Twin Cities Book Festival
Saturday, October 11, 2014
10am – 5pm, Minnesota State Fairgrounds
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 real-live books and conversations.
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TCBF 2014 Recap: 2014 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.
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.
2014 Book Festival Sponsors
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Official Festival Booksellers:
In-kind donations provided by: