The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The Twin Cities Book Festival is coming up this Saturday at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, and organizers expect more than 7,000 area bibliophiles to turn out for the event. This annual, day-long festival hosted by “Rain Taxi Review of Books” is the largest such literary event in the Upper Midwest and is known for celebrating the area’s vibrant, homegrown literary community as much as it is for bringing in popular big-name authors from around the world.
Families will be happy to know there’s a Children's Pavilion again this year, with face-painting and live music, make-and-take book arts activities and, of course, loads of kids’ book and YA authors on hand to read from their stories. There’s also a poetry showcase and a Local Lit Lounge to fete area writers made good, not to mention a number of appearances by nationally known luminaries.
Featured speakers this year include novelist Nicholson Baker (The Anthologist) and Romanian fiction writer, essayist and poet Mircea Cartarescu (Nostalgia); poets Rae Armantrout and David Wojahn; Prairie Home Companion veteran and humorist Howard Mohr (How to Talk Minnesotan); screenwriter and memoirist Delia Ephron; filmmaker, futurist and author Ytasha L. Womack (Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture); and children’s picture book creator, artist David Wiesner (The Three Pigs, Flotsam). (Find a full list of this year’s author appearances here.)
There are a number of shop-talk panels and other bookish discussions where local writers and readers can rub elbows. And at the center of it all is a sprawling book fair highlighting the region’s impressive variety of lit mags and zines, indie bookshops and abundance of noted literary presses and small publishers.
If you go, come say hi: I’ll be moderating a panel discussion on writers at work, joined by a terrific group: Stephanie Wilbur Ash (a writer and senior editor for Mpls/St. Paul Magazine); Brad Zellar (journalist and author of several photography books with Alec Soth and Little Brown Mushroom); Bram Stoker-nominated novelist David Oppegaard (The Suicide Collectors; Wormwood, Nevada); and memoirist and teacher Kate Hopper (Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers). We’ll talk about the brass tacks of cobbled-together careers, freelancing and adjunct teaching, the creative rewards and struggles of making a writing life in the workaday world.
The Twin Cities Book Festival will take place Saturday, October 12 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, in the Progress Center and Fine Arts Building, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A full schedule of the day’s events is available here: www.raintaxi.com/bookfest/2013schedule.php. Pre-festival, ticketed events include a Pen Pals reading with award-winning novelist George Saunders on Thursday and Friday at Hopkins Center for the Arts, and the Friday Night Soiree, a fundraising cocktail party and meet-and-greet with this year’s featured authors, at Chowgirls Parlor in Minneapolis.
Find all this and more on the book festival website: www.raintaxi.com/bookfest.