July 22, 2017

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is proud to announce the winner of the 2017 MCBA Prize, The Book of Disquiet by London-based book artist Tim Hopkins.

For the 2017 competition, a three-member jury reviewed over 100 submissions representing 12 nations around the world, and narrowed the field to five finalists. These five works were judged at MCBA during Book Art Biennial 2017 (, a program series including exhibitions, workshops, and a two-day symposium. The winner was announced at a gala award ceremony on Saturday, July 22.

Hopkin’s 2017 edition of Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet takes a recognized classic and builds out from that book’s unique history, form, and content to create a viable reading experience that adds to the feeling and atmosphere of the novel itself. The texts that make up The Book of Disquiet were found in a box in Pessoa’s room after his death, in bundles of manuscript and typescript fragments and in no fixed order. It consists of the everyday thoughts of a single character, Bernardo Soares. The Half Pint Press edition of The Book of Disquiet takes 61 of the hundreds of fragments and presents them on a variety of paper and non-paper ephemera (some found, some made). Each fragment was typeset by hand and printed by hand on an Adana Eight-Five tabletop letterpress in an edition of 80. The fragments are presented unbound and with no fixed order in a hand-printed box.

This edition responds to the original’s form, or lack of form, by restoring disorder to The Book of Disquiet: the fragments are to be picked out as the reader pleases. This reflects the origin of the text itself and also makes possible connections between fragments which may be less available in a bound, ordered edition; Soares was prone to letting his mind wander during long nights in his room and the book gives a sense of that wandering mind.

In addition to the title, Tim Hopkins receives a $2,000 cash prize. The four finalists each receive a $500 cash award.

The MCBA Prize 2017 jury consists of:

  • Steven Daiber, of Red Trillium Press/ Aqui en la lucha in Massachusetts;
  • Simon Goode, co-founder of London Centre for Book Arts;
  • Karen Kunc, of Constellation Studios, and Cather Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Finalists for The MCBA Prize 2017 included:

  • Hannah Batsel (Chicago, IL ), Maneater
  • Tim Hopkins (London, England), The Book of Disquiet
  • Ines von Ketelhodt (Flörsheim, Germany), Alpha Beta
  • Ellen Knudson (Gainesville, FL ) Ingress / Egress
  • Nader Koochaki (Beasain, Guipúzcoa, Spain), Soineko Paisaia / Dorsal Landscape 2009-2015
  • The jury also awarded three Special Recognitions of Merit:

  • Ann Kalmbach & Tatana Kellner (Rosendale, New York), The Golden Rule
  • Christine McCauley (London, England), Mist
  • Sue Huggins Leopard (Rochester, New York), This Past Winter
  • View all of the entries for The MCBA Prize 2017 in MCBA’s online gallery,

    The MCBA Prize was presented in conjunction with Book Art Biennial 2017 (July 15-23), a series of events, exhibitions and workshops that explore contemporary practice in the book arts. This year’s theme— Shout Out: Community Intervention, Independent Publishing, and Alternative Distribution—featured programming that amplifies individual and collective voice through grassroots artistic practice.

    To learn more, visit


    July 11, 2017

    We are pleased to announce that the Board of Directors at Minnesota Center for Book Arts has named Amanda Kaler, current MCBA Development Director, as its Interim Executive Director

    Amanda has been with MCBA since 2013, and brings a strong nonprofit background, as well as Masters Degrees in Arts Administration and Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon. She is looking forward to serving in this critical role, and offers her thoughts:

    “I am grateful for the opportunity to support MCBA during this time of transition, and to work in collaboration with the board, staff, and book arts community to welcome new leadership and our next phase of organizational growth. I bring a dedication to the book arts, both as an arts administrator and a book arts practitioner (ever since I fell in love with my first Vandercook SP20 printing press many years ago). I hold a deep appreciation for MCBA’s past leadership, and look forward to upholding our unique role in the visual and literary art world, ensuring excellence in our continued service to all whom we serve.”

    We are extremely grateful to Amanda for taking on the Interim role as we seek a new Executive Director and transition MCBA leadership. The Board of Directors is initiating a national search for a new MCBA Executive Director. We have established a search committee to help guide the process, and are seeking the input of staff, board members, the artist community and others as we move this process forward.

    Thank you for your continued support as we move on to a great new chapter for MCBA.


    June 16, 2017

    It is with a mix of sadness and gratitude that the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) Board of Directors announces the departure of Jeff Rathermel, long-time Executive Director. Jeff will be assuming the role of Director and Curator of Carleton College’s Perlman Teaching Museum in Northfield, MN on July 1.

    Jeff has had a number of roles over his past seventeen years at MCBA – first as Artist-in-Residence and instructor, Artistic Director from 2004-2010, and Executive and Artistic Director since 2010.

    Over that time, he has contributed much to making MCBA the largest and most comprehensive book arts center of its kind. He has been instrumental in guiding MCBA’s vision of “a world where book art is created, cultivated, celebrated, and understood as a vital and lasting expression of culture.”

    Among his many accomplishments, Jeff was the driving force behind founding the Book Art Biennial and MCBA Prize in 2009. The MCBA Prize is the first international book arts prize that showcases and honors excellence in new book art works from across the world, and encompasses exhibits, workshops, symposium, and gala event.

    Jeff expressed thoughts on his departure with these words:
    MCBA has been a major part of my life for over 17 years and I am proud of the work I have done to create an institution that is respected and admired around the world. I leave knowing that the organization is strong and vibrant but I will miss my daily interactions with MCBA’s wonderfully diverse and incredibly talented community. My move to Carleton College will allow me to share my experience with a new community and grow both professionally and personally. From time to time we all need new challenges in our lives. While I am leaving my leadership role at MCBA, I will always be a part of MCBA’s community.

    We thank Jeff for his vision, and his unrelenting dedication and passion for making MCBA the leader in the field of book arts as it is recognized today. He will be greatly missed by staff, board, loyal friends and supporters.

    The MCBA Board of Directors will announce an interim executive director shortly, and will be conducting a formal search for the next MCBA leader.