MN Reads

Join us Thursday mornings at 8:20 for Minnesota Reads on Northland Morning,  featuring Minnesota authors talking about their work.

Funding provided in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund

Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund

Agnes Rajala kept her writing to herself.

In fact, she didn't get around to showing it to her family until she presented them with the manuscript of "Waters Like the Sky: Book 1 – The Chronicles of an Unlikely Voyageur." 

But as her daughter explains, by the end of her life in 2013, she was not only excited about the publishing of this book with her daughter, Nikki, she had another in the series ready to go.

It wasn't until he'd had years of telling stories about his childhood and being met with laughter and disbelief that Gary Barfknecht began to suspect his upbringing on the Iron Range wasn't typical of Minnesota kids who grew up elsewhere. 

Author and Hibbing native Pat McGauley's work as an historian at the Discovery Center years ago led to (so far) nine books about the fictional Moran family - and there's another book on the way.

"I got to know the family so well, I had to keep going with them," says McGauley.

Former Two Harbors resident Dennis Herschbach already had three novels in his Two Harbors mystery series under his belt when he started writing "A River Through Two Harbors."  Then he read an article by Christine Stark in the StarTribune and his book took a turn into the only-too-real world of Native women being sex trafficked in the Northland.  When truth is more horrifying than fiction: Dennis Herschbach is our guest this morning on MN Reads.

Author Dean Hovey's family is in Carlton County, which, he explains, is why he's set his four Pine County mysteries and two Two Harbors "cozies" where he did. 

The challenges of writing what - and where - you know, this week on MN Reads.

Dean Hovey's "Undeveloped: A Pine County Mystery" was a nominee for the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award (NEMBA) for Fiction, and all this summer, we'll be bringing you books about the Northland, from the Northland by NEMBA award-winners and nominees.

North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.

We talk with Catherine Holm, author of Voice Lessons: Tales of Breaking Free published in 2014 by North Star Press of St. Cloud.

The man who co-wrote the screenplay of "House of Sand and Fog" has written a novel set in northern Minnesota.

It's a story of mistakes: those you can recover from and those you can't, of race relations and of finding - or returning - to your real self.

Shawn Lawrence Otto was the winner of the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award (NEMBA) for Fiction, and all this summer, we'll be bringing you books about the Northland, from the Northland by NEMBA award-winners and nominees.

Poet Lynette Reini-Grandell won the 2014 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award (NEMBA) for poetry earlier this month.  She joins us to read some selections from her first collection, "Approaching the Gate,"  and to talk about the benefits of the unqualifiable in schools.

Published by Holy Cow! Press.

In 2006, when she was 86 years old, Dorothy Dora Whipple was looking for a new challenge.  A fluent and lifelong Ojibwe speaker, Dorothy had just finished a three-year project for the University of Minnesota,  making and transcribing recordings of her language. But she knew right away what she wanted to tackle next: a book of her stories, in Ojibwe and English, with drawings to illustrate the stories and perhaps interest younger people in learning the language.

Minnesota author (and former Duluthian) Steve Werle talks about the desk that moved him to investigate the life of former Minnesota Governor  Harold Stassen.

And what he found was a man much more complex - and admirable - than the caricature "tilting at voting booths in an unending quest to capture the presidency or newspaper headlines."

Published by Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Authors Chel Anderson and Adelheid Fischer have crafted a book that's part exquisite photographs, part textbook and all dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of Minnesota's "Superior Coast."

Published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Award-winning historian Odd Lovoll talks about the history of Norwegian immigration to Canada, including the active recruitment efforts by Canada and Minnesota, among others, to get more Norwegians to settle there.

  Norwegian author Vidar Sundstøl joins us to talk about the final installment in his Minnesota Trilogy,  the prevalence of good crime fiction  by Scandinavian authors and moving  from Kentucky to the Northland several years ago ... and feeling at home.

Lisa Johnson

Laura Erickson joins us to talk about her new book, "Into the Nest: Intimate Views of the Courting, Parenting, and Family Lives of Familiar Birds."  She teamed up with Marie Read of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to produce a photo book of familiar birds: from the first "meet cute" of the parents right through the "empty nest."

Jennifer Simonson/MPR News

Perhaps it was fate that brought a man diagnosed with ALS  together with a journalist facing her own life-rending challenges.  From their collaboration and ultimately, their deep friendship, came a roadmap to living in the face of the life you have - not, perhaps, the one you wanted.

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