About Wordplay

April–May 2020
Wordplay 2020

Wordplay 2020 went virtual due to public health concerns.

What did that mean? We employed a combination of livestreams, user-content, contests, videos, podcasts, partnerships with other artists and book festivals, and digital storytelling—phew! It was a major effort by everyone involved, and we are so thankful for our supporters and contributors. Our intention was a creative showcase that allows us to connect and celebrate authors and books even in the midst of a crisis, and together, we pulled it off. All of our events are archived and still accessible on our schedule page.

There was no charge to attend, so the transition was an enormous financial burden on the Loft. We need your donations more than ever to help us build something that still connects us while keeping our community healthy. 

Wordplay 2020 Lineup
What Is Wordplay?

The Loft’s Wordplay is Minnesota's largest celebration of readers, writers, and great books.

A family friendly event
Wordplay Bubble Conversations
A creative way to engage readers and writers
About Us

The Loft’s Wordplay launched in May 2019 as Minnesota's largest celebration of readers, writers, and great books. Over 10,000 people showed up for the inaugural festival weekend, joining famous authors like Stephen King, Edwidge Danticat, and Amy Tan in a celebration of books. We enjoyed readings, conversations, writing workshops, kids’ activities, and one-of-a-kind happenings with outdoor stages, cooking stages, book signings, quiet reading corners, boisterous parties, food trucks, beer tents, and books, books, books.

Minnesota has one of the most celebrated literary communities in the country. We are rich with celebrated presses, locally owned bookstores, author events, writing classes, vibrant libraries, and great writers. We are perennially ranked one of the most literate communities in the country. A community like ours deserves a celebration like Wordplay.

There is something for every reader at Wordplay. Whether your book club reads literary fiction or paranormal zombie romance, whether you get your books at your library or on your e-reader, or even if the last book you read was a movie, this festival is for you. Wordplay’s mission is to celebrate the ways in which people connect to and through words and welcomes anyone who shares a belief in the connective power of story. Join us in 2020 as we continue that vision through all the digital methods we can dream up!

Get Involved

Find out how you can get involved with upcoming Wordplay volunteer, sponsorship, and exhibitor opportunities. 

Advisory Council

Lesley Nneka Arimah
Charles Baxter
Alexander Chee
Sarah Park Dahlen
Matt de la Peña
Lisa Von Drasek
Geoff Dyer
Louise Erdrich
John Freeman
LeAnne Howe
Mira Jacob
Margo Jefferson
Kima Jones
Ada Limón
Karan Mahajan
Nina McConigley
David Mura
Celeste Ng
Téa Obreht
Danez Smith
Jeff VanderMeer

Wordplay Map 2019 Image
Wordplay 2019 Location

Wordplay will take place in and around Open Book in Downtown East of Minneapolis. The 2020 footprint and map will be release soon.

Looking back
Wordplay 2019
Wordplay2019-Image-Crowd
Photo by Anna Min
Wordplay19-Expo
Photo by Anna Min
Wordplay19-FirstAve
Photo by Jason Bucklin
Wordplay19-KidsArea
Photo by Jason Bucklin
Wordplay2019-Activities
Photo by Jason Bucklin
Wordplay2019-AttendeesandAuthors
Photo by Jason Bucklin
Statement on Wordplay
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

"There are so many things that bond us in our pride for our city and state—including our love of words.

Minnesota is consistently ranked as one of the most literate states, and Minneapolis is home to dozens of publishers, multiple thriving booksellers, and the preeminent literary center in the country in the Loft. In addition, the economic impact is enormous: publishers and writers comprise more than $1 billion each year in economic impact to the state of Minnesota.

That’s why I’m thrilled that we get to celebrate our love of words, books, and authors together at the Loft’s inaugural Wordplay Festival in downtown Minneapolis this spring. There will be something for all ages and tastes—whether you’re into biographies, mystery novels, cookbooks, teen lit or if the last book you “read” was a movie adaptation. Reading unites people from all walks of life. I’m looking forward to connecting with book lovers from Minneapolis and around the country."  

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey