Wednesday (Sept. 18) is the first day of nearly a month of readings, at coffee shops, bookstores and cafes across St. Paul. If you can't make one, surely you can make another.
It's the St. Paul Almanac Literary Festival, a joint venture of the smart folks at the St. Paul Almanac, and the equally smart folks at Cracked Walnut. Cracked Walnut did something similar in the spring, hosting a reading a day for 21 days. Now, with the help of the Almanac, they're going themselves four days better.
Writers who contributed to the 2014 Almanac (on sale now, because, of course, it's almost 2014) include Joyce Sutphen, Carol Connolly, Ethna McKiernan, John Jodzio, Margot Fortunato Galt, and Jim Moore (though there are many, many others).
You can catch them at readings at J&S Bean Factory (6:30 p.m. Wednesday), Subtext: A Bookstore (7 p.m. Sept. 21), Khyber Pass Cafe (7:30 p.m. Sept. 26), and places in between. Check out the full schedule at the Cracked Walnut page.
It can get raucous, what with the book-throwing and all. But if you keep to your time limit, you should come out unscathed, and maybe with a bunch of new fans.
"Words at WAM," the literary open mic program hosted by Hazel & Wren and WAM Collective, will be back at the Weisman Art Museum on Sept. 18. Sign-up starts at 6 p.m., with readings beginning at 7 p.m. It's first come, first reads, and the whole thing ends at 8:30, so getting there early is probably a good idea.
You can read whatever you like -- your latest love poem, your diary entries, a short story, a few pages of that biography of Ayn Rand you've been working on for the last 15 years -- but you only get four minutes. Four minutes and 30 seconds, with the grace period. After that, prepare to get pelted off the stage by a sea of hurled paperbacks.
Featured readers for the night will be Katie Sisneros and poet Dobby Gibson. And, if you're lucky, you.
Seriously. I am telling you. Do not go shaking any sticks around in these parts, because you're sure to hit a writer, and we do not want to hit any writers.
But here comes another list, another writers' series, this time the English@Minnesota series at the University of Minnesota, which runs in October and November:
First up, the tall and fascinating Bonnie Jo Campbell, who will read at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 at the University Bookstore in Coffman Union. Campbell, who lives in Michigan, is the author of "American Salvage," a finalist for a National Book Award, and "Once Upon a River." (She was here a couple of years ago, reading at the Loft, and here's how it went.)
Poet David Wojahn will read at the Rain Taxi Review Twin Cities Book Festival on Oct. 12, held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Wojahn grew up in St. Paul and won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize last year from the Academy of American Poets.
On Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m., Katherine Boo will discuss her highly acclaimed book of narrative journalism, "Behind the Beautiful Forevers," winner of a National Book Award. This event will be in the Coffman Union Theater.
Oct. 29 will be the sixth annual Hunger Relief Benefit, hosted by Charles Baxter. This year, novelist Robert Boswell (whose latest book, "Tumbledown," was just published by Graywolf Press) will join poet Peter Campion to read and raise money for Second Harvest Heartland. This will be at 7 p.m. University Hall in McNamara Alumni Center. Bring a monetary donation for the food shelf.
Daisy Fried and Josh Weiner will read at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Weisman Art Museum on campus. Fried is a poet and critic, and Weiner is a poet and the editor of "At the Barriers: On the Poetry of Thom Gunn."
Thomas Mallon will round out the season with a reading at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Weisman. Mallon is a novelist, essayist and critic and the author of "Henry and Clara," and "Watergate," among other books.
Novelist Amy Tan and poet Nikki Giovanni headline a series that also includes Minnesota writer/singer/songwriter/rapper Dessa and two winners of the Milkweed Fiction Prize, Larry Watson and Jon Pineda.
Here's the lineup:
Sept. 12: Larry Watson ("Let Him Go") and Jon Pineda ("Apology"), in conversation with Milkweed Editions publisher Daniel Slager.
Oct. 25: Dessa, in conversation with Rain Taxi Review editor Eric Lorberer. They'll be discussing her new, as yet untitled chapbook of poetry.
Nov. 13: Amy Tan, discussing "The Valley of Amazement," her first new novel in nearly 10 years.
Dec. 12: Nikki Giovanni, reading from "Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid," her upcoming collection of poetry.
Talk of the Stacks is a free reading series of the Friends of the Hennepin County Library. All events will be held in Pohlad Hall of the Central Library on the Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and talks begin at 7 p.m. and are followed by book signings.
The new low-residency MFA program at Minneapolis' Augsburg College will host its first summer residency, which includes a week of public events by visiting writers and faculty. The MFA program has a broad focus, including fiction, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, poetry and playwrighting. Here's the lineup; all readings begin at 7:30 p.m. and will take place in the Tjornhom-Nelson Theater in the Foss Center of Augsburg College.
Tonight: Stephan Clark and Jack El-Hai. Stephan Clark writes fiction, nonfiction, and screeplays. His collecetion of stories, "Vladimir's Mustache," was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
Jack El-Hai writes literary journalism and creative nonfiction and is the author of "The Lobotomist." His new book, "The Nazi and the Psychiatrist," will be published this fall.
Saturday: Christina Lazaridi. Christina Lazaridi, a screenwriter, wrote "One Day Crossing" and "Coming Up Roses."
Monday: Sue William Silverman. Sue William Silverman's memoir, "Love Sick: One Woman's Journey through Sexual Addiction," has been made into a Lifetime television movie. She is also the author of "Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You," winner of the AWP creative nonfiction award.
Tuesday: Cass Dalglish and Cary Waterman. Cass Dalglish is a novelist, poet and journalist. Her novel, "Sweetgrass," was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
Cary Waterman is a poet and writer of creative nonfiction. Her collection, "When I Looked Back You Were Gone," was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
Wednesday: Ed Bok Lee. Ed Bok Lee is a poet, author of "Whorled," winner of a 2012 American Book Award and a Minnesota Book Award.
Friday, Aug. 2: Benjamin Percy. Benjamin Percy is the author of "Red Moon," and "The Wilding," and has won an NEA Fellowship, a Whiting Writer's Award, and a Pushcart Prize.
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