2010 Minnesota Book Award Winners

Tonight marked the 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards. I just got back from the event, and thought you’d want to know the winners:

The Kay Sexton Award is bestowed on an individual or organization involved in fostering books, reading, and literary activity and for outstanding contributions to Minnesota’s literary community. This year’s winner is Carolyn Holbrook, a long-time advocate of arts in education. She founded the Whittier Writers’ Workshop in 1981, was Program Director of the Loft Literary Center from 1989-1993 and founded SASE: The Write Place in 1993. Her work has been strongly focused on keeping the arts accessible and establishing links between various communities.

The award for “genre fiction” – given for crime, science fiction and other specific writing genres – went to David Housewright for his book Jelly’s Gold, which follows a hunt for gold treasure that turns deadly.

Concordia College professor Joy K. Lintelman won the Minnesota Book Award for general nonfiction with her book I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson.

Kate DiCamillo was awarded the Young People’s Lit prize for The Magician’s Elephant which follows a young boys search for his sister, and a mysterious elephant’s imagical arrival in town.

Joyce Sidman’s Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors won the Children’s Lit prize. This book describes the changing colors of the seasons with poems and vivid illustrations.Sidman says she thinks it might be Minnesota’s long winters which make her appreciate colors all the more.

The award for poetry went to Jude Nutter for I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman in which Nutter revises Whitman’s civil war poems using contemporary and female perspectives.

Wilber “Chip” Schilling, proprietor of Indulgence Press, received the Book Artist Award. The award recognizes a Minnesota book artist for excellence throughout a body of work, as well as significant contributions to Minnesota’s book arts community.

Cary J. Griffith’s account of Goliath’s Cave in southeastern Minnesota, titled Opening Goliath: Danger and Discovery in Caving won the book award for work specific to the state of Minnesota.

The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder’s Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows by Kent Nerburn won in the category of memoir and creative non-fiction. It’s the story of his journey to help an elderly Native American man discover what happened to his long lost sister. Nerburn brings light to the complicated friendship between a white American and a Lakota Indian, and a glimpse into the life and wisdom of a tribal elder.

The award for novel and short story went to Marlon James for The Book of Night Women. Set in James’ native Jamaica, the book tells the story of Lilith, a slave on a Jamaican sugar plantation who possesses a dark power, and the group of women who hope to use it to fuel a slave revolt

And the Readers’ Choice Award, voted on by Pioneer Press readers, went to Honor Bright: A Century of Scouting in Northern Star Council by Dave Kenney. The book covers a century of Boy Scout history in central Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

In addition, the evening featured a talk and reading by Irish poet Theo Dorgan, who is in town to receive this year’s O’Shaughnessy award from the University of St. Thomas.

Those gathered at the awards also paid tribute to Will Powers, the design and production manager at the Minnesota Historical Society Press, who died in August after devoting 50 years of his life to books.