Dr. Karen Babine ’01 has won a Minnesota Book Award with her first collection of essays, “Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life.”
It was honored in the memoir and creative nonfiction category.
“The category was an incredibly strong group of books, and I was simply thrilled to be part of it,” Babine says.
Babine used her formative years in Hubbard County, Minn., to set the stage as she looks at the sacredness of place – the land, waters and trees. Her essays examine floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanoes, as well as the man-made land change and complexities that surround them.
As a sophomore at Concordia, Babine took a Minnesota Writers class taught by Dr. Joan Kopperud. That class was pivotal, she said, during her acceptance speech:
“It was one of the defining moments of my writing life, this moment where I realized that I could write about Minnesota, I could write about rural Minnesota, where I come from, and people would care, it could get published, and it could win awards.”
The Minnesota Book Award is one of several recent recognitions for Babine. She received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from her MFA program at Eastern Washington University. Her book is a finalist for the Midwest Book Award in the nature category and a finalist for the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award.
Babine is currently working on a short collection of micro-essays reconciling her mother’s recent cancer with the food metaphors of cancer.
Recent Minnesota Book Award winners with Concordia ties include Melanie Hoffert ’97, who received the award for memoir and creative nonfiction for “Prairie Silence” in 2014, and Dr. Joy Lintelman, professor of history, who won in the general nonfiction category in 2010 for her book, “I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson.”
The Minnesota Book Awards were created in 1988 by The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library as part of a larger “Festival of the Book.” Books created by writers, illustrators, or book artists who are Minnesotans are eligible for Minnesota Book Awards.