Last night my friend Gail and I drove the 2 1/5 hours to the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel where we were attending the Minnesota Book awards. The carefully planned spring dress with swirls of rose and powder blue was cast out of my mind once we were 6 inches deep in snow again and the warning that we were in for up to 10 inches more in the next 4 days.
Instead I wore black dress pants and a fun flowy shirt. Gail and I both smartly brought along our winter boots…. no questions asked as being smart Minnesota girls – you want to be prepared for anything and walking through snow in the 2″ heals I had on did not sound appealing at all.
We arrived early as planned so we could park, know where we needed to be, and then go and find something to eat. We found a Hell’s Kitchen close by and laughed that neither of us had ever eaten there so why not give it a try. As we entered we discovered that we had to (appropriately) go downstairs to enter… errr…. Hell.
We shared pulled beef nachos which sounded interesting and had pickles on it. (Don’t judge…. 😛 ) Neither of us were very hungry but we did not know what the gala would have so thought we should eat something.
We then went to the Gala at around 10 to 7 for the 7:00 pm start of the gala…
and we waited until 8 am before they opened the doors.
It wasn’t a bad wait, there was plenty to do out in the open area outside the event. Books, of course of the authors who were up for awards were available.
Coffee and drinks were available as well so Gail and I sat and chatted (seems like we never run out of things to talk about) until they opened the doors.
We walked into a beautifully set area. As a waitress walked back we asked her how many people were there tonight and she promptly told us 800. We had little plates at out place settings of cheese and grapes and crackers. I can not believe I forgot to take a picture of the lovely plate – but I did.
I did however get a picture of the event before they got started:
The emcee was Lorna Landvik and she was a delight. She had party poppers for all the winners and instantly decided that what would make the evening even more fun event would be if we all took a drink of our champagne whenever someone said the word, “book.”
The categories are as follows and the winners were….
Novel and Short Story: The Round House by Louise Eldrich. (* fun note, Last night Louise became the first ever Minnesota author to win a Minnesota book award 5 times)
Award For Books About Minnesota: Mni Sota Makoce: The Land Of The Dakota by Gwen Westerman and Bruce White
Award For Young People’s Literature: Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach
Award For Poetry: Odessa by Patricia Kirkpatrick
Award For Children’s Literature: It’s a Tiger! by David LaRochelle
Award for general non fiction: Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey Through Reservation Life by David Treuer
Award For Memoir and Creative Non Fiction: Turn Here Sweet Corn by Atina Diffley
Award for general fiction: Curse Of The Jade Lilly by David Housewright
One of the fun things I learned last night was that Minnesota is the 8th largest book buying state. We also seem to churn out some pretty amazing authors who support one another through workshops at The Loft and The Anderson Center.
It really was a fun evening of seeing authors and afterwards they had a reception where outside the large room we were in had now transformed to coffees and basil lemonade (which I had to try) and tiny desserts while you mingled with the authors and scoped out the books. We didn’t stay long as we still were heading back to Brainerd and arrived back home around 1:00 am. Both of us still excited about the evening and already talking about plans for next year.
For more information on the Minnesota Book Awards, you can check it out here.