Word Brew offers speed dating for books

MinnSpec offers a variety of short readings to sample a range of authors all in one night.

Franki Hanke, Senior Reporter

Inspired by band showcases, in which many different bands perform short sets under one cover charge to sample broadly, Conrad Zero, of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, organized the first Word Brew. In 2016, the event will run for the fourth time on Nov. 20 at Acadia in Minneapolis. Since the beginning, the event’s main idea hasn’t changed from that first moment of inspiration.

“For one cover charge you would see all these different bands. You got to see all these diverse selection and it might not be stuff you were regularly exposed to,” he said. “Now, you’re eating from the variety pack.”

Following the same idea, Zero organized an event with a variety of authors all within the umbrella genre of speculative fiction, which encompasses a range of science fiction, fantasy and horror, to do readings.

“This just gives us an opportunity to see and cross-pollinate the audience. You’re not just going to see your favorite thing,” Zero said.

Overall, the design of the event is a fast way to discover possibly eight new authors within the span of an hour or so.

“It makes really good use of your time,” Zero said. “It’s basically speed dating for fiction lovers.”

The first year, Acadia, where the event is hosted, saw roughly 30 people turn out. Over the past three years, the total snuck up to around 50 by 2015. This year, they gathered a larger group to organize, hoping to bring in an even larger audience.

The event itself will feature two halves. The first will be the readings where a dozen authors will read six or seven minute pieces.

“If you want to see [and] hear the cutting edge of Twin Cities [and] Minnesota speculative fiction, this is the event to attend for the end of the year,” participating author Roy C. Booth said.

During this, artists from within MinnSpec will be doing speed sketches of fantasy scenes and characters that will be given away in the second half when the readings turn into a mingle session.

The second portion will offer the opportunity for audience members to connect with the authors they heard.

“If you like what the person did you can go and connect with them. It connects the audience with their new favorite author,” Zero said.

In addition to the readings, authors will have books on-hand to sign and sell during the second half. Other authors can sell their own books at the event as well, though details for that should be consulted on their Facebook event page.

So far, DreamHaven books and Wise Ink will be among the donors of other giveaways during the night. Wise Ink will be giving away some books. At the same time, Acadia will be holding their happy hour specials to overlap with the event which features $4.99 snacks and discounted beer, wine and bloody marys.

Following the event, participants are invited to receive a “commemorative event email” with the names and links to all the authors who read, so everyone can enjoy the show without taking any notes.

The event will be held at Acadia in Minneapolis on Nov. 20 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., but readings will start at 3 p.m. More information and updates about the event can be found on their Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/538148723054119/.