Three Minnesota authors nominated for National Book Awards

The nominees for this year’s National Book Awards have been announced, and they include two Minnesota authors, as well as a poet who grew up here.


The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

In the category of Fiction, Louise Erdrich is nominated for her book The Round House, which was just published this month. Erdrich’s latest work was selected along with works by Junot Díaz, Dave Eggers, Ben Fountain and Kevin Powers.

About The Round House: One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe.


Goblin Secrets by William Alexander

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

William Alexander’s first book, Goblin Secrets, has shot straight to the final round for Young People’s Literature. Alexander teaches at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and is a frequent contributor to Rain Taxi Review of Books.

About Goblin Secrets: Rownie, the youngest in Graba the witchworker’s household of stray children, escapes and goes looking for his missing brother. Along the way he falls in with a troupe of theatrical goblins and learns the secret origins of masks. Now Graba’s birds are hunting him in the Southside of Zombay, the Lord Mayor’s guards are searching for him in Northside, and the River between them is getting angry. The city needs saving–and only the goblins know how.


Meme by Susan Wheeler

Published by University of Iowa Press

Susan Wheeler grew up in Minnesota and New England, and has lived in the New York area for twenty years.

About Meme: In her collection of poetry Susan Wheeler reconstructs her mother’s voice–down to its cynicism and its mid-twentieth-century Midwestern vernacular–in “The Maud Poems,” a voice that takes a more aggressive, vituperative turn in “The Devil–or –The Introjects.” In the book’s third long sequence, a generational inheritance feeds cultural transmission in “The Split.”

Congrats to the nominees!

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