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Minnesota Book Award winner Nerburn to speak Friday

Kent Nerburn, who won a 2010 Minnesota Book Award for his “The Wolf at Twilight,” will speak Friday night at a free program at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley.

His book, subtitled “An Indian Elder’s Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows,” won the 2010 Minnesota Book Award in the category of memoir and creative nonfiction.

But Nerburn wonders in a blog posting whether his work really fits into that category, because it deals with spiritual encounters and might be considered by some to be fiction.

“So, what was I creating — fiction or non-fiction? I truly don’t know, and, for my part, I truly don’t care,” he writes. “My job was to bring you into the presence of a people and way of life, not to pass a litmus test of factual accuracy. For me, the question of “is it fiction or non-fiction?” was as irrelevant as asking if Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows is fiction or non-fiction, or if Bach’s Mass in B Minor is fiction or non-fiction. My goal was to create something authentic, and to the extent that I was able to do so, I was not bothered that it did not fit neatly into standard literary categories.”

Kent Nerburn, Perpich Center, 7 p.m. Friday. The school is at 6125 Olson Memorial Hwy., Golden Valley. Refreshments and mingling afterward, and he’ll sign books.

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