Historical Fiction Book on 1918 Cloquet Fire Nominated for Northeastern Minnesota Book Award

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“The Memory Quilt – A Tale of Friends & Family, Lost & Found in the Great Cloquet Fire of 1918,” a fictional account of the fire that consumed the small towns of Cloquet and Moose Lake, Minn., has been nominated for the Seventeenth Annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA). Written by first-time author and former Cloquet resident Pamela J. Erickson, “The Memory Quilt” is one of 11 books nominated in the Fiction, Poetry and Drama category. The NEMBA awards, which will be presented at the University of Minnesota Duluth Library on Wednesday, May 18, 2005, recognize books about northeastern Minnesota that represent its history, culture, heritage or lifestyle.

“The Memory Quilt – A Tale of Friends & Family, Lost & Found in the Great Cloquet Fire of 1918,” a fictional account of the fire that consumed the small towns of Cloquet and Moose Lake, Minn., has been nominated for the Seventeenth Annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA). Written by first-time author and former Cloquet resident Pamela J. Erickson, “The Memory Quilt” is one of 11 books nominated in the Fiction, Poetry and Drama category. The NEMBA awards, which will be presented at the University of Minnesota Duluth Library on Wednesday, May 18, 2005, recognize books about northeastern Minnesota that represent its history, culture, heritage or lifestyle.

“I was inspired to write about the Cloquet Fire,” Erickson explains, “primarily because both of my dad’s parents lived through that fire, and I thought their stories about what had happened and how their families survived were so amazing.

“The Cloquet-Moose Lake fire cost 453 people their lives, burned approximately 1,500 square miles and caused total losses of over $30 million. But few people outside of northeastern Minnesota even know about the fire. I wanted to change that by writing a story about the fire that was both entertaining and educational, something that would appeal to a wide variety of readers.”

While the characters and storyline of “The Memory Quilt” are fiction, Erickson says the events running throughout the book are real and historically accurate, including the harrowing mass evacuation of Cloquet’s residents by train and the town’s increasing concerns over World War I and the escalating Spanish flu epidemic.

Copies of “The Memory Quilt” are available through most national and independent bookstores and stores that specialize in Finnish or Scandinavian gifts. Personalized autographed copies of “The Memory Quilt” can be ordered online at http://www.TheMemoryQuilt.com. Books will also be available for purchase at the NEMBA celebration on May 18, 2005.

The NEMBA awards recognize books about northeastern Minnesota that substantially represent its history, culture, heritage or lifestyle. For purposes of the Awards, northeastern Minnesota includes the following counties: Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Pine and St. Louis. Books may be nominated in one of two categories: (1) fiction, poetry, drama or (2) nonfiction, art, scholarship. For more information about the NEMBA awards, visit their Web site at: http://www.d.umn.edu/lib/nemba/home.html.

About the author

Pamela J. Erickson is the third generation of her family to grow up in Cloquet, Minn. Both of her father’s parents lived through the fire of 1918, and parts of their real life stories were incorporated into the book.

Erickson currently resides in Minneapolis and works in the financial services industry. She has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and a Masters in Business Communications from the University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis.

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Pamela J. Erickson

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