19 Years of Bringing Books to the Twin Cities Community
Rain Taxi launched the Twin Cities Book Festival in 2001 as a way to support authors and engage citizens in an exchange of ideas. While writing and reading are usually solitary activities, a Book Festival is a way to celebrate writing in community and acknowledge the social value of this art form. Pursuant to our mission to call attention to the abundance and diversity of contemporary literature, we wanted to create an event that would bring pride to the Twin Cities as a reading capital.
Minneapolis and Saint Paul consistently rank in the top ten literate cities for over a decade.
Over 150 exhibitors fill the book fair floor in the Progress Center building of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
Over 6,000 people attend the TCBF every year!
The TCBF features family friendly programming, from storytelling and activities for younger children to tween and teen readings.
The TCBF puts the spotlight on great local and world-famous authors!
In 2020, the Twin Cities Book Festival will be 20 years old.
History of the Festival
Rain Taxi's Twin Cities Book Festival, the largest one-day book gathering in the region, features hundreds of exhibitors, dozens of presenting authors from near and far, special children’s and youth programming, and endless curiosities for all ages—all in a massive celebration of our vibrant Minnesota literary culture.
Our 18th annual Twin Cities Book Festival kicked off with a Friday night Book Bash at the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Saint Paul, where we welcomed visiting authors and celebrated with music, food, drinks, and door prizes—everyone had too much fun anticipating the coming together of book lovers throughout the state!
Local Author Morning Mingle
On Saturday October 13, 2018, the Festival started with a bang as over two dozen local authors gathered for a Morning Mingle, sponsored by MSR Design—poets, novelists, essayists and more met with Festival attendees and signed books. Participating authors were: Maureen Aitken, Gretchen Anthony, Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson, Scott Carlson, Blue Delliquanti, Mary Moore Easter, Heid Erdrich, Sally Franson, Pete Hautman, David Housewright, Chris Mackenzie Jones, Kathleen Ann Kenney, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Channy Leaneagh, Gordon Marino, Mindy Mejia, David Mura, Gary Eldon Peter, Wang Ping, Julie Schumacher, Kaethe Schwehn, Sarah Bamford Seidelmann, Quinton Skinner, Gregory Blake Smith, Madelon Sprengnether, Sarah Stonich, Saymoukda Vongsay, and Ahmed Ismail Yusuf.
Exhibit and Book Fair
Over the course of the day, thousands thronged the exhibit hall to peruse the over 140 publishers, literary organizations, magazines, authors, and more who presented great books, author signings, giveaways, deals, and fun all day long. The hourly Festival raffle awarded over a dozen winners with prizes, and with its great prices, Rain Taxi’s Used Book and Record Bonanza sent hundreds of treasure hunters home with bargains galore!
The Festival welcomed the return of Gus the Poetry Bus, parked outside between the buildings. On the bus, attendees could participate in activities, including a songwriting workshop with Brian Laidlaw, poetry divination with Heid E. Erdrich, a writing workshop and discussion of race with David Mura, an exploration of hate mail with Steve Almond, a rural-themed hour with Cassie Williams, Saara Myrene Raappana, and Ashley Hanson, and spontaneous typewriter poems with St. Cloud writer Bill Meissner.
Featured Author Readings in the Fine Arts Building
Attendees to readings at the Fine Arts building were treated to a moving installation by Green Card Voices, along with great presentations by stellar authors. Programming included a reading and conversation with poet Katelynn Hibbard, winner of the Howling Bird Press Prize for her collection Simples. Publicist Claire McKinney discussed ways authors can promote their books. Performance artist and author Karen Finley presented Grabbing Pussy, her psycho-sexual interpretation of our strange times. Kenyan author and giant of world literature Ngugi wa Thiong’o discussed his prison memoir, Wrestling with the Devil. Musician David Grubbs waxed poetic with his prose-poem paean to music, Now that the audience has assembled. The ever-charming Geoff Dyer discussed his illuminating book on photographer Garry Winogrand with Windham-Campbell Literature program director Michael Kelleher. English professor Ralph Savarese expanded our minds and hearts with a literary look at the complex minds of autists. Steve Almond grappled with the last few years by writing Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country, discussing his book with MPR’s Stephanie Curtis. Local hip hop star Dessawowed the audience with excerpts from her new collection of essays, My Own Devices. And the day wound up with a literary tribute to Bob Dylan, featuring readings by Marge Barrett, Ray Gonzalez, Diane Jarvenpa, Linda Back McKay, William Meissner, Tim Nolan, Dave Pichaske, John Reinhard, Joyce Sutphen, Katrina Vandenberg, and Connie Wanek, and featuring music by Debra Marquart, comments by New Rivers Press book designer Phuriwat Chirapasit, and an introduction by Visiting Bob editors Thom Tammaro and Alan Davis.
The Children’s Pavilion entertained young children and their parents with activities and storybook readings. Elizabeth Verdick gave a hint of the snowfall to come with Small Walt and Mo the Tow, complete with amazing hand-made trucks. Jean Reagan taught the kids How to Scare a Ghost, followed by Markús Már Efraím who led a short workshop on how to write a scary story. Daniel Bernstrom wowed the crowd with his funny reading of his romp through the swamp book Gator, Gator, Gator! Kayla Harren read from her book, Hannah’s Tall Order. And Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections Lisa Von Drasek helped kids create Writing Boxes!
The Young Readers stage offered two panels of middle grade authors, starting off with Gennifer Choldenko (Al Capone Throws Me a Curve), Sheila O’Connor (Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth), and Erin Soderberg (Daring Dreamers Club), who shared their books and the friendships that inspired them. Then Melissa Savage (The Truth About Martians), Jeff Seymour (Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue), and Liesl Shurtliff (Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves) celebrated the imagination with UFOs, flying pirate ships, and fairy tale characters.
On the Teen Stage, fans of YA were treated to four presentations. S.A. Bodeen (The Tomb), Maggie Ann Martin (To Be Honest), and Jessica Pennington (Love Songs and Other Lies) shared the ins and outs of love and relationships. Shannon Gibney (Dream Country), Tiffany Jackson (Monday’s Not Coming), and Kiersten White (The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein) drew large crowds as they discussed their complex and daring stories. YA favorite David Levithan presented the sequel to his popular Every Day, with Someday. And father and son team Neal and Jarrod Shusterman discussed their soon-to-be-a-motion-picture Dry, exploring the dire circumstances that ensue when the water runs out in California.
Hours & Location
Saturday, October 12th, 2019
Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Progress Center and Fine Arts Building
1265 Snelling Ave N
St Paul, MN 55108