I attended the Northeast Minnesota Books Awards ceremony last month in Duluth. I didn't expect to leave with this new booming pride in our fine state and the terrific North Shore region.
Our book Camping the North Shore had been nominated in the general nonfiction category. Last year, Skiing the North Shore won the honorable mention in the same category. We didn't win this year, though the pies from the Rustic Inn were pretty great.
Here are the nominated authors, on the steps at UMD's Marshall Performing Arts Center. Check out my green shirt in the front row. I think that's a ballet pose I've got going on.
I wanted to share a few quotes from the keynote speaker. Annette Atkins. Dr. Atkins is a professor of history at the College of St. Benedict and the author of the recent book Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out, from Minnesota Historical Society Press.
In introducing herself, she talked about how much she enjoys coming "up north." Minnesota, she reminded us, has a lot of prairie in the south and a lot of lakes in the north.
Atkins said, "It's up north that makes Minnesota not Iowa." I love this. Nothing against Iowa, but I like my pines and waters, and I think it's great to be in a state where there are major changes from one end to the other.
She went on to say that Minnesota has "been able to convince an entire state of farmers that we are a state of lakes."
Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Lakes and a few farmers too.