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Readings & Talks | Panel & group events | Morning Mixer | Children's Pavilion
Complete Schedule | Main Festival Page

2010 Twin Cities Book Festival
Featured Events

As always, we’re proud to introduce Twin Cities readers
to a variety of authors from around the writing world!

* Starred readings will be ASL interpreted!

Readings and Talks


M. T. Anderson is the author of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, whose first volume, The Pox Party, won the National Book Award for Young People. His other books for both teens and adults alike include the dystopian satire Feed, winner of the 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He has also written series for young readers, including The Game of Sunken Places and the Pals in Peril Tales, and picture books such as The Serpent Came to Gloucester and Strange Mr. Satie. At this special Festival appearance, Anderson will deliver a rousing talk about the future of narrative, pondering what fiction will look like in our increasingly electronic world, and how writers can meet the challenges—and tremendous artistic opportunities—that lie ahead. Co-sponsored by the Hamline University Creative Writing Program. (3:30 pm, Spruce Room) NOTE: M. T. Anderson will also appear in the Children’s Pavilion!

Click here to download a flyer for this event!

photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey


Mary Catherine Bateson is a distinguished writer and cultural anthropologist, perhaps best known for writing the acclaimed memoir, Composing a Life. She returns to the theme with her new book, Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom. Here, Bateson approaches aging as an "improvisational art form calling for imagination and willingness to learn." She engages in conversations with men and women entering their "second adulthood," who relate their experiences on how they deal with change and spiritual growth. Bateson is also the author of Willing to Learn: Passages of Personal Discovery, and With a Daughter's Eyes: A Memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, which recounts what it was like to be raised by two of the most influential figures in the field of anthropology. (2:30 pm, Spruce Room)

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Richard Paul Evans is the New York Times bestselling author of The Christmas Box, and eleven subsequent best-selling books including Grace, The Gift, The Christmas List and The Walk. Evans's new novel, Promise Me, follows the story of a woman facing severe life trials who, one Christmas Day, meets a mysterious stranger who changes her life. Evans is the winner of the 1998 American Mothers Book Award, two first place Storytelling World Awards for his children’s books, and the 2005 Romantic Times Best Women Novel of the Year Award. Evans received the Washington Times Humanitarian of the Century Award and the Volunteers of America National Empathy Award for his work helping abused children. (10:30 am, Spruce Room)

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James Howard Kunstler is the bestselling author of The Geography of Nowhere, a history of American suburbia and urban development, and The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century, in which he proposes that big cities will collapse in the wake of absent cheap oil energy. His new fiction series, World Made By Hand, picks up on this theme, imagining a post-apocalyptic world of an oil-free nation in which the people have reverted to a pre-industrial way of life, fighting for dwindling resources. A sequel, The Witch of Hebron, continues this imagined dystopia with riveting and page-turning detail. (1:30 pm, Hennepin Room)

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Frederic Tuten is an art and film critic as well as an internationally acclaimed writer of fiction. He is the author of The Adventures of Mao on the Long March, Tintin in the New World, Van Gogh's Bad Café, and The Green Hour. He has also published books on artists Roy Lichtenstein, R.B. Kitaj, and Eric Fischl. His newest collection of short stories is Self Portraits: Fictions, described by Cynthia Ozick as, "An amazing, glittering, glowing, Proustian, Conradian, Borgesian, diamond-faceted, language-studded, myth-drowned Dream!" (12:30 pm, Hennepin Room)

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Jean Valentine won the Yale Younger Poets Award for her first book, Dream Barker, in 1965, and has been one of our nation’s most respected poets ever since. She has served as the State Poet of New York, and received the 2009 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship and awards from the NEA, The Bunting Institute, The Rockefeller Foundation, The New York Council for the Arts, the Teasdale Poetry Prize, and The Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Prize. Valentine is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965-2003, which won the National Book Award for Poetry, the chapbook Lucy: A Poem, and most recently Break The Glass. Co-sponsored by the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota. (11:30 am, Spruce Room)

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Jeffrey Zaslow is an American journalist and columnist for The Wall Street Journal. In his column, he brought worldwide attention to Professor Randy Pausch who presented his final lecture to students at Carnegie Mellon University as he battled pancreatic cancer. The resulting book, coauthored with Zaslow, The Last Lecture, became an instant bestseller and inspirational phenomenon. Zaslow subsequently coauthored Highest Duty, the memoir of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who famously landed a US Airways plane in the Hudson River. Zaslow’s recent book, The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women & a Forty-Year Friendship, follows another inspirational story of eleven childhood friends in Ames, Iowa who formed a special bond throughout their busy lives. (12:30 pm, Spruce Room)

At this special Festival appearance, Zaslow will be joined by three of the grown-up “girls” from Ames themselves—Marilyn Johnson, Kelly Zwagerman and Sally Hamilton—who will offer living proof of their enduring friendship.

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Panel Discussions and Group Events

In honor of the Festival’s tenth appearance, we’re presenting FIVE sessions focused on the plethora of book activity throughout Minnesota and beyond!

Getting Started: Minnesota Debut Fiction

We’ve scooped up several local authors who have recently published their first novels for a unique “read-off”: authors will each give a short reading of the openings of their books, and then tell us how things really got started. Warning: secrets may be revealed! Moderated by Annie Baxter, reporter and host of MPR's upcoming special, "Minnesota: Collected Stories" and a recipient of several fiction writing awards. (11:30 am, Hennepin Room)

Peter Bognanni’s debut novel, The House of Tomorrow (Putnam), was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, A Borders Original Voices pick, and an Indiebound Next selection.

Matt Burgess graduated from the University of Minnesota's MFA program, and still lives in Minneapolis; his novel Dogfight, A Love Story (Doubleday) has just been published.

Elissa Eliott is a contributing writer for Books & Culture and the author of Eve: A Novel (Bantam), which is newly out in paperback.

Peter Geye has a Ph.D from Western Michigan University, where he was the editor of Third Coast. His debut novel is Safe from the Sea (Unbridled Books).

Nicole Helget received an MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. The first chapter of her debut novel The Turtle Catcher (Mariner Books) won the Tamarack Prize from Minnesota Monthly. Before writing her novel, Helget published a memoir, The Summer of Ordinary Ways.

Wendy Webb, a lifelong journalist, lives in Duluth, where she is the editor-in-chief of Duluth~Superior Magazine. Her first novel, The Tale of Halcyon Crane (Holt) is a 2010 Midwest Connections Pick by the Midwest Booksellers Association.

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The Changing World Of Publishing: Getting Books To Readers

Our problem is not too few good books, but too many. How does a reader decide what to read next despite the growing stack of options on their night table? How does a new author break into a dedicated reader's "To Be Read" queue when traditional media outlets are disappearing fast? What role will new technologies like social media play now that authors are largely responsible for promoting their books themselves?" Our panel will tackle these big questions, and invite your tips and tricks for finding great books as well! (10:30 am, Hennepin Room)

Moderated by Kevin Smokler, co-founder and CEO of and editor of the anthology Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times.

Tim W. Brown has worked behind the scenes at the Printer’s Row Book Festival in Chicago and at the Independent Press Center in New York City. He has also published three novels and his poetry and nonfiction have appeared in hundred of publications.

Sheila DeChantal is a bibliophile who lives in northern Minnesota. Her blog, “Book Journey,” contains reviews, interviews, and all things bookish.

Andrew Ervin is the author of Extraordinary Renditions, just out from Coffee House Press. He is also a noted reviewer of books for The Believer, New York Times Book Review, Rain Taxi Review of Books, and other fabulous periodicals.

Jeff Kamin moderates the “Books & Bars" reading series in Minneapolis, which won a City Pages Best of in 2009. He's also a freelance writer, publicist, and event coordinator at the blog "Mustache Robots," but only after being El Jefe to his two young boys.

Steph Opitz is the membership director of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses in New York, and the former publicist at Red Hen Press in Los Angeles.

Click here to download a flyer for this event!

Minnesota Comics

It’s not just poets and prose writers that have put Minnesota on the literary map—our state is home to an amazing assortment of creators working in the field of comics! This panel of pros from across the state discusses what’s Minnesotan about their nationally recognized work. Moderated by Britt Aamodt, author of the forthcoming book Superheroes, Strip Artists, & Talking Animals: Minnesota's Contemporary Cartoonists, which collects the work of some of Minnesota's hottest comic art talents. (1:30 pm, Spruce Room)

Will Dinski holds a BFA in Comic Art from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and won the 2009 Isotope Award for “Excellence in Mini-Comics.” His first book, Fingerprints, has just been published by Top Shelf Productions.

Chris Monroe is the creator of the comic strip Violet Days and the book Ultra Violet: Ten Years of Violet Days, as well as the children’s books Monkey with a Tool Belt and Sneaky Sheep. She lives in Duluth.

Michelle Silva is currently getting her MFA at the University of Minnesota and spends many late nights chained to a drawing table. Her work has appeared in many publications, including the new anthology Trickster, a collection of Native American tales.

Bill Willingham has written a number of acclaimed series for DC Comics, including the ongoing postmodern sendup Fables. He is currently working on a new storyline for the Angel series, and has written prose novels as well, most recently Peter and Max. He lives in Southwestern Minnesota.

Click here to download a flyer for this event!

The Great Midwest: Regional Writing

Join us as authors from outside the Twin Cities talk about writing in and about the region of Minnesota and the Midwest. Moderated by Ian Graham Leask, producer and host of KFAI’s Write On Radio! (2:30 pm, Hennepin Room)

Charlene Ann Baumbich uses humor to teach readers and listeners how to appreciate the little things. She’s the author of over a dozen books, including her newest, Divine Appointments. Though she resides in Illinois, many of her books are set in Winona, MN—find out why!

Patrick Hicks teaches creative writing at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, and is the author of several poetry collections (most recently This London) and the editor of a brand-new anthology of South Dakota poetry, A Harvest of Words. He has recently returned to the Midwest after living in Europe.

Mark Munger is the owner of Cloquet River Press and the author of several books, including The Legacy, Ordinary Lives, River Stories, and most recently, Mr. Environment: The Willard Munger Story. He lives in northern Minnesota.

Kent Nerburn is the author of the loudly acclaimed Neither Wolf nor Dog and its sequel, the Minnesota Book Award winner The Wolf at Twilight, among many other books that encourage millions to “seek the unseen in life.” He lives near the Canadian border in northern Minnesota.

Click here to download a flyer for this event!

Views From The Loft

Join us for the final fall event celebrating the release of Views from the Loft, an anthology of writing wisdom from the community of authors, students, and editors at the nation’s largest literary center! The essays here offer tools and inspiration to thrive in the writing life—and so will this panel. Moderated by Jocelyn Hale, Executive Director of The Loft. (3:30 pm, Hennepin Room)

Barrie Jean Borich is the author of My Lesbian Husband, which won the American Library Association GLBT nonfiction book award, and Restoring the Color of Roses. She is the nonfiction editor of Water~Stone Review and a creative writing teacher at Hamline University.

Brigitte Frase is a poet, essayist, and literary critic. Her work has appeared in the Hungry Mind Review, Ruminator Review, Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times, and many other publications.

Lorna Landvik is the popular author of Your Oasis on Flame Lake, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, Oh My Stars, and The View From Mount Joy. She has worked as an actor, a comedian, and a speed typist in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Click here to download a flyer for this event!

Morning Mixer: 10:00–10:30 am

Kick off the day by chatting with some terrific local luminaries and their new releases! Books will be available for purchase and the authors will be happy to sign them. Authors appearing include:

Bonnie Blodgett, Remembering Smell
Mark Conway, Dreaming Man, Face Down
Eric Hanson, A Book of Ages
Jim Kakalios, The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics
Micaela Preston, Practically Green
Stephen Michael Shearer, Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr
Colin Sokolowski, The Accidental Adult
Alexa Stevenson, Half Baked
Richard Terrill, Almost Dark
Ricki Thompson, City of Cannibals

photo by Tara Murphy

PLUS: special guest

Meet Scotland's most popular export—the inimitable author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie series, the 44 Scotland Street series, and the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series—as he celebrates the release of his latest book, The Charming Quirks of Others. We'll have that title and plenty more for sale, and Alexander McCall Smith will be happy to sign copies and chat with fans.
10:00-11:00 am

Click here to download a flyer for this event!

Book sales for featured author events provided by Magers and Quinn Booksellers.

Click here to

see a complete SCHEDULE of events!

see Children's Pavilion!

see a complete list of Exhibitors!

return to the main Festival page!