Upcoming Events


Monday, April 16, 2018, 7 pm
American Swedish Institute, Larson Hall
2600 Park Avenue South, Minneapolis
This event is co-sponsored by Norway House

Rain Taxi invites you to meet internationally bestselling journalist and writer Åsne Seierstad, the acclaimed Norwegian journalist whose The Bookseller of Kabul was an international best-seller in the early 2000s, and whose most recent book, One of Us, was selected by the New York Times as one of their top ten of 2015. Seierstad will be discussing her brand new book Two Sisters: A Father, His Daughters, and Their Journey into the Syrian Jihad. In this riveting new work of literary reportage, Seierstad tells the story of two teenage Somali-Norwegian sisters who, in late 2013, left their family behind in Norway to join the Islamic State in Syria. Seierstad traces the sisters' journey, but she also tells their parents' story, as they attempt to bring the girls home and then struggle to accept that they may be gone forever. Books will be available for purchase. Don’t miss this chance to meet one of Norway’s pre-eminent writers of nonfiction!

This is a ticketed event. Advance tickets are $5 each and
can be purchased through this link:

Tickets are also available at the door—doors open at 6:30pm. All are welcome!

About the Book, Two Sisters:

Two Sisters, by the international bestselling author Åsne Seierstad, tells the unforgettable story of a family divided by faith.
Sadiq and Sara, Somali immigrants raising a family in Norway, one day discover that their teenage daughters Leila and Ayan have vanished—and are en route to Syria to aid the Islamic State. Seierstad’s riveting account traces the sisters’ journey from secular, social democratic Norway to the front lines of the war in Syria, and follows Sadiq’s harrowing attempt to find them.

Employing the same mastery of narrative suspense she brought to The Bookseller of Kabul and One of Us, Seierstad puts the problem of radicalization into painfully human terms, using instant messages and other primary sources to reconstruct a family’s crisis from the inside. Eventually, she takes us into the hellscape of the Syrian civil war, as Sadiq risks his life in pursuit of his daughters, refusing to let them disappear into the maelstrom—even after they marry ISIS fighters. Two Sisters is a relentless thriller and a feat of reporting with profound lessons about belief, extremism, and the meaning of devotion.

Åsne Seierstad decided to write Two Sisters after the girls’ father approached her about the idea. Sadiq was engaged in an effort to bring his daughters home, and to spread their story as widely as he could. (He also contacted filmmakers, who turned the story into a documentary, as well). As Seierstad writes in her author's note at the end of the book, Sadiq "was seeking better cooperation among parents, schools, mosques, and the police," and wanted to prevent this from happening to other families.

The first thing that Seierstad did was to interview the family. Sadiq and his wife Sara also gave Seierstad access to materials that their daughters left behind, as well as invited Seierstad into their home in Norway, and to Hargeisa in Somaliland. During the course of working on the book, Seierstad traveled with Sadiq to Hatay Province in Turkey, across the border from Syria. Sadiq and Sara read the finished manuscript before publication, and were given the opportunity to make corrections.

The result is a careful work of journalism that avoids heavy-handed moralizing or easy answers. It doesn’t pretend to tell a story that's representative of any one culture, but rather tries to document this single family's extraordinary story, and to shed some light on the recent history of ISIS, the experiences of immigrants in Europe, and the process of radicalization.

About the Author:

Åsne Seierstad is an award-winning Norwegian journalist and writer known for her work as a war correspondent. She is the author of One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway—and Its Aftermath, The Bookseller of Kabul, One Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal, Angel of Grozny: Orphans of a Forgotten War, and With Their Backs to the World: Portraits of Serbia. She lives in Oslo, Norway.

Praise for Seierstad’s previous book, One of Us (2015):

“A masterpiece of journalism . . . a brilliant, unforgettable book.” —Michael Schaub, NPR.org

“The book attains an almost unbearable weight . . . From the opening pages it has an irresistible force.” —Eric Schlosser, The New York Times Book Review

“One of Us reads like a true crime novel, but it has the journalistic chops to back it up . . . Not only a stunning achievement in journalism, it’s a touchstone on how to write about tragedy with detail, honesty, and compassion.” —Samantha Edwards, The A.V. Club

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t read the first half of One of Us with perpetually moist cheeks . . . If it is true, as Stephen Jay Gould contended, that ‘nothing matches the holiness and fascination of accurate and intricate detail,’ then Ms. Seierstad has delivered a holy volume indeed.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“A brilliant if unrelenting piece of reportage, one that cements Seierstad as among the foremost journalists or our time.” —Oliver Poole, The Independent

“[One of Us is] a new In Cold Blood, an essential read.” —Heather Mallick, Toronto Star


Monday, April 9, 2018, 7:00 pm
Plymouth Congregational Church, Sanctuary
1900 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
co-sponsored by Literary Witnesses

Join us to hear one of America’s most acclaimed poets, a master of the personal lyric, read from his work! Gregory Orr is the author of a dozen volumes of poetry, including Gathering the Bones Together (Harper & Row, 1975), We Must Make a Kingdom of It (Wesleyan University Press, 1986) and Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved (Copper Canyon Press, 2005), as well as the memoir The Blessing (Council Oak Books, 2002). His latest book is A Primer for Poets and Readers of Poetry (Norton, 2018).

Books will be available for purchase courtesy of Birchbark Books, and a reception will follow!

This program is part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Literary Witnesses, a poetry series which over its history has featured the likes of Robert Bly, Lucille Clifton, Jane Hirshfield, Galway Kinnell, Naomi Shihab Nye, Charles Simic, Gary Synder, and dozens of other poets. Other anniversary events will be held on Sunday April 8; these include a reading by poet Sam King at noon in the chapel, and a conversation between Sam King and Gregory Orr on the topic "Can poetry save your life?” at 4 pm in Guild Hall, after which a reception follows.


a special film screening and poetry event
cosponsored by the Autism Society of Minnesota

Thursday, March 29, 2018, 6:30 pm
Minneapolis Institute of Art
2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis

As a special precursor to National Poetry Month and Autism Awareness Month, the Autism Society of Minnesota and Rain Taxi invite you to a special evening with and about a remarkable young poet named DJ Savarase. Our program, which celebrates the publication of Savarese’s chapbook A Doorknob for an Eye and the feature film Deej, will include a screening of the film and a Q&A session with DJ himself. Chapbooks and DVDs will be available for purchase. Don’t miss this opportunity to redefine “normal” and to see “what the ideal of full inclusion requires but also what it can accomplish."

This event is free and open to the public, but please RESERVE SEATS HERE. Also, donations toward this event are gratefully accepted! Suggested donation is $10, $5 for students, but donations of any amount are welcome.

About the Author, the Film, and the Chapbook:

Abandoned by his birth parents and presumed incompetent, DJ (“Deej”) found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. The film Deej shows how he deals with high school and dreams of college, confronting society's obstacles to inclusion and the sometimes paralyzing beauty of his own senses along the way. As part of his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking autistics he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean. A Doorknob for an Eye is published by Unrestricted Interest, a small press dedicated to transforming poetry through the voices of those with autism.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 7:00 pm
Black Dog Cafe
308 E Prince St, St Paul

Rain Taxi invites you to explore both the dark and light in humanity with Peter Stenson, author of the acclaimed novel Fiend and the new novel Thirty-Seven. This event is FREE and open to the public!

Peter Stenson’s Thirty-Seven (Dzanc Books) takes us into the world of The Survivors, whose members are known only by the order in which they joined. Mason Hues, formerly known as Thirty-Seven, is the group’s final member and the only one both alive and free. Eighteen years old and living in a spartan apartment after his release from a year of intensive mental health counseling, he comes to believe that there is still hope in the Survivor philosophy and begins the journey again—this time with himself as One. Part Fight Club, part The Girls, and entirely unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, Peter Stenson’s Thirty-Seven is an audacious and austere novel that explores our need to belong, our need to be loved, and our capacity for self-delusion.

Books will be available for purchase courtesy of SubText Books.

Pre-publication praise for Thirty-Seven:

“With his second novel, Stenson proves to be a more articulate, more empathic, and more intelligent version of Chuck Palahniuk. Stenson's sentences devastate, and his characters are nuanced and warm . . . A book that manages to break your heart, make you dizzy, and punch you in the gut all at once. You will be hard-pressed to find a novel as dark or intense in any bookstore."
Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Unnerving but spellbinding . . . Stenson's brilliantly vivid prose and striking characters deserve the widest possible audience."
Booklist (starred)


“Shambling, scabrous figures rotting from the inside out and driven by an insatiable hunger—there are more than a few similarities between meth heads and zombies. Stenson exploits all of them in Fiend.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Best read of the year. Best zombie book, ever. Masterful illustration about how painful and overwhelming addiction can be . . . I want every book I read to enthrall me as consistently and emotionally as Fiend did.”
SF Signal

“Certain to invite comparisons to Hubert Selby and Cormac McCarthy . . . one scalding pressure cooker of a novel, and I advise you to buckle up and hold on tight because you’re in for one hell of a ride.”
— Donald Ray Pollock

“Shockingly personal . . . Shaun of the Dead meets Trainspotting.”

PETER STENSON received his MFA from Colorado State University in 2012. His stories and essays have been published in The Bellevue Literary Review, The Greensboro Review, Confrontation, Blue Mesa Review, and elsewhere. He lives with his wife and daughter in Denver, Colorado.