The annual "First Books" reading and panel at the University of Minnesota features four writers with Minnesota connections -- Peter Geye, Arlene Kim, Karen Rigby and Paul Metsa.

Each author will read from his (or her) work and will also take part in a panel discussion on publishing their first book. The discussion, at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota campus, will be followed by a reception and book sales.

Geye's novel, "Safe From the Sea," was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award and a winner of a Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. Geye, a former editor of Third Coast, received an MFA from the University of New Orleans and a doctorate from Western Michigan University. He lives in Minneapolis.

Arlene Kim's debut collection, "What Have You Done to Our Ears to Make Us Hear Echoes," was published by Milkweed Editions. Kim received an MFA in poetry from the University of Minnesota and now lives in Seattle.

Karen Rigby's collection "Chinoiserie" won the 2011 Sawtooth Poetry Prize. She is co-founder of Cerise Press and lives in Arizona. She, too, received an MFA in poetry from the University of Minnesota.

And Paul Metsa, a songwriter who grew up on Minnesota's Iron Range, wrote a memoir titled "Blue Guitar Highway," published by the University of Minnesota Press. He lives in northeast Minneapolis.

Also ...

The Bloomington Writers Festival will take place on Saturday at the Bloomington Arts Center, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Road. Twenty workshops and panels run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with talks on e-books, prose poems, illustrating children's books and many other topics. Register online at

• "Something I Said: Essays on Domestic Abuse, Rape, Relationships and Other Critical Social Issues," by Dwight Hobbes, has been published by Papyrus Publishing. Hobbes is an essayist and playwright in Minneapolis.

• "Yours, Mine and Ours," by Minneapolis writer MaryJanice Davidson, has been published by St. Martin's Press. Davidson is the New York Times best-selling author of the Undead series.

• The Midwest Independent Publishers Association will hold its annual vendor fair next month. The fair is a chance for writers to meet with publishers, editors, designers and marketers. It runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 11 in the Joule building, 1200 Washington Av. S., Mpls.