Norton Stillman Receives the 2016 Pat Bell Award
"My enjoyment of reing waskindled a an early age. I was fortunate to have a branch of the public library in my elementary school, John Burroughs. I spent a great deal of my time there and was able to bring home many books. I later studied printing at Ramsey Junior High , and it was then that I first experienced the joy of the printed word, which was later to guide me toward my career in publishing.” — Norton Stillman
This year marks the 54th year that Norton Stillman has been on the Minnesota book scene, and Midwest Book Awards is proud to honor him as the recipient of the 2016 Pat Bell Award.
In 1962, along with his brother Ned, Norton started a book distributor called Bookmen, which serviced schools, libraries, local independent bookstores, and national chains such as B. Dalton, Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Target for four decades. It was purchased by wholesale giant Ingram in 2002.
Norton purchased Nodin Press from Gerald Vizenor in 1967, and since that time he has published more than 250 books of regional interest under that imprint, including biographies, nature guides, poetry, sports titles, essays, children’s books, travel guides, and cookbooks.
In 1972 Norton founded Micawber’s Bookstore, which, with its wooden floors, friendly staff, and carefully chosen inventory, soon became a cultural institution in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood.
As a result of these and other connections in the book industry, Norton enjoys a rich and beautiful life with book associates and authors, many of whom have become lifelong friends.
Thank you, Norton, for all you have done to inspire quality publishing and a vital book world in the Midwest.
About the Pat Bell Award
In 2010, MIPA awarded the first Pat Bell Award in honor of a woman who, for many years, was the rock of the organization and a long-time board member. On the phone, by email, or during meetings, Pat Bell patiently answered the many questions posed by MIPA members and others curious about publishing. Pat Bell embraced the Internet early on, and soon her mentorship extended nationwide through chat rooms and user lists. Publishers Marketing Association (PMA)—now IBPA, Independent Book Publishers Association, a national organization of independent publishers—recognized her expertise. She was asked to serve on its board and became a major national advocate for independent publishers.
Past winners of the Pat Bell Award include:
2010: Sybil Smith, leader in the development of Midwest Independent Publishers Association and Publisher, Smith House Press
2011: Julie Arthur, longtime buyer for Barnes and Noble and advocate for Midwest writers
2012: Mary Ann Grossmann, book reviewer for St. Paul Pioneer Press and friend of Midwestern publishers and authors
2013: Loris and Marlin Bree, charter members of MIPA, first chair of Midwest Book Awards, and passionate advocates for independent publishing
2014: Patricia Rouner Morris, past president of MIPA, author, professional editor, and publishing consultant
2015: Don Leeper, founder of Bookmobile and Itasca Books