Hamline News

CWP Professor Sheila O'Connor Wins 2020 Minnesota Book Award

Evidence Full Story

The 2020 Minnesota Book Awards presented by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite not being able to gather in person for the first time in the history of the event, the Hamline Creative Writing Programs still had plenty to celebrate on this special night for the Twin Cities literary community. 

Professor Sheila O'Connor won the Minnesota Book Award in the category of Novel & Short Story for her book, Evidence of V: a Novel in Fragments, Facts, and Fictions. This is one of many honors the book has received since it was published by Rose Metal Press in October 2019. The book was named one of the top 150 books of the decade by Small Press Distribution and was named one of the Best Criminal Justice Books of 2019 by The Marshal Project

About the book from the author: "Inspired by the true story of my maternal grandmother’s six-year incarceration as a fifteen-year-old girl for an unplanned pregnancy, Evidence of V: A Novel in Fragments, Facts, and Fictions incorporates multiple genres as well as historical documents to bring to light the little-known practice of incarcerating girls for 'immorality' in Minnesota and across the United States. The book’s form mirrors my efforts to reconstruct a story from the pieces of evidence I was able to uncover. In terms of both content and form, this project is in many ways the culmination of all I’ve hoped to achieve as a writer."

This is the second time O'Connor has won the Minnesota Book Award in this category, also winning for novel Where No Gods Came in 2004. 

Order Evidence of V from your local independent bookstore HERE

Four other members of Hamline's creative writing community were honored as finalists in the 2020 Minnesota Book Awards. Adjunct faculty member Ed Bok Lee was a finalist in Poetry for his book Mitochondrial Night. MFA alum Nancy Hedin was also a finalist in Novel & Short Story for her novel Stray. MFA alum Geoff Herbach was a finalist in Young Adult Literature for his novel Cracking the Bell. MFAC faculty member Anne Ursu was a finalist in Middle Grade Literature for her novel The Lost Girl    

For a complete list of winners, videos of the 'Meet the Finalists' panel discussions, and footage of the ceremony can be found on the Minnesota Book Awards page on the website of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.