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Author Linda LeGarde Grover speaks to attendees at the Upper Peninsula Association of Authors and Publishers Spring Conference held Saturday at the Peter White Public Library in Marquette. Grover was the keynote speaker, with breakout sessions on a variety of topics throughout the event. (Diary photo by Christie Matric)

MARQUETTE — As with many published writers, perseverance has been a hallmark of author Linda LeGarde Grover’s career.

Grover, a resident of Duluth, Minn., a member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe and Emeritus Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, spoke about her career during her keynote address at the 25th Annual Spring of the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association. conference, which took place Saturday at the Peter White Public Library in Marquette.

She talked about “Reflections on Writing History and the Heart: India’ Ozhibii’ige Dibaajimowin.” Recent publications, according to the UPPAA, are a mixed-genre memoir titled “Gichigami Hearts: Stories and Tales of Misaabekong” (University of Minnesota Press, October 2021) and a revised reissue of his research paper “From Assimilation to Termination: The Vermilion Lake Indian School” (History of Minnesota, Fall 2021).

Grover came to town on Friday and met with other writers.

Curiosity seemed to be a common theme.

“Immediately, the writers want to talk to each other, to ask themselves questions about their writing”, said Grover. “Everyone wants to know: what are you writing and what are you working on?

“I can already see there’s such diversity in what people are doing in this conference, and I think it’s so cool to see what other people are doing.”

Grover recounted his journey in writing, which included his first book, “The Dance Boots” published in 2010.

She was almost 60 years old.

“I had been writing for a long time but I didn’t think of myself as someone who would actually have a book” said Grover.

Grover said that as she approached middle age, she began to write more seriously and began submitting work for publication – and “always recovered.”

She kept a rejection letter because it had a coffee cup stain on it.

“For some reason looking at this and thinking that someone had actually looked at my stuff gave me comfort, and it still does today,” said Grover.

Many rejections followed, but one day she saw a call for manuscripts from the University of Georgia Press for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Grover chose eight stories she had written, which seemed to work as a set of stories, and typed them in.

Grover eventually received a letter stating that she had won the contest, which came with a publication and $1,000.

“That’s where ‘The Dance Boots’ came from” she says.

It took five years, however, for his second book, “The Way Back to Sweetgrass” to be published.

She acknowledged the agents didn’t want her — and still don’t — but that didn’t deter her from writing.

“They will market your products”, said Grover. “It will be about selling books, really. I mean, they have to work and they have to eat too, and so what kind of book buyers, what kind of consumers, are going to want your stuff?

“If an agent doesn’t want you, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer or anything. In fact, like probably everyone in this room, I know I’m a superior writer, and even if others don’t think so, we know it about ourselves.

His other works include the award-winning film “Onigamiising: The Seasons of an Ojibwe Year” and “The Sky Gazed: Poems from Ojibwa Life.” The UPPAA said this latest book will be published in a revised and expanded edition by the University of Minnesota Press in September.

She now has “a collection of works” although it does not have to be published.

“What does this set of works mean? » Grover asked. “What does this mean for us? What does this mean for us as writers? What does it mean to look at yourself, as a person, as a person who writes?

“Maybe that’s what we could call it, because we’re basically ourselves first, our own individuals who are part of a very large web of history and other people. does it mean when we think of ourselves as a person who writes, and what will we leave behind when we leave the world here?

UPPAA President Victor Volkman told conference attendees that they can learn more from each other than from themselves.

“We have all kinds of support so you can do that,” Volkman said, including online mailing lists, conferences and other resources.

For example, the conference offered breakout sessions on topics such as columnistship, marketing poetry, and advanced writing tools, among others.

The UPPAA was established in 1998 to support authors and publishers who live or write about UP The UPPAA is a non-profit association with over 100 members, many of whose books are featured at www.uppaa. org. Its activities include sponsorship of UP Reader, a regional writing anthology, and organization of the Dandelion Cottage short story competition for young writers.

UPPAA welcomes membership and participation from anyone with a UP connection who is interested in writing.

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