Kayla Goes to Fall Lit Events Part 2: Twin Cities Book Festival

Kayla Goes to Fall Lit Events Part 2: Twin Cities Book Festival

Welcome to part two of three! If you missed part 1 you can find it HERE and if you want to review last year’s post about why fall is an amazing time of year in the TC book community you can click HERE.

I am thrilled, delighted, elated, positively jubilant to tell you all about this year’s Twin Cities Book Fest. It was rad.

Ok, deep breath, dial down the excitement. It was just that cool, though, I’m telling ya.

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Put on annually by Rain Taxi Review, the self-proclaimed ‘champions of aesthetically adventurous literature supported by readers like you,’ the Twin Cities Book Fest is the largest literary gathering in the Upper Midwest.

The book fest is always awesome but this year it was exceptionally so. I haven’t laughed so hard nor felt such temptation to max out my credit card on books in all of my life. From the rock star authors, to the local lit heroes, to the publishers/magazines/booksellers/vendors I was quite literally dazzled. There were panel discussions, workshops, author signings, and discounted books galore. If you’ve never been to the book fest I recommend prior to the event reviewing the authors and subjects, highlighting choices for each time slot, and making sure you’ll be able to get to the presentations you can’t bear to miss.

Early in the day Al Franken made a big splash promoting his new memoir. Some of my favorite local book vendors had festival deals and specials that were overwhelmingly seductive. And best of all iconic cartoonist Roz Chast, of whom I am a long time fan, was there to talk about her life as a cartoonist for the New Yorker and her new books: Going into Town and Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? If you’re unfamiliar with her work, here’s one of my favorites:i-cant-believe-i-ate-all-that-kale-for-nothing-roz-chas

Roz flashed her comics on the big screen and narrated them for the audience, with a fair amount of surprisingly brilliant acting. It was hilarious. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long long time. My sides were aching and my seat neighbor, who I did not know prior to this event, was literally slapping my knee and guffawing as I giggled like a drunk baby. We were not alone, the entire audience was in stitches.  

I also sat in on the speculative fiction geniuses Charlie Jane Anders and Cory Doctrow as they took on a discussion that ranged from gamification to Confucian Capitalism to meritocracy to maker culture. It was intellectual, philosophical, and riotously funny. They spoke in depth about diversity of voice in literature. Both authors challenged world-builders to create diverse communities rich with different people and perspectives. This is something I’ve been struggling with as I flesh out characters for NaNoWriMo with competing worldviews. Does diversity of perspective necessitate conflict or can my characters get along? Hmmm….still wrestling with that one but I left the author talk with fresh enthusiasm.  I can’t wait to read their newest books: All the Birds in the Sky and For the Walkaway.

I ran between buildings to catch as many authors as possible but it was raining so my thrifted-forest-green-wide-brimmed-wool-hat became a droopy mess of beaded raindrops. Strangely, the hat garnered me many compliments, but only after it became wet and pulpy…perhaps half-drowned Odin is a look I should wear more often?

There were author signings throughout the day (including Roz Chast and good ol’ Al Franken author of Al Franken: Giant of the Senate by Al Franken…), a raffle of shiny, glamorous prizes that I did not win, and a nifty Poetry Bus with rotating workshops and activities. Upon entry the bus attendant proudly proclaimed: “Whatever you need, poetry has it!” Please look upon the magic of the poetry bus as it glistens in the setting sun upon the hallowed grounds of the MN State Fair and feel a happiness within you that such a thing exists.

kayla j west nortrup twin cities book fest lit events minneapolis saint paul silver sky press

We have a phenomenal lit scene in the Twin Cities. Journals, publishers, writers, and readers. Our community is bustling and booming and profusely incredible. The Twin Cities Book Fest is a great way to get a little taste of all our local community has to offer. Hopefully someday soon Silver Sky Press will have a booth! 

 Stay tuned for the next installment of Kayla Goes to Fall Lit Events!

Here are links to most (but not all) of the amazing people and organizations that showed up to TC Book Fest and made it awesome: insert links

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