Taxi, Please

Rain Taxi’s annual Twin Cities Book Festival features literary rock stars George Saunders and Nicholson Baker.

Twin Cities Book Festival

If you are a fan of the literary arts, or you just like to sit down with a good book once in a while, the 2013 Twin Cities Book Festival is where you’ll want to be on Saturday, October 12.

Now in its 13th year, the Twin Cities Book Festival—sponsored by the local literary quarterly Rain Taxi Review of Books—has grown to become the largest literary event in the Upper Midwest, attracting thousands of book lovers from all over the region and giving local writers a reason to get out of the house and go meet their public.

In addition to dozens of local authors, the festival always features several literary luminaries from all corners of the globe, and this year is no exception.

Though the festival technically begins with George Saunders’s appearance at the Pen Pals Lecture Series (see below), the biggest buzz at the festival will surround the appearance of best-selling author Nicholson Baker, whose 2011 book, The House of Holes, fetishizes sex of the most fantastic and metaphorical sort. At the festival, Baker will be discussing, among other things, his new book, Traveling Sprinkler, which revisits Paul Chowder, the frustrated poet and main character of Baker’s 2009 novel, The Anthologist.

Also in the lineup this year are Mircea Cartarescu, a Romanian novelist and essayist whose translations began showing up in American bookstores in 2005; California poet Rae Armantrout, who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2010; St. Paul–born poet and essayist David Wojahn; Delia Ephron, sister of beloved playwright and screenwriter Nora Ephron; Ytasha Womack, a filmmaker and African American pop-culture critic from Chicago; and renowned children’s book creator David Wiesner. Oct. 12. 10 am–5 pm, Progress Center, Minnesota State Fairgrounds, 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, raintaxi.com

Strokes of Genius

George saunders kicks off pen pals.

Short story writer George Saunders—better known as that writer who got a MacArthur “genius grant” last year—will kick off both the 2013 Pen Pals Lecture Series season and the Twin Cities Book Festival. Oct. 10–11. Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, 952-979-1111, hopkinsartcenter.com