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Minnesota Book Awards finalists announced


The finalists have been announced for this year’s Minnesota Book Awards, and with a few exceptions, it’s mostly a list of first-time nominees.

Winners will be honored in April at the Minnesota Book Awards gala, which will take place in person this year after two years of virtual ceremonies. Here are the finalists:


“Dead Reckoning”, by Jude Nutter (Salmon Poetry); “Homes”, by Moheb Soliman (Coffee House Press); “Sho”, by Douglas Kearney (Wave Books); and “Worldly Things”, by Michael Kleber-Diggs (Milkweed Editions).

Children’s literature sponsored by Books for Africa:

“Hello, Earth!” by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Miren Asiain Lora (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers); “Henry at Home”, by Megan Maynor, illustrated by Alea Marley (Clarion Books); “How to Apologize,” by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (Candlewick Press); and “Ten Beautiful Things”, by Molly Beth Griffin, illustrated by Maribel Lechuga (Charlesbridge Publishing).

Mid-level literature, sponsored by Education Minnesota:

“Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year”, by Nina Hamza (Quill Tree Books); “Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-be Best Friend”, by Dawn Quigley, illustrated by Tara Audibert (Heartdrum); “Long Lost”, by Jacqueline West (Greenwillow); and “The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy”, by Anne Ursu (Walden Pond Press).

Young adult literature, sponsored by Expedition Credit Union:

“The Amalgam” by Michel Prince (Fire and Ice); “In My Heart: The Adoption Story Project”, by Alan Berks & Leah Cooper; illustrated by Becca Hart (Wonderlust Productions); “The Night Nobody Had Sex,” by Kalena Miller (Albert Whitman); and “The Spy Who Raised Me,” by Ted Anderson, illustrated by Gianna Meola (Lerner).

General non-fiction:

“Booth Girls,” by Kim Heikkila (Minnesota Historical Society Press); “Find a Lead or Blaze One: A Biography of Dr. Reatha Clark King,” by Kate Leibfried (Beaver’s Pond Press); “Sensational: The Hidden Story of Kim Todd’s (Harper) ‘Girl Stunt Reporters'” and James Densley and Jillian Peterson’s (Abrams) ‘The Violence’.

Memory and creative non-fiction:

“Are you Borg now?” by Said Shaiye (Really Serious Literature); “Self, Divided”, by John Medeiros (Howling Bird Press); “Sound Like Trapped Thunder”, by Jessica Lind Peterson (Seneca Review Books), and “Watershed”, by Ranae Lenor Hanson (University of Minnesota Press).

Emilie Buchwald Award for Minnesota Nonfiction, sponsored by Bookmobile:

“Confluence: A History of Fort Snelling,” by Hampton Smith (Minnesota Historical Society Press); “From the Gridiron to the Battlefield”, by Danny Spewak (Rowman & Littlefield); “Kura: Prophetic Messenger”, by Richard Bresnahan (Kura Book Publishing); and “Opioid Reckoning”, by Amy Sullivan (University of Minnesota Press).

Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College:

“Insurrection”, by Tom Combs (Evoke Publishing); “Life is too short”, by Abby Jimenez (Forever); “Lightning Strike”, by William Kent Krueger (Atria); and “The Stolen Hours”, by Allen Eskens (Mulholland Books).

Novel and short story:

“After Francesco”, by Brian Malloy (John Scognamiglio Books/Kensington Publishing); “Brood,” by Jackie Polzin (Doubleday/Penguin Random House); “Carnival Lights”, by Chris Stark (Modern History Press); “The Seed Keeper”, by Diane Wilson (Milkweed Editions).

The awards ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on April 26 at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts in St. Paul. The Book Artist Award, Hognander Minnesota History Award and Kay Sexton Award will also be presented that evening. Tickets are $22 and go on sale Jan. 31 at thefriends.org/mnba. The ceremony will also be available live for free.

Laurie Hertzel is the editor of books at the Star Tribune. Email: [email protected] On Twitter: @StribBooks.