The 2013 Saint Paul Almanac won a Midwest Book Award in the “Culture” category last night. Actually, the prize really went to Arcata Press, the moniker for the publishing arm of the nonprofit Saint Paul Almanac, an organization that produces an annual literary guide to our river city as well as a wealth of artistic programming and events. The Almanac was a finalist in three categories—Culture, Travel, and Reference.
The Midwest Independent Publishers Association has sponsored the Midwest Book Awards since 1990. The 23rd Annual Gala was held on May 8th, 2013, at the Bloomington Center for the Arts, and honored excellence in books published in 2012. The awards recognize creativity in content and execution, overall book quality, and the book’s unique contribution to its subject area.
The award was accepted with pride by Kimberly Nightingale, the publisher and executive director of the Saint Paul Almanac, at a ceremony attended by many authors, publishers and friends.
The prize was a lovely certificate with a gold seal on it, similar to what you will see now on the cover of the 2013 edition of the Saint Paul Almanac, plus a big brass coin.
These tokens of esteem came from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MIPA), a trade association of independent book publishers from our 12-state region. According to Saint Paul Almanac‘s David Unowsky, the Twin Cities has the largest concentration of independent book publishers in the nation—just one more way to measure the wealth of popular support for the arts in our region.
The Saint Paul Almanac prides itself on diversity and its commitment to democratic publishing. The stories that make it into the Almanac are chosen each year by a team of 22 Community Editors—both high school students and grandmothers; boys, girls, men, and women; with representations from the Hmong, Native American, African American, Scots-Irish, Somali, Hispanic, and other Saint Paul communities; and is composed of both novice and experienced writers. The Community Editors select stories without knowing the author’s name, and have no idea whether they are perusing writing by Garrison Keillor or their next door neighbor.
Last year, the 2012 Saint Paul Almanac won the “Travel” category at the Midwest Book Awards. This April, Saint Paul Almanac community editor Patricia Kirkpatrick won a Minnesota Book Award for her book of poems, Odessa.
The Saint Paul Almanac is a literary organization that creates opportunities for understanding, learning, and building relationships through sharing people’s stories. And—apparently—a two-time, award-winning book!