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Bookworms Unite! Rain Taxi Celebrates the Literary Arts

Rain Taxi

Rain Taxi is a literary organization that champions literary culture through programs and publications that foster engagement with innovative writing. Their main vehicle is the award-wining print quarterly, Rain Taxi Review of Books, with coverage of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, art, graphic novels, and more. The publication aims to connect readers to books of merit that might otherwise get overlooked.

Rain Taxi also organizes the Rain Taxi Reading Series and the annual Twin Cities Book Festival. In October 2014, Rain Taxi hosted their most-attended Twin Cities Book Festival yet. On a beautiful fall Saturday, readers, writers, and presses converged upon the Fairgrounds, and there were almost 7,000 attendees. The event is sponsored and organized by Rain Taxi and aided by support from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Metropolitan Regional Arts Council.

All-star presenting authors included Katha Pollitt, Okey Ndibe, Hoa Nguyen, Matthea Harvey, Laird Hunt, Ann Hood, Stephan Eirik Clark, Julie Schumacher, and more. These guests talked about their works solo and in conversation with each other and fans, and all of the discussions were dynamic and engaging. In addition to these featured guests, there were also about 150 different tabling exhibitors — publishers, literary organizations, and local writers and artists presented great books, author signings, and giveaways all day long.

In the Children’s Pavilion (co-sponsored by MELSA), kids were treated to interactive activities with Michael Dahl, Derek Anderson, Erin Soderberg, and other children’s authors, as well as a LEGO station, a live-action board game, face painting, and music by Duke Otherwise. In the Middle Grade Headquarters, tween readers met with authors Jessica Day George, S.A. Bodeen, Margi Preus, and Jacqueline West. After lunch, the space changed over to the Teen Tent with Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson discussing their new books about falling in love, and Marie Lu and Andrea Cremer presented their dystopian YA novels. The Teen Tent closed out with a Teen Party, hosted by local greats Pete Hautman, Geoff Herbach, and Carrie Mesrobian, with swag bags offered to the first 30 teen attendees. It was standing room only all afternoon! Red Balloon Bookshop partnered with Rain Taxi to create and program the Middle Grade Headquarters/Teen Tent.

After the Fairgrounds had closed down for the day, festivities continued into the evening with a reading at the Minneapolis Central Library by author and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, which Rain Taxi co-presented with the Friends of the Hennepin County Library.

Topic: Arts & Culture

January 2017