The folks at the Minnesota Historical Society and the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library decided to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Minnesota Book Awards. And they’re celebrating in a rather unique way: a Minnesota map. Not just any map, but one decorated with caricatures of 51 authors, all of whom have Minnesota connections.
The two-sided map, colored in rich greens, browns and creams, shows the entire state on one side. The back side shows the Twin Cities Metro area in greater detail and features the birthplaces, dates of births and deaths and book titles of 112 authors throughout the state. It includes F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis and even modern literary greats like Garrison Keillor and Vince Flynn.
Cook County features the author and naturalist Helen Hoover. Ms. Hoover, along with her husband Adrian, moved from Chicago to the Gunflint Trail in 1954. To make ends meet, Adrian sold cards he illustrated and other handmade trinkets. Helen wrote magazine articles and in 1963, her first book, The Long-Shadowed Forest, was published. The book recounted their life in the north woods and its success spurred her to write more north woods-inspired books: The Gift of the Deer (1966), A Place in the Woods (1968) and The Years of the Forest (1973).
She also wrote a wonderful children’s book, The Great Wolf and Good Woodsmen, in which she told the charming story of woodland creatures rallying to help an injured woodsman on Christmas day. That book was republished in 1997, accompanied with woodcut illustrations from Grand Marais’ own Betsy Bowen.
If you’d like to learn more about Helen Hoover, stop by the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. They have first editions of Helen’s books, handcrafted goods made by Adrien, and personal letters between Helen and Heston’s Lodge owner, Peggy Heston.
You can download the whole literary map for free: Minnesota Writers on the Map.