Saturday, October 11, 2014

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. CLICK HERE for a complete listing of the 2013 exhibitors.

Advice offered at the Llewelyn Worldwide table

A sale at the Coffee House Press table

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]!



Featured presenters wowed rapt audiences throughout the day. Award-winning poets Rae Armantrout and David Wojahn, comedian linguist Howard Mohr, bestselling novelists Nicholson Baker, screenwriter and memoirist Delia Ephron, scholar and multimedia innovator Ytasha Womack, and Romanian literary great Mircea Cartarescu all graced our stages!

Nicholson Baker and ASL interpreter Rebecca Rick

Delia Ephron

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 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.

Kate Kysar introduces the Classics Panel: Alison McGhee, Stephen Burt, Kevin Smokler, and Marlon James

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.

Facepainting in the Children's Pavilion

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: 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!

Paddy O'Brien entertains with an Irish song

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!

Fun at the Soiree (with Jessica Bennett, Kristen Tracy, Eric Lorberer, Stephen Burt, and Brian Evenson

David Tripp and Kristen Hager


As always, we couldn’t put on the Festival without a lot of support—see our list of sponsors below. 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!

2013 Festival Sponsors

Major funding provided by:
Minnesota State Arts Board and Metropolitan Regional Arts Council:

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

Children's Pavilion Sponsor:

Additional Festival Support:


Media Sponsors:

Official Festival Booksellers:


Featured Presentations:

Children's Pavilion:

Local Lit Lounge:

Program Printer:

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