Over the last few weeks, news has dribbled out about the authors who are coming to town for the state's most significant writers series: Talking Volumes; Talk of the Stacks; Good Thunder: Pen Pals; and Club Book.This doesn't even include the lineup for the Rain Taxi Review Twin Cities Book Festival, which will be announced next week. (They did announce today that Nicholson Baker will be one of the guests.)
All of the lineups are so impressive that it seems worth recapping them for you. There's a little overlap--Tracy K. Smith, for instance, will be here twice, once for the Good Thunder Writing Series in Mankato, and once for Pen Pals in Hopkins. And Luis Alberto Urrea will be here twice as well -- again, once for Good Thunder, and once for Pen Pals. But it's an impressive list just the same, with novelists, poets and masters of creative nonfiction.
A person could go to an event nearly every week between now and spring--and sometimes twice in one evening--and that doesn't include the impressive lineup coming to indie bookstores (including, I hear, Jhumpa Lahiri in October) or the University of Minnesota (Bonnie Jo Campbell and Katherine Boo later on this fall).
Talk of the Stacks, Good Thunder, the Twin Cities Book Festival and Club Book are all free.
Pen Pals and Talking Volumes require tickets. Both offer tickets for the entire series, and individual tickets. (For Talking Volumes, series tickets are available now, and individual tickets will go on sale tomorrow. Call 651-290-1200 or visit the Fitzgerald Theater Website. Individual tickets are $25.) (For Pen Pals, individual tickets will go on sale Aug. 12. Call 612-543-8112 or download a form from www.supporthclib.org/ Individual tickets are $40.)
So here's the list:
Aug. 17, Will Alexander, Club Book.
Sept. 12: Larry Watson and Jon Pineda, in conversation with Milkweed Editions publisher Daniel Slager, Talk of the Stacks
May 8-9: Tracy K. Smith, Pen Pals
Good Thunder events are held at the Minnesota State University at Mankato.
Club Book events are held at various venues around the metropolitan area; check the Web for specific locations.
Talking Volumes is held at the Fitzgerald Theatre in downtown St. Paul.
Pen Pals is held at the Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hopkins.
Aren't you glad you live here?
What do you call a group of writers? A bunch? A murder? A crop? A gaggle? Whatever they are, the next group of Club Book speakers is an interesting blend of national writers and regional writers, and some who straddle both categories.
Florida's Carl Hiaasen, author of "Strip Tease," "Sick Puppy," and a host of other satirical mysteries, headlines the series, along with Eric Schlosser, author of "Fast Food Nation." Also in the lineup: mystery writer Erin Hart and her memoirist/musician husband, Paddy O'Brien; poet Ed Bok Lee; Minnesota Book Award-winning memoirist (and farmer) Atina Diffley; and National Book Award-winning young adult writer Will Alexander.
Chinese-American poet Li-Young Lee will kick off the season with an appearance at Highland Park Auditorium at 7 p.m. on June 5. Here's the whole lineup. As always, Club Book is free and open to the public:
Li-Young Lee, 7 p.m. June 5, Highland Park Auditorium, 1974 Ford Parkway, St. Paul. Li-Young Lee is the author of four books of poetry and a memoir, "The Winged Seed," winner of an American Book Award.
Carl Hiaasen, 7 p.m. June 27, Burnsville Performing Arts Center, 12600 Nicollet Av., Burnsville. Hiaasen, a columnist for the Miami Herald, is the author of a dozen novels. His latest is "Bad Monkey."
Will Alexander, 10:30 a.m. Aug. 17, Central Park Amphitheater, 8595 Central Park Place, Woodbury. Alexander, who lives in Minneapolis, won a 2012 National Book Award for "Goblin Secrets." Its companion book, "Ghoulish Song," is his latest book. You can read the Star Tribune profile of Alexander here.
Emily Rapp, 7 p.m. Sept. 17, Roseville Library, 2180 N. Hamline Av., Roseville. Rapp, a former Fulbright scholar and recipient of the James A. Michener Fellowship, is the author of "Poster Child" and "Still Point of the Turning World."
Eric Schlosser, 7 p.m. Sept. 26, St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, 2323 Como Av., St. Paul. Schlosser is an investigative journalist and the author of "Fast Food Nation," "Chew on This," and "Reefer Madness." His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the Nation, Rolling Stone, and elsewhere.
Atina Diffley, 7 p.m. Oct. 9, Stillwater Public Library, 224 3rd St. N., Stillwater. Organic farmer Atina Diffley ran Gardens of Eagan with her husband, Martin, for more than 20 years. She is the author of a memoir, "Turn Here Sweet Corn," winner of a Minnesota Book Award. You can read the Star Tribune profile of Diffley here.
Sarah Stonich, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Chanhassen Public Library, 7711 Kerber Blvd., Chanhassen. Stonich is the author of "The Ice Chorus," "These Granite Islands," "Shelter," and "Vacationland." She lives in Minneapolis. You can read the Star Tribune profile of her here.
Erin Hart & Paddy O'Brien, 7 p.m. Oct. 24, Prior Lake Library, 16210 Eagle Creek Av. SE., Prior Lake. Erin Hart's mysteries, set in Ireland and St. Paul, have been international best-sellers, and O'Brien is legendary in his home country of Ireland for his music. You can read the Star Tribune profile of Hart here.
Andy Sturdevant, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 4, Rum River Library, 4201 6th Av., Anoka. Sturdevant writes a weekly column on art and culture for MinnPost and also writes for Rain Taxi, MSP Magazine, and other publications. His first book, "Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow," will be published this fall by Coffee House Press.
Ed Bok Lee, 7 p.m. Dec. 2, Hennepin County Library Southdale, 7001 York Av., Edina. Lee is the author of two collections of poetry, "Real Karaoke People," and "Whorled." He has won an American Book Award, a Minnesota Book Award, an Asian American Literary Award, and the PEN Open Book Award.
Poet Li-Young Lee, who was set to read his poetry on Monday at St. Anthony Park Public Library as part of Club Book, has been forced to cancel, due to illness. The reading will still appear in Sunday's books calendar, because that section is printed in advance.
Library sources say the reading will be rescheduled.
We probably don't call attention often enough to the outstanding lineup of writers the public libraries bring in. Sometimes you have to look at the whole list at once to be impressed.
So let's get impressed:
Club Book will bring fiction writer and memoirist Pam Houston ("Cowboys Are My Weakness" "Waltzing the Cat") to Maplewood tomorrow. She'll read from her new book, "Contents May Have Shifted," at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Maplewood Library, 3025 Southlawn Drive.
Later in February, local favorite Lorna Landvik ("Patty Jane's House of Curls") will be in Prior Lake. She'll make a return performance in April at the Chanhassen Library. (Dates are: 7 p.m. Feb. 28, Prior Lake Library, 16210 Eagle Creek Av., and 2 p.m. April 21, Chanhassen Library, 7711 Kerber Blvd.)
Landvik, the author of nine novels, many of them best-sellers, is trying something new with her latest book: She self-published "The Mayor of the Universe."
The Club Book lineup continues through the spring with Arthur Phillips (whose parents still live in the Cities), Cheryl Strayed, John Sandford, Brenda Langton, Benjamin Percy (now teaching in Minnesota), and poet Li-Young Lee.
Meanwhile, the Pen Pals lecture series--the only library series that carries a ticket charge--is bringing in cartoonist Roz Chast, writer Dennis Lehane, and Armistead Maupin. And Talk of the Stacks--held at the downtown Minneapolis library--is bringing in the Smitten Kitchen writer, Deb Perelman; best-selling memoirist ("Look Me In the Eye") John Robison (and watch for a Q&A with him in an upcoming Variety section of your Strib); and New Orleans-by-way-of-Romania poet Andrei Codrescu.
Shall we go on? Because we can.
Chris Niskanen (today, at the Osseo Library); Connie Brockway (Feb. 11, Edina Library); Larry Millet, Feb. 16, Nokomis Library; cookbook authors Phyllis Louise Harris and Raghavan Iyer, Feb. 16, Maple Grove Library); Mary DesJarlais, March 9, Rogers Library; Atina Diffley, March 16, Nokomis Library; Peter Geye, March 18, Ridgedale Library; Erin Hart, March 26, St. Anthony Library; and Brian Leehan, March 26, Brookdale Library.
Impressed yet? I am. Our tax dollars at work.
Over the next five months, Club Book will bring eight writers to metro libraries, including New York Times best-selling authors Cheryl Strayed, John Sandford, Arthur Phillips and Pam Houston.
Club Book is a program of the Metropolitan Library Service Agency, funded in part through Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. All events are free and open to the public.
Here’s the lineup:
Pam Houston: 7 p.m. Feb. 5, Maplewood Library, 3025 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood. Houston, author of “Cowboys Are My Weakness” and “Waltzing the Cat,” is a novelist, essayist, editor and teacher. Her new novel is “Contents May Have Shifted.”
Lorna Landvik: 7 p.m. Feb. 28, Prior Lake Library, 16210 Eagle Creek Av., Prior Lake, and 2 p.m. April 21, Chanhassen Library, 7711 Kerber Blvd., Chanhassen. Landvik, who lives in the Twin Cities, is the best-selling author of “Patty Jane’s House of Curl,” “Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons” and other novels.
Li-Young Lee: 7 p.m. March 18, St. Anthony Park Library, 2245 Como Av., St. Paul. Li-Young Lee is a poet and memoirist, the author of “Behind My Eyes” and “The City in Which I Love You,” winner of the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection. His memoir, “The Winged Seed,” won an American Book Award.
Cheryl Strayed: 7 p.m. March 19, Central Park Amphitheater, 8595 Central Park Pl., Woodbury, and 7 p.m. March 20, Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Av., Apple Valley. Strayed, who grew up near McGregor, Minn., and attended the University of Minnesota, is the author of “Wild,” a memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The book was an Oprah Book Club 2.0 selection and has been optioned for film. She is also the author of “Tiny Beautiful Things” and “Torch.”
Arthur Phillips: 7 p.m. April 18, Stillwater Public Library, 224 3rd St. N., Stillwater. Phillips was born in Minneapolis and is the author of five novels, including “Egyptologist,” “Prague” and “The Song Is You.” His most recent novel is “The Tragedy of Arthur,” about the supposed discovery of a lost Shakespeare play.
Brenda Langton: 7 p.m. April 24, Hennepin County Library-Southdale, 7001 York Av. S., Edina. Restaurateur Langton established and ran Cafe Kardamena and Cafe Brenda and now operates Spoonriver, all specializing in local and organic cuisine. Langton is the author of “The Spoonriver Cookbook,” and has been a judge for the James Beard Foundation’s annual cookbook awards.
John Sandford: 7 p.m. May 8, Rum River Library, 4201 6th Av., Anoka. As a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, John Camp (pen name: John Sandford) won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of stories about a farm in crisis. Now a fiction writer, he is the author of the “Prey” series and the series featuring Virgil Flowers. His newest book is “Silken Prey.”
Benjamin Percy: 7 p.m. May 29, Hennepin County Library-Southdale, 7001 York Av. S., Edina. Percy is a novelist and essayist, author of “The Wilding” and, forthcoming in May, “Red Moon,” as well as two collections of short stories, “Refresh, Refresh” and “The Language of Elk.” He is a regular contributor to Esquire and is writer-in-residence at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
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