The Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA) was established in 1988 to recognize books that substantially represent northeastern Minnesota in the areas of history, culture, heritage, or lifestyle.  Starting with a single category in the early years, the awards have grown to include six categories, selecting a Winner and an Honorable Mention in each area.

The Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA) has honored authors, publishers, poets, photographers, and illustrators for over three decades. NEMBA marked its 32nd year in 2020, and while COVID-19 prevented an in-person event, winners were selected and celebrated.

The awards were most recently administered by the library staff of the Kathryn A. Martin Library at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.  Following a down year in 2021 due to Covid and staffing changes, the Library made the difficult decision to step away from NEMBA in order to focus on the core aspects of its mission – support for teaching, learning, and research at UMD.

In 2021 Lake Superior Writers (LSW) agreed to assume responsibility for the awards.  We are excited to enable this important recognition to continue and are pleased to say that we successfully completed our first year of awards in 2022, honoring books published in both 2020 and 2021.

In order to promote fairness in judging, particularly regarding LSW members and those serving on NEMBA committees, we have developed Fairness Policies which may be viewed here.

This is the timeline for the 2023 awards:

  • February 1 – Book Nominations Open
  • May 31 – Book Nominations Close
  • Mid-October – Winners and Honorable Mentions are announced

Due to a limited budget and staffing the awards with all volunteers, we are still evaluating the option of a small public event for presenting the awards this year. Our primary focus is on building a new high-quality organization. We expect to return to an in-person award presentation in the future and will reassess the form it will take at that time. 

For details on categories and nominating a book, please refer to Call for Nominations.

Please see our Fairness Policies for information on these guidelines.

The NEMBA Awards are presented by Lake Superior Writers.