May 2023 NorthWords

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May NorthWords includes:

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Notes from the Board Room

Spring thaw seems to affect the activity level of everything (including great programming for writers). Critters suddenly are showing up again … even Mom Bear, who cavorted on our neighbor’s tall wooden play tower as her baby hung out below. All moms need a break now and then. Just opening the door – without a coat and boots, but definitely looking for bears – once again means hearing bird songs and feeling a reasonable tolerable breeze. Most (not all) of the snow has departed from the yard, but spring really is happening.

As the waters flow and the bird sing, we have great spring offerings to share with you. With that, I’m getting right to the point about all the events and opportunities coming up in May.

First, on Wednesday, May 10, at 6 p.m., we hope everyone will join the virtual panel discussion Small Press Big Deal when LSW hosts three local writer/publishers. Elizabeth “Betsy” Albert-Peacock, co-owner of Black Bears and Blueberries Publishing, Mike Savage of Savage Press and Sparky Stensaas with Kollath Stensaas Publishing will talk about their journey into the publish business, a bit about their own writing and about where the small press industry stands today. There will be time for questions. This event is free thanks to the support of the Minnesota Arts Board and the voters of Minnesota who help to fund our grant.

Second, on Saturday, May 13, at 9:30 a.m., our regular Virtual Writers Café will be open for chatting on the very appropriate topic of “Spring Cleaning for Writers.” Sign up through to get the regular link to that conversation. This will be the last café until fall (Sept. 9) and many thanks to LSW member Gail Trowbridge, who continues to host.

Third, on Saturday, May 20, 1:30-3:30 p.m. we hold our free Annual Membership Event. The winners of our 2023 Writing Contest will read their top-prize non-fiction, fiction and poetry pieces. Leif Enger and his son John Enger, both authors, will join LSW board member Doug Lewandowski for a discussion about their work and how family influences them both. Doug, by the by, taught an amazing workshop in April about the psychological development of characters. As a writer and retired psychologist, he suggested great resources for making our “paper people” come to life. We might need to tap him for a reprisal sometime.

Fourth, and I’m really excited about this, we at Lake Superior Writers have been reaching out to other regional writing groups to form partnerships and cross-pollinating opportunities. The next driving-distance event will be May 12-13 in Thunder Bay, hosted by the Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW). The group’s annual LitFest will feature two prominent nationally recognized authors, Eric Walters and Anna Porter, doing readings, workshops and discussions. Both Eric and Anna have been given the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honor (honour) along with numerous writing awards and accolades. All are welcome if you can make it up north, and registration is still possible for the full event or just a workshop or two.

So time to revv up for a summer of fun, sun, Big Lake visits and a good bit of writing.

Write on!

Konnie LeMay, Board Chair

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Lake Superior Writers Events

Small Press, Big Deal

Wednesday, May 10 from 6 pm to 8 pm on Zoom

Registration required by Tuesday, May 9 at 6 pm. Open to all. Free of cost.

Lake Superior Writers has invited three regional writer/publishers to speak about the history of their small publishing operation, a little about their own writing journey via that venue and about where small publishing stands today. There will be time for plenty of thoughtful “writerly” questions from the virtual audience.

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

Virtual Writers’ Café

May 13, 2023 9:30 am to 11 am on Zoom

Registration required. Open to all. Free of cost.

Topic: Spring Cleaning for Writers

It’s been a very l-o-n-g winter, has it not? Here in the Northland, the creeks and waterfalls are in full force, urging us to refresh our creativity. “Spring cleaning” might mean changing your writing routine, taking a break from social media, moving your writing outdoors, going on a writing retreat, or deep cleaning your personal writing space. (NOTE: After May’s session, Writers Café will be taking the summer off; back in September.)

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 May Virtual Writers’ Café!

Annual Membership Event

May 20, 2023 from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm in the Green Room at the Duluth Public Library, 520 W Superior St., Duluth, MN

Registration is required by Saturday, May 13 at 6pm. Members only. Become a member on our website!

Keynote Speakers: Leif Enger and his son, John Enger. The life of a writer is one both Leif and John Enger know well. They will discuss their process for creating narratives that engage and invigorate our imaginations – what enlivens the first steps in writing, thoughtful considerations that reflect research, and the mechanics of producing a viable manuscript. There will also be time for questions.

For the complete schedule and to register, visit the events page.

2023 Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards – Call for Nominations & Readers

May 31, 2023 – Book Nomination 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.

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Literary Events

Lynette Reini-Grandell Presents Wild Things

May 4, 2023 at 7 pm at Zenith Bookstore, 318 N. Central Ave., Duluth MN

Lynette Reini-Grandell will read from and discuss her new memoir Wild Things: A Trans-Glam-Punk-Rock​ ​Love Story (Minnesota Historical Society Press). In Wild Things, the author shares a deeply personal story of love and growth. This event is free and open to the public.

Chris Monroe: Book Launch and Story Time

May 6, 2023 from 10 am to 11 am at Zenith Bookstore, 318 N. Central Ave. Duluth MN

Duluth children’s author Chris Monroe returns to Zenith Bookstore for the launch of her new children’s book Sasquatch and Squirrel. Join us Saturday morning, May 6, for a fun story-time event. This event is free and open to the public.

Book Signing: The Superior Hiking Trail Story

May 6, 2023 from 1 pm to 3 pm at Zenith Bookstore, 318 N. Central Ave. Duluth MN

Meet and greet Rudi Hargesheimer, author and photographer of The Superior Hiking Trail Story: The Trek Continues / Expanded Content. A sequel to the 2020 Superior Hiking Trail Story, this new book, with award-winning photos, offers four extra years of historical stories gleaned from many interviews with hikers, volunteers, and Superior Hiking Trail Association staff. This event is free and open to the public.

An Oompa for the Home-comers

May 6, 2023 at 7 pm at the World of Accordions Museum, 1401 Belknap Street, Superior, WI

Bart Sutter and Anthony Bukoski will read their poetry and fiction, complemented by music from several countries performed by Minneapolis accordionist Art Bjorngjeld, at the World of Accordions Museum in Superior, Wisconsin, on Saturday, May 6, at 7 p.m. Admission is $25. The distinctive venue at 1401 Belknap Street is home to a collection of more than 1,000 accordions. “An Oompa for the Home-comers” is only one of many programs being offered there during the World of Accordions Festival, May 5 – 7. For a complete schedule and price of admission to the full festival, see “Events and News” at

Authors’ Event: To Be Free

May 7, 2023 at 4 pm at Zenith Bookstore, 318 N. Central Ave. Duluth MN

An exciting and timely event with the authors of the recently released To Be Free: Understanding and Eliminating Racism (Black Bears and Blueberries Publishing). This new, updated book about racism, seen from an Indigenous perspective, is written for middle school age through adult readers. This event is free and open to the public.

Thursdays @ the U: Women of the American Revolution with Kathy Waldvogel

May 11, 2023 from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm at Blue Hills Lecture Hall, UW-Eau Claire – Barron County

K.M. Waldvogel will discuss her research for her middle-grade book, Spies, Soldiers, Couriers, and Saboteurs: Women of the American Revolution. Included will be how the role of women during this time evolved due to the war.

A link to information about Thursdays @ the U is here:

Book Signing: Men Over 60 Don’t Quit Now!

May 13, 2023 from 11 am to 1 pm at Zenith Bookstore, 318 N. Central Ave. Duluth MN

Internist, father, grandfather, athlete, and author Dr. Peter J. Dorsen will have a book signing for “Men Over 60: Don’t Quit Now!” In his book, Dorsen enthusiastically approaches and advises readers on techniques to deal with issues related to physical, cognitive, retirement, spiritual, societal self-value, vulnerability, illnesses, sex, and losses at the latter crossroad of a man’s life past 60. This event is free and open to the public.

Polk County Museum Speaker’s Series

May 27, 2023 at 1 pm at Polk County Museum, 120 W Main St., Balsam Lake, WI

Kathleen will present about the role of women during the American Revolution. More information about the museum and their speaker’s series can be found at:

Minnesota Rainbow Ink with Brian Malloy

Tuesdays, June 6 – August 1 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm over Zoom

Are you LGBTQ+ or a friend of the community? Do you write or do you want to try your hand at poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction? In this low-pressure class for absolute beginners and experienced writers wanting a refresher, you’ll be inspired by works of LGBTQ+ writers, engage in user-friendly lessons on the basics, experiment with writing exercises, and draft your own original works.
The teaching artist is Minnesota Book Award winner Brian Malloy.
Sound good? It gets even better:

  • The class is on Zoom, so you don’t need to drive or take the bus!
  • Greater Minnesota residents are encouraged to enroll!
  • Eight Tuesdays: June 6 – August 1, 2023 (no class mee=ng on July 4)
  • 6:30 – 8 p.m. online (if you need to miss a class or two, don’t worry, you’ll receive a PDF
    of the material we covered)
    Email – put “Minnesota Rainbow Ink” in the subject line, and 1)
    provide your name (or nickname), 2) preferred email address, 3) why you’d like to enroll, and 4)
    the Minnesota community where you live.
  • Enrollment is limited to 12 Minnesota residents. If the class fills, you’ll be put on a class waiting list in the order your email was received.

Author presentation with Allen Eskens

June 8, 2023 at 1 pm at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 220 3rd St S, Hackensack, MN

Northwoods Arts Council is pleased to present ‘An Afternoon with Allen Eskens’

Allen Eskens is a Minnesota bestselling and award-winning author of mystery, thriller, and suspense novels. His works include The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another, The Heavens May Fall, The Deep Dark Descending, The Shadows We Hide, Nothing More Dangerous, The Stolen Hours, and Forsaken Country. His newest book Saving Emma is available for preorder with a release date of September 19, 2023. All his books are character arcs that revolve around a small community rather than a series. He recently retired from 25 years of experience as a criminal attorney.

You won’t want to miss this presentation on June 8th at 1:00 PM at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 220 3rd Street South, Hackensack, Minnesota 56452. A book signing and sale will follow Allen’s presentation along with refreshments. Reservations are required for this free event.

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 for more information!

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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

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 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

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KUDOS – News about our members

Gary Boelhower‘s poem “Hush” will be published in the spring issue of Spring Thaw Literary and Arts Magazine.

Carol Dunbar’s novel, The Net Beneath Us, won the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award, given to the best fiction book published by a Wisconsin writer in the contest year. The Wisconsin Writers Awards are the longest-running literary awards in the state, judged by writers outside the state. There will be a public reading and reception at the Arts + Literature Laboratory in Madison on May 20 at 6pm.

One of Liz Minette‘s poems found a home in Issue #11 of the beautiful The Thunderbird Review, published out of Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College.

Liz Minette has a poem published in the anthology “American Graveyard – Calls to End Gun Violence” published by Read or Green Books out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Gina Ramsey has written and published her first humor book Burnt Gloveboxes – Embracing Life When It Goes Up In Flames. It will be released on May 9th.
The book consists of humorous short essays of mishaps that she has experienced in life.

Victoria Lynn Smith‘s short story “Prom Flash” has been published in the 2023 Freshwater Literary Journal of Asnuntuck Community College. This is a print journal, but an online copy of the journal can be found here: