Thursday, October 17 at 7 PM
Ramsey County Library – Roseville
2180 Hamline Ave N, Roseville
Nicola Yoon is one of the best known – and bestselling – authors writing today in the realm of YA fiction. Her debut, Everything, Everything, catapulted her to the top of the charts in 2015. Told through diary entries, text messages, and even illustrations, the story focuses around a teenage protagonist who suffers from a rare immune disease often called “bubble boy syndrome” – but refuses to let this debilitating condition define her. Warner Brothers adapted Everything, Everything into an award-winning 2017 feature film starring Amandla Stenberg. The New York Times lauded Yoon’s 2016 follow-up, teen romance The Sun Is Also A Star, as “a deep dive into love and chance and self-determination – and the many ways humans affect one another, often without knowing it.” Like its predecessor, The Sun Is Also A Star dominated bestseller lists for the better part of a year, and received its own Hollywood treatment. It also garnered Yoon a finalist nod for the National Book Award, and a host of other high honors besides.
Wednesday, October 23 at 6:30 PM
Dakota County Library – Wentworth
199 E Wentworth Ave, W St Paul
Columbian-born Ingrid Rojas Contreras is author of Fruit of the Drunken Tree, one of 2018’s breakout fiction debuts. Based in part on the author’s own experiences growing up in factious Bogotá, Contreras’s story is set against the backdrop of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s shadow reign over Columbia. This turmoil is explored through the eyes of Chula, a seven-year-old from a well-to-do family living safely in a gated community. When her mother hires Petrona, a young woman from the Bogotá slums, as the family’s maid, Chula is forced to challenge assumptions and change her worldview. Entertainment Weekly commends Fruit of the Drunken Tree as “simultaneously propulsive and poetic, with something powerful to say.” It was rereleased in paperback in summer 2019. In addition to her fiction, Contreras’s has contributed essays and thought pieces to publications as varied as USA Today, Architectural Digest, and Buzzfeed.
Thursday, October 24 at 7 PM
Scott County Library – Prior Lake
16210 Eagle Creek Ave SE, Prior Lake
National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson is the author of four novels, including the critically acclaimed Where the Dead Sit Talking. Hobson’s layered coming-of-age story focuses around a Cherokee boy named Sequoyah. After a tumultuous childhood marked by abuse and neglect, sensitive Sequoyah is thrown into the foster system. While living with the eccentric Troutt family in Oklahoma, he meets and develops feelings for a wayward young artist who shares his Native heritage and checkered family history. Hobson himself is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and “is in total control of his material… in this masterly tale of life and death” (Kirkus Reviews). Where the Dead Sit Talking garnered a host of literary honors, and came within striking distance of the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction. In addition to his career as a novelist, Hobson is a short fiction writer, essayist, and educator. He is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at New Mexico State University, and a Writing Mentor at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Tuesday, November 12 at 7 PM
Saint Paul Public Library – Saint Anthony Park
2245 Como Avenue, Saint Paul
Lara Prescott belongs to the small, exclusive club of authors who have had their work optioned for film. While this is an impressive accomplishment on the face of it, still fewer writers can claim to have reached this milestone before their first book even hit shelves! Prescott’s highly anticipated literary debut, The Secrets We Kept, premieres September 3. It tells the true story behind the writing and incendiary publication of the Cold War era novel Doctor Zhivago. Now a mainstay of the Russia’s literary canon, Doctor Zhivago is a tale of life and love set during the Russian Revolution. Penned by controversial Soviet national Boris Pasternak, the manuscript was smuggled to Italy in the 1950s. Prescott’s retelling is already receiving rave reviews. In a starred review, Booklist opined: “Spy stories offer high reader appeal, but Prescott’s debut far surpasses the typical genre fare…Through extensive research, Prescott artfully illuminates the CIA’s role in helping disseminate the Soviet-banned masterwork.” The Secrets We Kept will debut in a staggering 28 languages. A film treatment, helmed by Oscar-nominated producer of La La Land and Bridge of Spies, is now in the works.