Past Twin Cities Book Festivals
Click on the year and revisit the highlights of past Twin Cities Book Festivals.
2022 TWIN CITIES BOOK FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
As part of the lead up to our in-person big day, Rain Taxi offered three virtual events with guests who couldn’t quite make it to Minnesota: a talk with Swedish author Steve Sem-Sandberg and his translator Saskia Vogel, who discussed bringing into being the amazing literary novel W. (Overlook Press); a visit with bestselling British author Jeffrey Archer about his latest blockbuster, Next in Line (HarperCollins); and a livestreamed presentation of Andrea Davis Pinkney receiving the 2022 Kerlan Award for Children’s Literature and discussing her groundbreaking work in the field.
OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION
We kicked off the Festival with a Friday night gathering at Open Book in downtown Minneapolis, where visiting authors, publishers, and community members celebrated a much-desired return to in-person literary events. Live music from Dylan Hicks took the festivities to the next level!
EXHIBIT AND BOOK FAIR
On Saturday, October 15th, over 140 exhibitors filled the Progress Center at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds with beautiful table displays, books new and old for sale, and information about all the excellent literary offerings and organizations in the Twin Cities and beyond! We’ve retained our spacious aisle setup to accommodate the steady crowds we had all day.
MINNESOTA AUTHOR MASHUP AND RECOMMENDATION STATION
While it was a pandemic invention, we brought the Minnesota Author Mashup back for one more year! Over the course of the day, we welcomed nearly three dozen Minnesota authors with new books out this year to mingle with attendees and film short presentations about their new work. Pictured here are two of the guests, Maren Cooper and Allen Eskens, using the TCBF photo wall; you can see all the author film snippets at Rain Taxi’s YouTube channel HERE.
In addition to our regular Mashups, authors Raymond Luczak, Chris Martin, and Abby Jimenez recommended books in their respective genres at interactive tables, with those books (and their own, of course) available for purchase by ravenous readers! (Abby Jimenez, pictured here with Festival Director Eric Lorberer, brought a friend to help her sign!)
USED BOOK AND RECORD SALE
Rain Taxi’s annual fundraising sale was as popular as ever, featuring donated books and records at great bargain prices. (Got books or records you want to donate? Write us at bookfest[at]raintaxi[dot]com.
FEATURED AUTHOR EVENTS
We were honored to welcome so many fantastic authors to our main stage! Kicking off the day was Marcie Rendon, launching her latest Cash Blackbear mystery novel, Sinister Graves. Then, in an event co-sponsored by Mizna, Palestinian poet Maya Abu Al-Hayyat read from her new collection You Can Be the Last Leaf, with local writers helping to voice the English versions and converse with our international guest. Sound-engineer-turned-neuroscientist Susan Rogers and Prince historian Duane Tudahl offered a riveting conversation on music and the mind. Writers Phong Nguyen, Akil Kumarasamy, and Robin McLean took us to the past, present, and future in the Fiction Showcase, and this year’s Poetry Showcase with Brenda Hillman, Major Jackson, and Stephanie Burt blew us away.
CHILDREN’S AND YOUTH EVENTS
An amazing group of authors present in our Youth Area, where we also had some fun interactive events! Starting off the day was a reading of the fantastic new book Where We Come From by John Coy and Shannon Gibney, with pre-recorded readings from the book’s other two co-authors, Sun Yung Shin and Diane Wilson. Illustrator and author Magdalena Mora presented her new dual-language picture book Still Dreaming / Seguimos Soñando, and our Middle Grade Showcase in the afternoon featured Anika Fajardo, Brian Farrey, and Kristin F. Johnson. After that, YA lit fans got to see Gary Eldon Peter and Vanessa Torres read from and talk about their new books, both set in a Minnesota of years past. Finally, Kip Hathaway and a few of his friends threw improvised Shakespearean insults at each other and the audience in an improv comedy show for all ages. In between events, Anne Brataas led a Fur Lab, where kids of all ages could felt sheep fleece by hand into “rug mug” coasters as they explored and designed lovable animal characters. A great time was had by all!
DESSA: MOON LAUNCH!
The capstone event of TCBF 2022 was the launch of a new poetry chapbook, Tits on the Moon, by local musician and writer Dessa—if you couldn’t attend, go HERE to get yourself a copy!
2021 TWIN CITIES BOOK FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Our virtual portion ran for a full month in September and October, and while live audiences had the pleasure of engaging in real time, replays are now available on Crowdcast and YouTube of all fifteen events for you to watch on demand. With authors discussing everything from revolutionary poetry to Black horror to YA novels in verse, there’s something for everyone. And make sure to follow Rain Taxi so you don’t miss any of the upcoming installments of our Virtual Event Series either!
Featuring: Mary Roach in conversation with Erik Larson, Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström in conversation with Deesha Philyaw, Tongo Eisen-Martin and Crystal Wilkinson in conversation with Michael Kleber-Diggs, Shruti Swamy in conversation with Eric Lorberer, Marie Lu in conversation with Betsy Hodges, Dhonielle Clayton, Bethany C. Morrow, & Nafiza Azad, moderated by Linda Stack-Nelson, Molly Beth Griffin, Melina Mangal, & Kao Kalia Yang, in conversation with John Coy, Veera Hiranandani, Ronald Smith, and Susan & Lexi Haas moderated by William Alexander, Alessandra Narváez Varela, Harmony Becker, and David Levithan & Jennifer Niven moderated by Linda Stack-Nelson, Achey Obejas and Phillip B. Williams in conversation with Gary Dop, Douglas Wolk in conversation with Stephanie Burt, and Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall in conversation with Ann Patchett.
Our in-person day on October 16th was an absolute dream. We were so glad to be able to welcome people back to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds; the energy was amazing all day, and the joy of being reunited as a literary community was palpable. From drawing vampires to discussing poetry to discovering new favorite titles, it was wonderful to see the people around us doing what we do best—reveling in books!
One of the many highlights of our Festival's in-person day was our Minnesota Author Mashup, in which new books got presented in three-minute bursts — and our intrepid videographer captured them all. Take a gander at our playlist and enjoy the ones you want to watch from your socially distanced outpost. Think of it as our way of sending a little Minnesota literary love to your home!
2020 TWIN CITIES BOOK FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
The twentieth anniversary of this beloved gathering fell in an inauspicious year as COVID-19 swept the U.S. and in-person book events were impossible to hold safely. Undeterred, Rain Taxi’s team worked around the clock to revolutionize how we got together and create an all-virtual experience that would satisfy book lovers around the world AND in our own back yard! From exhibits to events, everything went online and we got behind our keyboards to embrace our reading community.
CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP AND MINNESOTA WRITERS MASHUP
Taking advantage of the online world’s ability to broadcast readings from anywhere, Rain Taxi premiered five group readings on its YouTube channel to kick off the 2020 Twin Cities Book Festival. The first was a reading of a chapbook anthology of new poems by Black writers in the Twin Cities written in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, edited by poet Mary Moore Easter, features work by Philip S. Bryant, Keno Evol, Sherrie Fernandez-Williams, Bernard Jones, Douglas Kearney, Michael Kleber-Diggs, Sagirah Shahid, and Maya Washington, along with Mary Moore Easter herself.
The other four were selections of Minnesota writers reading from their recently published work in a place that inspires them. These videos featured authors of poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and children’s and YA titles. The newly christened Minnesota Writers Mashup included Alex Messenger, Alexs Pate, Alison McGhee, Anika Fajardo, Anya Johanna DeNiro, David Bruns and J. R. Olson, Caroline Stevermer, Carolyn Holbrook, James Cihlar, Cole Nagamatsu, Colin Hamilton, Diane Mullen, Eric Utne, Gretchen Anthony, Jack Zipes, Janet Graber, Jason Walz, Jessie Diggins, John Coy, John Moe, Jonathan Slaght, Julie Jo Severson, Kaia Press, Kathleen West, Kawai Strong Washburn, Lin Enger, Margaret Hasse and Athena Kildegaard, Matthew Goldman, Michael Hall, Michael Prior, Molly McGlennen, Patricia Kirkpatrick, Paulette and Harper Bonneur, Raechel Anne Jolie, Reid Forgrave, Roy Guzmán, Scott Carpenter, Thomas Maltman, Thomas Peacock, Trung Le Nguyen, Wendy Webb, and William Souder.
ONLINE EXHIBITORS AND BOOK FAIR
In a true first for the TCBF, the usually-bustling Book Fair at the heart of the festivities was converted into an online bazaar for readers of all striped to peruse. Featuring over 150 exhibitors ranging from local organizations to nationally renowned publishers to independent authors, the pages saw thousands of hits and found many books new homes. Attendees were able to get a free caricature done in live time every afternoon by logging on with artist Kirk Anderson.
VIRTUAL EVENTS FOR READERS OF ALL AGES
The author event portion of the TCBF took to Crowdcast for its 2020 incarnation, allowing readers from all over the world to tune in to watch, chat live, and ask questions to favorite authors new and old! The events were archived both internally on the platform and on Rain Taxi’s YouTube channel, where they remain available with the option of captions.
The Festival kicked off with an incredible conversation with Young People’s Poet Laureate Naomi Shihab Nye, lead by fellow poet Kaveh Akbar. This was followed by a panel with middle grade authors of magical series Chantel Acevedo, Victoria Bond, and David A. Robertson and a YA panel on the importance of friendship and family in shaping us, featuring Eric Gansworth, Lamar Giles, and Justin A. Reynolds. In the afternoon audiences were treated to a poetry showcase featuring Sumita Chakraborty, Heid Erdrich, and Joy Priest as well a fiction panel featuring literary lights David Hajdu, Kathleen Rooney, and Tatiana Ryckman. This first day ended with an incredible conversation as Lisa Von Drasek presented Jon Scieszka with the 45th Annual Kerlan Award.
The second day of the Festival was just as exciting, starting bright and early with readings from four wonderful picture book authors, Sophie Blackall, Djenane Saint Juste, Jonathan Stutzman, and Kao Kalia Yang. Next, middle grade readers ventured into the world of graphic novels with a panel featuring Tim Probert, Kathleen Gros, and David Bowles and Tiffany D. Jackson, Kim Johnson, and Bryan Bliss discussed the hard truths they tell through YA fiction. The afternoon brought another wonderful poetry showcase, this time featuring Yona Harvey, Linda Hogan, and Ted Mathys, as well as a panel on telling U.S. history through the mixed medium of graphic nonfiction with Derf Backderf, R. Sikoryak, and James Otis Smith. This second day ended with a conversation with Kate DiCamillo and Jennifer M. Brown discussing the 20th anniversary of Because of Winn-Dixie.
The third and final day of the 2020 TCBF dawned with a pair of virtual events for young readers, with Kwame Alexander and James Patterson discussing their latest collaboration and Jerry Craft, Hope Larson, and Ursula Murray Husted discussing the coming-of-age graphic novel. Jasper Fforde joined us from across the pond in the afternoon and Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam rounded our the young readers’ events with a keynote focused on their collaborative novel in verse. Readers gathered their four-legged friends for Yappy Hour with W. Bruce Cameron next, then pushed the bounds of genre in a panel with Pamela Sneed, Adam Smyer, and Frank Wilderson III. The day concluded with the festival’s keynote, a riveting conversation between Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar and renaissance woman Dessa.
2019 TWIN CITIES BOOK FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
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.
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 Minnesota 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.
Featured Youth Programs in the Progress Center
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.
2018 TWIN CITIES BOOK FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Our 18th annual Twin Cities Book Festival kicked off with a Friday night Book Bash at the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Saint Paul, where we welcomed visiting authors and celebrated with music, food, drinks, and door prizes—everyone had too much fun anticipating the coming together of book lovers throughout the state!
Local Author Morning Mingle
On Saturday October 13, 2018, the Festival started with a bang as over two dozen local authors gathered for a Morning Mingle, sponsored by MSR Design—poets, novelists, essayists and more met with Festival attendees and signed books. Participating authors were: Maureen Aitken, Gretchen Anthony, Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson, Scott Carlson, Blue Delliquanti, Mary Moore Easter, Heid Erdrich, Sally Franson, Pete Hautman, David Housewright, Chris Mackenzie Jones, Kathleen Ann Kenney, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Channy Leaneagh, Gordon Marino, Mindy Mejia, David Mura, Gary Eldon Peter, Wang Ping, Julie Schumacher, Kaethe Schwehn, Sarah Bamford Seidelmann, Quinton Skinner, Gregory Blake Smith, Madelon Sprengnether, Sarah Stonich, Saymoukda Vongsay, and Ahmed Ismail Yusuf.
Exhibit and Book Fair
Over the course of the day, thousands thronged the exhibit hall to peruse the over 140 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!
The Festival welcomed the return of Gus the Poetry Bus, parked outside between the buildings. On the bus, attendees could participate in activities, including a songwriting workshop with Brian Laidlaw, poetry divination with Heid E. Erdrich, a writing workshop and discussion of race with David Mura, an exploration of hate mail with Steve Almond, a rural-themed hour with Cassie Williams, Saara Myrene Raappana, and Ashley Hanson, and spontaneous typewriter poems with St. Cloud writer Bill Meissner.
Featured Author Readings in the Fine Arts Building
Attendees to readings at the Fine Arts building were treated to a moving installation by Green Card Voices, along with great presentations by stellar authors. Programming included a reading and conversation with poet Katelynn Hibbard, winner of the Howling Bird Press Prize for her collection Simples. Publicist Claire McKinney discussed ways authors can promote their books. Performance artist and author Karen Finley presented Grabbing Pussy, her psycho-sexual interpretation of our strange times. Kenyan author and giant of world literature Ngugi wa Thiong’o discussed his prison memoir, Wrestling with the Devil. Musician David Grubbs waxed poetic with his prose-poem paean to music, Now that the audience has assembled. The ever-charming Geoff Dyer discussed his illuminating book on photographer Garry Winogrand with Windham-Campbell Literature program director Michael Kelleher. English professor Ralph Savarese expanded our minds and hearts with a literary look at the complex minds of autists. Steve Almond grappled with the last few years by writing Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country, discussing his book with MPR’s Stephanie Curtis. Local hip hop star Dessa wowed the audience with excerpts from her new collection of essays, My Own Devices. And the day wound up with a literary tribute to Bob Dylan, featuring readings by Marge Barrett, Ray Gonzalez, Diane Jarvenpa, Linda Back McKay, William Meissner, Tim Nolan, Dave Pichaske, John Reinhard, Joyce Sutphen, Katrina Vandenberg, and Connie Wanek, and featuring music by Debra Marquart, comments by New Rivers Press book designer Phuriwat Chirapasit, and an introduction by Visiting Bob editors Thom Tammaro and Alan Davis.
The Children’s Pavilion entertained young children and their parents with activities and storybook readings. Elizabeth Verdick gave a hint of the snowfall to come with Small Walt and Mo the Tow, complete with amazing hand-made trucks. Jean Reagan taught the kids How to Scare a Ghost, followed by Markús Már Efraím who led a short workshop on how to write a scary story. Daniel Bernstrom wowed the crowd with his funny reading of his romp through the swamp book Gator, Gator, Gator! Kayla Harren read from her book, Hannah’s Tall Order. And Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections Lisa Von Drasek helped kids create Writing Boxes!
The Young Readers stage offered two panels of middle grade authors, starting off with Gennifer Choldenko (Al Capone Throws Me a Curve), Sheila O’Connor (Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth), and Erin Soderberg (Daring Dreamers Club), who shared their books and the friendships that inspired them. Then Melissa Savage (The Truth About Martians), Jeff Seymour (Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue), and Liesl Shurtliff (Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves) celebrated the imagination with UFOs, flying pirate ships, and fairy tale characters.
On the Teen Stage, fans of YA were treated to four presentations. S.A. Bodeen (The Tomb), Maggie Ann Martin (To Be Honest), and Jessica Pennington (Love Songs and Other Lies) shared the ins and outs of love and relationships. Shannon Gibney (Dream Country), Tiffany Jackson (Monday’s Not Coming), and Kiersten White (The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein) drew large crowds as they discussed their complex and daring stories. YA favorite David Levithan presented the sequel to his popular Every Day, with Someday. And father and son team Neal and Jarrod Shusterman discussed their soon-to-be-a-motion-picture Dry, exploring the dire circumstances that ensue when the water runs out in California.
2017 Festival Highlights
Opening Night Events
Rain Taxi’s Opening Night Reception attracted many booklovers, authors, and exhibitors to celebrate the 17th Twin Cities Book Festival. Many attendees had their pictures taken in front of the Twin Cities Book Festival photo wall! The evening segued through a stirring protest song performed by poet Brian Laidlaw to a serious talk on inequality in the anthology America with Tales of Two Americas edited by John Freeman and contributors Claire Vaye Watkins and Lawrence Joseph.
Local Author Morning Mingle
The 17th Annual Twin Cities Book Festival, held on October 14, 2017, started with a bang as over two dozen local authors gathered for a Morning Mingle—poets, novelists, essayists and more met with Festival attendees and signed books. Participating authors were: Lesley Nneka Arimah, Todd Boss, Nickolas Butler, Shelley DeWees, Heid Erdrich, Al Franken, John Jodzio, Sammi Jones, James Kakalios, Keith Lesmeister, Matt Mauch, Alison McGhee, Kathleen Novak, Dudley Riggs, Russel Rathbun, R.T. Rybak, Gerry Schmitt, Julie Schumacher, Ashley Shelby, Quinton Skinner, Joyce Sutphen, Andrea Swensson, Amy Thielen, Wendy Webb, and Jack Zipes.
Book Fair and Poetry Bus
Over the course of the day, thousands thronged the exhibit hall to peruse the nearly 150 publishers, literary organizations, magazines, authors, and more who presented great books, author signings, giveaways, deals, and fun all day long. With its great prices, Rain Taxi’s Used Book and Record Bonanza sent hundreds of treasure hunters home with bargains galore!
This year, the Festival enjoyed the intimate setting of the Poetry Bus, parked outside between the building. Inside (if you were one of the lucky ones!) attendees could read and write poems throughout the day, guided by special guest authors. Brett Elizabeth Jenkins inspired dream poems; Brian Laidlaw urged people to write protest or gratitude songs; Paula Cisewski engaged with poetry Mad Libs; and Juan Felipe Herrera climbed aboard to a small, enthusiastic crowd to read poems and learn about the duties of the Poet Laureate.
Featured Author Readings
Programming kicked off on the Rain Stage with a 40th anniversary celebration of Holy Cow! Press with publisher Jim Perlman presenting four of its authors, Gary Boelhower, Joan Henrik, Miriam Karmel, and Crystal Spring Gibbons. Next up was a lively conversation between U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and Minnesota poet Ray Gonzalez, who won the 2017 Witter Bynner Fellowship. Alayne Hopkins from Minnesota Center for the Book introduced the poetic duo, and Rob Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center of the Library of Congress, moderated. At 12:30, the Rain Stage was packed to the gills and beyond when Senator Al Franken took the stage to discuss his new book, Al Franken Giant of the Senate with MPR’s Gary Eichten. Another humorous discussion took place next when Daniel Handler and Eric Lorberer paired up to discuss his naughty novel, All The Dirty Parts. The entertainment continued with two speculative fiction masters Charlie Jane Anders and Cory Doctorow presented their novels, both from Tor. And the day wound up with funny New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, who provided a visual tour through her latest work, Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York.
On the Taxi Stage, renowned book critic Donna Seaman introduced the audience to neglected women artists through pictures and her book Identity Unknown. And three authors joined forces to discuss travel writing from different perspectives. Geraldine DeRuiter (aka The Everywhereist) debuted her book intimate memoir, All Over The Place; Fulbright Scholar and activist Kenny Fries offered a journey of self-discovery in Japan with In The Province of the Gods; and local author Doug Mack provided political and historical context to his travel book The Not-Quite States of America. Former Minnesota poet Alex Lemon returned to the Twin Cities to present his memoir, Feverland, with vivid portraits of illness told with humor. And rounding up the Taxi stage performances was the ultra-dynamic and charismatic Yrsa Daley-Ward, who recited her poems from bone with directness and grace.
The Children’s Pavilion entertained young children from 10am to 3pm, with activities and storybook readings. Peter Pearson showed kids How to Eat an Airplane, accompanied by his banjo. Bao Phi read from his beautifully written and illustrated A Different Pond. And cartoonist Kickliy of Musnet fame gave a drawing workshop.
The Young Readers stage lifted off with two space-obsessed graphic novelists! Drew Brockington introduced his CatStronauts, while Chris Eliopoulos thrilled with his Cosmic Commandos. Nicole Helget and Janet Tashjian joined forces to present their new books The End of the Wild and Sticker Girl Rules the School, with a discussion of growing up, reading, and more. A Mini Midday Mingle with Minnesota Kidlit community drew over a dozen middle-grade authors: Steve Brezenoff, Rick Chrustowski, Abby Cooper, Erin Downing, Michael Hall, Sean Jensen, Mary Losure, Alison McGhee, Margi Preus, Laura Purdie Salas, Melissa Savage, and Kurtis Scaletta,
The Teen Stage continued the fun with YA authors S.K. Ali (Saints and Misfits) and Peter Bognanni (Things I’m Seeing Without You) who discussed the challenges and restraints teens face every day. Then M. C. Atwood (The Devils You Know), Malinda Lo (A Line in the Dark), and David Oppegaard (The Town Built on Sorrow) took the stage to discuss their page-turning thrillers. Finally, the day wrapped up with a fun Teen Author Party!
2016 Festival Highlights
Opening Night Events
Rain Taxi’s Opening Night Party was heavily attended by booklovers, authors, and exhibitors to celebrate the 16th Twin Cities Book Festival. It segued nicely into a talk by author Kathryn Aalto, presenting her book The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh to a packed audience!
Exhibit Hall and Morning Mingle in Progress Center
The 16th Annual Twin Cities Book Festival, held on October 15, 2016, started with a bang as over 30 local authors gathered for a Morning Mingle—poets, novelists, essayists and more met with Festival attendees and signed books. Participating authors were: Beth Blair, Richard Broderick, Carl Brookins, Frank Bures, Sharon Chmielarz, John Coy, Allen Eskens, Michael Fallon, Peter Geye, Rachel Gold, David Housewright, Dylan Hicks, Wing Young Huie, Marlon James, E. Eero Johnson , Linda & Kathryn Koutsky, Julie Kramer, Michelle Leon, Jess Lourey, Gretchen Marquette, Anna George Meek, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Chris Monroe, Amy Munson, Kathleen Novak, Benjamin Percy, Lenny Russo, Charlie Quimby, Su Smallen, Faith Sullivan, Krista Tippett, and Connie Wanek. Over the course of the day, thousands thronged the exhibit hall to peruse the nearly 150 publishers, literary organizations, magazines, authors, and more who presented great books, author signings, giveaways, deals, and fun all day long. With its great prices, Rain Taxi’s Used Book and Record Bonanza sent hundreds of treasure hunters home with bargains galore! And plenty of attendees helped create a giant collage at the Collagathon!
Read Pioneer Press's Mary Anne Grossmann's take on the 2016 Festival HERE!
Featured Author Readings in the Fine Arts Building
The Festival kicked off the morning with an exuberant group of Minnesota writers discussing why rural Midwestern Life is ridiculous at the Are We Making Fun of Us? panel and celebrating Stephanie Wilbur Ash’s book The Annie Year. Joining Stephanie were Jason Good, Geoff Herbach, John Jodzio, and Mary Mack. Afterwards, two stages fired up with terrific presentations. On the Rain Stage, poets Michael Waters, Janice N. Harrington, and Ray Gonzalez gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of BOA Editions. Comics great Eddie Campbell presented his art from Bacchus and other works. Comedian Phoebe Robinson read from her debut collection of essays You Can’t Touch My Hair. And literary legends Francine Prose and Charles Baxter discussed their new books with Rain Taxi editor Eric Lorberer.
On the Taxi Stage, Kevin Smokler and Kirby Gann discussed how their new books pay homage to a nostalgic past that may not live up to modern standards. Three international voices, Lidija Dimkovska, Derek Palacio, and Karan Mahajan, joined forces to discuss how the personal and political collide in their books. Two esteemed Canadian writers, poet Fred Wah and novelist André Alexis, read from their current publications. And poster king Mitch Putnam was joined by local artists Wes Winship, Mike Davis, and Dan Black to discuss his over-sized deluxe OMG Posters: A Decade of Rock Art, moderated by The Current’s own Mary Lucia.
The Children’s Pavilion entertained young children from 10am to 3pm, with music, activities, and storybook readings. Stephen and Trisha Speed Shaskan rocked the room with music and readings from their co-created book Punk Skunks. Kare11’s Belinda Jensen taught children about the wonders of weather. Illustrators Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead joined author Michelle Cuevas to present The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles.
On the Young Readers and Teen stage, three Minnesota authors, Abby Cooper, Brian Farrey, and Kelly Barnhill, presented their amazing works of magical worlds. Then rock star authors Stuart Gibbs, Sarah Mlynowski, and M.A. Larson took the stage to present their best-selling books. And Minnesota Book Award winner Shannon Gibney led an energetic conversation with A. S. King, Kathleen Glasgow, and Lara Avery, about the thought-provoking themes of their recent works.
The Twin Cities Book Festival—brought to you by Rain Taxi—is not only the largest and most important literary gathering in the Upper Midwest, it is the annual get-together for the Twin Cities’ devoted literary community. This FREE, day-long festival brings people together to celebrate our vibrant literary culture. The festival welcomes ‘rock star’ authors, local literary heroes, publishers, magazines, booksellers—all of whom connect over great books and conversations. Please contact us at bookfest [at] raintaxi [dot] com to inquire about ADA accessibility.
2015 Festival Highlights
Opening Night Events
Rain Taxi kicked off this year’s Festival with a Grand Opening Party featuring good eats and a sneak preview of our pop up Edward S. Curtis photograph exhibition in the Fine Arts Building. Following the party was a spectacular reading by Moroccan novelist and critic Laila Lalami!
Exhibit Hall in Progress Center
The 15h Annual Twin Cities Book Festival, held on October 17, 2015, attracted 6500 attendees. The cold weather didn’t deter the biking enthusiasts who participated in the BikeMN-sponsored Bikeworm ride from downtown Minneapolis to the Progress Center. Over the course of the day, thousands thronged the exhibit hall to peruse the nearly 150 publishers, literary organizations, magazines, authors, and more who presented great books, author signings, giveaways, deals, and fun all day long. 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 Building
Rain Taxi returned to two reading stages in the Fine Arts Building to accommodate the amazing roster of local and visiting authors. The Rain Stage featured short story powerhouse Joy Williams, memoirist and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, graphic novelist Craig Thompson, nonfiction author Susan Cheever, and two panels: "Novels of the Midwest" with Lin Enger, Lauren Fox, and Faith Sullivan, and “The Character of a Cop" with Matt Burgess, Allen Eskens, and Sheyna Galyan.
The Taxi Stage featured a special presentation by photographer Edward S. Curtis expert Christopher Cardozo, novelist Jabari Asim, a session on the New New Poetry with Brian Henry, Jennifer L. Knox, and Rachel Moritz, British novelist Rupert Thomson, novelists Joe Meno and Nina Revoyr, and experimental poet Christian Bök.
Books and author signings for Featured Events were hosted by Magers & Quinn Booksellers.
The Author Hub offered a full day of local and visiting author appearances who had new books to show off and discuss with readers. Participating authors included an all-day wood-working woodshop with carpentry expert and author Spike Carlsen; nonfiction authors Holly Day, Tom Weber, Ryan Berg, Jason Good, Josh Leventhal, and Norman Draper; pie experts Jerry Bechard and Cindee Borton-Parker of the Norske Nook; former Duluth mayor Don Ness; novelists Katie Pierson, Ava Finch, Nicole Helget, Ellen Hart, Erin Hart, Eleanor Arnason, and Pamela Carter Joern; and graphic novelist Anders Nilsen.
Books and author signings for the Author Hub were hosted by Common Good Books.
Children’s Pavilion—co-sponsored by MELSA
In the Children’s Pavilion, MELSA kept the kids hopping and happy with continuous fun from 10am to 3pm, featuring a Tiny Tots Obstacle Course, face painting, and music by Glen Everhart’s Heebie Jeebies. Special author appearances included storytelling with authors Mike Curato, Mike Wohnoutka, Stephanie Watson, Tran Thi Minh Phuoc, John Coy, and Book-O-Beards authors Lemke & Lentz, plus a Royal Storytime with Pretty Princess Parties.
Middle Grade Headquarters / Teen Tent—co-sponsored by Red Balloon Bookshop
Red Balloon upped the ante this year with another amazing roster of middle grade and YA authors. In the Middle Grade Headquarters, Cecil Castellucci and Daniel Wallace presented their Star Wars themed books along with costumed folks from the Garrison 501st Legion, an international Star Wars costuming organization. Australian bestseller John Flanagan presented a new book in his Ranger’s Apprentice series, and the “Middle Grade Adventures: Not for the Faint of Heart” panel featured Jacqueline West, Lynne Jonell, D.J. MacHale, John Parke Davis, and Carrie Ryan. In the Teen Tent, Carrie Ryan returned with Derek E. Sullivan and Nicola Yoon to discuss the topic “Can You Keep A Secret?” Rebecca Hahn, Tom Isbell, E.K. Johnston, and Julie Kagawa convened to discuss their panel topic “Fraught with Peril: Surviving a YA World.” The day wrapped up with a Teen Author Party and Book Signing with all authors celebrating the day!
2014 Book Festival Highlights
Exhibit Hall in the Progress Center
We broke all kinds of records on a beautiful fall Saturday with the 14th Annual Twin Cities Book Festival on October 11, 2014 with almost 7000 attendees. The Festival kicked off with a BikeMN-sponsored Bikeworm ride from downtown Minneapolis to the Progress Center, where 100 bikers rode with musician and poet Ben Weaver, then gathered to hear him read a poem he wrote for the occasion! Meanwhile, as the doors opened on the exhibit hall, thousands thronged all day to peruse the nearly 150 publishers, literary organizations, magazines, authors, comics artists, and more who presented great books, author signings, giveaways, deals, and fun all day long. With its great prices, Rain Taxi’s Used Book and Record Bonanza reeled in hundreds of treasure hunters happy to cart away piles of big finds. And the CLMP Literary Magazine Fair, always a Festival favorite, offered great literary magazines from across the country at amazing prices.
Featured Author Readings in the Fine Arts Center
Terrific authors drew big audiences to our main stage in the Fine Arts Center. Ann Hood and Laird Hunt read from their recent historically infused fictions; Okey Ndibe thrilled the audience discussing fiction’s role in broadening our cross-cultural scope with J. Otis Powell; award-winning columnist Katha Pollitt launched her new book to a very large crowd; poets Matthea Harvey and Hoa Nguyen explored language and consciousness through their recent work; local authors Stephan Eirik Clark and Julie Schumacher discussed their satirical novels with local critic and writer Dylan Hicks; and local comics artists Anders Nilsen and Zak Sally rolled out their “Conversation Gardening,” an interactive experiment with readers to engage conversation about the vital world of independent media, helped along by moderator Jay D. Peterson. Books and author signings were hosted by Magers & Quinn Booksellers.
The Author Hub offered a full day of local and visiting author appearances who had new books to show off and discuss with readers. Participating authors include: Michael Agnew, Susan Barbieri, Aliki Barnstone, John Brandon, Allen Eskens, Michael Fallon, Damian Fowler, Brian Freeman, Allan Grostephan, Jeff Hertzberg, Patrick Hicks, Nancy Horan, Heather Taylor Johnson, Terry Kerber, Julie Kramer, Benjamin Percy, Paula Rabinowitz, John Rosengren, Sue Silverman, Laura Sobiech, and Justin St. Germain! The Rain Taxi booth also hosted some amazing author appearances, including Dessa, J. Otis Powell, Brian Laidlaw, Ben Weaver, and Elisabeth Workman. A special perk all day was offered by artist Anne Labovitz who painted “letter drawings” as she conversed with Festival goers, offering one-of-a-kind bookmarks as a free giveaway! Books and author signings were hosted by Common Good Books.
See this terrific time-lapse film of Anne Labovitz creating her "letter drawings" all day at the festival.
Children’s Pavilion—co-sponsored by MELSA
In the Children’s Pavilion, MELSA kept the kids hopping and happy with continuous fun from 10am to 3pm, including Lego bricks station, fun face painting, MOO! the live action board game, and music by Duke Otherwise. Special author appearances included a Move and Groove storytime with Michael Dahl, Michael Hall, and Chris Monroe; Prairie Seed Learning with Phyllis Root; Monster Truck Mania with Derek Anderson; a Circus Quirkus party with Erin Soderberg, and hands-on kitchen science experiments with Liz Heinecke!
Middle Grade Headquarters/Teen Tent
—co-sponsored by Red Balloon Bookshop
This year’s Festival also included a brand new reading stage just for middle grade and young adult readers! The Middle Grade Headquarters featured a fun Heroes of Olympus Party to celebrate the new Rick Riordan book The Blood of Olympus. Middle-graders could meet National Book Award winner William Alexander and local favorite Kelly Barnhill, who presented their new books. Jessica Day George appeared to present the next installment in her Castle Glower series. And authors S. A. Bodeen, Margi Preus, and Jacqueline West oversaw some lunchtime entertainment with a rousing game of Two Truths and a Lie! After lunch, the space changed over to the Teen Tent with Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson discussing their new books about falling in love. Marie Lu and Andrea Cremer presented their dystopian books, with offerings on how to survive during drastic times. The Teen Tent closed out with a Teen Party, hosted by local greats Pete Hautman, Geoff Herbach, and Carrie Mesrobian, with swag bags offered to the first 30 teen attendees. It was standing room only all afternoon! Red Balloon Bookshop worked closely with Rain Taxi to produce these amazing events, which were a resounding success and show that kids love to read!
Pre-Festival events included a VIP Opening Night Party at a local artist’s studio. Later that evening, Rain Taxi co-presented Ben Weaver and Brian Laidlaw in concert at The Cedar. On Saturday, we were proud to partner with the Friends of the Hennepin County Library to co-present a remarkable appearance by cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, who discussed his new book The Sense of Style at the library Saturday night. A great wrap-up to a wonderful day!
Photos by Vance Gellert, Kelly Everding, and Addendum Books.
2013 Festival Highlights
The 13th-annual Twin Cities Book Festival is in the books! On Saturday, October 12, 2013, more than 6,000 book aficionados came to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds to experience a day of readings, discussions, and literary community. For the second year in a row the Book Festival expanded—last year we moved to the State Fairgrounds, and this year we took over a second building! Amid all this growth, though, the mainstays were the same: a bustling exhibit floor, a lively Children’s Pavilion, ands featured presentations from some of the world’s finest writers. Read about it below—and you can view more pictures from the day HERE!
The heart of the Book Festival is always the exhibit floor, where exhibitors display and sell their wares and chat with attendees. This year saw a record number of publishers, literary organizations, and magazines with specials, giveaways, and drawings for prizes—138 exhibitors in all. Dozens of local authors signed copies of their books at publisher tables, some new faces joined our used bookseller area, and our exhibiting author portion of the book fair featured award-winning poets, novelists, essayists, and comics artists.
Rain Taxi’s Used Book & Record Sale and CLMP’s Literary Magazine Fair sent hundreds of buyers home with great deals. Got books or records to donate for next year’s sale? Contact us at bookfest[at]raintaxi.com!
FEATURED AUTHORS, SHOWCASES, AND PANEL DISCUSSIONS
Featured presenters wowed rapt audiences throughout the day. Award-winning poets Rae Armantrout and David Wojahn, comedian linguist Howard Mohr, bestselling novelist Nicholson Baker, screenwriter and memoirist Delia Ephron, scholar and multimedia innovator Ytasha Womack, and Romanian literary great Mircea Cartarescu all graced our stages!
Lit lovers also took in a Minnesota Poetry Showcase featuring Christopher Bolin, Patricia Kirkpatrick, Matt Rasmussen, and Tom Hennen, and the Festival tradition of informative and engaging panel discussion continued in 2013 with Susannah Schouweiler of mnartists.org moderating the Writers at Work panel, featuring Kate Hopper, David Oppegaard, Stephanie Wilbur Ash, and Brad Zellar, and poet Gary Dop moderating the Classics Old and New panel,which included Stephen Burt, Marlon James, Alison McGhee, and Kevin Smokler.
Books for featured events were sold by our good friends at Magers and Quinn Booksellers!
With more authors than ever before, the Children’s Pavilion was hopping with happy kids! Sponsored by MELSA—An Alliance of Metro Public Libraries, the Pavilion programming included children’s authors Lisa Bullard, Lynne Jonell, Deborah Jo Larson, Mary Logue, Kurtis Scaletta, Stephen Shaskan, Lauren Striner, Yasmine Surovec, Kristen Tracy, and Stephanie Watson, with special signings by SA Bodeen and Robert Sabuda. Musical entertainers Duke Otherwise kept the kids buzzing between readings, and a whole slew of crafts and activities kept kids having hands-on fun at the Festival.
Books for the Children’s Pavilion were sold by our good friends at Red Balloon Bookshop!
LOCAL LIT LOUNGE
In the Local Lit Lounge, attendees had a chance to catch up with favorite local authors who had books released within the past year: Scott Dominic Carpenter, James Dawes, Jack El-Hai, Pete Hautman, Geoff Herbach, David Housewright, Rebecca Kanner, Dore Kiesselbach, Anna George Meek, Jim Northrup, W. Scott Olsen, Charlie Quimby, Stephen Michael Shearer, Jesse Ventura, Wendy Webb, and Morgan Grayce Willow all stopped by, plus the last hour of the day saw two pairs of literary treats: Erin Hart and Paddy O'Brien provided a bit of Irish music and culture, and two visiting Brians (Brian Evenson and Brian Tuohy) met with fans and fanatics!
Attendees were also invited to take a Brainy Quiz with author Roseann Bane, and to play author Alan Deniro's "game novel" to celebrate his new book Tyrannia. Books for authors in our Local Lit Lounge were sold by our good friends at Common Good Books.
Not content with one kick-off, we had two! On Thursday night, in collaboration with our good friends at the Pen Pals lecture series, we presented certified genius George Saunders at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Saunders spoke at length about his creative process and the inspiration for many of the stories in his newest collection Tenth of December. And on Friday, the Festival’s Friday Night Soiree was held at the classy Chowgirls Parlor, where local supporters of Rain Taxi got a chance to hobnob with visiting authors. Thanks to Pen Pals and to Chowgirls for their support!
Thanks to our 2013 volunteers and sponsors: Minnesota State Arts Board, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, MELSA, Target Foundation, and TCF Foundation; Media sponsors: MSP Magazine, City Pages, Minnesota Public Radio; booksellers: Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Common Good Books, and Red Balloon Bookshop.
If YOU want to become a Local Supporter of Rain Taxi and help us get next year’s Twin Cities Book Festival off the ground, please donate now!
2012 Festival Highlights
The 12th-annual Twin Cities Book Festival is in the books! On Saturday, October 13, 2012, more than 5,200 book aficionados came to the Progress Center at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds to experience a day of readings, discussions, and literary community. With a new, bigger location, the Book Festival expanded its programming, but the mainstays were the same: a bustling exhibit floor, a lively Children’s Pavilion, as well as featured presentations from some of the world’s finest writers. Read about it below!
The heart of the Book Festival is always the exhibit floor, where exhibitors display and sell their wares and chat with attendees. This year saw a record number of publishers, literary organizations, and magazines with specials, giveaways, and drawings for prizes—120 exhibitors in all. Dozens of local authors signed copies of their books at publisher tables, some new faces joined our used bookseller area, and our exhibiting author portion of the book fair featured award-winning poets, novelists, essayists, and comics artists.
Featured Authors, Showcases, and Panel Discussions
This year’s featured programming was among the finest in TCBF history. Poet heavyweights Sharon Olds and Gerald Stern, comics guru Chris Ware, experimental novelist Mark Z. Danielewski, best-selling author Susan Isaacs, collectors of “the weird” Jeff and Ann Vandermeer, scholar and activist Kate Bornstein, and Canadian naturalist Candace Savage all graced our stages!
In addition, this year the Festival added two Fiction Showcases: the YA Fiction Showcase co-sponsored by the Loft Literary Center and featuring Bree Despain, Amanda Hocking, Anne Greenwood Brown, and Anna Waggener, as well as the World Fiction Showcase, co-sponsored by Macalester College Department of English, and featuring Jennifer Miller, James Kilgore, Eduardo Halfon, and Tamara Faith Berger.
The Twin Cities Book Festival tradition of informative and engaging panel discussion continued in 2012 with Steph Opitz of CLMP moderating the Book Publicity: Basics and Beyond panel, featuring Stephanie Curtis, Jocelyn Hale, Jerrold Jenkins, and Lorna Landvik, and Harvard Professor Stephen Burt moderating the Queer Minnesota: The State of LGBT Writing panel, co-sponsored by mnartists.org, which included Raymond Luczak, John Medeiros, Catherine Lundoff, and Rachel Gold.
Books for featured events were sold by our good friends at Magers and Quinn Booksellers!
With more authors than ever before, the Children’s Pavilion was hopping with happy kids! Sponsored by MELSA—An Alliance of Metro Public Libraries, the Pavilion programming included children’s authors Molly Beth Griffin, Will Alexander, David LaRochelle, Nancy Carlson, Sarah Warren, Ryan Jacobson, Sid Farrar, Tim Kehoe, Samuel Hiti, Kevin Kling and Chris Monroe, Barbara DaCosta, and Mick Carlon. Musical entertainers the Splatter Sisters, Filibert Binkleby and the Travelers, and Steve Faison kept the kids buzzing between readings, and a whole slew of crafts and activities from MCBA, Minnesota Children’s Museum, Minnetonka Center for the Arts, the Como Zoo, the Children’s Theater Company, and MacPhail Center for Music made the Children’s Pavilion a highlight for younger readers.
Books for the Children’s Pavilion were sold by our good friends at Red Balloon Bookshop!
In the Local Lit Lounge, attendees had a chance to catch up with favorite local authors who had books released within the past year: Julie Schumacher, Greta Oglesby, Martin Kihn, Matt Batt, Doug Mack, Margi Preus, William Souder, John Brandon, Ann Bauer, Kathleen Jesme, Lara Avery, Jeffrey Pilcher, Mary Losure, and Robert Grunst. Toward the end of the day, visiting authors Cheryl Strayed and Richard and Kate Russo came by to sit for a spell and sign books as well! Books for authors in our Local Lit Lounge were sold by our good friends at Common Good Books.
Attendees were also invited to swing by the Coffee House Press-sponsored Read This! booth, where “The Bookseller was IN” all day long. Booksellers from across the Twin Cities took a shift at the desk, providing recommendations to eager readers. And nearby, inspired writers could drop off their writings in the first-ever Firecracker Mailbox, where work will be considered for a literary magazine composed entirely of the day’s submissions!
As always, Rain Taxi’s Used Book Sale and CLMP’s Literary Magazine Fair sent hundreds of buyers home with great deals. Got books to donate for next year’s sale? Contact us at bookfest[at]raintaxi.com!
Not content with one kick-off, we had two! On Thursday night, in collaboration with our good friends at the Walker Art Center, we presented Social/Brief, an evening of brevity and levity: nearly 100 local writers showed up to read short poems open mic style over beverages and snacks. And on Friday, the Festival’s Opening Night Party was held at the book-friendly offices of Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, where local supporters of Rain Taxi got a chance to hobnob with visiting authors. Thanks to the Walker and to Consortium for their support!
2011 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
ALL-DAY EXHIBIT AND BOOK FAIR
AUTHORS AT THE FESTIVAL
The day began with the Morning Mixer where local authors with new books shared coffee and bread. Throughout the day, the reading rooms filled with book-lovers excited to hear readings by this year's fantastic line-up of authors: novelists Diana Abu-Jaber, N. M. Kelby, Jaimy Gordon, and Daniel Woodrell, scientist Steven Pinker, cartoonist Ben Katchor, actor Kevin Sorbo, biographer Gary Tillery, essayist Lawrence Weschler, and the many great authors who participated in our panel discussions on mystery writing, Minnesota memoirs, and Minnesota place.
Sponsored by Metro Public Libraries, the Children's Pavilion drew a great crowd with author readings by Paul Fricke, Phyllis Root, John Coy, Sarah Forss, Kelly Barnhill, and Lynne Jonell, performances by The Bazillions, the Bookcrobatics, and Dazzling Dave Yo-Yo Master, games, crafts, and more—including Bruce the Bug Guy!
2010 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
All-Day Exhibit and Book Fair
The fantastic Book Fair showcased over a hundred exhibitors. Publishers (local and from afar), literary organizations, booksellers, literary magazines, and authors filled the floor and drew crowds.
Brushes with Greatness: Authors at the Festival
Beginning with the Morning Mixer, featuring great local authors—and one not so local!—this was another great year for Festival-goers to meet authors. Throughout the day, book-lovers filled the reading rooms, eager to hear words come alive with readings by M. T. Anderson, Richard Paul Evans, Mary Catherine Bateson, James Howard Kunstler, Frederic Tuten, Jean Valentine, and Jeffrey Zaslow. Our panels were also popular with people flocking to hear about such topics as Changes in Publishing, Minnesota Debut Fiction, Regional Writing, Minnesota Comics, and Views from the Loft.
Our new Children's Pavilion, sponsored by Metro Public Libraries, gave our youngest booklovers plenty of space to dance and sing with the McPhail Sing-a-long, wonder at the reptiles presented by RAD Zoo, become spellbound by Magician Star Michaelina, compose poetry at the Poetry Booth, and make crafts. And of course, children enjoyed storytelling by Marsha Wilson Chall, Bruce Lansky, David LaRochelle, Stephanie Watson, and M. T. Anderson!
2009 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
The 2009 Twin Cities Book Festival had a snowy start to the day, but that didn’t stop the throngs of people from perusing the over 100 exhibitors on the book fair floor or attend the many stellar readings throughout the day. Here are just some of the highlights from this great celebration of the book!
All-Day Exhibit and Book Fair
The fantastic Book Fair showcased over a hundred exhibitors. Publishers (local and from afar), literary organizations, booksellers, literary magazines, and authors filled the floor and drew crowds. Many treasures were unearthed at the Rain Taxi Used Book Sale fundraiser(at right).
Brushes with Greatness: Authors at the Festival
Beginning with the Morning Mixer, featuring great local authors rubbing elbows with the early Festival-goers, this year was a great year for authors. It was a great way to warm up and start the celebration, with Kate Ledger, Zander Cannon, Heid Erdrich, Julie Kramer, and many more terrific local literary greats. And throughout the day, book-lovers filled the reading rooms, eager to hear their literature come alive with wonderful readings by Diane Ackerman, Lorrie Moore, Nicholson Baker, Robert Olen Butler, Christian Bök, Adam Zagajewski, David Allen Sibley, Gabrielle Bell, and Ethan Gilsdorf. Plus we had two great panels for writers: one called The Future of Poetry featured six outstanding poets exploring the cliques and claques of poetry (featuring Stephen Burt, Alexs Pate, Joyelle McSweeney, Elizabeth Robinson, Ed Bok Lee, and Matvei Yankelevich); and a Publishing Workshop featuring authors from the National Writers Union (featuring Jane Gilgun, Kathryn Kysar, Jacqueline Mosio, and Paul Zerby)!
Children of all ages had a great time at our Storytelling Circle with excellent storytellers reading throughout the day and four chances to read to a dog! Our storyellers featured Emilie Buchwald, John Coy, Julie Crabtree, Matthea Harvey, Alison McGhee, and Phyllis Root. Also, Minnesota Center for Book Arts helped Festival goers make cool literary buttons to wear.
2008 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
The eighth annual Twin Cities Book Festival, held on October 11, 2008, drew book lovers from all over the metro area and beyond! People of all ages and ilks descended on the Minneapolis Community and Technical College to celebrate books and authors, starting with a 10am Morning Mixer featuring local authors with new books! Charles Baxter, H. M. Bouwman, Cass Dalglish, Ellen Hart, Geoff Herbach, Jeff Hertzberg, Pamela Carter Joern, Patrick Jones, Laurie Lindeen, David Schwartz, and Warren Woessner came together to share coffee and rub elbows with the public.
As always, readings and discussions were held throughout the day. This year’s excellent array of authors included: NPR’s “voice of books” Alan Cheuse reading from his new novel; Mexican author Ana Clavel with her U.S. translator Jay Miskowiec; comics legend Jaime Hernandez in conversation with local comic artist Zak Sally; acclaimed literary novelist Valerie Martin; Allen Ginsberg biographer Bill Morgan; Icelandic author and Sugarcubes bassist Bragi Ólafsson; esteemed poet Nathaniel Tarn; debut novelist and Reduced Shakespeare Company co-founder Jess Winfield; and a book launch for poets and translators Robert Bly and Robert Hedin celebrating the publication of their joint translation of The Dream We Carry: Selected and Last Poems of Olav H. Hauge. There was also a very popular panel discussion on Juggling Literature and Life moderated by local poet Margaret Hasse and featuring novelist Elizabeth Oness, travel writer Rolf Potts, art historian and Walker Art Center director Olga Viso, New York poet Marjorie Welish, and memoirist Frank B. Wilderson, III.
The Storytelling Circle came back with great stories and activities for young folk. Terrific children’s authors drew the young set to the Festival: Heather Bouwman, Kathy-jo Wargin, Susan Marie Swanson, Diane Hovey, Marion Robinson, and Joanne A. Reisberg read from their recent storybooks. And Minnesota Center for Book Arts taught children how to transform paper and string into miniature book necklaces. Children were also treated to free books donated by General Mills!
Rain Taxi wants to thank the 2008 Book Festival Staff for their hard work to bring the festival together and keep things running smoothly throughout the day: William Alexander, Alica Conroy, Beth Duncan, Kristin Livdahl, Andrea Seven, and Rebecca Weaver. We also gratefully acknowledge our media sponsor, Vita.mn, and our restaurant sponsor, Joe’s Garage. A big thank you to BookMobile for printing the program; thanks to the Comic Art Program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for co-sponsoring the Jaime Hernandez reading; thanks to the University of Minnesota English Department for co-sponsoring the Nathaniel Tarn reading; and thanks to the Creative Writing Program at Hamline University for co-sponsoring the Valerie Martin reading.
The 2008 Twin Cities Book Festival was made possible, in part, by funds provided by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council through an appropriation by the Minnesota Legislature.
2007 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Another great turnout for the seventh annual Twin Cities Book Festival proves its staying power! On October 13, 2007, book lovers came together to celebrate the written word, enjoying the word wares of the exhibitors and discovering new books and authors throughout the day. Highlights this year included the new Children's Storytelling Circle with a campfire coziness created just for kids! Children of all ages enjoyed readings by Carol McCormick, Minnesota Lynx player Lindsey Harding, and special guest David Lubar, author of Curse of the Campfire Weenies! Other activities included a Nature's Yucky Quiz Bowl and a the chance to read to a dog with the Humane Society's Animal Ambassador of Reading Fun!
We had more readings and panels than ever this year! Festival guest authors included award-winning Nigerian poet and novelist Chris Abani; bestselling Iranian-American author Gina B. Nahai; inventive novelist Diane Williams; ethnobotonist Dale Pendell; visionary journalist Daniel Pinchbeck; comics writer Andrew Helfer; celebrated Toronto writer Linda Spalding; Minnesota physician and photographer David L. Parker; award-winning poets Bin Ramke and Laura Moriarty; and all the way from Holland, Dutch poets Kees 't Hart and Arjen Duinker! There were two panel discussions: three young adult writers—David Lubar, Simone Elkeles, and Patrick Jones—converged to dispense wisdom on writing for the pesky teenager, and the Minnesota Crime Wave (Carl Brookins, Ellen Hart, and William Kent Krueger) gathered to discuss the unique perspective of a Minnesotan when it comes to writing about murder.
There were also dozens of local author signings on the festival floor throughout the day. Some of the many authors who appeared include: Thomas Maltman, Rick Shefchik, Pete Hautman, Julie Schumacher, Matthew Sanford, Patricia Hampl, Jude Nutter, JoAnn Verberg, Kathryn Strand Koutsky and Linda Koutsky, John Minczeski, Emilie Buchwald, Jim Lenfestey, Zak Sally, and many more!
The Book Festival wants to thank the 2007 Book Festival Staff for their hard work to bring the festival together and keep things running smoothly throughout the day: Emily Cook, Kristin Livdahl, William Alexander, Susan Buechler, Alica Conroy, Liz McLemore, and Rebecca Weaver. We also gratefully acknowledge our media sponsors: City Pages and Minnesota Public Radio and thank them for their continued support of the arts. A big thank you to BookMobile for printing the program; to the Department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch at the University of Minnesota for co-presenting the Dutch poets; to beFamily for co-sponsoring the children's activities; to Keith Carlson and Tamara Lange of Bloomington Carpet One for donating carpet to the Children's Storytelling Circle; and to the Guthrie Theater, The Onion, and The Rake for their support. And, finally, a huge thanks to our volunteers who helped with organization, set-up, break-down, and innumerable tasks during the event.
The 2007 Twin Cities Book Festival was made possible, in part, by funds provided by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council through an appropriation by the Minnesota Legislature; and with generous support from the Carolyn Foundation.
2006 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
With record attendance and a lineup of amazing authors from around the world, the Sixth Annual Twin Cities Book Festival was a fantastic day for readers and writers alike. Held on Saturday, October 14, 2006, for the third year at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, the festival featured events in a wide range of genres to appeal to book lovers of all ages. Highlights of the day included readings by award-winning authors; a Lemony Snickett book-launch event complete with an accordionist-led march through the exhibit hall; a used book sale with bargains and hard-to-find gems from booksellers from around the region; and an exhibit hall featuring area publishers, literary magazines, local arts organizations, and many more, almost all of whom offered great deals and special events just for festival goers.
Guest authors this year included acclaimed Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; National Book Award nominee Mark Danielewski; macabre and entertaining author Mary Roach discussing science and the afterlife; the prolific and powerful poet, novelist and critic John Yau; music historian Steven Lee Beeber in conversation with 89.3 The Current's Mary Lucia about Jewish punk rock; blogger and ambitious home chef Julie Powell discussing her best-selling account of a year with Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking; biographer Lawrence Sutin on the impact of Buddhism in the West; a special book launch event for A Mermaid's Tale by debut author Amanda Adams; a panel on editing fantasy with Gavin Grant and Kelly Link of Small Beer Press; Newbery-Honor winner Shannon Hale; and a local celebrity Spelling Bee hosted by Steve Kleinedler, Senior Editor of the American Heritage Dictionary.
The Book Festival wants to thank coordinators Chris Fischbach, Emily Cook, and Jessica Bennett for their hard work to bring the festival together and keep things running smoothly throughout the day. We also acknowledge our media sponsor, City Pages, and thank them for their continued support of the arts. A big thank you to Project Logos: The Center for Creative Writing and the Literary Arts Institute of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University for co-sponsoring John Yau's appearance.
And, finally, a huge thanks to our volunteers who helped with organization, set-up, break-down, and innumerable tasks during the event.
The 2006 Twin Cities Book Festival was made possible, in part, by funds provided by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council from an appropriation by the Minnesota Legislature.
2005 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
The Fifth Annual Twin Cities Book Festival, held on Saturday, October 15, 2005, at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College in downtown Minneapolis, was the biggest and best to date, living up to the Festival's growing reputation as an indispensible component of the Twin Cities literary scene. 85 area publishers, literary magazines, book artists, and community organizations exhibited, many featuring book signings, special events, and sales for festival goers.
Our guest authors this year included American Splendor author Harvey Pekar in conversation with 89.3 The Current's Mary Lucia; award-winning, critically-acclaimed, and best-selling author Rick Moody; the spellbinding Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of Queen of Dreams; Audrey Niffenegger illuminating the process behind her illustrated novel The Three Incestuous Sisters; novelist and essayist Siri Hustvedt discussing her latest collection of essays on art; young adult authors Pete Hautman and Alison McGhee; poet, playwright, novelist, and critic Ana Castillo; Forrest Gander and Eliot Weinberger on the glorious past and vibrant future of New Directions; children's author Warren Hanson and his friend PEEF the Christmas Bear; Wellstone Action communications director Bill Lofy on his new biography of Paul Wellstone; and MCBA Book Artists showing how book arts can transform the literary. All events were well attended and appreciated, and some even filled to overflowing!
Coordinators Emily Cook, Chris Fischbach and Lisa Fink once again worked tirelessly to make the day a huge success. We heartily thank our media sponsors, City Pages and 89.3 The Current, and the following local businesses for their support: Joe's Garage, Barbette/Bryant Lake Bowl, Twin City Grill, Crema Cafe, Peace Coffee, and Open Book. As always, we send a huge thanks to all of our volunteers who made the day possible; to our esteemed authors who gave of their time and energy; and to all of our wonderful exhibitors!
2004 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Nearly 4000 people attended the 2004 Twin Cities Book Festival held on Saturday, October 16, 2004, at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College in downtown Minneapolis. Over 75 area publishers, literary magazines, book artists, and arts organizations showed off their literary wares to an enthusiastic crowd.
Fantastic readings by guest authors included best-seller Karen Joy Fowler, a joint poetry reading with Fanny Howe and Eleni Sikelianos, and a joint fiction reading with Wayne Koestenbaum and Doug Nufer. Readings by children's authors included a joint reading with Kate DiCamillo and Julie Schumacher, and storybook readings for the younger set by Rick Kupchella and Sun Yung Shin.
Special sessions featured a writing workshop with Chris Baty, founder of National Novel-writing Month, a "Trials of Publishing" panel discussion with novelists Janet Desaulniers and Sheila O'Connor, a visual presentation on the comic book industry by cartoonist Zander Cannon, a hands-on activity session on the Great North American Prairie, and book arts fun with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.
Special thanks go out to coordinators Chris Fischbach and Lisa Fink for their hard work on the festival, and to City Pages for media sponsorship. And a big thanks to all of our volunteers who made the festival run as smoothly as it did, to the wonderful authors who gave terrific readings and presentations, and the exhibitors who made the festival a smashing success!
2003 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Our highly successful 2003 festival was held on Saturday, September 27th at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) in downtown Minneapolis. The day's events included:
Featured readings by Nick Bantock (of Griffin and Sabine fame), acclaimed author Charles Baxter, comic artist and writer Peter Kuper, and young adult novelist Kathe Koja. Special activities for kids included a puppet-making workshop with Galumph Interactive Theater, hands-on fun with the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts, and storybook readings. The festival featured two great panel discussions--"Beyond Harry Potter" and "Rethinking the Book Club"--as well as a presentation by the Movie Maven. There were also author signings, raffles and giveaways, a literary magazine fair, and a great used book sale!
Nick Bantock gave a fantastic presentation, discussing the inception of the Griffin and Sabine series of books, presenting a slideshow of his unique art, and reading from The Morning Star, the latest volume of his illustrated, epistolary novels. Bantock read with famed local Guthrie actor Isabell Monk O'Connor to a capacity crowd.
Galumph Interactive Theater puppetmasters helped kids create their very own puppet masks. Other children's activities included hands-on Book Arts activites with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts where kids could make their very own book necklaces and story hats. Children received their own copy of the book Nine-in-One Grr! Grr! at the Hmong Story Sharing hour, sponsored by the Minnesota Humanities Commission.
Alison McGhee read from her Minnesota Book Award-winning Countdown to Kindergarten to a young and rapt audience. Other storybook readers included Lisa Westberg Peters and Nancy Carlson.
Special thanks go out to Chris Fischbach, Kathleen Anderson, Jon Skuldt, Katie Dublinski, and Neil Kozlowicz, and all the volunteers who made the Festival a great success!
The 2003 Twin Cities Book Festival was made possible in part by funds provided by Marshall Field's, with additional support from the Target Foundation. Media sponsorship was provided by City Pages.
2002 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Greatly expanded, our 2002 festival was held on Saturday, October 12 at International Market Square and featured 90 exhibitors from the local book community and beyond. The day's events included:
Getting Published: A q&a session with the Pros | Holy Cow! Press 25th Anniversary Celebration | Fuori Poetry Reading | Speaking in Tongues: Brian Evenson & Lance Olsen | Between the Panels: Comics in the 21st Century | Reading Fortune-telling: What's in Your Reading Future? | CHILDREN'S AREA | Children's Storytelling | Children's poetry workshop | Watercolor Painting with Lisa Fifield | Galumph Interactive Theatre | Reading by John Coy
SPECIAL GUEST DENIS JOHNSON read new work and old including selections from Already Dead and The Incognito Lounge. The writer also performed a rousing duet with Ann Arbor rocker Jim Roll, whose album Inhabiting the Ball includes songs with lyrics by Rick Moody and Denis Johnson.
Special thanks to Christopher Fischbach, Alicia Conroy, Anitra Budd, and all the volunteers who helped make the second Twin Cities Book Festival a success!
The 2002 Twin Cities Book Festival was made possible in part by funds provided by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council from an appropriation by the Minnesota Legislature, support from the City of Minneapolis City Arts Grants program, and by Marshall Field's, with additional support from the Target Foundation. Media sponsors were City Pages and Minnesota Public Radio.
2001 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Our 2001 festival was held on Saturday, October 27 at Open Book, and featured over 50 exhibitors from the local book community. The day's events included:
Children's Storytelling sessions | A tribute to the late founder of New Rivers Press | A Hypermedia performance | Minnesota Literature Quiz show | Local mystery writers | Fuori Poetry Reading | Panel discussions: "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Lit Mag" and "Innovative Fictions."
SPECIAL GUEST ROBERT CREELEY braved tight airline security due to the events of 9/11 to deliver an incredible reading. The 77-year-old Creeley spoke about his own reactions to the tragedy amidst readings from his recent work, turning a packed auditorium into an intimate gathering place.
Special thanks to Jana Robbins and Tim Schwarz, local publishing professionals and booklovers who volunteered with Rain Taxi to get the Twin Cities Book Festival off the ground, and to sponsorship provided by the College of St. Benedict and Open Book.