Shannon Gibney Receives 2024 MN Book Award

Shannon Gibney Receives 2024 MN Book Award

The Minnesota Book Awards is a program of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library as the Minnesota Center for the Book.

The winners of the 2024 Minnesota Book Awards were announced on Tuesday, May 7 in a live Ceremony at the Ordway. 

Q&A with Shannon Gibney

What is one detail you wanted to include in this book, but couldn’t find a place for?   
The original book title was “botched,” because so many of us adoptees feel that that is how we go through the world in so many ways. But it ended up not really working for the final draft. But I’m still attached to it, and would like to write something shorter some day on the botched identities of adoptees. 

Tell us about someone who proved instrumental to the creation of this book.   
My amazing editor, Andrew Karre. I can’t praise him enough, because he has been so consistently supportive and engaged during the process of creating this book, and beforehand (this was our third book together). He got the big “It” of this book right away, when I was first explaining the concept to him, got really excited about it, and of course had tons of ideas of how to strengthen it (like adding micro-essays on the absurdities of the adoptee experience – a feature that many readers have really responded to). This is definitely the weirdest book I have ever written, so it would not have come into being without a champion in publishing who could see it before it was fully created.

Tell us about a favorite read from the past year. Why did you find it enjoyable, insightful, or memorable?  
Read Forever is Now, a stellar YA novel-in-verse by Mariama Lockington. It’s about a feisty young Black girl in Oakland who has generalized anxiety disorder and agoraphobia – all exacerbated by a police attack on a young Black woman she witnessed – and her journey toward wellness and finding her voice. Really enjoyed it! 

Please tell us something about yourself that is not widely known.
I played rugby for a minute in college. I was a wing, and (shocker!) got injured. After a concussion, I realized that if I kept on with rugby I would probably not be able to play it or any other sport before long, so I quit. 

Share your thoughts about the role and value of libraries.   
I feel strongly and will shout from the rooftops that there is nothing more important than libraries in a democratically functioning society. Libraries are one of the few spaces in our communities that offer open access to resources, information, people, and stories, and we need them more than ever now. 

Shannon Gibney is an author and instructor at Minneapolis College. Her novel "See No Color," drawn from her life as a transracial adoptee, was hailed by Kirkus as “an exceptionally accomplished debut” and by "Publishers Weekly" as “an unflinching look at the complexities of racial identity.” Her sophomore novel, "Dream Country," received five starred reviews and earned her a second Minnesota Book Award.

This story was republished with permission from the Saint Paul Public Library.

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