Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA)

32nd Annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards  - POSTPONED 

Coronavirus is on everyone's mind with the effects being felt around the world.  We're all concerned for the health and safety of our family, friends, and colleagues and community members.  In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and with emphasis on the concern for everyone's safety, this year's 32nd annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards will be POSTPONED AND COMBINED with next year's 33rd annual NEMBA in May 2021. 

The presentation of the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards involves the coordinated efforts of many individuals, including library staff, publishers, authors, booksellers and community members. In the interest of following all recommended best practices around social distancing, and with the closing of the UMD Kathryn A. Martin Library for an undetermined amount of time, the reading teams are unable to read and review the current nominated titles. Our expectation is that this review process will continue at some point within this next year so that winners and honorable mentions will be awarded for this year's nominees together with the nominees for the 33rd annual NEMBAs in May 2021. This is an unprecedented move in unprecedented times. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we all focus on the safety and well-being of each other.

UPDATE: The combined event will be held on Thursday, May 20, 2021 in the Kirby Ballroom on the UMD campus. Additional information will be posted later this summer.

The keynote speaker in 2021 will be Wing Young Huie.  Celebrated photographer Wing Young Huie has captured the complex cultural realities of American society for over 35 years. His photos have been shown in international museums, but his best known works, Lake Street USA and the University Avenue Project, were epic public art projects that transformed Minneapolis and Saint Paul thoroughfares into six-mile photo galleries, reflecting the everyday lives of thousands of its citizens.

Wing Young Huie
Wing Young Huie

The StarTribune named him “Artist of the Year” in 2000 and in 2018 he was honored with the McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, the first photographer ever to receive the award in its 21-year history. His seventh and most personal book, Chinese-ness: The Meanings of Identity and the Nature of Belonging (Minnesota Historical Society Press, fall 2018) won a Minnesota Book Award and a Northeastern Minnesota Book Award.

It is in classrooms and non-arts venues where his work has been most impactful, as he’s given over a thousand presentations to audiences of all kinds—including K-12 classrooms, colleges, museums, non-profits, corporations, and places of worship—showing the various ways he’s photographically engaged thousands of strangers

Nominations for the 32nd annual NEMBA are now closed and the event has been postponed and will be combined with the 33rd annual NEMBA in May 2021.  We will begin accepting nominations for the 33rd annual NEMBA in October, 2020.


Nominations were submitted in one of six categories:

  1. Nonfiction: nonfiction works such as history, biography, guidebooks, cookbooks, books about science and nature, and scholarly works.
  2. Fiction: novels, short stories, plays, and other works of narrative fiction.
  3. Art, Photography: books that primarily serve to showcase (and annotate) the visual art contained in them.
  4. Children's Literature: books of any type intended for children and young adults.
  5. Poetry: collections of poetry or a single poem of book length.
  6. Memoir: books that examine some aspect of the world from a highly personal perspective. 


The winning book in each category will receive a cash prize of $200. The winning book and the honorable mention in each category will receive a glass plaque and 100 book seals. 


Presented by UMD's Kathryn A. Martin Library
416 Library Drive
Duluth, MN 55812

and the Friends of the Duluth Public Library