Publisher Kimberly Nightingale answers questions about the Saint Paul Almanac

Kimberly Nightingale

What gave you the idea for the Saint Paul Almanac?

All my experiences have taught me that place matters deeply. Stories matter. Stories may be as important as food for survival. And it coalesced into a vision I had for the Almanac of creating a book about living in Saint Paul as defined by time (the calendar) and combining that with articles, stories, and poems that reflect on the city in a more timeless way. I hope the Almanac begins a conversation between people about what the place they live in means to them.

Is the Almanac for the tourist or the Saint Paul resident, or both? If so, how does this work?

It's for both. Anyone who loves Saint Paul and tourists who visit Saint Paul will want a copy of the Saint Paul Almanac. The tourist can get a good feel for our beautiful city by reading the Almanac stories, and also participating in events listed in the Almanac. They can use the restaurant, museum, and theater guides.

The Saint Paul resident can use the Almanac as their yearly datebook, and plan what Saint Paul happenings and events they want to attend. There is plenty of room to pen their appointments around their favorite Saint Paul activities—like the Winter Carnival, the Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour, Selby JazzFest, or the Festival of Nations.

Sample datebook pages from the 2010 Almanac

How do you find your contributing writers? What are the criteria?

We have community editors finding writers everywhere—talking to their friends and family, people at restaurants, the farmers' market, festivals, writers' groups, coffee shops. Pretty much everywhere the editors go, they ask people to send something in to the Almanac.

We're looking for compelling stories, poems, or articles about Saint Paul—stories from everyday people and established writers. As far as writing quality, the only criterion is that it be interesting and related in some way to Saint Paul. Some of the best pieces we get are from folks who struggled in high school. We also receive permission to use already published material from writers we admire.

What is unique about the Saint Paul Almanac is its accessibility to all residents of Saint Paul. At the heart of the Almanac is the opportunity of Saint Paul residents to be published alongside such Saint Paul literary icons as Gordon Parks, Garrison Keillor, and Meridel LeSueur.

This intertwining of professional writers with nonprofessional community voices reflects the Saint Paul Almanac's understanding that even nationally acclaimed art and artists belong to a local community.

Do you plan to duplicate subject matter in future Almanacs? For instance, will there be a Winter Carnival story or history sketch in every Almanac?

Each year the Almanac will have the same format of calendar and events with stories, poems, and articles about Saint Paul and Saint Paul writers' contributions interspersed. We'll have health and fitness events and the listings of restaurants, et cetera in the back every year. We will have history facts. Beyond that, it really depends upon the kind of stories, poems, and articles that the Almanac receives any given year.

What is the single thing that makes you love Saint Paul?

The medallion hunt, of course. It brings out the kid in me. I hunt for the medallion every year. I used to play hooky from work to sneak out and dig. Any city that supports digging for treasure just has to be a darn good place to live.

Print This Page Print This Page