Meet the Board

Mary Thompson-Bode – Social Media and Promotion

Mary is a professional writer with a background in journalism and communications. She is the author of “Timeless Vision,” a history of the Duluth Clinic and has recently started pursuing a life-long dream of writing fiction. Raised in Huntsville, Alabama, she spent time in the Twin Cities and northern Wisconsin before settling in the Twin Ports with her husband Chris and Welsh Cardigan Corgis Stella and Dexter.

Molly Brewer Hoeg – Technology Projects

Molly retired from a career in IT management, returned to her home town of Duluth and turned her hand to writing which was a lifelong interest. She has become a regular contributor to a number of regional magazines, as well as writing for Adventure Cyclist. When not sitting in front of a keyboard, she can be found outdoors running, cycling or cross-country skiing. She and her husband spend about a month each year touring by bicycle, which has become the basis of her forever project – a book with the working title of Life Cycling. She chronicles her adventures on her blog,

Emilee Howland

Dr. Emilee Howland is an assistant teaching professor at the University of Wisconsin – Superior where she teaches medieval and early modern British literature. She is originally from northern Missouri but believes she has found her home here on the shores of Lake Superior, though she remains a loyal Kansas City sports fan. Her academic research includes the representation of magic in medieval and early modern literature, women’s literature, Arthurian romances, and the cultural history and implications of book challenging/banning. Her reading interests include horror, urban fantasy, and speculative fiction. In her free time, she enjoys reading, knitting, crochet, cross stitch, and exploring all of the wonderful parks in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Konnie LeMay – Chair, Events Co-LeadCurrently editor of Lake Superior Magazine, Konnie has worked for weekly and daily newspapers, including Indian Country Today, a national Native publication, when it was based in Rapid City, S.D. She has freelanced for a variety of publications, most recently for Minnesota Medicine, a Minnesota Medical Association publication; The Bark, a national dog-culture magazine; and The Wagazine, a pet magazine based in Rochester, Minn. She also spent a year observing publications in France as part of a Rotary Journalism Scholarship. Konnie believes she has some fiction in her and intends to let it out sometime soon.

Doug Lewandowski – Blog

Doug has walked a varied path. He was a Christian Brother, an English teacher/counselor and is a retired Licensed Psychologist. He finds children and young adults fascinating, and wishes he had another life to work with very young kids as a therapist.
Doug writes a column for the Duluth News Tribune. He had a story published in the Nemadji Review and placed third in 2020 in the Jade Ring’s short story contest of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. He recently had a short story accepted for fall publication in the Jack Pine’s Writer’s Bloc Talking Stick. Doug lives in Duluth near the big lake. His website is

Ian Moore

Ian is an academic librarian who comes to Duluth from southern Wisconsin. He completed his M.A. in English at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2021 and he’s excited to have time to write again now that he’s done with school. He enjoys writing poetry and short fiction, but he’d really like to finish a novel at some point. Ian loves living in Duluth and can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Bick Smith

Originally from Chicago and spending most of his youth on the East Coast, Bick Smith is edging closer to becoming a true Minnesotan, having lived in the Twin Cities now for over 30 years.  Bick owns CyBick Productions, a video and filmmaking company.  He is also co-owner of CynCity Tours which specializes in historic tours in Saint Paul.  Bick’s writing includes script work and promotional copy, following many years of writing TV/radio news.  

Amy Jo Swing

Amy Jo Swing has been writing since she could hold a crayon. She has an M.F.A. in poetry and a couple of English degrees and has been teaching writing at Lake Superior College since 1996 in her adopted home, Duluth. She is the recipient of a McKnight Foundation Fellowship for Writers and has published poems in many literary journals and anthologies. She’s also dabbles in middle and YA fiction. She lives nearish the big lake with her wife, two kids, dogs, and hedgehogs. 

Rob ‘Tor’ Torkildson

Peripatetic traveler, Rob ‘Tor’ Torkildson, is a lifelong seeker and explorer who has worked and lived around the world for the last 40 years. Rob has tramped through the Amazon, over the Himalaya, and across the Sahara in his quest to experience sacred landscapes in over 120 countries. He has worked as a diver, commercial fisherman, ship navigator, customs and immigration expert, dog musher, writer and publisher, a fixer in Africa, and as a vintner and owner of The Wild Hare Winery in San’t Alfio, Sicily. Rob has published three travel memoirs, a novella, and in such publications as the Wandering Series-Japan, the Kyoto Journal, Beat Scene, Ripcord Adventure Journal, Canadian Mountain Journal, the American Alpine Journal, and has won two SOLAS Awards-Gold Medal with Travelers Tales. He has been interviewed on numerous radio podcasts and in numerous magazines. Rob has degrees in Asian History, Psychology and a certificate in Communication Arts. He is an international Fellow of the Explorers Club, speaker for The Explorers Bureau, has carried the Explorers Museum Pennant on an expedition, and was a member of the Midgard Viking Expedition. Rob is working on a book about the outdoorsman Calvin Rutstrum.

Gail Trygstad – Events Co-Lead

Gail is a recently retired IT professional who worked at the UMD Library for 21 years, chairing the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA) committee for many of those years. Meeting many aspiring and accomplished authors through the NEMBA events has inspired her to explore her own writing potential.
One of her discoveries in retirement is the seemingly unlimited time available to refine and hone her projects as a fiber artist, to increase involvement in community volunteerism and to explore the world of travel. Living in the woods with a view of Lake Superior offers many inspirational opportunities for rewarding artwork, and outdoor activities. 

Bekky Vrabel – Administrator

Bekky is an academic librarian who recently returned to the north after working in a variety of positions in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. She graduated from Northland College in 2010 with a BA in writing and English and is excited to participate in the writing community again. She enjoys knitting and crocheting with friends, reading and writing on the shores of Lake Superior, and cuddling her two cats, Fitz and Bing.