For twelve years, “Rain Taxi Review of Books” has hosted the Twin Cities Book Festival. It’s the literary event of the season in these parts, and it’s happening this Saturday. The whole Minnesota books community turns out for this fall showstopper – authors, publishers, lit mags and comics artists, booksellers and bibliophiles of all stripes – for a daylong celebration of local literature.
The book fair and ‘local lit lounge’ are the heart of the event, with hundreds of exhibitors and booths, representative of just about everyone involved in local publishing, large and small: from lit mags, comics and self-published authors to our region’s most notable independent presses, booksellers, literary and book arts centers, and creative writing programs. And this year, there’s a reading advice booth, too, offering book suggestions by bookselling pros through the day, in honor of Micawber’s Books owner Hans Weyandt’s new book from Coffee House Press, “Read This! Handpicked Favorites from America’s Indie Bookstores.”
In addition to browsing the book and lit mag fair, you’ll find a host of family-friendly activities and author readings in the Children’s Pavilion throughout the day, including musical performances, games, crafts and writing workshops for kids of all ages.
What’s more, every year “Rain Taxi” seems to offer more and better author readings and panel discussions, with appearances by nationally and internationally known poets and writers, editors and publishers. This Saturday, book fest attendees have a veritable smorgasbord of events and talks from which to choose. There are topical panel discussions throughout the day and world fiction and young adult novelists’ showcases. One of the highlights of the afternoon, “Queer Minnesota: The State of LGBT Writing,” will moderated by poet and Harvard University professor, Stephen Burt. For writers, there are an abundance of networking and professional development offerings at the festival, including the “industry insider” roundtable discussion, “Author Publicity: Basics and Beyond.”
This year’s line-up of A-list authors includes special appearances by: gender studies writer Kate Bornstein (“A Queer and Present Danger”); novelists Mark Z. Danielewski (“House of Leaves”) and Susan Isaacs (“Goldberg Variations”); science writer and culture historian Candace Savage (“Prairie: A Natural History”); poets Gerald Stern (“Stealing History”) and Sharon Olds (“Stag’s Leap”); “weird fiction” authors and editors Jeff and Ann Vandermeer; and comics artist Chris Ware (“Jimmy Corrigan,” “Acme Novelty Library” series).
The 12th Annual “Rain Taxi” Twin Cities Book Festival is Saturday, October 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year, the festival has relocated from its longtime home in Minneapolis to a bigger venue in St. Paul, the Historic Progress Center on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, 1265 North Snelling (at the corner of Cooper and Randall Streets on the fairgrounds). Parking and admission for the festival are free. It’s worth noting that with the new location, there’s also welcome variety of food and drink vendors on-site this year, too, to fuel you throughout the day. Find a detailed schedule of discussions and author appearances, musical performances, exhibitor information and related events on the Rain Taxi website: www.raintaxi.com/bookfest.