April 2023 NorthWords

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April NorthWords includes:

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Notes from the Board Room

The only thing more frightening than facing a blank page (or blank Word file) on deadline has to be agreeing to chair the board of an all-volunteer organization – especially one as active as Lake Superior Writers.

And yet, in a weak moment for me and for the other board members, I got voted in to do just that for the coming year. Uff da, as Mom would say.

So, greetings LSW members! Some of you may know me from my work at Lake Superior Magazine or my long-running connection to the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association. –Yes, I’m both a budding boatnerd and a lifelong wordnerd. 

I actually am happy to be here … and extremely excited about what will be coming up for the next few months and the next year. In the next month alone we have a free workshop on Get in Your Character’s Head, (Apr. 15), a four-part course on memoir writing (starts Apr. 20) and a Book Club for Writers with Thomas Peacock when he will talk about his latest releases and about bringing an Anishinaabe cultural voice to his work (Apr. 22). 

The Lake Superior Writers annual writing contest is underway and submissions can be sent through Apr. 8. (Write faster!)

Watch our Facebook page and website for details on all of these … and save dates in May for a virtual “Small Press Big Deal” panel (May 10) plus our annual new & used membership meeting May 20 with guest speakers Leif Enger and John Enger, a father and son both publishing novels.

As I mentioned, LSW is an almost 100% volunteer organization (we have a contracted bookkeeper and administrator, both with modest hours). That means while I’m chair of the board, you, LSW member, are part of our “staff.” This year we hope to invite and encourage even more networking and more writing support. 

One of the writing assignments I hope you’ll accept this year is filling out our surveys when sent – either after an event, after you’ve joined as members or at other times – to let us know what you want and need to succeed as writers. Yes, I’m asking you to remember to “write home”. Keep in touch.

Konnie LeMay, accidental board chair

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Lake Superior Writers Events

Virtual Writers’ Café

April 8, 2023 9:30 am to 11 am on Zoom

Registration required. Open to all. Free of cost.

Topic: The Backstory on Blogging

Join us as we learn about blogging for writers, including setting one up, maintaining a schedule, finding your audience and more. Our guest expert is Marie Zhuikov–a fiction writer, poet, and blogger who also works as a senior science communicator for the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Program. Her most recent book is a blog-memoir called “Meander North,” which was published in 2022 by Nodin Press in Minneapolis. It features the best of her humorous and outdoorsy posts from her “Marie’s Meanderings” personal blog. You can check out her blog here: https://mariezhuikov.wordpress.com/

Writers Café is a supportive discussion group for all writers, from beginners to seasoned professionals. To register, contact us at writers@lakesuperiorwriters.org, and we’ll send you a Zoom link shortly before our chat. Mark your calendar for the May Virtual Writers’ Café!

2023 Annual Writing Contest

Submissions are accepted from March 1 to April 8, 2023

Lake Superior Writers is excited to announce the theme of our 2023 Writing Contest:


We are seeking submissions that explore connections – the ones we make and the ones we don’t. You can write about connections lost and found, accidental or calculated, internal or driven by the outside world. We’re looking for great writing that brings this concept to life. Writers can interpret this theme as broadly as they wish.

Full information on the contest is available on our website.

Get in Your Character’s Brain: Psychology’s Gift to Inspiring and Engaging Characters with Doug Lewandowski

Saturday April 15, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm in the Gold Room at the Duluth Public Library, 520 W. Superior Street

Registration required. Open to all. Free of cost.

Everyone has a story, those we live and the ones we create, seeded by what’s between our ears. Reality is messy and doesn’t always lend itself to coherence in what we write. By taking elements of developmental psychology and pathology, we will link models of human development and storytelling, giving us a chance to shine a new light on life events. Then, a new narrative of our experience emerges.

Doug Lewandowski was a teacher/counselor and a Licensed Psychologist educated by both his clients and students. He has been a freelance columnist for the Duluth News Tribune and a column writer for the Bemidji Pioneer. In the early 1990’s he was a monthly commentator for KCRB, Minnesota Public Radio, in Bemidji, Minnesota. He has a published novel, Woman River, and a short story in The Nemadji Review, “Haircut,” in 2018. He was chosen third place in 2020’s Wisconsin Writer’s Association Jade Ring contest for the short story, “Cold Comfort.” In 2022, his short story, “The Empty Seat,” was chosen for inclusion in the 2022 Walking Stick of the Jackpine Writer’s Bloc.

For more information and to register, visit our events page!

Memoir Workshop with Felicia Schneiderhan

Thursdays, April 20, 27, May 4, 11 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in the The St. Louis County Depot Boardroom, 506 West Michigan Street, Duluth

$60 for members and $75 for non-members. Registration deadline: April 19

Memoir is one of the most popular forms of writing today. In this four-week workshop, participants will study a variety of memoirs and learn traditional and experimental forms for writing their own memoir. In-class activities will teach techniques for developing scenes, incorporating research, heightening overall structure and movement, and exploring the variety of writing forms available to the memoirist.

Felicia Schneiderhan is the award-winning author of short stories, poetry, essays, and the memoir Newlyweds Afloat. She has edited a monthly publication, taught a number of writing workshops and continues to do freelance and fictional writing.

For more information and to register, visit our events page!

Book Club for Writers with Thomas Peacock: The Importance of a Cultural Voice

Saturday, April 22, 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm hybrid event on Zoom and at the The St. Louis County Depot Boardroom, 506 West Michigan Street, Duluth

Registration required. Open to all. Free of cost.

Thomas Peacock, a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, has authored over a dozen books on Indigenous history and culture, as well children’s and adult fiction. He and his wife, Betsy, live  in Red Cliff, Wis., and Duluth. They are co-owners and publishers of Black Bears and Blueberries Publishing, which offers Native books written by Native authors and using Native illustrators. His 2021 fiction book, Walking Softly, was published by Dovetailed Press and told the fictional story of Ojibwe elder Edward James Bainbridge, written like a memoir in first person. A new edition of To Be Free Understanding & Eliminating Racism will be released in April; Tom co-authored that book with Govinda Budrow, Marlene Wisuri and Ivy Vanio. Thomas’ book The Wolf’s Trail, an Ojibwe Story told by Wolves was chosen as this year’s One Book Northland.

Author Thomas Peacock brings his insights as an Anishinaabe elder and non-fiction and fiction writer to the Lake Superior Writers Book Club in April to explore “The Importance of a Cultural Voice.” He will explain how he approaches work that will share cultural and historic Ojibwe stories and give his thoughts on how – and if – non-Native writers should approach Native characters.

For more information and to register, visit our events page!

2023 Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards – Call for Nominations & Readers

May 31, 2023 – Book Nomination deadline

May 1, 2023 – Applications for Reading Teams deadline

Book Nominations

Lake Superior Writers is seeking nominations for the 2023 Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA).

The categories are as follows: Nonfiction; Fiction; Children’s Literature; Middle Grade/Young Adult; Poetry; and Memoir. Art/Photography is now part of the Nonfiction category.

The awards recognize books that substantially represent the history, culture, heritage or lifestyle of northeastern Minnesota, which includes the following counties: Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Pine and St. Louis. Authors are not required to live in northeastern Minnesota in order to have their work considered.

For more information on requirements and deadlines, visit the NEMBA page.

Call for Readers

Lake Superior Writers also invites you to sign up for a NEMBA Reading Team to help choose a winning book!

We’re looking for book-lovers to serve on one of the reading teams that will select the winning book in each of the six categories—Nonfiction, Fiction, Children’s Literature, Middle Grade/Young Adult, Poetry, and Memoir. We are not looking for professional literary critics, but rather a group of open-minded readers who represent the different backgrounds and lifestyles of the Northland.

For more information, visit the Call for Readers page.

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Literary Events

Book Launch with Catherine Wright

April 2, 2023 at 3pm at Zenith Bookstore, 318 N. Central Ave. Duluth MN

Join Zenith Bookstore for the launch of Catherine Wright’s Have a Beauty Day: One Woman’s Path to Healing Generational Trauma. This event is free.

Independent Bookstore Day

April 29, 2023 from 10 am to 7 pm at Zenith Bookstore, 318 N. Central Ave. Duluth MN

Join the party, for the 10th anniversary of this nationwide celebration of Indie Bookstores! At Zenith Bookstore we’ll have exclusive merch, free cocoa and cookies, and an Advance Reader Copy giveaway of books. 10% of all sales will be donated to the Building For Women in Duluth for needed repairs. There will also be a meet-and-greet with local authors:

11 am – 1 pm Stuart Getty for How to They/Them: A Visual Guide to Nonbinary Pronouns and the World of Gender Fluidity

1 pm – 3 pm Timothy Cochrane for Making the Carry: The Lives of John and Tchi-Ki-Wis Linklater.

3 pm – 5 pm Sheila Packa for Surface Displacements

NorthwoodsArt and Book Festival

August 12, 2023 9 am to 3 pm in Hackensack, Minnesota

A community event free to the public with artists, authors, food vendors, music, children’s art, children’s museum, poetry safari scavenger hunt. Visit northwoodsartcouncil.org for more information!

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Minnesota Media Arts School

Several classes starting in April  at Zeitgeist’s Film Lab

The Minnesota Media Arts School is back for 2023! Zeitgeist and the Minnesota Discovery Center are offering spring classes, starting this April! Students will have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of film from talented and knowledgeable instructors, and learn what it takes to become a filmmaker. Classes are eight weeks long and are available in both Duluth and Chisholm.

The Zeitgeist Minnesota Media Arts School, in partnership with the Minnesota Discovery Center, is an affordable option for the Northland’s diverse creative community ranging from filmmakers, graphic designers, multimedia artists, and theatrical artists to learn, work, create, and connect. With teaching hubs in Chisholm and Duluth, we will add important contributions to the regional film ecosystem.

Registration and more information is available at Minnesota Media Arts School – Zeitgeist

Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference

June 20 – 25, 2023 at Bemidji State University

The summer conference offers six intensive, four-day writing classes and affordable auditor options. We’re excited to announce our 2023 MNWC faculty: Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Hybrid Poetry & Prose) Ross Gay (Poetry), Keetje Kuipers (Poetry), Lia Purpura (Creative Nonfiction), Will Weaver (Fiction) and Diane Wilson (Fiction). And we’re thrilled to have Heid E. Erdrich and Sun Yung Shin be our two visiting writers.

For more information, visit the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference website at https://www.northwoodswriters.org

Natural Connections Writing Workshop

August 2, 2023 from 9 am to 5 pm at the Forest Lodge Estate, Cable, WI

$65 member/$75 non-member Registration required with limited space. Register by July 1.

Join award-winning author and naturalist Emily Stone for a writing workshop at the beautiful Forest Lodge Estate. Writers of all experience levels will gather in the boathouse overlooking Lake Namakagon from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We’ll use writing to deepen our own and other’s connection to nature while working on “the river above” and “the river below.” Lunch is provided. You don’t have to be a certified Master Naturalist to participate! Any adult learners are welcome. Space is limited. Register by July 1 at cablemuseum.org or by calling the Cable Natural History Museum at 715-798-3890 to receive pre-course readings. $65 member/$75 non-member.

An Invitation to Write

For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3FmS84N

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KUDOS – News about our members

Sharon Chmielarz has a brand new book out, a new and selected poems, “Duet in the Little Blue Church” published by Nodin Press, 227 pages, poems from thirteen previous books. Check it out on their web site. Or email her. sharonchmielarz@gmail.com

Two of Viola LaBounty‘s poems were displayed at the 7th Annual Art & Poetry Exhibition: “Field of Green” inspired by a digital Photograph of an Onion Field, “Field of Green”; Also, “Sweet Red Attraction – A Yuma Moment”, inspired by an Acrylic Painting, of a humming bird feeding at a beautiful red desert flower, “A Yuma Moment”. Her poem compares the hummingbird to one up North at our feeder preparing for the long journey to a southern destination before our cold winter arrives. 35 artists and 22 poets “Share One Dream Together”.

Molly Milroy was awarded The Nina Amir Scholarship to attend the San Francisco Writer’s Conference, which took place in February. https://www.sfwriters.org/scholarships/

Molly Milroy has an essay about motorcycling in Rubber Side Down: The Improbable Inclination to Travel on Two Wheels by Ron Davis, published by Road Dog Publications, an imprint of Lost Classics Books Publishing. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rubber-side-down-ron-davis/1142325785

Holy Cow! Press “The Wolf’s Trail: An Ojibwe Story, told by Wolves,” by Thomas D. Peacock is the One Book Northland community read title for 2023. Published by Duluth-based Holy Cow! Press, it’s about Ojibwe teaching and the truths of Ojibwe existence as seen through the words of a wolf elder as he “talks story” to wolf pups. The author is a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior (Anishinaabe Ojibwe). Libraries in Duluth, Cloquet, Superior (Wis.), as well as bookstores and businesses will host events during April. Please check local media for specific times and locations.

Beth Probst’s book Now What? Navigating Life After Loss comes out on April 6. I was recently interviewed on MN Reads about it: https://www.thenorth1033.org The book will be available online at major retailers and at Zenith Bookstore after April 6. For more information visit: https://bethprobst.com/

Bart Sutter has three poems–“Shaving with My Grandmother,” “A Field Full of Bobolinks,” and “Coons”–in the online magazine “The Raven’s Perch.”

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Lake Superior Writers Blog

Lake Superior Writers invites members to submit guest posts for possible inclusion on our blog. Please visit our blog information page for more details: https://lakesuperiorwriters.org/blog/blog-submission-guidelines/

Our blog currently features Free Association by Doug Lewandowski