Connecting communities through stories
Minnesotans love stories. They love reading mysteries. They love reading about our state’s architectural history. They love learning about refugee experiences and hearing poetry that examines the meaning of race, language, and origin.
Each spring, Minnesotans celebrate the stories and writers that have touched us most that year at the Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony. Books in nine categories are recognized at this annual event as the best in local literature.
This year, Minnesota Book Award-winning authors will tour the state’s 12 regional library systems for readings and discussions. While the participating authors write about widely different subjects, they all have in common the ability to connect with readers through meaningful stories.
“Stories are a way for us to see into another person’s life and experience. It is so important for all of us to learn from one another and hear each other, now more than ever,” says Bao Phi, 2018 Minnesota Book Award winner.
Bao Phi and three other Book Award-winning authors will come together at the end of the month to discuss these stories and connect with readers in person. On July 26 at Rochester Public Library, Phi, along with Larry Millett, Sun Yung Shin, and Wendy Webb will join in conversation to explore various themes: the impact of literature in their lives, their connection as fellow Minnesotans, and the lens through which we read.
Larry Millett is an architectural historian and mystery fiction writer. He spent much of his career as a writer, reporter, and editor for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and serving as the newspaper’s first architecture critic. Millett has written articles for many notable publications, as well as 12 works of non-fiction history, including the Minnesota Book Award-winning Minnesota Modern: Architecture and Life at Midcentury. He is also the author of nine mystery novels.
Bao Phi is a two-time Minnesota Grand Slam champion and a National Poetry Slam finalist. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Sông I Sing and Thousand Star Hotel, a 2018 Minnesota Book Award finalist. His first children’s book, A Different Pond, illustrated by Thi Bui, has earned six starred reviews, a Caldecott Honor, among many others, and was named among the best books of the year by numerous publications. A Different Pond received a 2018 Minnesota Book Award.
Sun Yung Shin is the author of three poetry/essay collections: Unbearable Splendor, a 2017 Minnesota Book Award winner, Rough, and Savage, and Skirt Full of Black. She is the editor of A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota and co-editor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, as well as the author of the bilingual illustrated book for children Cooper’s Lesson. She is the recipient of numerous artist grants and has taught at universities, schools, and literary centers throughout the Twin Cities.
Wendy Webb spent two decades as a journalist, writing for varied notable publications before she wrote her first novel, The Tale of Halcyon Crane. When it won the 2011 Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction, Webb started writing fiction full-time. She is the author of three subsequent novels, The Fate of Mercy Alban, The Vanishing, and The End of Temperance Dare, which won a 2018 Minnesota Book Award.
Presented by BNSF Railway Foundation, Moving Words is a program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library as the Library of Congress-designated Minnesota Center for the Book. Additional support is provided by the University of St. Thomas Libraries and Graduate Programs in English, Education Minnesota, and made possible in part by the State of Minnesota through a grant to the Minnesota Department of Education and the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.