There was a special guest at this weekend's Minnesota Book Awards ceremony: Malcolm O'Hagan, President of the The American Writers Museum Foundation. O'Hagan is on a quest to find a home for his literary museum, which is still in the early fundraising stage of creation.
O'Hagan was the guest of Pat Coleman, acquisitions librarian for the Minnesota Historical Society, and brother of St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman. Irish by birth, I'm sure O'Hagan was delighted to see poet Leanne O'Sullivan take the stage to receive the O'Shaughnessy award.
Two articles, from the Pioneer Press and MinnPost.com, go into detail on O'Hagan's visit, which included a performance of the opera "Wuthering Heights" inspired by Emily Brontë's novel (according to reviews, that may not have been such a good idea).
Possible homes for the museum that were bandied about include the Minnesota History Center and the James J. Hill Reference Library. But evidently Chicago is the frontrunner in this race.
I thought it might be fun to make a list of just why such a museum should find its true home here in the Twin Cities, so without further ado, see below. Am I missing something? Add it in the comments section.
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Why a National Writers' Museum would do well to settle in the Twin Cities:
1. F. Scott Fitzgerald lived and wrote here.
2. So did Sinclair Lewis.
3. Minneapolis is the third most literate city in the nation
We are home to three of the top four independent literary presses in the United States:
4. Milkweed Editions
5. Graywolf Press
6. Coffee House Press
7. St. Paul is the 7th most literate/literary city in the nation
8. We are home to Open Book, a unique center devoted to a love of the book, which, in addition to housing Milkweed Editions, is also home to:
9. The Loft Literary Center
10. and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts
11. St. Paul has poetry embedded in its sidewalks.
12. Robert Bly
13. Carol Bly
14. Bill Holm
15. Louise Erdrich
16. Kate DiCamillo
17. Garrison Keillor, author and host of Writers' Almanac, in addition to hosting A Prairie Home Companion.
18. Rain Taxi Review of Books
The Twin Cities are home to a wealth of independent book stores, including (but not limited to):
19. Micawber's Books
20. Birchbark Books and Native Arts
21. Magers & Quinn
22. Once Upon a Crime
23. Red Balloon Bookshop
24. Sixth Chamber Used Books
25. Wild Rumpus
26. Uncle Edgar and Uncle Hugo
27. True Colors Bookstore
28. Common Good Books
Oh and let's not forget:
29. Leif Enger
30. Pete Hautmann
31. Kevin Kling
32. We have a theater named after F. Scott Fitzgerald
33. We have a restaurant/cafe named after Oscar Wilde
Obviously I could go on and on - what would you add to the list?