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Sarah Stonich, who worked on “Vacationland” during an Anderson Center residency, is part of “A Picnic of Poetry and Prose” there June 19.

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Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

Two award-winning Minnesota writers, novelist Sarah Stonich and poet Robert Hedin, will read from their works at “A Picnic of Poetry and Prose” at the Anderson Center.


A free picnic will be served at 6 p.m. on the roof deck outside the center’s cafeteria. Readings will start at 7 p.m., and at 8 p.m. they will sign copies of their books in the main gallery. Co-sponsor is Fair Trade Books of Red Wing.

Everyone is invited. “Typical Minnesota summer picnic fare” and non-alcoholic beverages will be served, said Hedin, who is director of the Anderson Center. “It should be a lovely summer evening.”

Focus of the event will be Stonich’s new book, a summer hit titled “Vacationland,” Hedin said. Published by University of Minnesota Press, it’s a volume of stories that connect a dozen characters to the same fictional resort in northern Minnesota.

“Vacationland” was among projects Stonich pursued when she was in residence at Tower View about four years ago.

“I was working on ‘Shelter’ when I was in Red Wing — finishing it up. But I worked continuously on ‘Vacationland,’” she said, explaining that she tends to have more than one project in the works at any given time.

“Shelter” is her award-winning memoir about building a family cabin on a lake in northern Minnesota, a primitive place that is without electricity or plumbing but is interpreted by reviewers as both livable and lovable.

Stonich also wrote two best-selling novels, “These Granite Islands,” also set in Minnesota, and “The Ice Chorus,” which is set in Ireland and Canada.

After “Vacationland” was published, the Minneapolis Star Tribune said she has “storytelling gifts reminiscent of our most holy mother of the frozen north, Alice Munro. Like Munro … Stonich delivers beautiful storytelling without ever resorting to sentimentality.”

“She’s one of Minnesota’s finest novelists,” Hedin said.

He will be reading from his recent book of poetry, “Poems Prose Poems,” and from a new work, “The Light Under the Door,” which is being printed by Red Dragonfly Press, the Anderson Center’s press-in-residence.

An author, translator and editor of 23 books of poetry and prose, Hedin has been awarded several prestigious fellowships and two Minnesota Book Awards. Last year he was chosen to receive the Kay Sexton Award for his lifetime contributions to the literary community of Minnesota.

Together they will deliver poetry and prose on the roof deck.

Doing a book reading outdoors, at a picnic, is nothing out of the ordinary for Stonich.

“I do an awful lot of book clubs,” she said, including meetings with themes and dinners. In fact, she’s scheduled to appear for beer and books at the Lift Bridge Brewery in Stillwater on July 30.

Stonich might be persuaded to talk about two books she’s working on now. One is a story set in 1930s in the Dust Bowl of Alberta, Canada. It’s titled “Severance,” referring to the amount of money a rancher was given when his land was appropriated. The other, “American River,” is a family saga she’s been working on for years. It tells the story of siblings growing up in 1968 in a Minnesota rivertown that has its own pottery.

Although she does not use actual geographic locations in her books, Stonich admitted, “It’s very much like Red Wing.”

No reservations are needed. For more information, call the Anderson Center at 651-388-2009.