Laila Lalami. Photo by Alexander Year/Random House

Laila Lalami. Photo by Alexander Year/Random House

The largest literary festival in the Upper Midwest will take place on Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. It will feature local authors, children’s authors, and nationally and internationally renowned writers. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free.

Minnesota writers Faith Sullivan, Lin Enger, John Coy, Amy Klobuchar and Matt Burgess will join Pulitzer finalist Laila Lalami, graphic novelist Craig Thompson, short-story writer Joy Williams and many others. Adult activities will take place in the Fine Arts Center, and children’s activities will take place in the Progress Center.

This year the festival will have two stages, so good luck being in two places at the same time. Here’s the schedule for the two main stages:

10:30 a.m.: A talk by photographer Christopher Cardozo, and a discussion of novels of the Midwest with Lin Enger, Lauren Fox and Faith Sullivan.

Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim

11:30 a.m.: Short-story writer Joy Williams will talk about her new book, while poet, playwright and writer Jabari Asim and Star Tribune theater critic Rohan Preston will be in conversation.

12:30 p.m.: Sen. Amy Klobuchar will read from her book “The Senator Next Door,” while poets Brian Henry, Jennifer Knox and Rachel Moritz will discuss poetry.

1:30 p.m.: British novelist Rupert Thomson will read from his new book, “Katherine Carlyle,” and graphic novelist Craig Thompson will talk about his first book for young readers.

2:30 p.m.: Susan Cheever and MPR’s Stephanie Curtis will be in conversation, and Joe Meno and Nina Revoyr will discuss their new books.

3:30 p.m.: Canadian poet Christian Bok will read from his new book, and local writers Matt Burgess, Sheyna Galyan and Allen Eskens will talk about cops in fiction.

All day, there will be activities, story time and readings for children with John Coy, Stephanie Watson, Lynne Jonell, Mike Wohnoutka and many other writers, with an author party at 4 p.m.

In addition, there will be an all-day book fair with more than 100 vendors — publishers, journals, authors, used-book dealers, and others. 

The festival’s only ticketed event will be a grand opening party at 6 p.m. Friday in the Fine Arts Center ($20), followed by a free reading by Laila Lalami, author of “The Moor’s Account, which was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker.

The Twin Cities Book Festival is sponsored by Rain Taxi Review, a nonprofit literary journal now celebrating its 20th anniversary.

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