2007: Is it getting hot in here (or is it just us)?

In 2007, the Minnesota Book Awards were presented by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library in collaboration with the Saint Paul Public Library and the City of Saint Paul. Having just taken over the august program late in the previous year, the staff of The Friends and many volunteers scrambled to organize a robust and thorough judging program, upload all historical archives to a new MNBA website, and plan a gala presentation that would take the Minnesota Book Awards to the next level.

Saint Paul's Poet Laureate Carol Connolly and Minnesota Book Award Winner, Diane Wilson

Saint Paul’s Poet Laureate (and 2011 Kay Sexton Award honoree) Carol Connolly and Minnesota Book Award Winner for Memoir, Diane Wilson

The Award for Autobiography, Memoir & Creative Nonfiction went to Diane Wilson’s Spirit Car — The story of Wilson’s quest for discovery. It begins with a vivid account of the 1862 Dakota War in Minnesota and then follows her family members’ nomadic travels across South Dakota and Nebraska in their struggle to survive. In 2012 the book was selected for One Minneapolis One Read.

The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”

A long-time environmental activist, Gore first became aware of evidence on global warming in the 1970s, and after leaving public office he became a passionate advocate for large- and small-scale changes in laws and lifestyles that could help alleviate this crisis. “An Inconvenient Truth” records a multimedia presentation hosted by Gore in which he discusses the scientific facts behind global warming, explains how it has already begun to affect our environment, talks about the disastrous consequences if the world’s governments and citizens do not act, and shares what each individual can do to help protect the Earth for this and future generations.

An Inconvenient Truth (2006) on Vimeo.

Matthew Sanford and his wifeMatthew Sanford’s Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence took home the prize for Readers’ Choice Award. More than 2,500 voters from around the state cast their ballot for Reader’s Choice, a new award sponsored by the Pioneer Press and TwinCities.com. Thanks to the sponsor, 50,000 full-color bookmarks promoting the opportunity to participate in the program were sent to libraries around the state, listing all finalists and outlining the process for voting. Accepting the Readers’ Choice Award at the gala, the author thanked his “fiery wife, his one-woman marketing team,” for helping him get the word out about his book.

Our top 10 bands that disbanded in 2007 (with names like these, is it any wonder?):

10.  I Killed the Prom Queen
9.  The Horribly Awfuls
8.  Send More Paramedics
7.  Faith in Plastics
6.  My Midnight Creeps
5.  Destroyalldreamers
4.  Cat the Dog
3.  Born Dead Icons
2.  The Singing Senators
1.  Dog Fashion Disco

One of the first Turkish academics to acknowledge and openly discuss the Armenian Genocide, Taner Akçam’s A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility won the 2007 Award for General Nonfiction. He is recognized as a “leading international authority” on the subject. In response to the continuing denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish State, many activists among Armenian Diaspora communities have pushed for formal recognition of the Armenian genocide from various governments around the world. On March 4, 2010, a US congressional panel narrowly voted that the incident was indeed genocide. Within minutes the Turkish government issued a statement critical of “this resolution which accuses the Turkish nation of a crime it has not committed.” Akçam’s outspoken and scholarly work continues.

Loss of life and innocence are the central elements of the elegantly written novel, When Charlotte Comes Home, by Maureen Millea Smith. The young librarian’s graduate thesis-cum-novel was her first, but – we trust and hope – not her last. The protagonist and narrator of this Award-winning novel, Fred was a sensitive young man growing up in a Catholic family in Omaha when the death of his spunky younger sister caused a deep and far-reaching effect on his entire family and broader community. With the backdrop of the 60’s and 70’s, Fred looks back on his formative years and his sexual awakening and coming of age as a young gay man.

On April 16, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in two separate attacks, approximately two hours apart, before committing suicide (another six people were injured escaping from classroom windows). The so-called Virginia Tech Massacre was the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history.

William Kent Krueger’s sixth Cork O’Connor mystery, Copper River won the award for Genre Fiction. The former sheriff of Tamarack County and a man of mixed heritage – part Irish and part Ojibwe – Cork finds sanctuary outside the small Michigan town of Bodine with his cousin Jewell DuBois, a bitter widow with a fourteen-year-old son named Ren. When the body of a young girl surfaces along the banks of the Copper River – and then another teenager vanishes, Cork focuses on tracking a ring of killers who prey on innocent children.

The Writers Guild of America representing film, television, and radio writers working in the U.S., went on a 100-day strike in November that lasted until February 2008. According to NPR, the strike cost the City of Los Angeles an estimated $1.5 billion. One of the critical issues for the negotiations was residuals for “new media”, or compensation for delivery channels such as Internet downloads, IPTV, streaming, smart phone programming, straight-to-Internet content, and other “on-demand” online distribution methods, along with video on demand on cable and satellite television.


On July 21, the final book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released and sold over 11 million copies in the first 24 hours, becoming the fastest selling book in history. Mary GrandPré is the Minnesota artist who illustrated all seven book covers.

Check out more 2007 Minnesota Book Awards winners and finalists!


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