Dessa. Photo by Sam Gehrke

Dessa. Photo by Sam Gehrke

The first list of headliners for the 23rd annual Twin Cities Book Festival has been announced, and it includes local hip-hop artist (and memoirist) Dessa, longtime Graywolf Press writer Geoff Dyer, book publicist Claire McKinney, and "Candyfreak" author Steve Almond.

This year's festival takes place on Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and it is, once again, free to all. The festival generally attracts between 6,000 and 7,000 people each year.

More writers--including local writers, children's and young adult writers--will be announced as the summer goes on. 

Here's the list so far (notes are by the folks at Rain Taxi, sponsors of the festival):

Steve Almond: Author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, including bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His new book is Bad Stories, a literary investigation of what the hell just happened to our country.

Dessa: Minnesota rapper, singer, essayist, and Doomtree collective member, Dessa brings it all together in her new book My Own Devices: True Stories from the Road on Music, Science, and Senseless Love

Geoff Dyer: The acclaimed English author of four novels and numerous nonfiction works, Dyer riffs on many subjects, from doughnuts to the dissolution of place, as he attempts “to fix an experience that is vast, shifting, apocalyptic.”

David Grubbs: As a composer and musician, Grubbs works in a wide range of avant-rock musical forms; his recent book-length prose poem Now that the audience is assembled, picks up the thread.

KateLynn Hibbard: An acclaimed Twin Cities poet, Hibbard will launch her latest book Simples, winner of the 2018 Howling Bird Press Poetry Prize and a book twelve years in the making, with a reading and conversation.

Claire McKinney: A nationally recognized name in book publicity, McKinney will take aspiring authors on an engaging tour of how to promote their work.  

Ralph Savarese: Insights about literature from those with autism will be revealed as neurodiversity advocate Savarese discusses See It Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor.

Ilan Stavans: The prolific author (and publisher of Restless Books) will talk about Latino culture in our times. He has published five books in 2018 (so far), ranging from graphic novels to poetry to cultural studies. 

Ngugi wa Thiong’o: A veritable giant of African literature, the Kenyan author Ngugi has been imprisoned for his writing and is perennially mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize. 


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