twin cities book festival

past festivals

Thank you for attending the
Twin Cities Book Festival
Saturday, October 14, 2017

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.

Youth Programming

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!

If you were at the Festival and want your voice to be heard, please take our survey!

We look forward to seeing you at the Festival in 2018!

2017 Book Festival Sponsors

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



LOGO MNP 2011 Black




Rain Taxi's activities are made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.


Be a sponsor of the 17th Annual Twin Cities Book Festival and demonstrate your institution’s commitment to literacy and community. The Festival is a fantastic opportunity to reach out to booklovers. Please contact us for more information on how you can be sponsor!