Meg Waite Clayton
PAST EVENT: Thursday, September 17, 2015, 6:30 PM, Chanhassen Public Library
Book club favorite, Meg Waite Clayton, is the author of five novels to date. Her 2002 debut, The Language of Light, was a finalist for that year’s Bellwether Prize for Fiction. She gained national recognition when her 2007 follow up, The Wednesday Sisters, landed spots on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Entertainment Weekly named it one of its “25 Essential ‘Best Friend’ Novels of All Time.” Clayton has also penned articles for a wide range of publications, including Writer’s Digest, The Los Angeles Times, and Runner’s World. Her newest book, about female reporters in the closing days of WWII in Europe, hit shelves in August. “Involving and thoroughly researched… [The Race for Paris] will draw women’s fiction readers as well as historical fiction and WWII devotees,” according to Booklist.
PAST EVENT: Thursday, September 24, 2015, 7 PM, R.H. Stafford Library, Woodbury
Mitchell Zuckoff is a veteran journalist and prolific historian. A two-decade career as a roving correspondent for The Boston Globe won him numerous accolades, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination. As an author, his recent New York Times bestsellers include two larger-than-life WWII aviation thrillers: Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II (2011), and Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II (2013). Zuckoff’s journalism background proved invaluable to his most recent – and most important – book project to date, 13 Hours. It is considered the definitive account of what happened on September 11, 2012, when terrorists in Libya attacked the U.S. State Department compound in Benghazi.
PAST EVENT: Thursday, October 1, 2015, 7 PM, Galaxie Library, Apple Valley
Detective fiction favorite, Sara Paretsky, is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling V.I. Warshawski series. Warshawski, an intrepid private investigator from Chicago, “always makes the top of the list when people talk about female operatives” in literature, according to The New York Times. In recognition of her achievements to date, Mystery Writers of America named Paretsky a Grand Master of the genre in 2011. She earned the prestigious Anthony Award – Lifetime Achievement Award that same year. Her latest novel, Brush Back, hit shelves this July. “Paretsky plots more conscientiously than anyone else in her field,” and this latest installment in the V.I. Warshawski series is no exception, notes Kirkus Reviews.
PAST EVENT: Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 7 PM, Prior Lake Library
Journalist Marja Mills made a name for herself in the literature world last year with the publication of her much-anticipated The Mockingbird Next Door. Considered the definitive biography on Harper Lee – the reclusive author behind one of the best-loved novels of the last century – The Mockingbird Next Door became an instant national bestseller. Mills traveled to Lee’s native Monroeville, Alabama in hopes of securing a rare interview for the Chicago Tribune. Exceeding all expectations, Mills struck up an unlikely and close friendship with the literary luminary. In addition to accolades for her writing on Harper Lee, Mills received a Pulitzer Prize as part of a Chicago Tribune team who worked on a 2001 expose about O’Hare Airport entitled “Gateway to Gridlock.”
Emily St. John Mandel
PAST EVENT: Monday, October 12, 2015, 7 PM, Stillwater Public Library
Canadian novelist, Emily St. John Mandel, made waves last year with the release of Station Eleven, a dystopian narrative unlike any other. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews called it “magnetic… an ambitious take on a post-apocalyptic world where some strive to preserve art, culture and kindness.” Station Eleven won science fiction’s prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award, and was shortlisted for the 2015 National Book Award. It was also nominated for both the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. St. John Mandel is the author of three previous novels, and her short fiction has been anthologized in a number of high profile collections. She is also a staff writer for online magazine The Millions.
PAST EVENT: Tuesday October 20, 2015, 7 PM, Plymouth Library
Ron Rash is one of the most popular authors writing today in the areas of historical and regional fiction. Rash’s “powerful, yet gently beautiful” novels draw heavily from his own experiences in his native Appalachia (USA Today). These include Serena, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award, and The Cove, winner of the 2012 Langum Prize for Historical Fiction. The former saw a big screen adaptation in 2014, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. Rash is also an accomplished short story writer, with two O. Henry Prizes and the prestigious Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award to his credit. His newest novel, Above the Waterfall, offers a poignant look at small town life in contemporary Appalachia. It debuted in September.
PAST EVENT: Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 7 PM, Rum River Library, Anoka
Minnesota boasts more than its share of homegrown thriller novelists, and Chuck Logan ranks near the top of that list for many. He is best known for his six-book Phil Broker series, featuring a larger-than-life military veteran and ex- undercover agent. After the Rain, the fifth in that series, earned Logan a Shamus Award nomination for Best P.I. Hardcover Novel in 2005. Hollywood adapted its follow up, Homefront, for the big screen in 2013, with Jason Statham playing Broker alongside co-stars James Franco and Winona Ryder. Logan’s newest book, Fallen Angel, is a gripping standalone. A wounded Army pilot, only recently returned from Iraq, struggles to make sense of the incident that brought down her helicopter – and finds herself part of something much bigger.
Alexs Pate & Tish Jones
PAST EVENT: Monday, November 2, 2015, 7 PM, Roseville Library
Authors Alexs Pate and Tish Jones come together for an evening of conversation about their writing and the African American experience in Minnesota. Pate is a professor of writing, playwright, and award-winning novelist. His notable work includes his debut, Losing Absalom, which won a Minnesota Book Award in 1994, and Armistad, a novelization of the screenplay for the 1997 Steven Spielberg historical drama of the same name. Tish Jones is a poet, activist, and the executive director of TruArtSpeaks – a Twin Cities nonprofit dedicated to arts education through the Hip Hop and Spoken Word culture. Pate is senior editor of, and Jones one of 43 contributors to, Blues Vision, a landmark anthology showcasing the unique vision and reality of Minnesota’s diverse African American community.
PAST EVENT: Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 7 PM, Highland Park Library, Saint Paul
Novelist and memoirist, Brando Skyhorse, made a name for himself in 2011 with the publication of The Madonnas of Echo Park. This fiction debut – set in one of Los Angeles’ most racially diverse neighborhoods, where Skyhorse himself grew up – garnered accolades for its contributions to the important, ongoing dialogue on what it means to be Mexican in America. It won the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award, as well as the Sue Kaufman Award for First Fiction. Skyhorse’s recent, one-of-a-kind memoir is equally compelling. In Take This Man, Skyhorse recounts stories from a singular childhood, during which his mother hid the truth of his heritage and raised him to believe he was Native American. Kirkus Reviews named it one of its Best Nonfiction Books of 2014, and NBC News called it one of its 10 Best Latino Books for that year.