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Future of Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards hangs in the balance

After more than three decades supporting and recognizing the creative talents of many North Shore writers, photographers and illustrators, the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA) program is at a critical crossroads.

Matt Rosendahl is the director of the Kathryn A. Martin Library at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The UMD library has organized and presented the book awards dating back to 1988. During a conversation Feb. 26 with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs, Rosendahl said the coronavirus pandemic has affected NEMBA like so many other events.

“Unfortunately, this means that we will not be able to conduct the 33rd annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards,” Rosendahl said. “Furthermore, we have come to the painful conclusion that we will no longer be able to host and facilitate the awards in the future.”

That being the case, there’s room for optimism that the awards could continue. It will take community support and organizing to make that a reality, Rosendahl said.

Award and event organizers are asking interested parties to complete this short survey to let them know if there is interest in preserving, continuing and operating NEMBA in the future.

To learn more about how community members or organizations can work to keep NEMBA a reality for the creative talent in the North Shore area and throughout the region, follow the link above. You can also email the library here or call Rosendahl directly at 218.726.6562.

The audio below is Rosendahl’s complete conversation with WTIP about the situation.