This weekend’s Twin Cities Book Festival is the must-attend meet-up for book fans and the literary scene from all over the region. The big fest, brought to us by Rain Taxi, “welcomes ‘rock star’ authors, local literary heroes, publishers, magazines, booksellers”, many of whom you can meet and mingle with during the get-together at the MN State Fair Grounds. (We said it was big!) Since there’s so much going on at the Twin Cities Book Festival, we quick checked in with Eric Lorberer, Rain Taxi’s Editor, to get some direction.
Secrets of the City: The Twin Cities Book Festival is so much more than just a bunch of tables with books, it’s mingling with authors, it’s hearing presentations, it’s helping empower youth. Why are those aspects of the TCBF so important to “book culture”, for lack of a better descriptor.
Eric Lorberer: That’s the magic of books—they are way more than objects we hold in our hands. They inspire thought, action, and definitely culture—it’s actually a pretty good descriptor, because the best books foster growth. So along with celebrating the objects, our Book Festival is all about that giving a day over for that mingling, sharing, and empowering you’ve noticed. It’s ultimately about celebrating the people (authors, publishers, booksellers, and readers) that together make the magic happen.
The event is pretty involved, but what specific things would you recommend for folks to check out at the Festival?
Oh man . . . I know it’s a cliche but there’s really something for everyone! People who are hands-on should make some collaging history (seriously), bargain hunters should check out our used books and vinyl (double seriously), and hitting even a few aisles of the book fair will make anyone pleasantly dizzy with the sheer variety of work being published. But folks should get off their feet for at least one session and listen to a presentation too—if you don’t know the authors already even better, because if it sounds intriguing, our bet is you’ll be rewarded with a new fave.
Do you program certain panels like The Art of Rock or the Belinda Jensen children’s book to get people who wouldn’t maybe hold on to a book with a cold, dead hand?
I wouldn’t quite put it that way, but we do intentionally make the Book Festival broad in scope—while our magazine is pretty focused on independent publishing and writing that falls under the radar, the Festival gives us a chance to look at all different kinds of new work: local celebrity children’s authors for sure, but also dope queen Phoebe Robinson, revered comics artist Eddie Campbell (from Australia and From Hell, yo!), and rock poster artists extraordinaire . . . we try to get every kind of author in for our one-day book frenzy.
Why does our hometown literary scene party so hard!?
Ha, I think it’s because writing is actually difficult and often solitary work, so when it’s time to come out and play, we wanna go big. We work hard, then we play hard.