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2019 annual Fireside Reading Series line-up announced

Posted on 13 January 2019 by Calvin

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The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library will present the annual Fireside Reading Series, featuring six weeks of author readings, at 7pm on Wednesday evenings in January and February at the Hamline Midway Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave. The program annually highlights the work of some of Minnesota’s finest writers who have published a new work in the previous year.

New this season, in addition to their presentations, Fireside authors will be asked to talk about what “home” means to them. The goal is to complement the citywide conversation happening this winter as part of Read Brave Saint Paul, an intergenerational reading program whose 2019 theme is housing. The Fireside events are free and open to the public. Patrons can enjoy coffee, cider, cookies, and book signings. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided for all six events.

Sarah Stonich, author of “Laurentian Divide,” will be the guest on Wed., Jan 23. The best-selling author of “Vacationland” returns to the remote town of Hatchet Inlet with a poignant portrayal of life on the edge in northern Minnesota border country. Stonich is also the author of the critically acclaimed novels “The Ice Chorus” and “These Granite Islands,” as well as “Fishing with RayAnne” (writing as Ava Finch) and her memoir, “Shelter.”

Wang Ping, author of “Life of Miracles along the Yangtze and Mississippi,” will speak on Wed., Jan. 30. In a memoir that spans two rivers, two continents, and two cultures, Wang Ping traces her journey from China to America through the stories of the people that carried her along her travels. Wang’s publications of poetry and prose include “Aching for Beauty,” “The Magic Whip,” and “The Last Communist Virgin,” winner of a Minnesota Book Award. She is professor of English at Macalester College.

Gary Eldon Peter will discuss his new title “Oranges” on Wed., Feb. 6. Winner of the 2016 New Rivers Press Many Voices Project competition in prose, this debut short story collection traverses the life of Michael Dolin, a gay man from the Midwest who must find his own confusing path to adulthood after a personal loss. Peter’s short stories have appeared in “Callisto,” “Water~Stone Review,” “Great River Review,” and other publications. He is a professor at the University of Minnesota.

Heid E. Erdrich and Gwen Westerman, “New Poets of Native Nations,” will be the guests on Wed., Feb. 13. Edited by Erdrich, this landmark anthology celebrates 21 poets of diverse ages, styles, languages, and tribal affiliations to present the extraordinary range and power of new Native poetry. Erdrich is Ojibwe and an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She is the author of five collections of poetry, including “Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media,” winner of a 2018 Minnesota Book Award. Westerman is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She is the co-author of the Minnesota Book Award-winning “Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota” and a poetry collection, “Follow the Blackbirds.”

Martin Case will discuss his new title “The Relentless Business of Treaties: How Indigenous Land Became U.S. Property” on Wed., Feb. 20. The story of “western expansion” is a familiar one: U.S. government agents, through duplicity and force, persuaded Native Americans to sign treaties that gave away their rights to the land. But this framing, argues Case, hides a deeper story. Case is a freelance researcher and writer and was a key participant in the development of “Why Treaties Matter,” a collaboration of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian Institute.

To wrap up the series on Wed., Feb. 27, Karen Babine will discuss her book “All the Wild Hungers: A Season of Cooking and Cancer.” When her mother is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Babine can’t help but wonder: feed a fever, starve a cold, but what do we do for cancer? Generous and bittersweet, these essays chronicle one family’s experience of illness and a writer’s culinary attempt to make sense of the inexplicable. Babine is also the author of “Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life,” winner of a 2016 Minnesota Book Award.

The Fireside Reading Series is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. For more information on the series, visit www.thefriends.org/fireside.

2019 Midway Chamber Directory