Coffee House Press is pleased to share that two recently published titles have been named finalists for the 2023 Minnesota Book Awards: Sun Yung Shin’s collection The Wet Hex in the Poetry category, and Brad Zellar’s novel Till the Wheels Fall Off in Novel & Short Story. Winners will be announced in an awards ceremony Tuesday, May 2 at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts, presented by Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and sponsored by Education Minnesota.
More About the Finalists:
In The Wet Hex, personal and environmental violations form the backdrop against which Sun Yung Shin examines questions of grievability, violence, and responsibility. Incorporating sources such as her own archival immigration documents, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Christopher Columbus’s journals, and traditional Korean burial rituals, Shin explores the ways that lives are weighed and bartered. Smashing the hierarchies of god and humanity, heaven and hell, in favor of indigenous Korean shamanism and animism, The Wet Hex layers an apocalyptic revision of nineteenth-century imagery of the sublime over the present, conjuring a reality at once beautiful and terrible.
Sun Yung Shin is a Korean-born poet, writer, collaborative artist, and bodyworker. She/they lives in Minneapolis.
Most nights, afflicted by insomnia and racing thoughts, Matthew Carnap crosses the hall of his apartment in small town Minnesota to spend his sleepless hours in his stepfather Russ’s roller rink. Russ and Matthew bond over their shared outsider status and their obsessive approach to music, especially the search for perfect skating songs; but then comes divorce, the closure of the rink, and the onslaught of the twenty-first century. Years later, lost and restless, Matthew moves back to his hometown, occupying a dreamlike apartment in the high school football stadium’s press box. Wandering familiar streets, the open road, and his memories, Matthew seeks a path into the past—and a way to reconnect with Russ. With humor, empathy, and hypnotic prose, Till the Wheels Fall Off is a lovingly lo-fi novel about rural Midwestern life, the temptations of nostalgia, and the ecstasy of losing (or finding) one’s self in music.Brad Zellar has worked as a writer and editor for daily and weekly newspapers, as well as for regional and national magazines. A former senior editor at City Pages, The Rake, and Utne Reader, Zellar is also the author of Suburban World: The Norling Photos, Conductors of the Moving World, House of Coates, and Driftless. He has frequently collaborated with the photographer Alec Soth, and together they produced seven editions of The LBM Dispatch, chronicling American community life in the twenty-first century. Zellar’s work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, The Believer, Paris Review, Vice, Guernica, Aperture, and Russian Esquire. He spent fifteen years working in bookstores and was a co-owner of Rag & Bone Books in Minneapolis. He currently lives in Saint Paul.