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On Books

Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996.

Twin Cities writers honored with American Library Association Youth Media Awards

Junauda Petrus, photo by Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

A picture book by University of Minnesota professor Brenda J. Child--translated into the Ojibwe language by Gordon Jourdain and illustrated by Jonathan Thunder---won the American Indian Youth Literature medal today at the American Library Association Youth Media Awards in Philadelphia.

"Bowwow Powwow: Bagosenjige-niimi’idim," was published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. Child and Thunder are both Red Lake Ojibwe and Jourdain is Lac La Croix First Nation. All three live in Minnesota. 

Two other Minnesota writers also were honored: A debut young-adult novel by Minneapolis author Junauda Petrus received a Coretta Scott King honor award, and a debut middle-grade novel by Dawn Quigley received an American Indian Youth Literature honor award.  Quigley--a registered member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe Indians who teaches at the University of St. Catherine in St. Paul—is the author of “Apple in the Middle,” about a native girl who is reared in the Twin Cities but goes to Turtle Mountain for the summer.

Petrus’s book, “The Stars and the Blackness Between Them,” is also a finalist for a  Minnesota Book Award.

The books were awarded at the ALA winter meeting, where several dozen awards are handed out, including the most prestigious book awards for children’s literature, the Randolph Caldecott Medal for illustration, and the John Newbery Medal for prose. This year’s Caldecott winner, “The Undefeated,” by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, was also named a Newbery Honor book. The Newbery Medal went to “New Kid,” written and illustrated by Jerry Craft.

You can read the full list of winners online here.

Marlon James trash-talks dead writers in new podcast

Marlon James.

A podcast, you say? You’re looking for a podcast? A literary and yet controversial and undoubtedly highly entertaining podcast?

Fear not. Here comes Marlon James.

James, author of “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” (a finalist for a National Book Award), “A Brief History of Seven Killings” (winner of the Man Booker Prize) and other novels, has begun a two-month-long podcast with his editor at Riverhead Books, Jake Morrissey. “Marlon and Jake Read Dead People” will begin Monday, Jan. 27, and it’s not quite as creepy as it sounds. The podcast is their literary conversations about authors who are no longer with us. As the Riverhead press release puts it, “Authors they like. Authors they hate. … In every episode they’ll tell you what they think—uncensored and with no holds bared. (That’s why the authors have to be dead.)”

“I’m not denying there is some fun in talking trash about dead people,” James told the New York Times. “They can’t attack me on Twitter.”

James divides his time between Minnesota, where he is a professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, and New York City.

The first two podcasts air Monday, with a new podcast each week for the following six weeks.

Listen to a trailer here:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/marlon-and-jake-read-dead-people/id1492163935

And find it on Spotify, Apple, Stitcher or elsewhere.