AWP Conference & Bookfair

Minnesota boasts at least 10 independent bookstores, more than a dozen literary magazines and journals, and two literary-geared organizations — Minnesota Center for Book Arts and Loft Literary Center. The state has also seen an upswing in events geared toward edgier, younger crowds. It was only a matter of time before the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) brought its annual conference and book fair to Minneapolis. With an expected 12,000-plus attendees, it’s the largest literary conference in North America. This year’s conference features more than 2,000 presenters and 550 readings, plus panels and craft lectures from more than 700 presses, journals and literary organizations from around the world. Tons of off-site events will also take place next weekend, hosted by Bust, Revolver, Paper Darts and Rain Taxi. (Wed.-next Sat. $60-$285 for conference; off-site events range from free to $95. Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Av. S., Mpls. Jahna Peloquin



Literary Death Match

After a year hiatus, Literary Death Match is back in fighting form. The nationally syndicated competition challenges four writers to live-read their most humorous and heart-wrenching works, to be judged by three all-star judges. LDM returns to Minneapolis on the first night of the AWP Conference (see above). And accordingly, the lineup packs a punch, with nationally acclaimed “Bad Feminist” writer Roxane Gay and award-winning authors Claire Vaye Watkins, Jeffery Renard Allen and Mark Doten, plus judges P.O.S., award-winning author Benjamin Percy and New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean. (7 p.m. Wed. $7-$10. Nomad World Pub, 501 Cedar Av. S., Mpls. J.P.



MiniCon 50

Minnesota’s longest-running sci-fi and fantasy convention turns 50 this year. Despite a rocky spell in 1999 when some of its organizers split off into two other cons — the party-hearty MarsCon and CONvergence — MiniCon is still considered one of the best-regarded cons for the serious geek. Rather than the focus being on partying and big-name celebrities, MiniCon devotes a large part of its programming to literature; its biggest-name guests are hard-science author Larry Niven and sci-fi fantasy publisher Tom Doherty. This year’s con adds a full day of programming to the lineup, with panel discussions, readings and signings throughout the weekend, plus gaming rooms, dealers’ tables, a science room, filk and folk music performances, and film screenings. (Thu.-Sun. $20-$65. DoubleTree Bloomington, 7800 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington. J.P.