Each year the Rain Taxi Review of Books organizes the Twin Cities Book Festival. This year the festival takes place on October 10 from 10am-5pm on the campus of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College in downtown Minneapolis.
The day long event features, amongst many other things, readings and talks by acclaimed authors. This year ten authors will talk about their most recent works, covering not just fiction and poetry, but pop culture, nature and food.
Here’s the complete list, from the press release:
Award-winning novelists who inspire, challenge, and entertain:
NICHOLSON BAKER is the author of a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction, including the novels The Mezzanine and Vox. He has loudly campaigned against the destruction of printed matter in the digital age, and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for his book on the topic, Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper. His new novel, The Anthologist, is narrated by a little-known poet; in this and throughout his work, Baker is a champion of things otherwise unsung, like elevators and the word “lumber.”
ROBERT OLEN BUTLER is the author of sixteen novels and short story collections, a book on the creative process, and several plays and screenplays. His work has been honored with Pulitzer Prize, among many other accolades. He has, at various points, worked as a translator, counter-intelligence officer, editor, and professor. His newest novel, Hell, allows the ever-inventive Butler to cast many surprising historical and contemporary characters down into the underworld.
LORRIE MOORE is the author of three short story collections and three novels, the recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim, Lannan, and Rockefeller Foundations, and the winner of the Rae Award for the Short Story and the Irish Times International Fiction Prize. A Gate at the Stairs, her newest novel and her first book since 1998’s acclaimed Birds of America, is an ambitious and visceral examination of racism, war, young love, and employment as a part-time nanny.
Celebrated poets from different countries and different aesthetics:
Acclaimed poet, novelist, and essayist ADAM ZAGAJEWSKI is one of Poland’s most famous literary figures, and his talent has influenced many English-speaking poets as well. In addition to such acclaimed poetry volumes such as World Without End, Mysticism for Beginners, and Canvas, he has also published the memoir Another Beauty and two prose collections. His newest volume of verse, Eternal Enemies, came out earlier this year.
The sound poet CHRISTIAN BÖK can read very fast. He can willingly enslave himself to the tyranny of a single vowel. He can build books out of toys. He can create and translate alien languages, having worked as a xenolinguist for Gene Roddenberry and Peter Benchley. And his Eunoia–the single bestselling Canadian poetry book of all time–won the Griffin Poetry Prize and is newly released here in the states. Listen carefully…
Acclaimed writers on the art and beauty of the everyday:
DIANE ACKERMAN is a poet, essayist, naturalist, and the author of two dozen works of nonfiction and poetry. She is the recipient of the Orion Book Award, the John Burroughs Nature Award, the Lavan Poetry Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. (Fun fact: the molecule dianeackerone, a sex pheromone in crocodilians, is named after her.) Her most recent work of literary naturalism, Dawn Light, explores what life is up to when the sun comes up.
RUTH REICHL has been writing about food since the book Mmmmmmmm: A Feastiary in 1972. Her acclaimed food memoirs now include Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me With Apples, and Garlic and Sapphires. The recipient of numerous awards, she was the restaurant critic for the New York Times and is now Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine; her books for them include The Gourmet Cookbook and the newly released Gourmet Today.
Wildlife artist DAVID ALLEN SIBLEY started birding at the age of seven. He is now the author and illustrator of more than a dozen acclaimed books and field guides on American avian life, including the fastest selling bird book of all time, The Sibley Guide to Birds. Lightning is bound to strike twice with the soon-to-be-released Sibley Guide to Trees. Mr. Sibley will give a visual presentation on how he researches and illustrates these amazing books.
And pop culture experts on comics and geekdom:
GABRIELLE BELL was born in England, raised in California, and currently resides in Brooklyn. Not ten years ago she was self-publishing her own mini-comics; since the turn of the century she has published the acclaimed autobiographical work Lucky, placed her work twice in the Best American Comics series, and appeared in the prestigious Yale Anthology of Graphic Fiction. Her newest collection, Cecil and Jordan in New York, includes a story that Bell and noted film director Michel Gondry adapted for Gondry’s latest film, Tokyo!
ETHAN GILSDORF’s book Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks is a travel-memoir quest that explains and celebrates fantasy and gaming subcultures, whether inspired by fictions like The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, or by role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and World of Warcraft. Gilsdorf will introduce some of the characters he encountered in his journeys across this world and other worlds; he will then invite audience members to share their “geekiest moment” onstage. PS: the audience is also encouraged to attend in costume–prizes will be awarded!
Note to booklovers: in addition to the opportunity to meet several acclaimed authors, the Twin Cities Book Festival also holds a large used book sale, provides exhibition space to a number of presses and literary organizations, and hosts activities organized by the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.