This year marked the 11th anniversary of the Twin Cities Book Festival, created and hosted by Rain Taxi, and it was my very first time. Not only was it my first time attending the event, but it was also my first time seated behind a table at the festival. Sure, I’ve spent my share of time at various comic book conventions, large and small alike, as both patron of and saleswoman to a room awash with nerds of all sorts; however, the Twin Cities Book Festival was its own beast, with its own nerds, and its own set of wonders to behold.
Though I was at the festival on behalf of Paper Darts—Saturday we launched our very first book, a collection of short shorts by local author John Jodzio—I had some time to sneak away and peruse the rows and rows of tables filling up the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, a space which really lent itself well to the event.
While the whole of the shindig really captured in one place the amazing diversity and colorful nature of the bookish Twin Cities community, my favorite things about the Twin Cities Book Festival are these.
The Children’s Pavilion. The fact that there was a whole level of children’s activities, books, and storytelling events was awesome for a few reasons. Giving children their own space to interact, play, and enjoy books is really important, not only to spark imagination and joy, but also to give the adults around them a little break. Also, there was a wizard walking around the festival all day.
Kevin Sorbo. When I opened the TC Book Festival pamphlet of events, I could not believe my eyes when I saw that Hercules himself would be gracing the event with his strong, mystic presence. Apparently he is from Mound, MN and recently wrote a memoir (which I would love to review) entitled True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal—and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life. For a man who suffered multiple strokes, and has lived enough life for at least a couple people, is still looking fine.
Being in a position to hear ideas. I’ve never been in a place in my life before to hear ideas from people who see me as being someone who can potentially help their dreams come true. Over the course of Saturday I fielded questions and was pitched ideas for all sorts of books and magazines ranging from cookbooks to stories about teenagers. It was awesome. Being behind a table really changes how people interact with you, and it was an exhilarating experience, but not one that I’d like to have every week. Once a year seems good.
Lesbian literature. One of my favorite tables at the festival was that of local author and two-time Golden Grown Literary Award winner Catherine Lundoff. It’s so common to see books about the trials and tribulations about living, or the horrors of dying, but how often do you get to see a compilation like Haunted Hearths & Sapphic Shades: Lesbian Ghost Stories? Talk about an amazing niche.
Mizna. Mizna is an arts organization and journal of Arab American literature published since 1999, the only one of its kind in the United States; it’s based in Minnesota. This state should be proud to house and foster such an amazing publication and organization.
Booth candy. Nearly every table had a tray of candies or other goodies, set to attract visitors to check out their wares. While this worked in some instances, in others the freebies served as probably the safest trick-or-treat in Minnesota. Many cavities were formed on Saturday.
I could probably go on and on, because pretty much everywhere I turned on Saturday there was a friendly face, or a book I wanted to pop open and plop on the ground with, reading until my brain was stuffed and satisfied. If you didn’t go this year, you should really consider going next year, as the event is free, open to the public, and is a great way to spend a weekend afternoon. A big thanks to Rain Taxi for the great time, and to all of the people who came out to buy books, pitch ideas, or even just to get the free candy.
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