twin cities book festival


The 19th Annual Twin Cities Book Festival
Saturday, October 12, 2019
Minnesota State Fairgrounds, 10:00am-5:00pm
FREE Admission

Opening Night Party!

On the chilly snow-spitting evening before the Festival, authors and book revelers gathered at Lake Monster Brewing to toast reading and the power of community, celebrating Twin Cities’ longest-running book festival.

Festival Activities

On Saturday October 12, 2019, the Festival began with over a dozen local authors gathered for a Minnesota Author Morning Mingle—poets, novelists, essayists and more met with Festival attendees and signed books. Participating authors were: Frank Bures, Joe Bozic & Adam Iverson, Preston Cook, Maren Cooper, Holly Day, Allen Eskens, Anika Fajardo, Carolyn Holbrook, Josie R. Johnson, Mark Mallman, Beth Mayer, Will McGrath, Lucy Michell & Chan Poling, Sara Nelson, Ames Sheldon, Joyce Sutphen, Connie Wanek, and Wing Young Huie. Activities continued in this area with poetry workshops with poets Melanie Figg and William Strobb, belly dancing with Pat Cumbie and Dans Askina, remembering Toni Morrison with Black Market Reads, comics tips from Blue Delliquanti and Kevin Huizenga, and Story Stitch Circle with Green Card Voices!

Exhibit and Book Fair

It was a good day to be indoors, so of course thousands filled the exhibit hall to peruse the over 150 publishers, literary organizations, magazines, authors, and more who presented great books, author signings, giveaways, deals, and fun all day long. The hourly Festival raffle awarded over a dozen winners with prizes, and with its great prices, Rain Taxi’s Used Book and Record Bonanza sent hundreds of treasure hunters home with bargains galore!

Featured Author Readings in the Fine Arts Center

Every reading event was a winner in the Fine Arts Center. On the Rain Stage, Susan Straight and Faith Sullivan discussed writing the lives of women; NPR correspondent Aarti Namdev Shahani presented her new memoir Here We Are with MPR News correspondent Eaun Kerr; Swedish author Linda Boström Knausgård and local author Sheila O’Connor discussed family dynamics in their new books; David Shields was joined by Rain Taxi editor Eric Lorberer to discuss his current collage-style projects; the great Lewis Hyde was in conversation with local poet and archetypal psychologist Nor Hall about his recent book, A Primer on Forgetting; and two local favorites William Kent Krueger and Leif Enger discussed the art of storytelling. On the Taxi Stage, the day began with two guys from the North Country, transplant Christopher Ingraham and ex-pat Kent Nerburn; following them was a panel on the Minnesota Pop Scene back in the day with Martin Keller, Greg Helgeson, and Bob Mehr, in conversation with Mary Lucia; renowned Cameroon author Patrice Nganang presented the latest in his trilogy, When the Plums are Ripe; two New York writers, Christine Coulson and Carley Moore, discussed their recent novels with local actor Mo Perry; three takes on detective novels were on display when Canadian author Andrew Kaufman, New York playwright Tim Mason, and local mystery author Marcie Rendon discussed different ways to approach this popular style; and the day ended with a dynamic poetry reading by Kimberly Blaeser, Douglas Kearney, and Janaka Stucky.

Youth Programming

The Children’s Pavilion entertained young children and their parents all day with fun activities provided by the Pop-up Library by Ramsey County Libraries, including button-making, a 3-D printer, and more! Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections Lisa Von Drasek hosted Picture Book Pleasures in the morning, with two sessions featuring a diverse array of local authors and illustrators (and one visiting one). The first session featured John Coy, Marlena Myles, Bao Phi, and Kayla Harren. The second session featured Michael Hall, Kao Kalia Yang, Mike Wohnoutka, and visiting author Betsy Bird.

The Young Readers stage offered two panels of middle grade authors, starting off with a panel on Fantasy, Friendship, and Forgiveness with authors Lora Hyler, Abby Cooper, and Rebecca K.S. Ansari, discussing the variety of ways friendship can be depicted in fantasy fiction. The next panel featured New Horizons in Kids’ Nonfiction with Marlene Targ Brill, Catherine Thimmesh, and Artika Tyner presenting their books on Africa, pandas, and unsung heros.

On the Teen Stage, fans of YA were treated to three presentations by a talented group of local and visiting authors. First, Julie Berry, Peter Bognanni, and Katharine McGee presented their new books, discussing how YA is not just for young adults. YA books can also tackle tough subjects, which the next panel exemplified with authors Lana Wood Johnson, Rachel Gold, and Kirstin Cronn-Mills, whose books explore race, gender, sexuality, and death. YA books can speak truth to power, and Bethany C. Morrow was joined by Shannon Gibney to discuss ways young readers can stand up for themselves and their values.

Book Festival Sponsors & Partners

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Rain Taxi's activities are made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.



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Rain Taxi thanks these great local businesses for their support!

Bent Brewstillery
Burning Brothers Brewing
Butter Bakery Cafe
Chianti Grill
Colossal Cafe
Cookie Cart
Dino’s Mediterranean Fresh
Paromi Tea
SK Coffee



Help Rain Taxi Drive the Festival!

Joining Rain Taxi as a festival sponsor or partner is the perfect opportunity for your organization to celebrate and support Minnesota’s strong literary culture (and an excellent way to reach 5000 + of the most literate people in one place)!


Contact us to learn how to help drive the Twin Cities Book Festival



Previous Festivals

See here to revisit highlights from our past 18 years!