Formative characters: Three Minnesota authors share their favorites

A collage of three author profile photos.
Three Minnesota authors – Ben Percy, Shannon Gibney and Peter Geye – were asked to name their favorite literary characters for the final Big Books and Bold Ideas of the year. Their answers both delighted and surprised host Kerri Miller.
Courtesy photos

Big Books and Bold Ideas is usually the show where readers meet writers. But for this final show of 2022, we decided to do something unexpected.

Instead of talking to writers about books they wrote, we asked them about their favorite literary characters someone else wrote. It’s an assignment these Minnesota authors took seriously, and their selections both surprised and delighted host Kerri Miller. She also asked each author to recommend their favorite book of 2022, so get your “need to read” list ready!


  • Peter Geye writes and lives in Minneapolis and is the author of many books. His latest novel is “The Ski Jumpers.”

  • Shannon Gibney is a writer and a professor of English at Minneapolis College. Her books include the novel, “Dream Country” and the upcoming memoir-inspired novel, “The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be.”

  • Ben Percy is a novelist and screenwriter based in Northfield, Minn. His novels include “The Unfamiliar Garden” and a collection of stories titled, “Suicide Woods.” He also writes for Marvel Comics.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. 

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