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Winners have just been announced in the 2019 FOREWORD Indies and Minnesota author Sheila O'Connor's latest novel, Evidence of V: A Novel in Fragments, Fact and Fictions, is the Editor's Choice for the Fiction Prize. Here is a link to the announcement. Earlier this year, the book also won the Novel & Short Story category of the Minnesota Book Awards.
Evidence of V was inspired by the true story of the author's maternal grandmother’s six-year incarceration as a 15-year-old girl for an unplanned pregnancy in 1935. The novel incorporates multiple genres as well as historical documents to bring to light the little-known practice of incarcerating girls for “immorality” at the Minnesota Home School for Girls in Sauk Centre, Minnesota and across the United States.
O'Connor discussed her book and the story behind it at a virtual event in partnership with The Friends of the Brainerd Public Library on June 22. The event was previewed by the Brainerd Dispatch, as well as Lakeland Public Television, and radio stations KAXE-AM and WWWI-AM in Brainerd, MInn.
A popular speaker, O’Connor has continued to raise awareness of this silenced Minnesota history despite the constraints of the virus. “Although my events have gone virtual, I remain committed to reaching out to communities across Minnesota whose families may have been affected by similar circumstances, and to raise awareness of this treatment of girls and women within the criminal justice system,” said O’Connor. Ultimately, O’Connor hopes to connect with survivors and descendants whose stories have yet to be told.
In addition to recent awards, “Evidence of V” is listed as one of the Best Criminal Justice Books of the Year by the Marshall Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. It is also a nominee for the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards.
Learn more about Sheila O'Connor's work on her author website: SheilaOconnor.com.
(Denver, CO) – Denver resident Pete Carlson’s debut novel has won national recognition. Ukrainian Nights is a finalist in the General Fiction category of the highly prestigious Eric Hoffer Awards program.
Ukrainian Nights is the story of Hunter, a young New York Times journalist, assigned to investigate sex slavery and money laundering in Kiev just after the fall of the Soviet Union. Shortly after arriving in Russia, he falls in love with his informant, Alina, who happens to be the mistress of Vladimir Karasov—the head of Ukraine’s largest mafia.
The love story between Hunter and Alina is running against a background of desperate brutality in Kiev and New York City, the result of the competing interests of international business, human trafficking, geopolitics, drug money and crooked banking—for the riches and spoils of oil and gas exploitation in Ukraine. The plot of Ukrainian Nights twists and turns until the reader is left to wonder what will happen next and who is right and who is wrong.
About the Eric Hoffer Awards
The Eric Hoffer Book Award honors the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer by highlighting salient writing, as well as the independent spirit of small publishers. Since its inception, the Hoffer has become one of the largest international book awards program for small, academic, and independent presses.
St. Paul author and South African native Alix Jans launched his debut novel, Amandla, on June 16.
The date is of significance in his native country. Youth Day is when South Africans pay tribute to the Soweto school children killed in their 1976 uprising that proved to be a turning point in the struggle to liberate South Africa from the apartheid regime.
Amandla begins with a prologue in which Nelson Mandela is woken by a would-be assassin, whose motives are both personal and political. The story then flashes back to a seminal battle between the Zulus and the Afrikaner Boers (farmers), and the genesis of a multi-generational saga between two families inextricably entangled in a deadly feud. Their fictional forebears fight an historic battle that turns a river red with the blood of warriors, and in a war between an army of farmers and the might of the British Empire. Both families face the horrors of segregated genocide in black and white concentration camps, as well as enduring destitution as manual laborers on farms and in goldmines, while on the national stage their antipathies are fueled by the rise of apartheid.
In the drama that unfolds, a tragic misunderstanding leads to a personal vendetta that mirrors the prejudices at the heart of each group’s inability to comprehend the aspirations of the other, culminating in an attempt to assassinate Mandela—with his own gun!
Learn more about this title, or pick up a copy today at Alixjans.com.
There is a story on the front page of the June 11 issue of the Country Messenger newspaper about Minnesota lobbyist Bill Strusinski's recently published memoir, Care Under Fire. In the article titled, "Jungle Therapy: Combat Medic's experience in Vietnam has shaped his life for over 50 years," reporter C. L. Sill shares intimate details of what life was like on the front lines for Strusinski on the front lines. The story also shares Strusinski's motivation for telling his story now.
Copies can be ordered through the publisher's website, Calumet Editions.com.