Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper

Until I had the privilege of editing William Swanson’s gripping new book on the Piper kidnapping, Virginia Piper was nothing more than the name of the clinic where I get my yearly mammograms. I moved to Minnesota in 1988, and I was unaware of the sensational 1972 crime, even though it had made national headlines. The Virginia Piper Breast Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, its pleasant waiting room filled with crystal candy bowls, porcelain tea cups, and an imposing oil painting of its beautiful (and beautifully coiffed) benefactress, seemed pretty far removed from an FBI manhunt and a million-dollar ransom. But it’s just such a juxtaposition — a charming, unflappable, upper-crust heroine, her wily, lowbrow kidnappers, and a series of FBI agents hot on their trail — as well as Bill’s riveting minute-by-minute account that makes Stolen from the Garden a fascinating and entertaining read.

Bill is speaking tonight (Nov. 11) at the Minnesota History Center. More information here. You can read an interview with Bill in Minn Post here.

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Soda Shop Salvation Is Finalist for Minnesota Book Award

My recent project, Soda Shop Salvation: Recipes and Stories from the Sweeter Side of Prohibition, written by Rae Katherine Eighmey and published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, has been named a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards. The book is part cookbook part history of the soda-fountain era, which flourished during Prohibition and was responsible for concoctions such as the Flapper Frappe and the Tasty Toasty. Of course, recipes are included. The book has been a wonderful companion to the show currently at the Minnesota Historical Society, called “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.”  Image

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Success Day @ Normandale Community College

I’m so excited to participate in a discussion panel of Minnesota book publishers and editors at Normandale Community College’s Success Day on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. Success Day is a campus-wide annual event featuring informative sessions and activities that focus  on career, education, finance, leadership, and personal growth.  Last year more than 1,000 people attended over eighty sessions.

The moderated publishing discussion begins at 10:45 a.m. on the second floor of the library, and we’ll address what it takes to begin working in publishing or get published, the editorial process, and trends in publishing today. Other panelists include editors from Milkweed Editions and Scarletta Pres. The event is open to the community. Hope to see you there!

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31 Years: Gifts from Martin Weinstein

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

My newest project is hot of the presses and I couldn’t be happier. “31 Years: Gifts from Martin Weinstein,” the gorgeous catalogue published by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to accompany the exhibition of the same name is available at the museum and online. Engagingly written by curator David E. Little, inventively designed by Matthew Rezac, and edited by yours truly, “31 Years” is a celebration of Martin’s decades of generosity to the museum and a look at how his keen eye, his populist impulse, and his friendship with founding photography curator Ted Hartwell helped build and champion the MIA’s photography collection. The book includes informal comments by David, Martin, and noted American photographer Alec Soth. For more about Martin’s legacy and influence, you can read Mary Abbe’s review of the exhibition in the Star Tribune. And you can see Martin in action in this enchanting video.

I had the privilege of seeing the show on opening night, and plan to go again this weekend. You can catch it until August 31, 2014.

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Words, words, words.


I’m Laura Silver, editor and writer, and I love words. I’ve been working with them in one way or another for more than twenty years. Give me your words and I’ll polish them to glossy perfection, making them elegant, economical, and crystal clear. Or, if you prefer, let me say it for you. I work with corporations, nonprofits, and independent authors as a copy writer, editor, researcher, and communications consultant. I look forward to working with you!

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