East Central Regional Library and The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, as the Minnesota Center for the Book, will present an author event as part of the Moving Words series, a tour of Minnesota Book Award winners across Minnesota.
Authors J. J. Austrian, Andrew DeYoung, Nicole Helget, and Kao Kalia Yang will come together for readings and discussion at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Mora Public Library. This event is free and open to the public. ASL interpretation will be provided.
Featuring multi-genre, Minnesota Book Award-winning authors, Moving Words is an opportunity for writers and readers to explore various themes together: the impact of literature in their lives, their connection as fellow Minnesotans, and the lens through which we read.
J.J. Austrian grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, graduated from Bard College, and worked in Los Angeles before returning to the East Coast, where he met his wife at a Halloween party. She married him a few years later, in spite of his costume choice. After moving to Minnesota so that they could be closer to family, Austrian earned his MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University. Worm Loves Worm is his first picture book and recipient of a 2017 Minnesota Book Award.
Andrew DeYoung is the author of The Exo Project, winner of the 2018 Minnesota Book Award for Young Adult Literature. He studied literature in college and graduate school, writing a thesis on the history of Victorian detective fiction before making the jump from academia to publishing. He is also a children’s book editor and lives with his family in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Nicole Helget is the multigenre author of The Summer of Ordinary Ways, The Turtle Catcher, Horse Camp, Stillwater, Wonder at the Edge of the World and The End of the Wild, a 2018 Minnesota Book Award winner for Middle Grade Literature. She and her work have been recognized in People magazine’s “Critic’s Choice,” as a Barnes and Nobles “Discover New Writers” selection, as a Minnesota State University “Distinguished Alumni,” and with many literary and service grants, nominations, and awards. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and is pursuing a Master of Public Policy concentrating in rural arts, education, and environmental issues. She lives in southern Minnesota with her family, where she works as a teacher, editor, and manuscript and story consultant.
Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer. She is the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, winner of the 2009 Minnesota Book Awards in Creative Nonfiction/Memoir and Reader’s Choice, and a finalist for the PEN USA Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Asian Literary Award in Nonfiction. Her second book, The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father, won the 2017 Minnesota Book Award in Creative Nonfiction Memoir. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, a PEN USA Award in Nonfiction, and the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize. Her third book, a children’s picture book, A Map Into the World will be out in fall of 2019 from Carolrhoda Books. Yang is also a teacher and a public speaker.
Presented by BNSF Railway Foundation, Moving Words is a program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library as the Library of Congress-designated Minnesota Center for the Book. Additional support is provided by the University of St. Thomas Libraries and Graduate Programs in English, Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts, and Education Minnesota, and made possible in part by the State of Minnesota through a grant to the Minnesota Department of Education and the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
About the Minnesota Book Awards
The Minnesota Book Awards is a year-long program that fosters our statewide literary arts community. The process begins in the fall with book submissions and continues through winter with two rounds of judging. Winners are announced at the spring Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony. Woven throughout the season are various engagement activities and events that promote the authors and connect the world of Minnesota books – writers, artists, illustrators, publishers, editors, and more – to readers throughout the state. In recognition of this and its other statewide programs and services, the Library of Congress has recognized The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library as the state’s designated Center for the Book. For more information visit www.thefriends.org/mnba.