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 Awarding Good Literature


Beatrice Ojakangas to Speak at NEMBA

Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards

Sunday, May 16, 1:30 to 5 p.m., UMD Kirby Ballroom

The 22nd annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA), featuring renowned food writer Beatrice Ojakangas, will be presented Sunday, May 16, from 1:30 to 5 p.m., at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Kirby Ballroom. Each year, NEMBA recognizes books that best represent northeastern Minnesota in the areas of history, culture, heritage, or lifestyle. Thirty-four books published in 2009 have been nominated.

Beatrice Ojakangas

The festivities will include a book fair, nominated author readings, and refreshments beginning at 1:30 p.m. Barton Sutter, Duluth’s first poet laureate, will emcee the formal program, which begins at 3:30 p.m., with Beatrice Ojakangas giving the NEMBA address, titled “Reading, Writing, and Recipes.”

Ojakangas, also known as “The Scandinavian Chef,” has published 27 cookbooks, including The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever (published by Chronicle Books, San Francisco), nominated for a James Beard award in May 2009. Ojakangas’ latest, Petite Sweets, was published in October 2009. Her first cookbook, The Finnish Cookbook (1964), is now in its 35th printing. Other books include Scandinavian Feasts, Great Whole Grain Breads, Beatrice Ojakangas's Great Holiday Baking Book, Light and Easy Baking and Cooking with Convection.

Ojakangas grew up on a farm in northern Minnesota, the oldest of ten children. While still a little girl, she developed an interest in cooking and baking. This led to 4-H Club activities and annual trips to the Minnesota State Fair to demonstrate food preparation. She was Minnesota Grand Champion and National Grand Champion twice, in Breads and Dairy Products. She won the Second Grand Prize at the Pillsbury Bakeoff in 1957.

Her formal education includes a BS degree in Home Economics from the University of Minnesota Duluth and graduate work at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In May 2007, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Minnesota. Ojakangas has been a food editor at Sunset Magazine in California and has worked and/or consulted for several food companies and food organizations. She has written for food magazines including Gourmet, Woman's Day, Family Circle, Country Living, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, and Fast and Healthy. Beatrice has presented several lectures on cruise ships and was an invited guest on the PBS series hosted by Julia Child - Baking With Julia: In Julia's Kitchen with Great Bakers. She was also a guest presenter on The Martha Stewart Show.

After the NEMBA keynote address will be the presentation of awards in five categories: (1) fiction, (2) poetry, (3) memoir/creative nonfiction, (4) general nonfiction, and (5) children’s literature. The winner in each category will receive a cash prize of $300, and the winning author and honorable mention in each category will receive a glass plaque. All of the NEMBA events on Sunday, May 16, are free and open to the public. NEMBA is sponsored by the UMD Library with support from Friends of the Duluth Public Library, Lake Superior Writers, and Northern Lights Books & Gifts. The Bookstore at Fitger’s will host a prize drawing. For more information, call 218-726-7889 or visit the NEMBA home page at

Associated Event
Lake Superior Writers offers a writing workshop in conjunction with NEMBA from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, in the UMD Library fourth floor rotunda reading room. Cookbook author Bea Ojakangas will lead the LSW writing workshop, titled "How to Write a Cookbook." She will address how to write a recipe, design a cookbook, and write a book proposal. The writing workshop will accommodate up to twelve participants. The workshop fee is $35 for LSW members and $40 for nonmembers. To reserve your spot, e-mail and send your pre-registration check to the LSW office, 1301 Rice Lake Road, Suite 132, Duluth, MN 55811.

NEMBA Nominees
Big Noise: A Jo Spence Mystery, Jen Wright, Clover Valley Press
Heading North, Joseph Van Nurden, North Star Press of St. Cloud
Ice Shack, David J. Heath, Majestic Pine Publishing
Manitou Murder, C. C. Canby, j-press Publishing
Minnesota Cold, Cynthia Kraack, North Star Press of St. Cloud
Secrets, David P. Holmes, North Star Press of St. Cloud

Before You Know It: Prose Poems 1970 -2005, Louis Jenkins, Will o' the Wisp Books
Between, Morgan Grayce Willow, Nodin Press
The Dark Honey: New & Used Poems, Ellie Schoenfeld, Clover Valley Press
Driving Gravel Roads: 50 Prose Poems, Jim Johnson, Red Dragonfly Press
The Gravity of Flesh, Jill Breckenridge, Nodin Press
Looking North: Images of Life in Northern Minnesota, C. P. Stone, Shadow IRIS Books

61 Gems on Highway 61, Kathryn Mayo and William Mayo, Adventure Publications
Insects of the North Woods, Jeffrey Hahn, Kollath-Stensaas Publishing
Intriguing Owls: Exceptional Images and Insight, Stan Tekiela, Adventure Publications
Minong—The Good Place: Ojibwe and Isle Royale, Timothy Cochrane, Michigan State University Press
Moths & Caterpillars of the North Woods, Jim Sogaard, Kollath-Stensaas Publishing
Mr. Environment: The Willard Munger Story, Mark Munger, Cloquet River Press
Native Artists: Livelihoods, Resources, Spaces, Gifts, Marcie Rendon and Ann Markusen, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Wildflowers of the Boundary Waters: Hiking through the Seasons, Betty Vos Hemstad, Minnesota Historical Society Press

Memoir and Creative Nonfiction
Chaos and Grit: Barbless Bits & Little Chits, Phyllis Burgess, Singing River Publications
Knife Island: Circling a Year in a Herring Skiff, Stephen Dahl, Nodin Press

Children’s Literature
Beaver, Bear, Snowshoe Hare: North Woods Mammal Poems, Cheryl Dannenbring, illustrated by Anna Hess, Raven Productions, Inc.
Boo Boo Bear's Mission, Mary Linda Sather, illustrated by children from military and civilian families, Beaver's Pond Press
The Christmas Spider, Catherine Kopari, self-published
Harry's Heavy Suitcase, Marcia Homer & Flossie Strickland, illustrated by Nancy Scheibe, Singing River Publications, Inc.
Henrietta Stays Out All Night!, Tom Broadbent, illustrated by Lisa Kosmo, self-published
Isabelle and Grandma Birdie, written and illustrated by Stephanie Stevens, Stephanie's Garden Press
Manoomin: A Wild Rice Adventure, written and illustrated by Joshua M. Whitebird, IGI Publishing
Moose on the Loose, Kathy-jo Wargin, illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello, Sleeping Bear Press
The Phantom of the North Shore: A Doc & Tweed History Mystery, John Koblas, North Star Press of St. Cloud
Pow Wow: niimiwin everyone dance, Leah Savage, photography by Nikki Willgohs and Jill Pertler, Fond du Lac Ojibwe Head Start
The Secret History of Lake Amikota, Jody G. Russell, North Star Press of St. Cloud
Wintering, William Durbin, Raven Productions

UMD home page editor, Cheryl Reitan,
NEW RELEASES, UMD media contact, Susan Latto,, 218-726-8830

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