Spare change is being clinked into jars marked, “Book fund.” Schedules are being sketched out on lined paper, scribbling down times and name. Vendors are stacking up their books, preparing their posters, and practicing their pitches. Everyone, from authors to readers to publishers, is preparing for the Twin Cities Book Festival.
The event is an annual tradition housed in the Minnesota State Fairgrounds that features talks, kid activities, workshops, and media sales.
Eric Lorberer, Festival Director with Rain Taxi, has been organizing the event. “There’s something for everyone,” he said. “Anyone can expect to have a great time and to experience an incredible variety of things that are happening in the book world.”
New this year, the event will have a “Poetry Bus,” to host workshops.
“We always have one sorta activity that’s different every year,” Lorberer said. “But really it kind of happened because I know a poet who happens to own a school bus so I thought, that’d be fun to do something with that.”
The occasion starts with an Opening Night Talk the Friday night before, featuring a theme of “Tales of Two Americas.” The next morning, the main event really begins with the Morning Mingle with over two dozen Minnesota authors selling and signing recently published books and, if one could guess, mingling!
The rest of the day is filled up with the book fair sales and author talks split between two buildings. Tackling all of the attractions is hard.
“If you only have a little bit of time, I’d almost say, remember there’s two buildings and make sure to take ‘em both in- in a way. If you’re really excited about a reading or two, make sure to go to the book fair,” Lorberer said. “But you can get lost in the book fair, it’s too big to do in a day [and] I’ve heard over the years, people get their schedule all filled with one aspect.”
Rain Taxi, as a specialized literary magazine, may seem odd to be hosting such a diverse event, but Lorberer related the diversity of the event to that of reading itself.
“Reading has everything. It has loud moments and quiet moments. It’s both intimate and something we share as a community. It’s really a celebration of what happens when writing and books get into the community.”
The entire festival, including the Opening Night Talk and Morning Mingle, are all entirely free. There will be options to purchase a multitude of media once there, but it costs nothing to attend. The main Saturday event starts at 10 a.m on October 14 and runs till 5 p.m.