Screening of ‘Shelf Life’ will kick off Twin Cities Book Festival

This year, Rain Taxi Review of Book’s annual Twin Cities Book Festival will be ushered in by an exclusive screening of the documentary film “Shelf Life” on Friday, Oct. 14.

"Shelf Life"

Directed by Lisa Day, “Shelf Life” is a whirlwind look at a day in the life of Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest book store. A landmark feature of downtown Portland, Ore., Powell’s occupies an entire city block and carries over a million titles.

Featuring luminaries Chuck Palahniuk, Ursula K. Le Guin, Karen Armstrong and Book Festival guest Diana Abu-Jaber, “Shelf Life” pays homage to the passionate writers, readers and booksellers that bring vitality to independent bookstores.

To purchase tickets to the “Shelf Life” screening, click here.

The entrance fee includes a pre-film reception featuring a performance by local musician Paul Metsa, author of “Blue Guitar Highway” (U of M Press); mingling with Book Festival authors; and, of course, movie treats and soft drinks.

The Book Festival will take place the following day, Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College off Loring Park.

Twin Cities Book Festival
Twin Cities Book Festival

The daylong literary extravaganza — which brings together authors, publishers, literary organizations, readers and booksellers for a celebration of books and reading — will begin with a morning mixer, where Festival attendees can meet and chat with local luminaries about their new releases. Special time will be devoted to authors published by out-of-state presses.

For more information about the authors participating in the morning mixer, visit 2011 Festival Morning Mixer.

Following the mixer, the Festival kicks into high gear with an extensive exhibit and book fair showcasing a wide range of titles, a literary magazine fair, author readings and book signings, panel discussions, book arts activities, a used book sale and more.

For a complete list of book fair exhibitors, featured authors and festival specials, see 2011 Festival Exhibitors.

This year’s visiting writers, each of whom will give an author talk, include Diana Abu-Jaber, N. M. Kelby, Tess Gallagher, Jaimy Gordon, Daniel Woodrell, Ben Katchor, Steven Pinker, Kevin Sorbo, Gary Tillery and Lawrence Weschler.

For bios and additional information on visiting guest authors, visit 2011 Festival Guest Authors.

Three panel discussions — focusing on memoir, place, and mystery — will feature a plethora of Minnesota authors and artists whose unique sensibility and talent inform their work.

“Telling Our Stories: Minnesota Memoirs” will bring together six local writers with new memoirs to discuss the challenges they encountered in converting their personal life stories into books with universal applicability and appeal. The discussion will feature Martin Kihn, Paul Metsa, Nancy Paddock, Theresa Weir and Mary Rondeau Westra, and will be moderated by Patricia Hampl.

The panel “This Must Be the Place: Representing Minnesota” will join authors from a wide variety of genres to elucidate how they converted well-known local places into iconic settings meant for readers anywhere. The discussion will feature Kevin Cannon, Steve Healey, Wing Young Huie, Susan Niz and Mary Rockcastle, and will be moderated by Laurie Hertzel.

For the panel “How Do We Plot?,” members of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter will debate the most important elements of craft within this thrilling genre. The discussion will feature Erin Hart, Sujata Massey, Julie Kramer, Michael Allan Mallory and Carl Brookins, and will be moderated Raymond Benson.

For bios and detailed information on the panelists, see 2011 Festival Panel Discussions.

There will also be plenty of storytelling, music performances, crafts, games, workshops and other fun activities to keep the little ones occupied. Terrific local children’s authors — including Kelly Barnhill, John Coy, Sarah Forss, Paul Fricke, Lynne Jonell and Phyllis Root — will be giving readings throughout the day at the Children’s Pavilion. Books will be available for purchase from Red Balloon Bookshop and authors will be on hand for signings.

To view the Children’s Pavilion event schedule, visit 2011 Festival Pavilion.

For a complete schedule of Twin Cities Book Festival activities and appearances, see the 2011 Festival Schedule.


“Shelf Life” premier
Time: Doors 7 p.m.; screening 7:45 p.m.
Date: Friday, Oct. 14, 2011
Place: Whitney Fine Arts Center, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, 1424 Yale Pl., Mpls., MN 55403
Cost: $20

Twin Cities Book Festival
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011
Place: Minneapolis Community and Technical College, 1501 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., MN 55403
Cost: free

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