Olga Walker Awards & Author Event

Join us for the 2024 Olga Walker Awards & Author Event at the Greysolon Ballroom. Featuring a conversation with David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Award Winning Author of the novel Winter Counts. Facilitated by Christina Woods, Executive Director of the Duluth Art Institute, Member of the Bois Forte Tribal Nation. 

The Duluth Library Foundation, established in 1990, was made possible with a donation from the mysterious Mrs. Olga Walker. To this day, who Olga Walker is and why she donated $60,000 to the Duluth Public Library is still a mystery; however, as a thank you for her donation, the Foundation has been hosting the Olga Walker Awards & Author Event in her honor. 2024 will be the seventh year that this event has been hosted, excluding 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19. 


Event Program

Sunday, February 25, 2024 at Greysolon Ballroom

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Doors open & registration
12:00 p.m. – 12:20 p.m. Awards Ceremony
12:20 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. Gourmet brunch buffet & cash bar
1:10 p.m. – 1:55 p.m. Author presentation
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Book signing

Brunch Menu: Avocado toast, scrambled eggs, french toast, crisp bacon, breakfast potatoes, yogurt parfait, danish, fresh cut fruit, & meat and cheese charcuterie.

2024 Olga Walker Honorees

Honorees embody the mission and values of our library through their philanthropic gifts and their selfless volunteerism. 2024 Honorees include Morgan Swingen, David Ouse, and Stephen Welsh.

Local Book Partner

Guests are encouraged to purchase copies of David’s book with our local book partner, Zenith Bookstore at zenithbookstore.com/winter.

Book & Author Information

David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota nation, was named by the New York Times as one of “the most critically acclaimed young novelists working now.” His debut novel, Winter Counts, was called a “once-in-a-generation thriller” by the Los Angeles Times, a “worthy addition to the burgeoning canon of indigenous literature” by Library Journal, and one of the “best crime novels of all time” by Parade magazine.


About the Novel

Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that’s hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil’s nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop.

They follow a lead to Denver and find that drug cartels are rapidly expanding and forming new and terrifying alliances. And back on the reservation, a new tribal council initiative raises uncomfortable questions about money and power. As Virgil starts to link the pieces together, he must face his own demons and reclaim his Native identity. He realizes that being a Native American in the twenty-first century comes at an incredible cost.

Winter Counts is a tour-de-force of crime fiction, a bracingly honest look at a long-ignored part of American life, and a twisting, turning story that’s as deeply rendered as it is thrilling.

Book Clubs

Is your book club reading Winter Counts? Contact the Foundation for information about special seating for bookclubs.

Have questions? Call (218) 730-4262 or
email erin@duluthlibraryfoundation.org.

Curious what the event is like? Enjoy these photos from the 2023 Olga Walker Awards & Author Event featuring guest author Marie Myung Ok-Lee. All of these amazing photos were captured by Fitzphoto!


Interested in supporting the Duluth Public Library and bringing diverse voices to Duluth? View our sponsorship opportunities below.

Academic sponsorship information can be found here.

Business sponsorship information can be found here.

Contact Erin Kreeger at erin@duluthlibraryfoundation.org for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where do I find my ticket?

Your ticket will be e-mailed to you automatically when you register. You may download the pdf and print it or simply show your phone at the event.

When do I get my book?

Guests can purchase a copy of Winter Counts, or other books by David Heska Wanbli Weiden, from our local book partner Zenith Bookstore at zenithbookstore.com. Zenith will also be at the event selling a limited number of book copies and merchandise at their pop-up shop.

Is there a limit on books for the signing?

While there is no limit, we ask guests to respect the time and schedule of the author by only having a few books signed.

Will there be books on-site for purchase?

Our local book partner Zenith Bookstore will have a limited number of David’s books on-site for purchase. We recommend that guests purchase their books before the event through Zenith at zenithbookstore.com.

Is there a dress code?

No. We are encouraging guests to wear what makes them comfortable. Foundation Board and Staff will be in business casual wear.

Is my ticket tax-deductible?

Yes, only a portion of your ticket is tax-deductible. Your tax receipt will be provided at the event when you check-in.

Where do I park?

In addition to street parking, you can find details about the parking ramp here.

How early should I arrive?

The doors open at 11:30 a.m. – we are encouraging guests to arrive early to get checked and settled in.

What will be available to eat and drink?

Catering will be provided by Blackwoods, menu coming soon! A cash bar will also be available for guests (credit card purchases available).

Thank you to our sponsors!

Platinum Prose Sponsor

Silver Stories Sponsors

Bronze Book Sponsors