The bad news is that Poet Richard Blanco, who was to appear in the Twin Cities later this month for the Pen Pals Reading Series, has been forced to cancel his appearnce due to a "non-life-threatening health issue."
The good news is that storyteller Kevin Kling has agreed to fill in for Blanco. He'll be introduced by poet Ed Bok Lee for the performance of 7:30 p.m. March 12, and by Minnesota poet laureate Joyce Sutphen at 11 a.m. on March 13.
If you have a ticket and can't make the event, Friends of the Hennepin County Library will issue you a refund.
If you don't have a ticket, they're still available, and you can get one online here or by calling 612-543-8112.
Tickets are $40-$50. Tickets are also still availble for Jodi Picoult in April, and Chip Kidd in May.
The spring season of Club Book--the free writers series that brings nationally known writers to libraries and community centers all over the metro area, mainly outside of the core cities--kicks off on Feb. 12. This season's lineup is diverse and strong, including Quan Barry, Sonia Nazarrio, Jonathan Odell, and Garth Stein. March is particularly busy, with five of the nine events that month.
Here's the lineup:
Peter Heller. 7 p.m. Feb. 12, Stillwater Public Library, 224 3rd St. N., Stillwater. Heller is the author of "The Dog Stars" and "The Painter," and he has written extensively for National Geographic, Outside Magazine, Men's Journal and other magazines. The Star Tribune called "The Dog Stars" "a heart-wrenching and richly written story," comparable to the work of Cormac McCarthy.
Amy Quan Barry. 7 p.m. March 4, Northtown Library, 711 County Road 10 NE, Blaine. Barry is a poet and novelist, winner of the Donald Hall Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker and Ploughshares as well as other journals and magazines, and her new novel, "She Weeps Each Time You're Born," will be published this spring.
Nadia Hashimi. 7 p.m. March 11, Highland Park Community Center, 1974 Ford Parkway, St. Paul. Hashimi is the daughter of Afghan immigrants to the United States, and her novel, "The Pearl that Broke its Shell," is the story of two Afghan women. Hashimi, a pediatrician, is working on her second book, which is about Afghan refugees in Europe.
Jonathan Odell. 7 p.m. March 17, Prior Lake Library, 16210 Eagle Creek Av. SE, Prior Lake. Odell grew up in Mississippi and now lives in Minneapolis. His novel, "The Healing," published in 2012, was a local bestseller and named an Indies Next pick by the American Booksellers Association. His new novel, "Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League," about the relationship between a black woman and a white woman during the American civil rights movement, will be published this month. (It is a reimagining of his first novel, "The View from Delphi.")
Anthony Marra. 6:30 p.m. March 19, Chanhassen Public Library, 7711 Kerber Boulevard, Chanhassen. Marra, winner of a Whiting Writers Award and a Pushcart Prize, is the author of "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena." Set in Chechnya, the book was longlisted for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize for emerging authors.
Marisa de los Santos. 7 p.m. March 31, Roseville Public Library, 2180 Hamline Av. N., Roseville. De los Santos is a poet, young-adult writer, essayist, and the author of three New York Times best-selling novels, including "Falling Together." Her new novel is "The Precious One."
Jon Ronson. 6:30 p.m. April 13, R.H. Stafford Library, 8595 Central Park Place, Woodbury. Ronson is a journalist and the author of "The Men Who Stare at Goats," later made into a movie starring George Clooney. His most recent book is, "So You've Been Publicly Shamed."
Garth Stein. 7 p.m. April 20, Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Av., Apple Valley. Stein is the author of the best-selling "The Art of Racing in the Rain," which was on the New York Times best-seller list for three years. His new novel is a ghost story, "A Sudden Light."
Sonia Nazario. 7 p.m. April 27, Southdale Library, 7001 York Av. S., Edina. Nazario is a reporter who has worked for the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. At the Times she won the Pulitzer Prize for her serial narrative "Enrique's Journey," the true story of a young Honduran boy who was attempting to cross the border into the United States to find his mother.
Club Book is funded through the state's 2008 Legacy Amendment. All events are free and open to the public, and since 2014 have been recorded and are available as podcasts on the Club Book website. Doors open 45 minutes before the event, and each event will be followed by book sales and signings by the authors.
The fall series of Club Book will begin in mid-August with a visit to Roseville from Lev Grossman, author of the wildly popular 'Magicians" trilogy, and wind up two months later with poetry in St. Paul. (Nikki Giovanni at the Arlington Hills library.)
Club Book is a free author series that is designed to bring great writers throughout the entire metro area and suburbs. It is funded through the Legacy Amendment and is coordinated by Library Strategies, which is part of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.
Here's the whole list for this season:
Lev Grossman, author of the bestselling "Magicians" trilogy. The final book of the trilogy, "The Magician's Land," will be published in August. He's here Monday, August 11, 7 p.m., Roseville Library, 2180 N. Hamline Ave., Roseville
Amy Bloom, whose third novel, "Lucky Us," will be published in the fall. Thursday, August 14, 7 p.m., Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley
Louise Penny, mystery writer and author of the popular Armand Gamache series. Winner of five Agatha Awards, an Edgar Award, and many other awards. Her new novel, "The Long Way Home," will be published in August. Saturday, August 30, 2 p.m., Prior Lake Library, 16210 Eagle Creek Ave. SE, Prior Lake
Jennifer McMahon, author of many best-sellers, including "The Winter People." Thursday, September 11, 6:30 p.m, Chanhassen Library, 7711 Kerber Blvd., Chanhassen
Sue Miller, author of "The Arsonist," "The Good Mother," "Inventing the Abbotts," and other best-sellers. Thursday, September 25, 6:30 p.m., Central Park Amphitheater, 8595 Central Park Pl., Woodbury
Hampton Sides, Author of "Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Junior," and other books. His new book, "In the Kingdom of Ice," will pub this fall. Monday, October 13, 7 p.m., Southdale Library, 7001 York Ave S., Edina
Julie Klassen, Twin Cities author of Regency-era romances and a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. Tuesday, October 21, 7 p.m., Rum River Library, 4201 6th Ave., Anoka
Rebecca Rasmussen, Author of "The Bird Sisters," and of the new novel, "Evergreen," which is set in Minnesota. Thursday, November 6, 7 p.m., Stillwater Public Library, 224 3rd St. N., Stillwater
Nikki Giovanni, author of more than twenty collections of poetry and ten books for children. Thursday, November 13, 7 p.m., Arlington Hills Library and Community Center, 1200 Payne Ave., Saint Paul
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.
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