet with and speak to your group.

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Ryan Vine

Ryan Vine’s debut full collection, To Keep Him Hidden, was a finalist for the May Swenson Prize, the New Issues Prize, the Crab Orchard Series, the MVP Prize from New Rivers Press, and — selected by Robert Pinsky — the Dorset Prize. His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Ireland Review, Verse Daily, and on National Public Radio. His chapbook, Distant Engines, published by Backwaters Press, won a Weldon Kees Award and spent time on the Poetry Foundation’s contemporary best-seller list. He has received The Greensboro Review Robert Watson Poetry Prize, McKnight/ARAC Career Development Grants, an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship in Poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and has been a finalist or nominee for numerous other honors, including the Pushcart Prize. Ryan is associate professor, a member of the Honors faculty and Chair of the English Department at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota.

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Candace Simar

Candace Simar is a Minnesota writer with a passion for history and her Scandinavian heritage. Her Abercrombie Trail Series received awards from the Western Writers of America. Shelterbelts is set in Otter Tail County, Minnesota and received finalist awards from the Willa Literary Awards in Historical Fiction. Her Escape to Fort Abercrombie is geared toward readers from age 12-100.

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Sarah Bamford Seidelmann

Sarah Bamford Seidelmann was a physician living a nature-starved, hectic lifestyle until a walrus entered her life and changed everything. She has trained at the Martha Beck Institute and Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies and is author of Swimming with Elephants and Born to FREAK. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota and offers transformational travel, individual healing and coaching sessions, and in-person retreats.

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Sheila Packa

Sheila Packa is a poet, writer, and teacher with Minnesota and Finnish roots. She was Duluth’s Poet Laureate in 2010-2012. Her poems became part of playwright/director Tom Isbell’s award-winning documentary “One River” performed at University of Minnesota Duluth and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2017. Olli Kortekangas used Packa’s poems for “Migrations,” a cantata for mezzosoprano and male voice choir. This classical music piece premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra in 2016. She has poems in several literary magazines and anthologies, including Good Poems American Places, Finnish-North American Literature in English, Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude, and To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present. Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac and Prairie Home Companion has also featured her work.

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Michelle Matthees

Michelle Matthees is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s MFA program in Creative Writing. She has received grants and awards from The Jerome Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, The Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, AWP, and other arts organizations. In 2016 New Rivers Press published Flucht, her first book-length collection of poems about Eastern Europe, immigration, and adoption. She lives in Duluth and is currently at work on a new book of poems about institutionalization.

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Dianna Hunter

Dianna Hunter is the author of two nonfiction books, Wild Mares: My Lesbian Back-to-the-Land Life and Breaking Hard Ground: Stories of the Minnesota Farm Advocates. Both were finalists for the Minnesota Book Award. She is also the creator of the radio programs Breaking Hard Ground, which were broadcast nationally on public and community radio stations. She was a farmer and farm advocate before beginning a career in writing and college teaching. She directed programs in writing and gender equity and taught writing and women’s and gender studies at four universities, including the University of Wisconsin-Superior, from which she retired in 2012. She has published, read, and performed short stories, poetry, journalism, and creative nonfiction in many regional and national venues and now writes, gardens, and forages urban green spaces in Duluth, Minnesota.

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