March 2023 NorthWords

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March NorthWords includes:

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Notes from the Board Room

Do you ever feel the need for a deeper dive?  Throughout this year we have presented a number of writing classes on widely varied topics from writing basics to the intricacies of historical fiction.  But sometimes I crave more, an immersion in writing that only a longer series of sessions can provide. 

One of the first classes I took as a new member of Lake Superior Writers was a Memoir writing class taught by Felicia Schneiderhan.  We met in the evening once a week for six weeks, sitting at tables assembled in a large U-shape.  Throughout the course as we absorbed Felicia’s teachings, we took turns reading from our work.  I began to get to know the others in the class, and before long could match the writing to the person.  I marveled at the mastery of the more experienced writers, eager to absorb their skills, and identified with those who were novices like me yet making progress as each week passed.  We supported one another, laughed together, applauded and shared honest feedback. 

That one class became the foundation of my membership in LSW.  We formed a network of writers after the class, some of us forming a small writing group, others remaining as touchstones in my journey – writers I could email with questions, or meet for coffee to compare notes.  It embodied everything I thought LSW should be, immersing me in a community of supportive writers. 

This spring we are offering you two opportunities for the same experience.  In March, Sheila Packa is offering a 4-week workshop on Ways to Power Your Writing.  This virtual class will include opportunities for participants to share excerpts of their writing and get feedback, as well as participate in guided class exercises.  Sheila will also provide individualized feedback on a writing sample of 10 pages or less. 

In April and May, Felicia Schneiderhan returns to present another Memoir Workshop.  We are resuming an in-person format for this class which will meet weekly for four 2-hour sessions, much like the one I attended.  Participants will study a variety of memoirs and learn traditional and experimental forms for writing their own memoir. If you are an experienced memoirist or just getting started, this active workshop will give you tools to best tell your story.

Who knows, maybe you too will find your people in these classes and form lasting bonds with other writers.  Perhaps it’s time to give it a try! 

Molly Hoeg 

Board Chair 

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Lake Superior Writers Events

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.

A Different Engine: Ways to Power Your Writing

Mondays, March 6, 13, 20, and 27 from 7:15pm-8:45pm on Zoom

Registration required by Sunday, March 5 at 6 pm.

A 4-week workshop with Sheila Packa

This hands-on writing workshop is designed for writers to explore different “engines” that power a piece of writing and strengthen the voice of a poem or the voice of a character. Participants will read examples in literature, do guided exercises, and use techniques (in poetry or prose) to deepen and expand the voice and powerfully connect with readers.

In a relaxed atmosphere, we’ll do fun exercises that will help develop the participants’ own material (whether they are writing fiction or poetry). The primary focus over the 4 weeks will be on Image (including objects or what playwrights call a McGuffin), Voice (including dialogue), Character (including Narrator), Setting (Mood). 

For more information and to register, visit the events page.

Sheila Packa is an experienced teacher who has taught writing at Lake Superior College and in community settings. She was a former Duluth Poet Laureate. Her newest book, Surface Displacements, is just out from Wildwood River Press (2022). She has five books of poems, edited the anthology, Migrations: Poetry and Prose for Life’s Transitions, and she is at work on a book of short stories set in Duluth and the Iron Range in Minnesota. Her website is

Virtual Writers’ Café

March 11, 2023 9:30 am to 11 am on Zoom

Registration required. Open to all. Free of cost.

Topic: Imaginative use of Language

Let’s talk about mastering the small, subtle techniques that can add music, color and beauty to our writing, no matter what genre. It can mean finding the perfect verb to propel one sentence into the next; hitting on the just-right adjective for a character; or discovering a spot-on metaphor for an idea (think of Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is a thing with feathers/that perches in the soul.”) Join us for a discussion about how we can enrich our use of language. Bring examples from your own writing, or writers you admire.

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

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.

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Literary Events

Military History Author Panel

March 5, 2023 at 2pm at the Kenosha Civil War Museum, 5400 1st Ave., Kenosha, WI

Blue House Books of Kenosha and the Kenosha Civil War Museum are hosting a military author panel. Five authors of military history gather to discuss their careers documenting historical events, led by Civil War Museum Curator Doug Dammann. The discussion panel will consist of authors K.M. Waldvogel, Julia Gimbel, Robert J. Laplander, Allen J. Ottens, and David A. Powell. The focus of the discussion will include the American Revolution, Civil War, and both World Wars.

Book Launch: Julie Gard for I Think I Know You

March 9, 2023 at 7pm at Zenith Bookstore, 318 N. Central Ave. Duluth MN

Join Zenith Bookstore for the launch of Duluth poet Julie Gard’s new collection I Think I Know You (FutureCycle Press). Gard will be reading from and discussing her new book, as well as taking Q&A. Refreshments will be served. This event is free.

Wussow’s Concert Cafe Writer’s Salon

March 16, 2023 at 6pm-8pm at Wussow’s Concert Cafe, 324 N Central Ave. Duluth, MN

Marie Zhuikov will be the featured reader at Wussow’s Cafe’s Writer’s Salon. She’ll share selections from her memoir, “Meander North,” and will take requests for your favorite essays from it. She’ll also talk about her upcoming magical realism short story collection. The event is on Facebook:

Minnesota Writing Workshop

March 25, 2023 9:30 am to 5 pm at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront, an IHG Hotel, 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, March 25, 2023, at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront. In other words, it’s one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome.

For more information visit,

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.

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An Invitation to Write

For more information, visit

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KUDOS – News about our members

“Flight Patterns” (Poetry Harbor) is Jan Chronister‘s seventh chapbook. It is available from amazon or contact Jan at janchronister @

Lane Henson‘s poem – Roadside, ghost – was published by Rust + Moth. It can be found on their website, and will appear in their Spring 2023 print edition.

Holy Cow! Press is pleased to announce the publication of “Into the Good World Again,” a new collection of poems by former Wisconsin state poet laureate Max Garland. “A new book from Max Garland is always a cause for celebration, and “Into the Good World Again” delivers all the pleasures that readers expect from this poet—vivid, evocative imagery, musical language, inventive metaphors, and original, striking observations. But these poems are also full of wisdom, something only poets of the first rank–of which Max Garland is one–provide. And the wisdom in this remarkable collection is hard-earned, deeply felt, and often profound.”—Larry Watson, author of “Montana 1948,” “Let Him Go,” and other novels, and the poetry collection, “Late Assignments” Max Garland’s previous award winning books include “The Word We Used for It,” “The Postal Confessions,” and “Hunger Wide as Heaven.” He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michener Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories, among many other awards. Born and raised in western Kentucky, where he worked for many years as a rural letter carrier on the route where he was born, he later attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and is a former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin. He lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 86 pages, perfect bound, $16.95. Available at local bookstores, on, or through

Katharine Johnson‘s Born in a Red Canoe has been selected as a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards in the YA category.

Alice Marks‘ stand-alone short story, Murder at the RV Park, based on their book RV Murder, has been accepted by The Corpus Christi Writers Group 2023 Anthology. Usually only submissions are accepted but because the story has the Texas city’s setting, they made an exception!

Liz Minette has a poem and experimental film on tour with the 2023 North Dakota Human Rights Film + Art Festival One of Liz Minette’s poems found a home in Nerve Cowboy #50, their final proper periodical issue.

The poetry book Surface Displacements (Wildwood River Press) by Sheila Packa is a finalist for a 2023 Minnesota Book Award. The awards will be announced on May 2, 2023 at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul.

Victoria Lynn Smith‘s short story “Harlequin Pattern” was published by Hive Avenue Literary Journal in December 2022. She dedicated the story to Milan Kovacovic, a kind mentor who gave her feedback on the story. She misses Milan, who passed away in 2022, and she often thinks of him. Milan wrote a wonderful memoir called Ma’s Dictionary: Straddling the Social Class Divide. Her story can be found on page 262 at

Marie Zhuikov spoke to two environmental journalism and nature writing college classes in the past few months about her career as a science writer with Wisconsin Sea Grant and about her new blog-memoir, “Meander North.”

Paula Zwicke recently published a blog article, “It’s All About the Process: 3 Keys to Coaching PBL Students,” with Headrush Learning.

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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:

Our blog currently features Free Association by Doug Lewandowski