Author Programs

Twin Cities Book Festival, Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Friday, October 13, 2017: 6-7pm Reception; 7-8pm Opening Night Talk
Saturday, October 14, 2017: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

rain stage  | taxi stage  | children's programs  | young readers programs |  teen programs |
schedule-at-a-glance | return to main festival page

Fine Arts Center Author Programming

★ Starred events will be ASL interpreted!

Author book sales and signings will occur immediately following each event at the Magers & Quinn Booksellers tables in the Progress Center (except where noted).

Rain Stage

10:30 am: Holy Cow! 40th Anniversary

Gary Boelhower, Joan Henrik, Miriam Karmel, Crystal Spring Gibbins
Join us as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Duluth’s own Holy Cow! Press (and yes, there’s an exclamation point right in their name!). At this special event, moderated by founder and publisher Jim Perlman, four of the press’s authors—Gary Boelhower, Joan Henrik, Miriam Karmel, and Crystal Spring Gibbins—will give short readings from their latest works and discuss the breadth and vitality of this long-running Minnesota indie publishing great. A book signing will follow at the Holy Cow! Press table in the exhibition hall.

11:30 am: Ray Gonzalez + Juan Felipe Herrera

The Witter Bynner Fellowship is awarded annually by the Library of Congress to poets chosen by the U.S. Poet Laureate. The 2017 Witter Bynner Fellow is the Twin Cities’ own Ray Gonzalez, who was selected by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera! At this special Twin Cities event, the poets will read from their work and participate in a dialogue about poetry moderated by Robert Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center of the Library of Congress. This event is co-sponsored by The Loft Literary Center, and will be introduced by Alayne Hopkins from the Minnesota Center for the Book.

12:30 pm: Senator Al Franken

Join us as the man who has journeyed from award-winning comedian to bestselling author to United States Senator tells the story of how he became Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. Along the way, he just may reveal a few secrets about “how the sausage is made on Capitol Hill” (Kirkus).

1:30 pm: Daniel Handler

Let’s talk about . . . sex? In this onstage conversation with Rain Taxi’s Eric Lorberer, the renowned Daniel Handler will discuss his latest novel, All the Dirty Parts, a “fascinating, profane book” (Los Angeles Times) that looks honestly at the erotic impulses of its young male protagonist. The pair might also discuss music, politics, Maira Kalman’s drawings, and what’s good on Netflix—but mostly it’ll be about sex, we promise.

2:30 pm: Charlie Jane Anders + Cory Doctorow

Join us as two luminaries of speculative fiction join forces to take over the universe! Or at least the Twin Cities. Between them, Charlie Jane Anders and Cory Doctorow have won Nebula, Sunburst, Hugo, Locus, and Lambda Awards, have organized events and argued for digital rights, and have blogged into infinity. Both of their latest books are from the acclaimed SF&F publisher Tor Books. NOTE: Buy any book by Charlie Jane Anders at the Festival and get a free audio book of Six Months, Three Days on the spot! Buy any book by Cory Doctorow at the Festival and get a free audio book of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on the spot! Audio books supplied by

3:30pm: Roz Chast

In single panels, color spreads, and covers for The New Yorker, as well as in more than a dozen books including the award-winning Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, cartoonist Roz Chast has elicited everything from bemused head scratches to heartfelt guffaws to tears from readers. Famed for her “matchless sense of the wacky,” (Adam Gopnik), she will offer us a visual tour of her latest work, Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York.

Taxi Stage

10:30 am: Donna Seaman

In this visual presentation, renowned book critic Donna Seaman will talk about the twentieth-century painters and sculptors she profiles in Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists, which the Washington Post calls “not a work of art criticism or a feminist manifesto but her own exploration of the forces that propelled these women to create while facing obstacles their male counterparts didn't have to consider." This event is co-sponsored by Minnesota Women’s Press.

11:30 am: Where Do We Go From Here?
Travel Writing and Discovery

Geraldine DeRuiter, Kenny Fries, Doug Mack
What role can travel and travel writing play in connecting people in the twenty-first century? Are there particular ways we should go about our journeys or write about other places and cultures? Three acclaimed writers share stories from the road—from Japan to Russia to Guam to Wisconsin—and discuss the broader lessons they learned from their travels, from cultural critique to self discovery. Moderated by Leif Pettersen, Minneapolis travel writer and author of Backpacking with Dracula.

1:30 pm: Alex Lemon

A much beloved former Minnesotan poet Alex Lemon returns to the Twin Cities to present his latest book, Feverland–a “memoir in shards,” as the subtitle says, and one that celebrates life even as it candidly and vividly presents the suffering of pain and illness. At this special Festival event, Lemon will converse with Milkweed Editions editor Joey McGarvey about how he came to inhabit (and write) the strange place called Feverland.

2:30 pm: Yrsa Daley-Ward

There’s a reason that the ultra-dynamic Yrsa Daley-Ward is an internet and international phenomenon. Join us as she presents her debut book of poetry bone, a tour de force that tackles issues such as race, identity, and mental health with a visceral honesty that does not mince words!

Youth Programs in the Progress Center

Author book sales and signings will occur immediately following each event at the Red Balloon Bookshop tables located between the Children's Pavilion and the Young Readers Stage.

Children's Pavilion

10am - 3pm: Coloring Corner

Children and adults are invited to take a book fair break in the Coloring Corner near the Children’s Pavilion. Crayons will be provided along with coloring sheets featuring characters from some of your favorite children’s books.

10:15am:   Edible Airplane Storytime
with Peter Pearson

Airplane lovers and enthusiastic snackers, this is the storytime for you! Minneapolis author Peter Pearson is bringing his book, How to Eat an Airplane, and his banjo to this hilarious, fact-filled storytime.  (ages 4-8)

11:00am:   Bao Phi presents A Different Pond

Discover A Different Pond and meet the author, poet and activist Bao Phi. This beautiful picture book tells the story of a father and son fishing for food in the early morning. Full of rich details drawn from the author’s own childhood in Minneapolis, this is a wonderful addition to any family’s library.  (ages 4 and up)

12:00-1:00pm:   Drawing Workshop with Kickliy

Aspiring artists are invited to drop by and join Kickliy, the artist of the Musnet: The Mouse of Monet series, for an interactive drawing workshop! Chat about art, comics, and learn to draw Musnet and his friends. (ages 8 and up)

1:00pm:   Twin Cities Trivia

Test your knowledge of your hometown with a Twin Cities trivia activity featuring facts from 50 Cities of the U.S.A., based on the new book from Quarto Publishing. There Will Be Prizes! (ages 5 - 12)

2:00pm:   365 Things to Do with Lego Bricks

Do you love to build? Explore some of the activities in 365 Things To Do With Lego Bricks, a giant compendium of good ideas.  Legos will be provided to build with and volunteer helpers will be on hand to help with questions or finicky bits. The first 25 participants will receive a small pack of legos to take home with them. (ages 5 and up)

Young Readers Programs

10:30am:   SPACE PANEL(s)

Blast off to adventure with graphic novelists Drew Brockington (CatStronauts) and Chris Eliopoulos (Cosmic Commandos)! Explore the galaxy, have your comics questions answered, and find out what goes into the making of an epic graphic novel. (ages 7 -12)

11:30am:   THE REALISTIC AND THE FANTASTIC with Nicole Helget & Janet Tashjian

From fantasy to frakking, kids want books about all of it. Join Janet Tashjian (Sticker Girl Rules the School) and Nicole Helget (The End of the Wild) for a discussion of books, growing up, writing, reading, and more! (ages 8-12)

12:30pm:   Mini Midday Mingle & Book Signing

Stop by to meet and visit with some of the fabulous authors who make up the Minnesota KidLit community. Featuring:

Steve Brezenoff, Boy Seeking Band
Rick Chrustowski, My Little Fox
Abby Cooper, Bubbles
Erin Downing, Moon Shadow
Michael Hall, Little i
Sean Jensen, Middle School Rules
Mary Losure, Isaac the Alchemist
Alison McGhee, Pablo & Birdy
Margi Preus, The Clue in the Trees
Laura Purdie Salas, If You Were the Moon
Melissa Savage, Lemons
Kurtis Scaletta, Rooting for Rafael Rosales

Teen Stage


Real life isn’t easy, especially for teens. The books of  S.K. Ali (Saints and Misfits), Peter Bognanni (Things I’m Seeing Without You), and Carrie Mesrobian (Just a Girl) all dig into the challenges and restraints teens face every day. Learn more about these writers and their stories in this panel discussion. (ages 13 and up)


If you’re ready to stay up late turning pages with a weird, twisty plot then you won’t want to miss this thriller panel. Join M.C. Atwood (The Devils You Know), Malinda Lo (A Line in the Dark), and David Oppegaard (The Town Built on Sorrow) for a discussion of suspense, violence, and things that will make the heart race. (ages 13 and up)


Let’s end the day with a bang! Make your own book swag, hang out with other readers, and meet all of the day’s YA authors as they sign your books and pose for photos.  (ages 13 and up)


This year we have two food vendors ready to feed hungry book-lovers, so you’ll be able to take a food break and enjoy the Festival as long as you like!

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