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Aurora Whittet

Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired girl in Minnesota dreaming up stories. Today, she has completed the young adult fantasy the Bloodmark Saga trilogy and children’s books Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love in honor of her own mother and How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster. Whittet is a national award-winning graphic designer and illustrator. How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster won Gold at the 2018 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, a 2018 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize Finalist, and received Bronze at the 2018 Moonbeam Awards.

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Sarah Warren

Sarah Warren is an early childhood educator who graduated from the Loft Literary Center’s Master Track apprenticeship program. Her debut picture book, Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers was picked for the Amelia Bloomer Top Ten Book List and awarded a Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Book Award honor. Her most recent picture book is Beyoncé: Shine Your Light. Warren’s family lives in Minneapolis with their dog, Bruce Valentine.

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Artika Tyner

Dr. Artika Tyner is a passionate educator, award-winning author, sought after speaker, and advocate for justice. She is committed to empowering others to lead within their respective spheres of influence. Tyner provides leadership development and career coaching for young professionals. She has also developed leadership educational materials for K-12 students, college/graduate students, faith communities, and nonprofits.

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Richard Terrill

Richard Terrill is the author of two collections of poems, Almost Dark and Coming Late to Rachmaninoff, winner of the Minnesota Book Award; as well as two books of creative nonfiction, Fakebook: Improvisations on a Journey Back to Jazz and Saturday Night in Baoding: A China Memoir, winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award for Nonfiction. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wisconsin and Minnesota State Arts Boards, the Jerome Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as three Fulbright Fellowships. His work has appeared in journals such as Iowa Review, Georgia Review, North American Review, River Teeth, New Letters, and Crazyhorse. He is Professor Emeritus at Minnesota State University Mankato, where he was Distinguished Faculty Scholar, and currently works as a jazz saxophone player with the Larry McDonough Quartet. He lives in New Hope.

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Cynthia (C.M.) Surrisi

Cynthia (C.M.) Surrisi has a BFA, J.D., and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She is author of picture books and middle grade cozy mysteries that are enjoyed equally by adults: The Maypop Kidnapping, Vampires On the Run, and A Side of Sabotage. Her mysteries have received The Moonbeam Award and been nominated for an Agatha. Her picture book The Best Mother is a Junior Library Guild Selection. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, National League of American Pen Women, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

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Bob Showers

Bob Showers is a longtime resident of Bloomington, originally from Waterloo, Iowa. A former executive with the Minnesota North Stars, Showers started his second career as an author following 12 years as a stay-home dad with two daughters.

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Ashley Shelby

Ashley Shelby is a former editor at Penguin and a prize-winning writer and journalist. She received her MFA from Columbia University and is the author of Red River Rising: The Anatomy of a Flood and the Survival of an American City, a narrative nonfiction account of the record-breaking flood that, in 1997, devastated Grand Forks, North Dakota. The short story that became the basis for her novel, South Pole Station, is a winner of the Third Coast Fiction Prize. She lives in the Twin Cities with her family.

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Mary Lahr Schier

Mary Lahr Schier is a Minnesota gardener, writer, and editor, whose award-winning book combines Minnesota history and gardening how to. She is the author of The Northern Gardener, From Apples to Zinnias, 150 Years of Garden Wisdom, which received the Silver Award of Merit from GWA: The Association of Garden Communicators. She is also editor of Northern Gardener magazine, the publication of the Minnesota State Horticulture Society and Minnesota’s only homegrown garden magazine. Topics include Minnesota heritage plants, low-stress tomatoes, and garden trends.

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Nathan Sacks

Nathan Sacks is a professional academic dissertation editor, children’s and young adult book writer, graphic novel translator, and occasional journalist. He was born and raised in Ames, Iowa and currently lives in uptown Minneapolis. He works on fiction, book-length nonfiction, and scholarly writing, and aims to provide fresh and original writing in a variety of genres while maintaining a distinctive authorial voice.

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William Reichard

William Reichard is a writer, editor, and educator. He has published six poetry collections, most recently, The Night Horse: New and Selected Poems. Three of his previous collections were finalists for the Minnesota Book Award. Reichard is the editor of the anthology, American Tensions: Literature of Identity and the Search for Social Justice, and he revised and edited The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940’s, an award-winning memoir by the late Ricardo Brown. Reichard lives in Saint Paul.

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