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The 2015 Twin Cities Book Festival


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The Twin Cities Book Festival

Photo by Todd Buchanan

As a Minnesotan, you’re probably preparing to hunker down for the winter and working to repress memories of 80-degree days, the pool, green grass, and—ok, I’ll stop. Thankfully, the Twin Cities Book Festival always comes at just the right time, as winter is the perfect excuse to nestle inside and read.

This Saturday, Oct. 15, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., more than 100 vendors will be at the State Fair grounds to sell pages and pages of stories and knowledge so you can forget those winter blues (and this is the opportune time for early holiday shopping).

If you’re more than just a casual winter reader, the festival features visiting and local writers who will present and read their work, and sign afterward. Bring the kids, too! The Children’s Pavilion will feature an obstacle course, face painting, multiple readings, and a Royal Storytime with Pretty Princess Parties.

The Twin Cities may not be New York City when it comes to big-name publishers, but we’re home to some of the most notable independent publishers in the U.S.:

Coffee House Press titles have been nationally recognized, and listed on The New York Times Book Review (A Girl is a Half-formed Thing).

Milkweed Editions is also a player in the national literary scene, with a title recently earning a place on the short-list for the National Book Awards (Bright Dead Things).

The Loft Literary Center and Minnesota Center for Book Arts are roommates with Milkweed Editions—all located in the Open Book space in Minneapolis. (Check out the Loft’s page for a full list of Minnesota publishers and journals.)

Can’t make it to the book fair? The Twin Cities has at least ten independent bookstores. Each store is made up of different DNA and possesses its own personality—in the shape of the store, the themes displayed, the events held, and the stories they love most—but each store will surely deliver the same thing: a good book and a diverse literary experience.

The upstairs at Magers & Quinn sells books that might be out of your price range for the day, but will transport you back in time. And any weird title you’re looking for—they’ve probably got it. 

At Birchbark Books (owned by Louise Erdrich), books are marked with hand-written notes and reviews. The store focuses on Native writers and delivering cultural stories. The natural, warm setting of the store is enhanced by recycled materials, including birch from trees that had fallen in a storm.

The Twin Cities Book Festival may be just one day out of the year, but the Twin Cities is a laudable literary destination to explore.

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