Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996. She is the author of "News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist," winner of a Minnesota Book Award.

Posts about Pen Pals

The wonderful wealth that this fall will bring

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: August 1, 2013 - 5:00 PM

 

Nicholson Baker will be in the Cities in October for the Rain Taxi/Twin Cities Book Festival

Nicholson Baker will be in the Cities in October for the Rain Taxi/Twin Cities Book Festival

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

 

Sept. 12: Tracy Kidder. Good Thunder Reading Series, Mankato.
 
Sept. 17, Emily Rapp, Club Book
 
Sept. 25, Edwidge Danticat, Talking Volumes
 
Sept. 26, Eric Schlosser, Club Book.
 
Oct. 1, Margaret Atwood, Talking Volumes
 
Oct 3-4: Swati Avasthi and Rachael Hanel, Good Thunder, Mankato.
 
Oct. 9, Atina Diffley, Club Book.
 
Oct. 10 and 11, George Saunders, Pen Pals
 
Oct. 12, Nicolson Baker, Rain Taxi Twin Cities Book Festival
 
Oct. 15, Rick Riordan, Talking Volumes
 
Oct. 15, Sarah Stonich, Club Book
 
Oct. 24: Alicia Catt and Alan Davis, Good Thunder, Mankato
 
Oct. 24, Erin Hart & Paddy O'Brien, Club Book.
 
Oct. 25: Dessa, in conversation with Rain Taxi Review editor Eric Lorberer. Talk of the Stacks.
 
Nov. 4 and 5, A.S. Byatt, Pen Pals
 
Nov. 4, Andy Sturdevant, Club Book
 
Nov. 12, Pat Conroy, Talking volumes
 
Nov. 13: Amy Tan, Talk of the Stacks
 
Nov. 14-15: Angela Duryee and Luis Alberto Urrea, Good Thunder
 
Dec. 2, Ed Bok Lee Club Book
 
Dec. 12: Nikki Giovanni, Talk of the Stacks
 
Jan. 30: Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Christopher Howell, Good Thunder
 
Feb. 6 and 7, Luis Alberto Urrea, Pen Pals
 
Feb. 18-21: Pete Hautman and Alex Lemon, Good Thunder.
 
March 20: Matt Rasmussen and Tracy K. Smith, Good Thunder.
 
April 10: Jesmyn Ward, Good Thunder.
 
April 24 and 25, Art Spiegelman, Pen Pals
 
April 24: Candace Black, Good Thunder.

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?

George Saunders, A.S. Byatt headline new series of PenPals

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: July 10, 2013 - 10:47 AM

 

George Saunders

George Saunders

 

The PenPals writers series--the Twin Cities' oldest literary series--will bring in George Saunders and A.S. Byatt this fall to kick off the 17th season.

Other writers for the season, who will be here in the spring, include Luis Alberto Urrea, Art Spiegelman, and Tracy K. Smith.

Here's the whole schedule:

George Saunders: His short-story collection, "Tenth of December," has been on the New York Times bestseller list since it was released in December of 2012. His appearance in the Twin Cities will be part of the 2013 Twin Cities Book Festival. He'll speak at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10, and 11 a.m. Oct. 11.

A.S. Byatt: The author of "Possession," "Angels & Insects," and other books, she has won dozens of literary honors. She'll speak at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4, and 11 a.m. Nov. 5.

Luis Alberto Urrea: His book "The Devil's Highway" was a Pulitzer finalist and his first mystery short story, "Amapola," won the Edgar Award. He'll speak at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6, 2014, and 11 a.m. Feb. 7, 2014.

Art Spiegelman: Artist, writer and illustrator Spiegelman might best be known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning "Maus," his graphic novel about the Holocaust. He'll speak at 7:30 p.m. April 24, 2014, and 11 a.m. April 25, 2014.

Tracy K. Smith: Her collection of poetry, "Life on Mars," published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press, won the Pulitzer Prize. She teaches at Princeton University. Smith will speak at 7:30 p.m. May 8, 2014, and 11 a.m. May 9, 2014.

All Pen Pals programs take place at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins. Tickets for the entire series are $160 and go on sale today. Call 612-543-8112 or download a form from www.supporthclib.org.

Individual tickets are $40 and will go on sale Aug. 12. You can pre-order for individual sales now by mail; orders will be fulfilled in the order received.

 

Libraries are my weakness

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel Updated: February 4, 2013 - 9:46 AM

 

Pam Houston

Pam Houston

 

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.

 

 

 

 

      

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