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b. 1952, Chicago, IL
R. D. Zimmerman (pen name of Robert Alexander) is a writer of mystery thrillers including the Todd Mills and Alex Phillips series. He has authored nearly twenty books, among them Innuendo and Red Cloud. His books have been finalists for two Edgar Awards and an Anthony Award and his novels Closet and Outburst won Lambda Literary Awards. Writing as Robert Alexander, the author has published The Kitchen Boy and other titles. He lives in Minneapolis.
b. 1980, Ban Vinai, Thailand
Kao Kalia Yang was born in 1980 in Ban Vinai, a Thai refugee camp. She moved to Minnesota with her family in 1987, where she grew up and attended Carleton College. Since then, she has become an American citizen and is now a writer, teacher, and activist. Yang has spent her teaching career at several different universities, currently teaching at North Hennepin Community College. Her first book, The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, won two Minnesota Book Awards, making it the first book to do so. Her second book, The Song Poet, is set to be released in 2016.
b. 1945, Pittsburgh, PA;
d. 2005, Seattle, WA
August Wilson was born in Pittsburgh in 1945. Wilson drew on his experiences of poverty and racism, keen observation of people and history, and his love of art, music, and literature, for the plays that would make him an influential figure. He moved to St. Paul in 1978 and received a Jerome Fellowship to put on his first play, Jitney, in 1979. That play began the Pittsburgh Cycle, ten plays exploring African-American life, each set in a different decade of the 20th century. His plays include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and the Pulitzer Prize winners Fences and The Piano Lesson.
Bruce White is an award-winning historian and anthropologist with long experience in research and writing. He is the author of numerous books and articles about Minnesota and Native American history, including Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota for which he and co-author Gwen Westerman received a Minnesota Book Award in 2013 and a Hognander Minnesota History Award in 2014. White holds an M.A in history from McGill University in Montreal and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Minnesota. He directs Turnstone Historical Research, based in Saint Paul.
b. Columbia, SC
Jack Weatherford is a writer and retired professor of anthropology. Born in South Carolina, he studied at the University of South Carolina for his B.A. and M.A., before getting his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego. He has written articles, book reviews, and nine books, most notably The History of Money and Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. He has won two Minnesota Book Awards and was awarded the Order of the Polar Star from Mongolia for his work relating to their history. He now lives in South Carolina and Mongolia, and runs the Jack Weatherford Foundation.
b. 1908, St. Paul, MN;
d. 1987, St. Paul, MN
Donald Wandrei was raised in St. Paul and graduated from the University of Minnesota. After college he began contributing stories and poems to Weird Tales and other publications and was influenced by his friend and mentor, the horror fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft. He worked in advertising in New York for many years while making his mark in the world of fantastic fiction. He returned to St. Paul after serving in the army during World War II. His books include Colossus, The Web of Easter Island, and The Eye and the Finger.
b. 1891, Minneapolis, MN;
d. 1985, Minneapolis, MN
Brenda Ueland graduated from Barnard College and became the first female reporter on the Minneapolis Tribune. Relocating to Greenwich Village, Ueland worked as an editor and freelance writer and befriended writers and radicals like John Reed and Eugene O’Neill. After returning to Minneapolis, she published If You Want to Write and the memoir Me. She continued her work as a journalist and received the Knights of St. Olaf medal from the Norwegian government. If You Want to Write was reissued by Graywolf Press and remains a bestseller.
b. 1940, Ames, IA
Susan Allen Toth grew up in Ames, Iowa and was educated at Smith College, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Minnesota. She has taught at Macalester College in St. Paul as well as at San Francisco State College and the University of Iowa. Toth’s first book, a memoir entitled Blooming: A Small-Town Girlhood, was published in 1981. She has since contributed work to many magazines and newspapers, traveled widely, and published numerous books of memoir and travel writing including My Love Affair with England: A Traveler’s Memoir, Leaning Into the Wind: A Memoir of Midwest Weather, and No Saints Here: A Caregiver’s Days.
b. 1949, St. Joseph, MN
Joyce Sutphen was named Minnesota’s Poet Laureate by Governor Mark Dayton in 2011. She holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance Drama from the University of Minnesota and teaches British literature and creative writing at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Her first collection of poems, Straight Out of View, won the Barnard Women Poets Prize in 1995. Subsequent collections include Coming Back to the Body, Naming the Stars, winner of the Minnesota Book Award, and First Words. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Minnesota Monthly, Water-Stone, and many other journals, and she has had work featured in Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry, and on The Writer's Almanac.
b. 1933, Pipestone, MN
Faith Sullivan was born in Pipestone Minnesota. Her novels include The Cape Ann, The Empress of One, and Gardenias. Married to the drama critic Dan Sullivan, she lived between New York and Los Angeles for more than twenty years, returning often to Minnesota, a place that has provided inspiration and setting for some of her best-loved works. She currently lives in Minneapolis.
b. 1804, Boston, MA;
d. 1848, Chelsea, MA
William Joseph Snelling was born in 1804, the son of Colonel Josiah Snelling. After abandoning the hope of a military career, he spent a winter in a Dakota settlement, learning the Dakota language and culture, which served him in his work as an interpreter, explorer, and writer. After years of navigating the Minnesota frontier, he moved east to become a journalist. He also published poems, short stories, and satires, turning his wit against political corruption and injustice. His book of short stories, Tales of the Northwest, pioneered realism in American fiction.
b. 1904, Millville, WI;
d. 1988, Minneapolis, MN
Clifford Simak was born in Millville, Wisconsin in 1904 and studied journalism at the University of Wisconsin. He worked for the Minneapolis Star and the Minneapolis Tribune from 1939-1976, becoming the news editor of the Star in 1949. During his long career as a newspaperman, he also wrote nearly 30 novels and over a hundred stories in the science fiction genre. Simak’s books include City, Way Station, and The Big Front Yard. He earned three Hugo Awards, a Nebula Award, and the title of Grand Master of Science Fiction.
b. 1912, Velva, ND;
d. 1992, Washington, D.C.
Eric Sevareid was born in North Dakota in 1912 and moved with his family to Minnesota after drought hit farms in the 1920’s. He graduated from Central High School and worked for the Minneapolis Journal while he attended the University of Minnesota. With his first wife, he sailed to Europe and he got a job with the Paris bureau of the New York Herald Tribune. Weeks from the start of World War II, Sevareid was recruited by Edward R. Murrow for CBS radio. He remained an influential correspondent for CBS until retirement. His books include Not So Wild a Dream, Between the Wars, Canoeing with the Cree, and Small Sounds in the Night.
b. 1919, St. Paul, MN;
d. 1988, Los Angeles, CA
Max Shulman was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. While studying at the University of Minnesota, his student newspaper column caught the eye of an editor, who offered him a book deal. The resulting Barefoot Boy With Cheek established him as a bestselling humorist. He penned numerous books, including Rally Round the Flag, Boys! and Potatoes Are Cheaper as well as several Broadway hits, among them The Tender Trap which was adapted into a movie starring Frank Sinatra. The character Dobie Gillis, who sprang from Shulman’s 1951 book The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, became a beloved figure in post-war America after a film and a TV series spun off from the book.
b. 1922, Minneapolis, MN;
d. 2000, Santa Rosa, CA
Charles M. Schulz was a world-renowned cartoonist. His love of drawing led him to take a course in cartooning at an art school in Minneapolis while he was a senior at St. Paul Central High School. His drawing studies were disrupted when he was drafted into the army in 1943. When he returned from the war in Europe, he began drawing the cartoon L’il Folks for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and contributed cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post. In 1955, he created the comic strip Peanuts, basing some characters on people he knew in Minnesota. During his career he wrote 40 books, 30 TV specials, and 4 full-length films. Schulz retired weeks before his death in 2000.
b. 1908, Minneapolis, MN;
d. 1993, Providence, RI
Harrison Salisbury grew up in Minneapolis and attended the University of Minnesota before going to work for United Press’s St. Paul bureau. He became the first Op-Ed editor at The New York Times, rising to the post of Associate Editor of the Times before retiring. He covered the major events of the 20th century, including World War II, the Civil Rights movement, and the Vietnam War. He won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1955. His twenty-nine books include The 900 Days: the Siege of Leningrad and Tiananmen Diary: Thirteen Days in June. He continued writing and publishing until his death in 1993.
b. 1928, Minneapolis, MN
Robert Pirsig grew up in Minneapolis where he attended the Blake School and then entered the University of Minnesota to study biochemistry at age 15. When he was expelled, Pirsig enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Korea from 1946-48, before returning home to complete a degree in Eastern Philosophy. After a troubled period in his life, Pirsig wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a book inspired by a road trip he took with his son. Despite initial rejections by publishers, it was an instant bestseller. Pirsig is also the author of Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.
Gary Paulsen is one of America’s most beloved writers for young people. After running away from home as a teenager to travel with a carnival, Paulsen tried many jobs, working his way across the U.S. as a ranch hand, sailor, and engineer. He finished his first novel after moving to Minnesota’s North Woods. Completing two Iditarod races, among his other experiences, gave him material for his books and he finished his first novel after moving to Minnesota’s North Woods. His novels, which include Hatchet, Dogsong, and The Winter Room, often revolve around themes of coming-of-age, wilderness, and endurance. He is the recipient of three Minnesota Book Awards.
b. 1950, Philadelphia, PA
Alexs Pate is the author of five novels, including Losing Absalom, West of Rehoboth, and Finding Makeba and is the winner of two Minnesota Book Awards. He was commissioned by Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks/SKG to write the novel Amistad, based on the screenplay by David Franzoni. His nonfiction work includes In the Heart of the Beat: The Poetry of Rap, and The Past is Perfect: Memoir of a Father/Son Reunion (coming soon from Coffee House Press.) He is an assistant professor in African American and African Studies at the University of Minnesota and also teaches writing in the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast M.F.A. program.
b. 1912, Fort Scott, KS;
d. 2006, New York, NY
Gordon Parks was born in Kansas in 1912 and moved to St. Paul as a teenager. During the Depression, he bought his first camera at a pawnshop after seeing Farm Security Administration photos in a magazine. Soon his photos were on display in the Eastman Kodak shop in Minneapolis. He went on to become the first black staff photographer for Life Magazine, and is considered one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. His images helped shape the nation’s discussion around inequality and civil rights, and he was also a composer, filmmaker, and author. His writing includes the memoir Voices in the Mirror, and the novel The Learning Tree.
Co. Roscommon, Ireland
d. 1882, St. Paul, MN
Dillon O’Brien emigrated to the United States in 1850 to begin a new life with his wife and children after the Great Famine left them landless in Ireland. After two years spent in Detroit, O’Brien took a job teaching in an isolated Wisconsin town on Madeline Island where he wrote his first novel, The Dalys of Dalystown. The family moved to St. Paul in 1863 and O’Brien soon became editor of the Catholic weekly newspaper, the Northwestern Chronicle, and went on to write three more novels including Dead Broke, A Western Tale, Frank Blake, and Widow Melville’s Boarding House. After 1869, O’Brien lived on his own farm in Minnesota until his death in 1882.
b. 1895, North Conway, NH;
d. 1990, Menlo Park, CA
Grace Lee Nute moved to Minnesota in 1921 to become the curator of manuscripts at the Minnesota Historical Society. She taught history at Hamline University until 1960, was a visiting professor at Macalester College, and served as the director of the James J. Hill papers project for the Hill Reference Library in St. Paul. Nute pioneered advances in preservation, introducing the use of microfilm and photocopies to preserve manuscripts and increase accessibility for scholars. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Ford Foundation grant. She is the author of The Voyageur and Caesars of the Wilderness.
b. 1943, Decatur, IL
Jim Moore is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Invisible Strings and Writing With Tagore Above the Flamina. Three of his collections, The Long Experience of Love, The Freedom of History, and Lightning at Dinner, are recipients of Minnesota Book Awards. He regularly teaches in the MFA program at Hamline University in St. Paul and has served in the Loft Literary Center’s Mentor Program. He won the 2002 Loft-McKnight Award in Poetry and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012.
b. 1947, Minneapolis, MN
Larry Millett grew up in Minnesota, and he earned his B.A. in English from St. John’s University in 1969, and his M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1970. He started working for the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 1972 as a general assignment reporter. He has since then worked as an education reporter, courts reporter, feature writer, architecture critic, and writing coach. Millett presently teaches at the College of Visual Arts, St. Paul, and continues to write as a novelist. Millett is the author of eleven works of nonfiction and seven mystery novels, including Lost Twin Cities, Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders, and the AIA Guide to the Twin Cities.
b. 1916, Sheldon, ND;
d. 1990, Minneapolis, MN
Thomas McGrath was raised on his family’s farm in North Dakota. He served in World War II before attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In the 1950s, he refused to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, an action that cost him his teaching post in Los Angeles. Returning to North Dakota, he wrote his book-length poem, Letter to an Imaginary Friend. He taught at Minnesota State University, Moorhead from 1969 until his retirement in 1983 and lived in Minneapolis until his death in 1990. His many works include the poetry collection Death Song and the children’s book, Clouds.
b. 1952, Great Lakes, IL
David Mura earned his B.A. in English from Grinnell College, Iowa. He continued on with graduate studies at the University of Minnesota, and received his M.F.A. from Vermont College. Mura has been very involved with The Loft Literary Center; he served on the board of directors, and taught poetry and creative nonfiction classes. His memoir Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei won a 1991 Josephine Miles Book Award from the Oakland PEN and was listed in the New York Times Notable Books of Year. He is the author of another memoir, Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality, and Identity, four collections of poetry – most recently The Last Incantations, a work of criticism, and the novel Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire.
b. 1900, Murry, IA;
d. 1996, Hudson, WI
Meridel LeSueur grew up in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Minnesota as a child. She started writing at an early age, and her life experiences, along with the people surrounding her, greatly influenced her works. She wrote novels, short stories, children’s books, essays, and poetry during her lifetime. Her writings have focused on women and their struggles, U.S. history heroes, and cultural diversity. Some of her works include Women on the Breadlines; The Girl; and Nancy Hanks of Wilderness Road.
b. 1950, Torrington, WY
William Kent Krueger is a five-time Minnesota Book Award winner and recipient of the 2013 Edgar Award for his novel Ordinary Grace. He has also received many other awards and distinctions including the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, and three Anthony Awards. Windigo Island is the fourteenth installment of Krueger’s engrossing Cork O’Connor mysteries set in Minnesota’s North Woods and Iron Range.
b. 1928, Ely, MN
Jim Klobuchar grew up in Ely, Minnesota, and graduated from the University of Minnesota. He worked for the Minneapolis Star Tribune until he retired as a columnist in 1996. However, his endeavors with journalism did not end there. He still writes periodic commentary and reports in the Christian Science Monitor. Along with his career in journalism, he has also hosted several TV and radio series in the Twin Cities, and he is the President of Jim Klobuchar’s Adventure (travel club). His recent works include Sixty Minutes with God, Walking Briskly Toward the Sunset, Pursued by Grace, and more.
b. 1950, Minneapolis, MN
Deborah Keenan grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, and attended Macalester College. She is a poet, a visual artist, and a professor. She has taught courses at St. John’s University, St. Thomas University, University of Minnesota, and Hamline University. She founded the Laurel Poetry Collective (with 22 other poets and artists), has worked as an editor, and has published many books including Willow Room, Green Door (a Minnesota Book Award winner), How We Missed Belgium, and Good Heart. She is currently working on new collages, and continues to create poetry and art.
b. November 24, 1970 in Kingston, Jamaica
Marlon James is a Jamaican novelist and teacher at Macalester College in St. Paul. He studied Language and Literature at the University of the West Indies before getting his masters in creative writing from Wilkes University. He has written three novels, recognized by numerous awards and nominations, most notable of which are his two Minnesota Book Awards, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and Man Booker Prize. His work includes John Crow’s Devil, The Book of Night Women, and A Brief History of Seven Killings.
b. 1955, Duluth, MN
Wing Young Huie earned his B.A. in journalism from the University of Minnesota. In 1989 he became a full-time professional photographer, and has produced many influential and award winning projects since then. Many of his photographs are set in St. Paul and Minneapolis neighborhoods, focusing his projects on people in a culturally diverse and fluctuating urban landscape. Books based on his projects include Lake Street USA, Frogtown: Photographs and Conversations in an Urban Neighborhood, and Looking for Asian America.
b. February 7th, 1955, Saint Paul, MN
David Housewright is a Minnesota crime fiction writer. He grew up in St. Paul, writing plays and stories at school, before attending the University of St. Thomas. He spent years working in advertising and journalism before turning back to writing, publishing his first book, Penance, at 40 years old. He’s best known for two of his book series, the Holland Taylor series and the Rushmore McKenzie series, which have won him three Minnesota Books Awards and the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author.
b. 1940, Sioux Center, IA
Jim Heynen is known as a writer of poems, novels, nonfiction, and short fiction. He often writes about boys and their dealings with life and its challenges. The most recent of these stories, The Boys’ House, was named Editor’s Choice for Best Books in 2001 by The Bloomsbury Review, Newsday, and Booklist. He has won many other awards, as well, including the Loft Career Advancement Fellowship and the Young Hoosier Book Award for his novel Being Youngest. He has also written A Suitable Church, The One-Room Schoolhouse, One Hundred Over 100, and The Fall of Alice K. He currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
b. 1955, St. Louis, MO
David Haynes is a novelist who received his B.A. from Macalester College and his M.A. from Hamline University. He was a teacher in residence at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, on account of his previous experience as a fifth and sixth grade teacher. He won the Minnesota Voices Project in 1992 for his book Right by My Side, which was also selected as one of 1994’s best books for young adults by the American Library Association. More of his work includes The Full Matilda: A Novel; The Everyday Magic of Walterlee Higgins; All American Dream Dolls; and Business as Usual.
b. 1952, Berkeley, CA
Pete Hautman was born in Berkeley, California, and his family moved to St. Louis Park, Minnesota in 1958. He attended the Minneapolis College of Art & Design and the University of Minnesota, but he left college without graduating. He wrote his first novel Drawing Dead in 1991, and it was published two years later. Since then he has written many novels for adults, young adults, and middle grade. A few of these include Godless; Rash; Sweetblood; Rag Man; The Obsidian Blade; Mr. Was; and more. He won the National Book Award for Godless and is the recipient of four Minnesota Book Awards. He splits his time between Golden Valley, Minnesota and Stockholm, Wisconsin.
b. 1949, Minneapolis, MN
Ellen Hart is the author of 28 crime novels, most notably within her Jane Lawless and Sophie Greenway series. She has won numerous awards for her novels, including the Minnesota Book Award for Best Genre Fiction (three times), Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery (five times), Golden Crown Literary Award in many categories (three times), and many more. She teaches a class on writing modern mystery at the Loft Literary Center and her novels include Immaculate Midnight, Hallowed Murder, The Iron Girl, and most recently, The Old Deep and Dark.
b. 1946, St. Paul, MN
Patricia Hampl grew up in St. Paul, MN. She attended the University of Minnesota for her B.A. and the University of Iowa for her M.F.A. She is now Regents Professor and McKnight Distinguished Professor at the University of Minnesota where she teaches in the M.F.A. program. In 2008, her novel The Florist’s Daughter was the winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Memoir & Creative Nonfiction. She has also written many other award winning novels, such as Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime; A Romantic Education; and many more.
b. 1936, Detroit, MI
Judith Guest grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and earned her BA in education from the University of Michigan. Her first book, Ordinary People, was made into a 1980 film starring Mary Tyler Moore which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Her other novels include Killing Time in St. Cloud and The Tarnished Eye. She and her husband have lived in Edina, Minnesota, since 1975 where she continues her career with more novels on the way.
b. 1941, Kansas City, MO
Diane Glancy is an incredibly talented and diverse woman. Her writing projects span from playwriting to poetry, many of which have been inspired by her Cherokee heritage. Her local experience ranges from teaching creative writing at Macalester College to serving as the Native American Inroads Mentor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Glancy explores Native American history in depth in her novels Pushing the Bear: A Novel of the Trail of Tears (1996) and Stone Heart: A Novel of Sacajawea (2003). She is a multiple-time finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards and winner (in 1992) for her collection of poetry, Lone Dog's Winter Count. Glancy has also received a plethora of other awards, the most recent of which is the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award, Oklahoma Center for the Book, 2016.
b. 1937, Dubuque, IA;
d. 2000, Dubuque, IA
Thomas Gifford was born in Dubuque, Iowa, but moved to Minnesota after graduating from Harvard. He worked as a traveling textbook salesman before writing his first novel Benchwarmer Bob (1974). He set a lot of his novels in or around the Minneapolis area, including The First Sacrifice. His other works include The Assassini; Edgar-nominated Cavanaugh Quest; and The Glendower Legacy, which was adapted into the movie Dirty Tricks (1981). In the 80s, Gifford used two pseudonyms: Dana Clarins and Thomas Maxwell. In 1996, he moved back to Dubuque to renovate his childhood home.
b. April 3, 1953, Vero Beach, Florida
Debra Frasier is an author and illustrator of children’s books. She was born in Vero Beach, Florida and attended the University of Florida, earning a degree in design. She went on to the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina before moving to Minneapolis in 1984. She began her first book, On The Day You Were Born, after her first child was born, and has since written and illustrated six more books. Her work has received many awards, including the Parent’s Choice Gold Award and the Minnesota Book Award.
b. 1966, St. Paul, MN;
d. 2013, St. Paul, MN
Vince Flynn graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 1988 with a degree in economics. From there, he went on to work at Kraft General Foods. In 1990, he attempted to join the U.S. Marine Corp, but was turned away due to a pre-existing medical condition. It was then that he decided to try his hand at writing a book, despite having been diagnosed with dyslexia as a child and struggling with writing and reading for much of his life. After many years and rejection letters, Flynn decided to self-publish his first novel Term Limits, and became successful. He went on to write thirteen novels in the bestselling Mitch Rapp series, ending with The Last Man in 2012. His early death at age 47 left his devoted fans worldwide shocked and saddened.
b. 1886, St. Paul, MN;
d. 1971, Farmington, CT
Grace Hodgson Flandrau was born as Grace Corrin Hodgson in St. Paul, Minnesota. She married William Blair Flandrau in 1909 and moved with him to his coffee plantation in Mexico; her writing career started there. She was a bit of a travel writer, although not to the same extent as her brother-in-law, Charles M. Flandrau. Her trip on a safari through central Africa resulted in her book Then I Saw the Congo (1929). During her lifetime she wrote six books including Under the Sun, Being Respectable, and Cousin Julia, and numerous short stories.
b. 1871, Saint Paul, MN;
d. 1938, Saint Paul, MN
Charles M. Flandrau graduated from Harvard University in 1895. His experiences at Harvard influenced his first book Harvard Episodes (1897), in which he wrote about his time at the University. He was an essayist and a travel writer, and he wrote for St. Paul newspapers such as the Pioneer Press. Many of his essays were published singularly in magazines and were compiled into his later works. His best known travel book was Viva Mexico! which was based off his experiences at his brother’s coffee plantation in Mexico. His other works include The Diary of a Freshman, Prejudices, and Loquacities.
b. 1896, St. Paul, MN;
d. 1940, Hollywood, CA
F. Scott Fitzgerald went to grade school in St. Paul, Minnesota, and attended Princeton for a time before he was commissioned as a second lieutenant for the army in 1917. While living in St. Paul in 1919, he wrote This Side of Paradise, which was to be his first successful novel. He married Zelda Sayre a week after this book was published in 1920. He drew on his St. Paul experiences, and his many misfortunes in life as material for his writing. Before his death in 1940, he wrote four novels, including The Great Gatsby which is one of his most famous works, and over 150 short stories.
b. 1940, Des Moines, IA;
d. 2008, New York, NY
Thomas M. Disch moved to Fairmont, Minnesota at the age of 8, and later moved to St. Paul. After high school, he moved to New York City and worked as a jack of all trades in numerous jobs during the day to support his nighttime writing. He wrote short stories, poetry, and novels. He adopted a few pseudonyms, such as Thom Demijohn, Leonie Hargrave, and Cassandra Knye. He taught for a time at a few colleges, and was the 1995 artist-in-residence at William and Mary College in Williamsburg. Some of his works include The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of and award winning On Wings of Song.
b. 1923, Edmonton, Canada;
d. 2001, Richfield, MN
Gordon R. Dickson moved to Minnesota in 1937, and attended the University of Minnesota in 1948, earning his B.A. in creative writing. He went on to graduate school at the University until 1950, and he served in the Army during WWII. He mostly wrote novels and short stories in the science fiction and fantasy genres, and he was also the president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1969-71. His Childe Cycle novels (such as Soldier, Ask Not and Dorsai!) were his most popular work during his lifetime, but unfortunately he died before he could complete the series.
b. 1964, Philadelphia, PA
Kate DiCamillo writes for both children and adults and is best known for her novels The Tale of Despereaux and Because of Winn-Dixie, both of which have been adapted into movies. A few of her other works include the Mercy Watson series, The Magician’s Elephant–winner of the 2010 Minnesota Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and Flora and Ulysses. DiCamillo was named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress for the term 2014-2015.
b. 1931, St. Paul, MN;
d. 2001, St. Paul, MN
Judy Delton lived in her hometown of St. Paul for most of her life, conducting writing classes inside her house until she started a family. She wrote over one hundred children’s books in her lifetime and supported her family through her writing. Her Pee Wee Scouts series was so popular it sold over seven million copies. One such book in this series is Pee Wee Scouts Blue Skies, French Fries. Other books she wrote include Angel in Charge; The Goose Who Wrote a Book; and many more. She also wrote a handbook for writing: The 29 Most Common Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.
b. 1944, Cedar Rapids, IA
John Camp earned his B.A. and Master’s Degree from the University of Iowa. He started his writing career as a journalist and worked for the Miami Herald (1971-78) and the St. Paul Pioneer Press (1978-90), and is still occasionally involved with journalism. His interests include archaeology and art (painting and photography), and he is one of the financial backers of the Beth-Shean Valley Archaeological Project in the Jordan River Valley of Israel. When he publishes his many novels, he uses his pseudonym John Sandford. A few of his novels include Storm Prey; Rules of Prey; and Shadow Prey and the 2003 Minnesota Book Award winner for Genre Fiction, Mortal Prey.
b. 1949, Columbus, OH
Lois McMaster Bujold attended Ohio State University (1968-72), but she did not graduate. Instead, she utilized the library at the University, and reading the books from there is what she considers her real education as a writer. She moved with her family to Minneapolis in 1995. Her first three novels, Shards of Honor; The Warrior’s Apprentice; and Ethan of Athos were all published in 1986 after her first story was published in Twilight Zone Magazine in 1985. She has since written many more novels including The Curse of Chalion; Paladin of Souls; and the Minnesota Book Award winning Komarr: A Miles Vorkosigan Adventure. She has won five Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards, among many other honors
b. 1955, St. Paul, MN
Steven Brust is a fantasy and science fiction novelist, born and raised in Minnesota. His first novel Jhereg was published in 1983, and was the first installment of his Vlad Taltos series. His second series, The Khaavren Romances, is set in the same Dragaeran Empire as the Vlad Taltos series for which he is well known. He also wrote stand-alone novels including To Reign in Hell and The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. He has published over 20 novels and numerous short stories, but he is also a songwriter and musician, and released his solo album, A Rose for Iconoclastes, in 1993.
b. 1940, Walton-on-Thames, England
Michael Dennis Browne moved from England to the U.S. in 1965, and after graduating from Iowa University, he proceeded to teach at Iowa, Bennington, Columbia, and the University of Minnesota. He is now a Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, where he taught for 39 years. The recipient of the Minnesota Book Award for Poetry in both 1993 and 1998, his works include The Wife of Winter; Smoke from the Fires; and Things I Can’t Tell You. A new collection of poems, The Voices, is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon University Press.
b. 1886, Fort Shaw, MT;
d. 1974, Minneapolis, MN
Emma Brock graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in 1908 and also studied art at the Minneapolis School of Art from 1910-1914. She began writing and illustrating her own books in 1929, beginning with Runaway Sardine. She wrote over 30 children’s books, mostly of which were published through Knopf. Many of her books were pony-themed, such as the Kristie series and Patty on Horseback. Here Comes Kristie was made into a NBC television special.
b. 1917, Devils Lake, ND;
d. 2002, Artesia, CA
Dan Brennan was a Minneapolis based writer with 40 novels. He also was a highly decorated WWII tail gunner ace, news reporter, and highly published outdoors sports writer during his lifetime. His first novel, Never So Young Again, was published in 1942 in the middle of the war. When he returned from combat he continued his writing career, playing many parts: police reporter, feature writer and film critic in Minneapolis newspapers, and he even wrote speeches for Humphrey’s Senate campaign. His other novels include Blood in the Sky, One of Our Bombers is Missing, Insurrection, and The Velvet Rut.
b. 1914, McAlester, OK;
d. 1972, Minneapolis, MN
John Berryman was a poet, scholar and teacher who played a prominent role in 20th century American poetry. He attended Columbia University and the University of Cambridge and later taught at Harvard and Princeton before accepting a position at the University of Minnesota in 1955. Considered one of the founders of the Confessional school of poetry, Berryman was best-known for The Dream Songs, an intensely personal sequence of 385 poems which brought him the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. Haunted from an early age by his father’s suicide, Berryman faced a lifelong struggle with alcoholism and depression which ended in the winter of 1972 when he jumped from a Minneapolis bridge into the Mississippi River.
b. 1941, Washington, D.C.
Sandra Benitez grew up in Missouri as Sandy Ables and earned a B.S. in education and a M.A. in comparative literature from Northeast Missouri State University. After her early writings, she decided to return to her Latin American roots and took her mother’s maiden name, Benitez. She won a position in the mentor program at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis with an early version of her novel, A Place Where the Sea Remembers. She won several awards for that novel, including a Minnesota Book Award, and her second, Bitter Grounds, as well. She is also the author of Night of the Radishes and The Weight of All Things.
b. 1947, Minneapolis, MN
Charles Baxter was educated at Macalester College in St. Paul. He continued his English education at the State University of New York in Buffalo. Afterwards, he taught at the Wayne State University of Detroit. In 1989, he started teaching at the M.F.A. program at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and now teaches at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of five novels including The Feast of Love and Saul and Patsy, five collections of short stories, three collections of poems, and two collections of essays on fiction including The Art of Subtext, winner of the 2008 Minnesota Book Award for General Nonfiction.
b. 1938, Oglesby, IL
Marion Dane Bauer grew up in northern Illinois, studying at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Missouri before becoming an English teacher. Her work as a mother and teacher led her to write children’s literature professionally, ranging from picture books to young adult novels, and she has now written more than 75 books. Her literary influence has been recognized by many awards, includingthe John Newbery Medal for her book On My Honor, as well as the Lambda Literary Award and the Stonewall Book Award for Am I Blue? She currently lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where she continues to write.
b. 1926, Bristol, PA;
d. 2001, Orinda, CA
Poul Anderson earned his B.A. in physics from the University of Minnesota, but worked as a free-lance writer instead after his graduation in 1948. He received the SFWA Grand Master Award in 1978 and was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2000, one year before his death. He is the author of several science fiction novels including Tao Zero and The Boat of a Million Years, fantasy novels including The Broken Sword, historical novels, and short stories.
b. 1884, Richmond, IN;
d. 1967, Minneapolis, MN
Darragh Aldrich was born Clara Chapline Thomas Aldrich. She received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota where she edited at the paper, The Gopher, and she taught at St. Mary’s Hall in Faribault, MN for three years following her graduation. From 1906-15, Aldrich was a special reporter/columnist for the Minneapolis Tribune, known for her Quentin’s Corner column. Her novel Enchanted Hearts was adapted for Broadway with the title, A Prince There Was (1918) and was made into a movie in 1921.
b. 1942, Omaha, NE
Jonis Agee grew up in Nebraska and Missouri, and was educated at The University of Iowa (B.A.) and The State University of New York at Binghamton (M.A., Ph.D.). She is Adele Hall Professor of English at The University of Nebraska — Lincoln, where she teaches creative writing and twentieth-century fiction. Agee lived for many years in St. Paul where she taught at St. Catherine University. She is the author of twelve books, including novels The Weight of Dreams and The River Wife; short fiction Bend This Heart and Acts of Love on Indigo Road; and the poetry collections Houses and Mercury.
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