Free Events with Minnesota Book Awards Finalists

The Minnesota Book Awards, coordinated by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, presents a “Readers’ Choice Event” with the Loft Literary Center and the Pioneer Press. Meet finalists from each Minnesota Book Awards category and hear about their work on Friday, March 18, 7 p.m., at Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis. Then, go in depth with two Memoir and Creative Nonfiction finalists Laurie Hertzel (News to Me) and Amy Klempnauer Miller (She Looks Just Like You) on Monday, March 21, at 7 pm, at the Hamline Midway Branch Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave., St. Paul.


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The Readers’ Choice Award, sponsored by the Pioneer Press and, is presented to the Minnesota Book Awards finalist who receives the most votes online at during the month of March. Meet 14 finalists from the eight Book Awards categories and hear about their work. A reception follows the program, as well as book sales, provided by Magers & Quinn Booksellers. Authors appearing include: in the Children’s Literature category, Michael Hall (My Heart is Like a Zoo) and David LaRochelle (1+1=5 and Other Unlikely Additions); from General Nonfiction, Aaron W. Hautala & Michael Nordskog (The Opposite of Cold) and James J. Farrell (The Nature of College); in Genre Fiction Julie Kramer (Silencing Sam) and Wendy Webb (The Tale of Halcyon Crane); from the Memoir and Creative Nonfiction category, Laurie Hertzel (News to Me) and Amy Klempnauer Miller (She Looks Just Like You); from the Minnesota category, Doug Grow (We’re Gonna Win, Twins!) Mary Lethert Wingerd (North Country), Doug Ohman (Prairie, Lake, Forest), and Jay Weiner (This is Not Florida); from Novel & Short Story, Peter Bognanni (The House of Tomorrow), Matt Burgess (Dogfight, a Love Story), and John Reimringer (Vestments); Mark Conway (Dreaming Man, Face Down), Lightsey Darst (Find the Girl), and Connie Wanek (On Speaking Terms) from Poetry; and, finally, Swati Avasthi (Split) and Jacqueline West (The Books of Elsewhere, Volume 1: The Shadows) in the Young People’s Literature category. 

Memoirists in Conversation

On March 21, hear excerpts and discussion with Laurie Hertzel, author of News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist, and Amy Klempnauer Miller, author of She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological  Lesbian) Motherhood. News to Me is the story of Hertzel’s journey into the world of print journalism in the mid-1970s; a chronicle of a small-city newspaper on the cusp of transformation, a portrait of Duluth, and the account of a persistent journalist. Hertzel worked at the Duluth News Tribune in multiple roles. Her journalistic work has won numerous national awards.

As a Midwestern, station wagon-driving, stay-at-home mom – and as a nonbiological lesbian mother – Miller both defines and defies the norm. Part love story, part comedy, part quest, She Looks Just Like You is a candid and often humorous memoir and a cultural roadmap to what it means to become a parent. Miller works as a development consultant to the public media industry and lives with her partner and daughter in Saint Paul.

These programs are free and open to the public.  For more information, please call The Friends at 651-222-3242 or go online at

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