The Minnesota Book Awards is a Capital City project, led by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, in consortium with the Saint Paul Public Library and the Mayor’s Office of the City of Saint Paul.
Marquette Financial Companies
Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle, Ltd.
Minnesota Department of Education—State Library Services
Saint Paul Cultural STAR
Wellington Management, Inc.
The Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts
The Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation
Sit Investment Associates
Minnesota Public Radio
Saint Paul Neighborhood Network
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Library Networks for Literature – A Project of the Public Programs Office of the American Library Association
Metropolitan Library Service Agency
Minnesota Center for Book Arts
Minnesota Educational Media Organization
Minnesota Library Association
Minnesota Library Foundation
Red Balloon Bookshop
Minnesota Book Awards presented tonight – winners announced here first!
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce the winners of the 20th annual Minnesota Book Awards. In addition to winners in eight categories, the Book Awards presented the Readers’ Choice Award, which was selected by over 7,000 voters from across Minnesota. More than 700 people attended the gala award ceremony on Saturday, April 12, hosted by Cathy Wurzer of Minnesota Public Radio and TPT. Announced at the gala, the winners of the 2008 Minnesota Book Awards are:
Award for Children’s Literature
Sponsored by Xcel Energy:
Lynne Jonell – Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat
Published by Henry Holt and Company
When Emmy discovers that she and her parents are being drugged with rat potions by her horrid nanny, Miss Barmy, she and her animal friends must foil the dastardly plot. Readers will enjoy the clashes between Emmy and the mischievous rat in this whimsical adventure.
Award for General Nonfiction
Sponsored by Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd.:
Charles Baxter – The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot
Published by Graywolf Press*
Acclaimed writer and essayist Charles Baxter explores the hidden overtones and undertones in fictional work. As the author explains, “A novel is not a summary of its plot but a collection of instances, of luminous specific details that take us in the direction of the unsaid and the unseen.” Baxter teaches at the University of Minnesota.
Award for Genre Fiction:
William Kent Krueger – Thunder Bay
Published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster
The seventh book in the Cork O’Connor series takes the protagonist into Canada where he attempts to locate the son his friend, the Ojibwe healer Henry Meloux, fathered several years ago. Reuniting the two proves more dangerous than anyone predicted. William Kent Krueger, winner of last year’s Genre Fiction Award, lives in St. Paul.
Award for Memoir & Creative Nonfiction
Sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:
Patricia Hampl – The Florist’s Daughter
Published by Harcourt
In her most personal book to date, St. Paul author Patricia Hampl revisits her childhood as she experiences her mother’s death. Daughter of a Czech father whose floral work gave him entrée to high society, and a distrustful Irishwoman with an uncanny ability to tell a tale, Hampl paints a picture of herself as someone who remained a devoted daughter well into adulthood.
Award for Minnesota
Sponsored by Marquette Financial Companies:
Doug Hoverson – Land of Amber Waters:
The History of Brewing in Minnesota
Published by the University of Minnesota Press*
Starting with Minnesota’s first brewery in 1849, Doug Hoverson, a certified beer judge and award-winning homebrewer, tells the story of the state’s beer industry from small-town breweries to larger companies such as Schell’s and Grain Belt. The book also highlights the vibrant beer culture of today including a new wave of breweries and brewpubs.
Award for Novel & Short Story:
Wang Ping – The Last Communist Virgin
Published by Coffee House Press*
From the restaurants of New York’s Chinatown to the retail emporium of Bergdorf Goodman, and from remote Chinese military outposts to the streets of Beijing, Wang Ping’s stories open a window into the rapid transformations of an ancient culture. Born in Shanghai, the author currently teaches at Macalester College.
Award for Poetry:
Deborah Keenan – Willow Room, Green Door
Published by Milkweed Editions*
Written over the course of three decades, this collection presents a body of work addressing themes of love and rage; vulnerability and authority; and distraction and focus. In this collection, the reader gets a sense of inhabiting the world with the poet, of walking through time, both historical and personal.
Award for Young Adult Literature:
Will Weaver – Defect
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
David was born with different features than other people. Some are apparent to others, such as his hearing aids and misshapen face. Others are secret, terrifying to some and magical to others. Will Weaver has written many notable young adult novels as well as the short story on which the movie Sweet Land was based.
The Readers’ Choice Award
Sponsored by Pioneer Press and TwinCities.com:
Jill Kalz – Farmer Cap
Published by Picture Window Books*
Eccentric Farmer Cap plants crops like spaghetti and popsicles. The other farmers laugh at him, but a spectacular harvest causes them to rethink their traditional views. This is the fourth book in Jill Kalz’s Pfeffernut County series. The author has written nearly 50 children’s books and lives in New Ulm.
* Indicates a Minnesota-based publisher
At the Book Awards gala on April 12, Don Leeper also received the previously announced Kay Sexton Award, for his lifelong contributions to Minnesota’s literary community. Founder and president of BookMobile (formerly Stanton Publications Services), Leeper has fostered the literary community for over 25 years with his design and production service, visionary capability and relationships with local and national publishers. The Award is sponsored by Barnes & Noble Booksellers.
Also presented was the first annual Book Artist Award, co-sponsored by Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA). The award, presented to Jody Williams, recognizes a Minnesota book artist for excellence throughout a body of work, as well as significant contributions to Minnesota’s book arts community. Williams’ work is currently being shown at St. Paul’s Central Library, 90 W. 4th St., through April 20.
Books written by a Minnesotan and first published in 2007 were eligible for the 20th annual Minnesota Book Awards. 250 books were nominated for awards this year, and 32 books were selected as finalists. The winners were chosen by panels of judges from the list of finalists. Nominations for next year’s Awards will open in early fall, 2008. For more information on the Book Awards process, and a complete list of finalists and winners since 1988, visit The Friends website, www.thefriends.org, and click on the Minnesota Book Awards icon.
The Book Awards gala will be broadcast on the TPT-MN Channel in late May or early June. Check your local listings for the channel, date and time of broadcast.