Tag Archives: Minnesota publishers

Twin Cities Book Festival – Where the “right words” rule

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. ~~ Mark Twain

The Great Minnesota Get-Together 2017 is history, and yet the Fairgrounds will come alive October 13-14 as bibliophiles gather from far and wide to celebrate “the right word.”  It’s the annual Twin Cities Book Festival.   (http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival/

Sponsored by Rain Taxi, the free and open tribute to the book is the call for “word people” to meet and learn from bibliophiles who write, publish, read, edit, sell, and otherwise shape and share the “right words.”  It’s a time to refresh the mind and soothe the soul of the faithful who cling to the idea that the right words not only read well but speak truth.

The agenda for TC’s Book Festival is robust, overflowing with exhibits, speakers, opportunities to meet and greet – the Festival calls for serious preparation!  If, perchance, you can’t attend, the website itself offers a great read and reminder of the many faces of the state’s book world!  The online guide to the Festival includes authors of every genre, publishers, booksellers (new and used) along with myriad options, including but not limited to food vendors — Be sure to save time to experience the Poetry Bus! (http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival-poetry-bus/)

 

 

 

 

 

Rain Taxi hosts 16th annual Twin Cities Book Festival

Books, the children of the brain ~~ Jonathan Swift

Been there, done that! Not if you’re talking about the Twin Cities Book Festival set for Saturday, October 15, with an Open Night Party warm-up on Friday, October 14.  Though it may be an annual autumn ritual, know in advance that you have not seen or done everything that’s on tap for the 2016 Twin Cities Book Festival. (http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival/)

The bibliophile bonanza blasts off at 5:00 Friday evening with an Opening Night Party. http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival/2016-tcbf-opening-night-party-reading/ The evening begins with dinner ($20 – reservations required) to be followed by a free and open talk by British writer Kathryn Aalto who will celebrate the 90th birthday of the classic with a presentation on The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh. (http://www.raintaxi.com/New/media/Aalto-Flyer.pdf) Friday evening events are in the Fine Arts Center on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

The free and open Book Festival blasts off Saturday morning at 10:00. Be prepared — the robust schedule can be overwhelming and the exhibits are irresistible.

One of the best features of the TC’s Book Festival is the digital accessibility of it all — Before you head for the Fairgrounds, check the possibilities that range from the day-long Book Fair (http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival/exhibitors-and-specials/) to scores of events – ranging from “From Hell to Bacchus and Back” to “PayHomage” to numerous pavilions featuring books, events and activities for children and young adults. Pay special note of the fact that many of the events are ASL accessible.

For Twin Cities Readers Book Fare Trumps the State Fair!

For some among us the iconic Minnesota State Fair should eschew the politicians, dump the Skyride, douse the corndogs and replace it all with a tasteful gathering of bibliophiles, Minnesota writers, readings, book talks, exchanges of bon mots among the literati. That’s why we have the Twin Cities Book Festival, the ultimate antidote to the State Fair.

Once again Rain Taxi will restore the natural order to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds when writers, publishers, readers, booksellers and their ilk will gather for the Twin Cities Book Festival. It’s Saturday, October 11, 10:00 AM til 5:00 PM and it’s happening in some of the Fairgrounds classiest settings, including:

  • The Progress Center where there will be an all-day exhibit of publishers, magazines, literary organizations, local authors, booksellers and more.
  • And there are readings and talks on the Reading Stages in the Fine Arts Building, just next door. Participants include Julie Schumacher, Laird Hunt, Okey Ndibe, Hoa Nguyen, Steven Pinker, and an ever growing-list of authors who write for adult readers.
  • There are sites for children’s authors and activities (Michael Dahl, Chris Monroe, Phyllis Root and Lauren Stringer, to name a few),
  • Options for middle grade readers (Margi Preus and William Alexander among others)
  • And teen favorites (Marie Lu, Pete Hautman, Carrie Mesrobian and other YA authors)
  • There’s an author hub featuring Dessa, Michael Fallon, Julie Kramer, John Rosengren, Ben Weaver and who knows who else…. (If you really must know “who else” keep checking the Rain Taxi website (http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival/ or Facebook for updates….)
  • So no one goes home bookless there’s a used book bonanza,

And it’s all free and open to the public!

The Festival is sponsored in part with funds from the Legacy Fund distributed through the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council.

 

University of Minnesota Press: Positioning the Press in an evolving “megacosm”

Not only has the world changed – universities presses are used to that – but the cosmos has shifted, calling into question the place of presses not just in the university – again, a familiar dilemma – but in a far more diverse, fast-moving, and increasingly decentered system of scholarly communications.  The issue at hand isn’t simply print vs. electronic nor even “Open” vs proprietary, copy-left vs. copy-right.  These are economic and thus solvable problems.  It is, to my mind, the emergence of more informal, iterative, and collaborative scholarly communications vs. formal, fixed, and author centered-literally: authorized-scholarly publishing. ~~ Doug Armato, Director of U of M Press.

These are the thoughtful words of the head of the University of Minnesota Press, a one of the state’s rich resources known by academics but beyond the ken of most Minnesotans. University Press Week, November 10-16, 2013, offers a rare opportunity to take a close look at one feature of what Governor Rudy Perpich dubbed “the brainpower state.”  The University of Minnesota Press deserves to take its rightful place in the state’s and nation’s academic and publishing circles.

Since its founding in 1925 the U of M Press has published tomes that could stock a healthy library.  At the rate of approximately ten books each year (culled from the 2000 submitted manuscripts) the Press now boasts 2,270 titles in print.  The yearly sale of books is 345,000 titles of which 5% are published in e-book or similar digital format. The Press also publishes five journals.  The test division which publishes the renowned MMPI in its various manifestations, began publishing in 1943; today it publishes the tests in 29 languages.

The first book off the presses was Cyrus Northrop: A memoir, by Oscar W. Firkins.  (yes, that Northrup, President of the University).  The first Press catalog for 1927-29 included The Marketing of Farm Products, The Attitudes of Mothers Toward Education, The Development of the Twin Cities as a Metropolitan Market and Prunes or Pancakes, a “popular guide to the science of eating…[and] dietetic reform” by the Dean of the College of Dentistry.  Today approximately 75% of Press authors are academic faculty; the rest include “journalists, critics and a broad range of individuals with varying expertise, from chefs to composers to wilderness guides.”

In case you wondered, the all-time best seller from the U of M Press is Terry Eagleton’s Literary Theory: An introduction; the text has sold more than 250,000 copies since its first publication thirty years ago.

The economics of the Press may come as a surprise to legislators and students alike.  Approximately 92% of the Press’s operations are funded by sales and other income from the mix of publications. Two percent of the budget comes from grants, gifts and endowments.  University support comprises the remaining 6% of the total annual Press budget; adjusted for fees paid by the University, the net support from the University is less than 1% of its costs.

U of M Press points to a number of highlights in their decades of publishing.  For example, in the 1980’s the Press was the first university press to define its editorial program by critical method and perspective rather than by traditional scholarly disciplines.  The policy defined the priorities as works that feature “social and cultural theory and interdisciplinary inquiry”.  Those priorities still guide the Press that has evolved to include other areas of inquiry including race and ethnic studies, urbanism, feminist criticism, and media studies. In addition, “the Press is among the most active publishers of translations of significant works of European and Latin American thought and scholarship.” Minnesota also publishes works on the cultural and natural heritage of the state and the upper Midwest region.

The Press heralded another recent innovation with the decision to publish all of its past publications as reprints or e-books.  The Quadrant initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundations, explores new collaborative approaches to scholarly research and publication through a partnership with the Institute for Advanced Study at the U of M.

Director Armato envisions “the emergence of a new cosmology of scholarly communication….more akin to the emergence of a new cosmology of scholarly communication – a time not so much of economic reallocation or technological transformation…as much as a dramatic expansion and realignment of the megacosm.”

Take note as the U of M Press takes its place in the realignment of that evolving megacosm.

 

 

Minnesota well-represented on National Book Awards long-lists

The bibliophiles at the National Book Foundation like to hold their cards close to the chest, playing one card a day to the anxious literary world.   Though they have one more card to play (tomorrow, September 19) the first three days have brought some great news to members of the Minnesota community of the book.  Under new rules for 2013 the National Book Award nominations are announced in what is henceforth to be known as a “long list” of nominations in each of four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature

Kate DiCamillo (http://www.katedicamillo.com), beloved author of delightful books for children and young adults, is a Minnesota favorite.  Her readers, their parents, librarians and booksellers are applauding her inclusion on the list of nominees in the Young People’s Literature category.   The nomination is for her most recent book Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (Candlewick Press)

It’s a superhero story about Ulysses, the who never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who comes to the rescue, and what neither can imagine as Ulysses gains new power and Flora discovers her hidden persona.  The B&W full-page illustrations are by K.G. Campbell.

DiCamillo was a National Book Award finalist in 2001 for The Tiger Rising.   She is a frequent guest on public media and can often be spotted chatting with a gaggle of young readers at a Minnesota school, library, bookstore or playground.

Though focus of the National Book Awards is on the writers, the writers would go unread were it not for their publishers.  The works of two Minnesota publishers, Coffee House and Graywolf, are represented on the Poetry long-list announced earlier this week.

Minnesota publisher Graywolf (https://www.graywolfpress.org/) is the proud publisher of Incarnadine, Mary Sybist’s most recent book of poetry.  Sybist, a Philadelphia native, lives and works in Oregon.  Founded by Scott Walker in 1984 Graywolf is considered one of the region’s and the nation’s leading nonprofit literary publishers “committed to the discovery and energetic publication of contemporary American and international literature.”

Coffee House Press  (http://coffeehousepress.org) is publisher of Andrei Codrescu’s poetry work, So Recently Rent a World, New and selected poems: 1968-2012, also on the Poetry long-list.  Codrescu is a Romanian-born American poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for National Public Radio. He was Mac Curdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University from 1984 until his retirement in 2009.  Coffee House, founded by Allan Kornblum, began as a magazine and letterpress.  Today Coffee House is one of the premier nonprofit literary publishers in the nation, known locally as the literary gem of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts community.

Tomorrow, September 19, the National Book Foundation announces the long-list in the Fiction category.  Stay tuned.  The “short list” of nominees is out October 15 an the winners will be announced on November 20.

The National Book Foundation will honor novelist E.L Doctorow and Dr. Maya Angelou with their 2013 Lifetime Achievement Awards.  Doctorow will be honored in recognition of his outstanding achievement in fiction writing; Angelou is a globally recognized author and humanitarian.