Monday, April 16 at 6:30 PM
Golden Valley Library
830 Winnetka Avenue N, Golden Valley
Ariel Lawhon is a rising star in the realm of historical fiction. Her first forays into the popular genre include The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress (2014), which explores one of the most mysterious missing persons cases of the twentieth century as told from the perspectives of the three women who knew the victim best. The New York Times Book Review praised Lawhon’s woven narrative as “more meticulously choreographed than a chorus line.” Her 2016 follow-up, Flight of Dreams, breathes new life into the famous Hindenburg and the deadly 1937 air disaster that claimed 36 lives in rural New Jersey. Lawhon’s greatly anticipated 2018 release, I Was Anastasia, follows the life of Anna Anderson, an enigmatic woman who spent half a century battling to be recognized as the lost Russian princess Anastasia Romanov. Notes publisher Doubleday: “Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory: the nature of identity itself.” I Was Anastasia hits shelves in March.
Thursday, May 3 at 7 PM
Prior Lake Library
16210 Eagle Creek Ave SE, Prior Lake
Patricia Hampl is one of those rare authors who holds perennial appeal with general audiences, but is also beloved by writers everywhere: “lyric, cerebral, and a boon companion at any stage of the writing journey” (Ploughshares). In her debut memoir and travelogue, A Romantic Education (1981), Hampl explores her Czech heritage. Her equally poignant follow-up, Virgin Time (1992), turns the spotlight to her Roman Catholic upbringing and the author’s quest for spiritual fulfillment beyond religious dogma. The Florist’s Daughter (2007) focuses on “the relentlessly modest life” of her hard-working parents. Hampl, a three-time Minnesota Book Award winner and professor at the University of Minnesota, is back in 2018 with The Art of a Wasted Day. Like her other masterworks, The Art of a Wasted Day is difficult to pigeonhole as simple memoir. It is part travelogue, and part spirited defense of leisure time in the face of our ever-more busy and stressful modern lifestyle. It debuts in April.
Monday, May 7 at 7 PM
Roseville Public Library
2180 Hamline Avenue N, Roseville
Emily Fridlund’s opus History of Wolves straddles the line between thriller and coming-of-age novel. Fridlund’s teenage protagonist, Linda, is an outsider in her close-knit Northwoods community. She finally finds a sense of belonging babysitting for the eccentric Gardner family, but the role comes with expectations and secrets she is ill equipped to handle. History of Wolves shortlisted Fridlund for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. Before and after its release, the book won a host of other honors besides: it is a #1 Indie Next Pick, Barnes & Noble Discovers Great New Writers Selection, New York Times Editors Choice, and a USA Today Notable Book. National Public Radio notes: “Fridlund does a remarkable job transcending genres without sacrificing the suspense that builds steadily in the book… It is as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it’s set, and with her first book, Fridlund has already proven herself to be a singular talent.”
Wednesday, May 9 at 7 PM
Hennepin County Library – Brooklyn Park
8500 W Broadway Avenue, Brooklyn Park
Samantha Irby is a comedienne and memoirist, and a decidedly unique voice in contemporary African American literature. Her fresh, honest brand of humor first came to the attention of readers through her immensely popular blog Bitches Gotta Eat. Irby’s bestselling essay collection, Meaty (2013), adapts and expands her most popular blog entries – and adds some new ones, to boot. Topics truly run the gamut, from personal reflections on the author’s failed relationships and on being black in America, to a ribald take on her struggles with Crohn’s disease, to an ode to tacos. Cable network FX recently optioned Meaty for a half-hour comedy series. Irby’s follow-up, the New York Times– bestselling We Are Never Meeting In Real Life (2017), continues in that tradition. Twenty new, sidesplitting essays – including “The Real Housewife of Kalamazoo” and “I’m in Love and It’s Boring” – reaffirm Irby’s deserved reputation as a “breathtakingly honest and, best of all, imminently relatable humorist” (Chicago Tribune).
Tuesday, August 28 at 6:30 PM
Washington County Library – R.H. Stafford
8595 Central Park Place, Woodbury
Chart-topping mystery phenom Karin Slaughter is the author behind nearly twenty thrillers to date. Collectively, her books have sold a staggering 35 million copies across more than 120 countries. She is best known for the nine-book Grant County series, set in rural Georgia, which launched her writing career in 2001. It centers around small town pediatrician and part-time coroner Dr. Sara Linton and her husband, the local chief of police. Slaughter also writes the so-called Atlanta series, which follows special agents at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Unsurprisingly, her two worlds have collided a number of times, beginning with the bestselling novel Undone (2009). Karin Slaughter has also written several well received standalones. Three of these – Cop Town (2014), The Good Daughter (2017), and Pieces of Her (2018) – are currently in development for film or television adaptations. Pieces of Her debuts in August. In a starred review, Booklist promises: “Readers will find themselves totally immersed in Slaughter’s suspenseful, alternating story lines, and won’t want either of them to end.”
Monday, September 17 at 7 PM
Augsburg University – Foss Lobeck Miles Center
623 22nd Avenue S, Minneapolis
Somali expat and debut author Abdi Nor Iftin is the pen behind one of the most anticipated – and most timely – nonfiction releases of 2018. Abdi’s long and harrowing journey to America, as part of the U.S. Government’s embattled Diversity Visa Program, came to the attention of audiences around the world through a viral BBC Radio mini-series. Abdi’s larger-than-life immigration story begins in war-torn Mogadishu, where he risked his life chronicling the rise of Islamic extremism in Somalia as an underground NPR correspondent. He narrowly escaped to a refugee camp in Kenya, where against long odds he received an invitation from the U.S. Embassy to interview for a visa in 2014. Chart-topping radio show and podcast This American Life packaged Abdi’s nightly interviews with BBC journalist Leo Hornak into a popular episode in 2015 (“Abdi and the Golden Ticket”). He is now living in Portland, Maine, where he works as an English interpreter for other Somali immigrants and recently collected his stories into a book. Call Me American debuted in June.
Tuesday, September 25 at 6:30 PM
Washington County Library – R.H. Stafford
8595 Central Park Place, Woodbury
Award-winning journalist and feminist icon Peggy Orenstein is a leading voice in the national conversations around gender norms and expectations. Her influential exposés include Cinderella At My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture (2011) and Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape (2016). Orenstein has also penned a bestselling and candid memoir about her personal struggles with infertility and motherhood. She has been featured on a dozen major media outlets, including Nightline, CBS This Morning, The Today Show, and NPR’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. In 2012, the Columbia Journalism Review named Orenstein one of “40 Women Who Changed the Media Business Over 40 Years.” Her latest project is a wide-ranging anthology, Don’t Call Me Princess: Essays on Girls, Women, Sex and Life. Library Journal – among a host of other publications – praised it with a starred review, sure to “enrich the reader’s understanding of everything from abortion laws, to breast cancer, to pornography and body image.”
Wednesday, September 26 at 7 PM
Ramsey County Library – Roseville
2180 Hamline Avenue N, Roseville
Eli Saslow is a Pulitzer Prize- winning journalist, and a leading voice in the discourse around resurgent white nationalism and how to combat it. His first book-length treatment of this subject, Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist, hits shelves in September. The book follows Saslow’s relationship with Derek Black, a white supremacist from one of the movement’s most high-profile families. In college, Black’s interactions with people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds led him to question (and ultimately reject) the worldview of his upbringing. Saslow first introduced Black’s story in 2016, in a seminal piece for The Washington Post. Saslow’s previous works of note include Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President (2011), which profiles a sampling of poignant letters received – and responded to – by President Obama. Among other high journalism honors, Saslow earned a Pulitzer Prize in 2014 for a hard-hitting Washington Post series on the rise in food stamps usage. He won the George Polk Award for National Reporting that same year.
Friday, October 12 at 7 PM
Anoka County Library – Northtown
711 County Hwy 10 Frontage Road, Blaine
Curt Brown is a newspaper byline known to many through a popular and long-running Sunday history series in the Star Tribune. Brown has spent more than three decades in journalism, culminating in a prestigious recognition as Minnesota Journalist of the Year in 2013. He received that laurel for his serialized narrative on the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Repackaged and sold as an e-book, In the Footsteps of Little Crow, Brown’s masterful account landed him on the New York Times bestseller list. Brown’s other titles include Frozen in History: Amazing Tales from Minnesota’s Past, another Star Tribune series anthology, and The William Marvy Co. of Saint Paul – a quirky tale about the nation’s last barber pole- making family. Brown’s latest and highest profile release, Minnesota 1918, chronicles a uniquely trying but pivotal year. One hundred years ago, Minnesota faced a unique “trifecta of horrors” (Pioneer Press): causalities abroad in a world war, rampant and deadly influenza at home, and the state’s most destructive natural disaster on record.
Monday, October 15 at 7 PM
Scott County Library – Prior Lake
16210 Eagle Creek Avenue SE, Prior Lake
National Book Award winner Julia Glass won one of fiction’s highest honors with her debut novel. That breakout, Three Junes (2002), follows the lives and loves of a Scottish family over the course of a full decade. Upon its release, The New York Times Book Review gushed: “Three Junes brilliantly rescues, then refurbishes, the traditional plot-driven novel.” Subsequent bestsellers to Glass’s credit include The Whole World Over (2007), I See You Everywhere (2008), The Widower’s Tale (2010), and And the Dark Sacred Night (2014). This last revisits several of the characters and settings from Three Junes. Glass is also a prize-winning short fiction writer and a frequent anthology collaborator. Glass’s new full-length novel, A House Among the Trees, centers around the childhood secrets and shocking last will and testament of a world-renowned children’s book author. The National Book Review calls it: “Enthralling… Glass is a master at withholding information until just the right moment.”