Mark Munger (Owner)

Mark is a life-long resident of Minnesota; born in St. Paul, and raised in Duluth. After practicing trial law for nearly twenty years, Mark became a District Court Judge in 1998 and served a four county region of Northeastern Minnesota. He retired from active status in 2019 but continues to work as a senior judge. Mark, his wife Rene’ and their three dogs live along the banks of the wild and scenic Cloquet River north of Duluth. His work has been published in Writer’s Journal, The New World Finn, Hermantown Star, Duluth News Tribune, NOWW Journal, The Finnish American Reporter, Thunderbird Review and other publications. His essay “Leaving Mayo” was a finalist for the 2000 Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Writing Award. He is currently at work on his forthcoming memoir, Duck and Cover: Things Learned Waiting for the Bomb.

18 Responses to Mark Munger (Owner)

  1. Ann Toumi says:

    Hello Mark,

    How exciting to find Cloquet River Press and to see that you are working on a new novel,Sukulaiset. I am now reading Suomalaiset for the 2nd time, and would like to tell you how impressed I am with the depth and accuracy of your historical research. Thanks for a great read — I am as facinated the 2nd time through as I was on the 1ast!

    I looked for your name on the internet with the idea of asking you a question or two if that would be possible. I am currently an instructor of English at the University of Eastern Finland, in Joensuu, but as usual I am in the Brainerd area for most of the summer break. For decades, no kidding, I’ve been working on a novel that is partially set in Duluth. Related to this work is an article that I am researching at the moment, but I have come to some road blocks. The idea of contacting you came to me while reading Suomalaiset once again.

    I am not into twitter, blogs or face book and, as many writers, I am keeping my topic basically to myself. So if it is possible to ask you a question or two, I hope that our conversation could be kept confidential. My topic is related to the Railroads in the Duluth area in the early 1900’s.

    May I contact you with a question or two sometime at your convenience?

    Thank you,

    • Mark says:

      Ann: Absolutely! In fact, you will be in a position to assist me as well. “Sukulaiset” (the sequel) is, at present, in very rough form but once I get it hammered together, given that part of the “action” takes place in and around Joensuu, you’d be a great resource as a pre-reader for me. So, I propose a trade. I’ll answer any questions you have if you are willing, once the manuscript is in better shape, to take a look at giving me your thoughts. The story is much different in scope than “Suomalaiset” in that it takes place almost entirely in Karelia, Finland, Russia, and Estonia from 1934-present day. Very daunting to research and write. So far, I’ve had Gerry Henkel of the “New World Finn” newspaper reading it along with Dr. Alexis Pogorelskin of UMD (expert on the area and timeframe) and Irina Haller, a scientist here in Duluth with Essentia Health who was born and raised in Karelia in the very area where much of the action takes place. I am seriously looking into writing retreats in Finland once I am in the home stretch to allow me to come and visit some of the places depicted in the book, including Joensuu. Your university is mentioned!

      So if that sounds like a possibility, I’m open to a “trade”. (And yes, I’d help you even if you say “No”!) You can call me at (218) 721-3213, which is my home number.

  2. jack green says:

    Hi Mark – Just finished your book of essays “Black Water” and all the stories were great. The essays serve as a reminder as to why we have chosen to live in the north country as well as our family values..Sometimes the achieving of money and assets doesn’t compete with living a full life enjoying the amenities that our area has to offer..Talked to your Dad recently and he seems heathly and “happy”..Great…I enjoyed this book more than any of the others, with the exception of the one you did on Willard…Jack Green

  3. Nick Patronas says:

    Mark, great article in the Tribune,5-20 issue. I hopefully will be read, and people will realize how important these dedicated teachers, and great programs, which push our young people are so important! Keep up the good work, Nick

    • Mark says:

      Thanks, Nick! I think you were one of the Trojans who likely ran across my face on PSS when I was a scrub for Marv’s Marvels…Good to hear from you.

  4. Roland Ring-Jarvi says:

    I was reading your book Suomalaiset and then went to see the Movie 1917
    Wow it was a great connection with the year 1917 and your book
    Thanks for your efforts to put the book together
    I grew up in Two Harbors and graduate in 1968 and was a social studies teacher in Elk
    River, Mn for 33 years.
    Your book was very informative and interesting to me as a 100 % Finn and Two Harborite – my grandpa help build ore docks in Two Harbors and my dad was an engineer on the Edna G
    I have a cabin on the range close to Aurora and my brother lives in Brimson …
    So your book was really a fun read for me – I have recommended it to other Two Harbor folks.
    Again thanks for the Book – my brother has perucahsed another of your books for me to read….


    Roland Ring-Jarvi
    Anoka, Mn
    763-257-2304 cell – text call or email

    • Mark says:

      Thanks, Roland. As a non-Finn writing a trilogy about Finns in America, I appreciate the feedback! You can help my effort by leaving a short review or rating on or on and by continuing to sing the book’s praises. I’ve had one, that’s right, one bad review of the book since it was released in 2004 and that was recent. So the more help you can give the book, the better. Kiitos!

  5. Carol Prachar says:

    I’m just starting the 2nd book from your trilogy.. I loved the first one and was anxious to start the 2nd.. I have to thank you for putting the list of the families in the beginning…. They can get a bit confusing sometimes and is a great reference to lean back on rather than trying to scour the book for the names. Keep up the wonderful stories that you put out… With our crazy world these days it’s a great way to escape for a bit! Thanks


  6. Rohan Yadav says:

    Interesting blog, I am glad to visit here. I found your story interesting. Thanks for sharing your wonderful expereince.

  7. Stina says:

    Would like to read your three books Homeland and the two other ones but I cannot find it on IBooks.Because of Reading small text is impossible it has to read on IPad so that text can be enlarged.So My question is are the books available on I books

  8. Tony Mancuso says:

    Hi Mark – Read the Article in the December 18, 2021 DNT. Excellent – looks like you are still going strong, pursuing your passion and doing very well. The article reminded me that I had an engraved/shaped brass plate found in an antique shop over 20years ago with an excerpt from Kurt Vonnegut. I found it personally moving and thought provoking. I’m not sure, but perhaps you, as an author/historian may also like it, as I have already gleaned my value from it and would like to give it to you. I can drop it off if you are interested – thank you and Happy Holidays!

    • Mark says:

      I’d love it! If you could drop it off at the courthouse when you’re down there or we could get together for coffee sometime. let me know and thanks for the support!

  9. Bob Anderson says:


    We talked a couple of years ago as you helped me order Sukulaiset: The Kindred and Kotimaa: Homeland after I finished reading Suomalaiset. My brother is reading these books now.

    As it turns out I grew up until I was 9 in Hoyt Lakes and my family came to Cloquet from Turku, Finland in 1914 and 1921.
    I thoroughly enjoyed all three books and I’m wondering what your most recent writing project has been?
    We might need to get you down to Ma & Pa Kettle days in Kettle River, Minnesota in the next few years to speak. I think it would be great to have you speak in the old Kavala church out on highway 73 north of town during the celebration.

    Do you ever do public engagements like that?

    Kind regards,

    Bob Anderson (Rochester, Minnesota and Dallas, Texas)

    • Mark says:

      Just saw this as I don’t see all the comments in a timely fashion. Glad you liked the books. Yes, I love speaking to groups and Kettle River is close by. My most recent projects include the short story collection, Kulkuri (Vagabond), and a memoir, Duck and Cover: Things Learned Waiting for the Bomb. I’m hard at work on a novel noir set in Minnesota during Prohibition as well. All the books in print can be found on this website under the “Books” tab. Keep in touch and I’d love to connect and talk about the Finns and my writing to your group.
      PS I am finishing up a great interview with legendary rock and roll guitarist, Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane fame. It will run sometime soon in the Finnish American Reporter. My email is [email protected]. Phone is (218) 721-3213.

  10. Dave Auchter says:

    Hi Mark. If you get a chance and want to visit on the phone or in person I’d love to meet you. I am a member of a group called Friends of Munger South and we are advocating for renovations to the trail that bears your father’s name. I live in Finlayson. I can be reached at 612-390-6640

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