Wordplay Saturday Schedule 2019

Saturday, May 11

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven

Time 11 a.m.–noon
Stage Guthrie: McGuire Proscenium Stage
Featuring Mitch Albom—The Next Person You Meet in Heaven 
Moderator ReBecca Koenig Roloff
Genre Fiction

In the long-awaited sequel, Mitch Albom (The Next Person You Meet In Heaven) reunites the beloved main character from The Five People You Meet In Heaven with a young bride who’s met her untimely death. This story of chance is alternately lighthearted yet grapples with heavier questions, such as: does my life have meaning? Keep some tissues nearby and a person or pillow that you can hug.

Origin Stories

Time 12:45–1:45 p.m.
Stage Guthrie: McGuire Proscenium Stage
Featuring Dani Shapiro—Inheritance | Nicole Chung—All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir | Ed Bok Lee—Mitochondrial Night
Moderator Sun Yung Shin
Genre Multigenre (nonfiction and poetry)

On a whim, Dani Shapiro (Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love) took an ancestry test and learned the real identity of her biological father, a sperm donor, throwing a major curveball into her identity and family origins. When essayist and editor Nicole Chung (All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir) became pregnant with her first child, she set out to meet her birth parents, and in the process, learned a more complex history of her transracial adoption story than she expected. Using DNA as his guide, Ed Bok Lee (Mitochondrial Night) considers the human existence down to its most atomic level. Lee’s third book of poetry is an imagistic exploration of familial and national lineage—a fascinating read that seeks to make meaning of small moments in life.

Switching Perspective

Time 2:30–3:30 p.m.
Stage Guthrie: McGuire Proscenium Stage
Featuring Tommy Orange—There There | Laila Lalami—The Other Americans 
Moderator Joseph Farag
Genre Fiction
Presented by

Mizna Logo Horizontal

Do you ever wonder what all the characters in a book are truly thinking? Electrifying debut novelist Tommy Orange (There There) tells multiple mini-stories from a large cast of Native American characters whose lives will all converge at a powwow in Oakland, California. In her most recent novel, Laila Lalami (The Other Americans) imagines a devastating hit-and-run murder as told through the perspectives of diverse characters. Come hear two award-winning writers dazzle readers with stories that seamlessly weave the thoughts and experiences of multiple characters through a powerful shared event.

Nations Rebuilding

Time 4–5 p.m.
Stage Guthrie: McGuire Proscenium Stage
Featuring Jared Diamond—Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
Moderator Kerri Miller
Genre Nonfiction

In the final book of his groundbreaking trilogy Guns, Germs, and Steel, and Collapse, Jared Diamond (Upheaval: Turning Points For Nations In Crisis) talks about how some nations are able to rebound after a crisis, while others are doomed to collapse. This comparative study of seven countries considers how the psychological process of selective attention is a critical coping mechanism for a successful recovery. Diamond studies the Soviet invasion of Finland, Pinochet’s regime in Chile, and wonders whether the United States will be able to learn from its past. This monumental work is an urgent wake-up call, revealing how countries and individuals can learn resilience.

My Family, My Home

Time 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Stage Guthrie: Dowling Studio
Featuring Jennifer Acker—The Limits of the World | Luís Alberto Urrea—The House of Broken Angels 
Moderator Ahmed Ismail Yusuf
Genre Fiction

In his epic family saga, Pulitzer Prize finalist Luís Alberto Urrea gathers an entire Mexican-American family together in San Diego for a final birthday party—only for bad luck to strike. Caught on two sides of one border, Urrea's The House of Broken Angels is a story about how deeply complicated home is, and how that holds together a fragmented family. The family in Jennifer Acker's The Limits of the World isn’t good enough at keeping its secrets. When a sudden revelation forces the family’s return to Nairobi, members find themselves reflecting on generations of decisions, wondering if freedom was ever really theirs. In conversation together, Jennifer and Luís will discuss the many-layered meanings of home and origin.

Secrets, Secrets Are So Fun

Time 1–2 p.m.
Stage Guthrie: Dowling Studio
Featuring Rachel Howzell Hall—They All Fall Down
Moderator Mindy Mejia
Genre Fiction

Secrets from the past never stay hidden for long. Rachel Howzell Hall (They All Fall Down) brings to the pages an exotic, remote island getaway, where seven strangers are mysteriously summoned. Danger awaits when the new companions soon realize they’ve been invited to the island under chilling false pretenses. Learn how this master of contemporary suspense keeps her readers guessing.

Agency of Women

Time 2:30–3:30 p.m.
Stage Guthrie: Dowling Studio
Featuring Sheila Heti—Motherhood | Miriam Toews—Women Talking 
Moderator Curtis Sittenfeld
Genre Fiction

To some, it seems the decision to have a child is easier than the flip of a quarter. Sheila Heti (Motherhood) is still flipping coins to decide where to place a stray teacup. In her novel, she examines the weighty responsibility and power of motherhood: to have a child, or not to, and every consideration in between. Miriam Toews (Women Talking) gives a fictional voice to the real-life account of 130 Mennonite women who were drugged and raped in their homes between 2005 and 2009 in an ultraconservative Bolivia Manitoba colony. Together, Miriam and Sheila will discuss the agency of women’s bodies and how extreme situations—as much as societal norms—have constrained them.

The Library of Congress Presents Natasha Trethewey

Time 4–5 p.m.
Stage Guthrie: Dowling Studio
Featuring Natasha Trethewey—Monument: Poems New and Selected 
Moderator Robert Casper
Genre Poetry

Presented by

Library of Congress Logo

Natasha Trethewey (Monument: Poems New and Selected) was the United States Poet Laureate in 2012 and 2013. Trethewey’s work has been lauded for her poised exploration of racially charged themes in working-class social life. Her latest collection sets previous work alongside new pieces, and turns retrospective with a reflection on her family’s history. A National Book Award Longlist, Monument is glorious for its poignant, personal, and historically conscious scenes of struggle and perseverance in America. Natasha will be in conversation with Robert Casper, the head of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress.

Sweet Nature Cooking Demos

Time 10:30–11 a.m. and 11–11:30 a.m.
Stage Mill City Cooking Stage
Featuring Beth Dooley and Mette Nielsen—Sweet Nature: A Cook’s Guide to Using Honey & Maple Syrup  
Genre Cookbook

Get ready to feel amazed at what you can make with two staples you likely have in your pantry. James Beard award-winning author Beth Dooley (Sweet Nature: A Cook’s Guide to Using Honey & Maple Syrup) and photographer Mette Nielsen (Sweet Nature: A Cook’s Guide to Using Honey & Maple Syrup) wow us with recipes using honey and maple syrup, aka nature’s sugar. This collection of 100 fun and easy-to-make recipes features foods both sweet and savory, like rosemary honey butter or oven-roasted chicken thighs with pomegranate molasses. Complete with tips, historical and scientific facts, nutritional values, and mouth-watering photographs, this cookbook is chock full of meals to satisfy a global palate. This special Wordplay event will feature a cooking demonstration by the two artists.

Behind the Lens: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan

Time 11 a.m.–noon
Stage Open Book Stage (2nd Floor, part of Street Fest access)
Featuring Beowulf Sheehan—Author: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan
Genre Photography

Beowulf Sheehan (Author: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan) is the go-to photographer for author portraits. This stunning collection captures the essence of authors such as Zadie Smith, J.K. Rowling, Cormac McCarthy, Roxane Gay, Jonathan Franzen, and Toni Morrison. With a touching foreword from Salman Rushdie, and Sheehan’s personal anecdotes detailing several photo sessions, Sheehan’s book provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of some of our most well-loved writers.

We Need to Talk about Mental Health

Time 12:30–1:30 p.m.
Stage Open Book Stage (2nd Floor, part of Street Fest access)
Featuring Esmé Weijun Wang—The Collected Schizophrenias
Moderator David Mura
Genre Nonfiction

In her collection of essays, Esmé Weijun Wang (The Collected Schizophrenias) has created a kaleidoscopic image of mental illness and wonder; what is the weight of a diagnosis? Of one reality over another? Her fragmented, layered approach to describing schizophrenia tackles the blood and bones of stigma around mental illness. Join Esmé in a conversation about societal biases and misconceptions of mental health.

Artificially Intelligent

Time 2:30–3:30 p.m.
Stage Open Book Stage (2nd Floor, part of Street Fest access)
Featuring Franny Choi—Soft Science
Moderator Patrick Nathan
Genre Multigenre (Poetry, Nonfiction)

In her second collection of poetry (Soft Science), Franny Choi explores science, knowledge, our bodies, and the interconnectedness of identity and consciousness.

Dangerous Charisma

Time 4–5 p.m.
Stage Open Book Stage (2nd Floor, part of Street Fest access)
Featuring Nickolas Butler—Little Faith | Jennifer duBois—The Spectators
Moderator Peter Geye
Genre Fiction

In Nickolas Butler’s Little Faith, a family in rural Wisconsin is rocked by the return of a rebellious daughter who’s fallen in love with the radical leader of an extremist church, whose doctrines endanger the life of her young child. The family is forced to cope with shaken beliefs as they struggle to keep their daughter and grandson in their lives. In Jennifer duBoisThe Spectators, when a violent crime is committed by two fans of a sensational talk show, the enigmatic host is thrust beneath ruthless public scrutiny, where his secret past begins to surface. These stories brilliantly showcase human reliance on others to form beliefs, and how outspoken, unpredictable outsiders can alter long-held perceptions.

We’re Still Here: How Oral Histories Resist Erasure

Time 10:45–11:45 a.m.
Stage Street: MPR Stage
Featuring David Treuer—The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present
Moderator Kerri Miller
Genre Nonfiction

Ojibwe novelist and historian David Treuer (The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present) rightfully believes that Native American history did not end at the massacre at Wounded Knee. His latest book is a comprehensive retelling of the past century aimed to change the generalized perception that Native American history ended with genocide and colonization. Some of the best sections of his book are personal interviews that Treuer conducted throughout the country, showcasing that oral histories and traditions are still a powerful act of resistance against erasure. This epic counternarrative is an essential, transformative read.

Masters at Work: Mary Karr and Amy Tan in Conversation

Time noon–1 p.m.
Stage Street: MPR Stage
Featuring Mary Karr—Tropic of Squalor | Amy Tan—Where the Past Begins
Introduction Britt Udesen
Genre Nonfiction

Renowned memoirist and poet Mary Karr (Tropic of Squalor) stuns with a surreal rendition of her spiritual biography. Karr’s vivid imagery and mastery of language are brilliantly distilled, as is her ability to explore both the sublime and the mundane of life’s moments. Bestselling fiction writer Amy Tan (Where The Past Begins) packs an emotional punch with her latest and most surprising endeavor, a memoir. Tan, the reluctant memoirist, recounts the roots of her writing life, from growing up with immigrant parents to the painful loss of the mother with whom she had a complex relationship. Tan’s sense of humor—and the self-revelation of her insecurity as a writer—serve as a source of resilience and inspiration for all. Karr and Tan will share how their backgrounds have impacted their lives, careers, and personal experiences.

Will The Kids Be Alright?

Time 1:15–2:15 p.m.
Stage Street: MPR Stage
Featuring Mira Jacob—Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversation | Tina Chang—Hybrida
Moderator Robin Beth Schaer
Genre Multigenre (Graphic Memoir, Poetry)

Mira Jacob’s graphic memoir Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversation depicts her own honest and approachable responses to her biracial son’s questions about race, politics, and family. Lauded poet Tina Chang (Hybrida) writes in her most recent collection of poetry an unapologetically bold and intimate confrontation of the racial tensions felt by a mother raising a mixed race child, reflecting on acts of anti-Black violence. Join these authors in a conversation on the complexities of multiracial family raising in the challenging political climate of contemporary America.

Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

Time 2:30–3:30 p.m.
Stage Street: MPR Stage
Featuring Dave Barry—Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog | Julie Schumacher—The Shakespeare Requirement
Moderator Stephanie Curtis
Genre Multigenre

As we age, most of us tend to get a little more set in our ways. Dave Barry (Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog) might best be known for his humorous writing, but when the author turned 70 (and the same age in dog years as his beloved pup Lucy), he began to contemplate how short life can be. Beloved local author and UMN professor Julie Schumacher (The Shakespeare Requirement) hilariously depicts a dysfunctioning academic English department whose professors fight decades-long feuds and are averse to change from the newly appointed department chair. Join these two authors in what is sure to be a hilarious and insightful conversation on adapting to change as we get older.

You Got Lawyered: Fiction by Professionals

Time 3:45–4:45 p.m.
Stage Street: MPR Stage
Featuring Scott Turow—Testimony | Angie Kim—Miracle Creek
Moderator Daniel Sach Le
Genre Fiction

Many writers draw inspiration from their own lives, but how do they do it when solving a murder is at stake? Bestselling author Scott Turow (Testimony) and debut novelist Angie Kim (Miracle Creek) craft legal tension and courtroom theatrics with insight from their professional backgrounds as trial lawyers. These two successful writers will share how their work and research shape riveting books that are hard to put down. This one is sure to be a killer.

There’s Something About Sweetie

Time 11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m.
Stage Street: Western Bank Stage
Featuring Sandhya Menon—There’s Something About Sweetie
Moderator Swati Avasthi
Genre Young Adult 

Poor Ashish Patel. He’s just been dumped by his girlfriend; so not LOL. His parents won’t stop gloating about it, and worse, they accept his challenge to find him a nice Indian American girl to date. Sweetie Nair is a star track athlete and all-around awesome friend, but her parents won’t stop bugging her to lose weight. These two teens have something to prove—to their parents and to themselves. Don’t miss Sandhya Menon, self-proclaimed Gryffilpuff, mother of children and puppies, oh- and New York Times bestselling author, dish to teens in her sweet, funny, life-affirming YA novel There’s Something About Sweetie.

Now That We’re Here

Time 1:15–2:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Western Bank Stage
Featuring Kali Fajardo-Anstine—Sabrina & Corina | Irina Reyn—Mother Country
Moderator Carolyn Holbrook
Genre Fiction

The debut collection of short stories from Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina) is a triage of Indigenous Latinx women seeking to make peace with their pasts. Fajardo-Anstine’s stories are like a cut to the heart, as her characters contend with violence, grief, abandonment, and loss both personal and national. Irina Reyn (Mother Country) digs into the pain of abandonment and the difficult choices parents must make for the sake of their children in the backdrop of an ill-thought out immigration plan from Ukraine to the US. Both works grapple with otherness and ethnic oppression. How do we reconcile sacrifices for our loved ones? How do we make peace with the choices we make? Fajardo-Anstine’s and Reyn’s books artfully and empathetically show us the repercussions of actions.

Youth Activism for Social Justice

Time 2:45–3:45 p.m.
Stage Street: Western Bank Stage
Featuring Scott Warren—Generation Citizen: The Power of Youth in Our Politics
Moderator Samantha Sencer-Mura
Genre Nonfiction

Youth engagement in politics is as urgent as ever. Scott Warren (Generation Citizen: The Power of Youth in Our Politics) makes his book debut with a thought-provoking guide for empowering youth to engage in political movements. As the child of a foreign service officer and co-founder of the youth movement Generation Citizen, Warren has witnessed the frailty of democracies in multiple countries. Filled with anecdotes and practical advice, Warren cautions young people to be pragmatic; enacting change is complex and failure is a part of the process. Warren’s book is a timely validation that new generations should not give up on fighting for their futures.

Lights! Camera! Action!

Time 4:15–5:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Western Bank Stage
Featuring Scott Reintgen—Nyxia Uprising | Scott Westerfeld—Imposters
Moderator Justine Larbalestier
Genre Young Adult

In the thrilling finale to his dystopian trilogy, Scott Reintgen (Nyxia Uprising) launches us into outers space with a group of teenagers who are competing for million-dollar contracts. Caught dreaming of a new life, the recruits missed the dark plot hiding below the surface of their invitations. Now their fight is for survival, and in battles that stretch from orbiting space-stations to cataclysmic planets, all they have is each other. Scott Westerfeld (Imposters) wants to know, would you recognize a perfect double of someone you loved? In his new novel, two sisters are inseparable…and identical. However, one is trained to charm and the other to kill. What will happen when someone grows close enough to her to tell them apart? If teen allies fighting for survival in action-packed deep space battles is your thing, then be sure to check out the books in these page-turning sci-fi series.

Story Time! Wonder of the World

Time 10:45–11:15 a.m.
Stage Street: Children's Minnesota Stage
Featuring Mélina Mangal—The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just
Genre Picture Book

Ernest was not like other scientists. He observed egg cells by day and wrote poetry at dawn. He used new and better observation methods to see things that nobody saw before. Eventually, Ernest became world famous for his scientific discoveries. Ernest was also black, at a high time of racial segregation in America. Mélina Mangal will read from The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just, come learn about this pioneer of Biology!

Fairy and Folk Elements in Fantasy for Kids and Teens

Time 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Children's Minnesota Stage
Featuring Rebecca Ansari—The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly | H.M. Bouwman—A Tear in the Ocean | J.M. Lee—Tides of the Dark Crystal | Kelly Barnhill—The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Genre Young Adult and Middle Grade

In this short reading followed by a panel discussion, middle-grade and YA authors Rebecca Ansari (The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly), H.M. Bouwman (A Tear in the Ocean), J.M. Lee (Tides of the Dark Crystal), and Kelly Barnhill (The Girl Who Drank the Moon) talk about fantasy and its connections to fairy tales and folktales. Topics will include: how a fairy tale can be the seed for a novel; how the fairy tale structure works—or doesn’t work—for drafting or revising a novel; how stories can “feel” like fairy tales even when they are something different; how fairy tales, folk tales, urban legends, and other stories in the world around us influence us as we write. Discussion will be wide-ranging and... fantastic!

Story Time! Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market!

Time 12:15–12:45 p.m.
Stage Children's Minnesota Stage
Featuring Raúl the Third—Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market
Genre Picture Book

Award-winning illustrator Raúl the Third (Vamos! Lets Go to the Market!) will delight children with this illustrated board book. Join in as Lillie Lobo and his dog Bernebe deliver supplies to vendors at a market. This imaginative book teaches children simple Spanish words. Grab a carpet square and be ready to tag along as this book celebrates the life of border-town culture.

Sheroes

Time 12:45–1:45 p.m.
Stage Street: Children's Minnesota Stage
Featuring Lilliam Rivera—Dealing in Dreams | Arvin Ahmadi—Girl Gone Viral
Moderator Shannon Gibney
Genre Young Adult

In the dystopian thriller from Lilliam Rivera (Dealing in Dreams), teenaged Nalah, or Chief Rocka as she’s known, leads a small gang of Latinx girls who patrol the streets of Mega City and dream of better living. But when Nalah is thrown into a high-stakes assignment, exposing her to new ideas on binary genders and cultural identities, her loyalty to Mega City is put to the ultimate test. Ready for another twisty teen thriller? In Girl Gone Viral from Arvin Ahmadi, 17-year-old Opal Hopper is a coding master searching for answers about her missing father. When a contest opens up for the chance to meet the billionaire founder of virtual reality platform WAVE, Opal will stop at nothing to meet this mysterious man linked to her past? These tense thrillers are perfect for teens tuned in to technology and alternative universes.

Story Time! Bim, Bam, Bop… and Oona

Time 1:45–2:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Children's Minnesota Stage
Featuring Jacqueline Briggs Martin—Bim, Bam, Bop... and Oona | Larry Day—Bim, Bam, Bop... and Oona
Genre Picture Book

Stubby little duck Oona always comes in last to her three duck friends Bim, Bam, and Bop. Author Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrator Larry Day read from their book (Bim, Bam, Bop... and Oona) about this smart little duck who dreams big. Find a seat and dream along!

The Bullies Don’t Stand A Chance

Time 2:15–3:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Children's Minnesota Stage
Featuring Cathy Camper—Lowriders: Blast from the Past | Raúl the Third—Lowriders: Blast from the Past
Moderator Kat Shepherd
Genre Middle Grade

A trio of outcasts become best buds when they discover their mutual love for lowrider cars. Not to mention, they’re being harassed by the same bullies! Together they stand up to their tormentors after being barred from participating in a car show. Join Cathy Camper and Raúl the Third as they read from Lowriders: Blast from the Past and take readers on a wild ride of fun, friendship, and feuds!

The Dactyl Hill Squad Fights Back!

Time 3:15–4:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Children's Minnesota Stage
Featuring Daniel José Older—Dactyl Hill Squad: Freedom Fire
Moderator Sarah Warren
Genre Middle Grade

Dinosaurs went extinct, right? Wrong! In this quirky historical fantasy from Daniel José Older (Dactyl Hill Squad: Freedom Fire), it’s 1863 and dinosaurs are roaming Manhattan. When an evil magistrate kidnaps several orphans from the Colored Orphan Asylum to sell as slaves, it’s up to a ragtag team of kids—with help from a few dinosaurs—to fight back against racism and save their friends. Join Daniel as he reads from his widely-inventive and educational middle grade book.

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Time 4:15–5:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Children's Minnesota Stage

More info to come.

Stephen King in Conversation with Benjamin Percy

Time 10–11 a.m.
Stage Street: Target Stage
Featuring Stephen King—The Outsider
Moderator Benjamin Percy
Genre Fiction

Long live the King! Beloved fan favorite and #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King is back. The Outsider is a Stephen King classic teeming with psychological details. Disturbed by the violent and perverse murder of a young boy, residents of a small town feel secure in the arrest of a suspect surrounded by incriminating evidence. However, as the investigation probes deeper into the mind of not just the suspect but the psyche of the entire community, an unsettling series of discoveries blows the case open and seizes the town at the center of an even stranger mystery. In conversation with thriller writer and essayist Benjamin Percy, King will discuss his creative process for The Outsider.

Edwidge Danticat in Conversation

Time 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Target Stage
Featuring Edwidge Danticat—My Mommy Medicine
Moderator Elizabeth Verdick
Genre Picture Book

In her most recent children’s book, Edwidge Danticat (My Mommy Medicine) portrays a young girl, sick at home, who is comforted by the affectionate attention of her loving mother.

Romance Rocks!

Time 12:15–1:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Target Stage
Featuring Lizbeth Selvig, Mary Strand, Gail Buell, Miranda Darrow, Dylann Crush, Sherri Hildebrandt
Genre Romance

Join the authors from Midwest Fiction Writers, the local chapter of Romance Writers of America, to celebrate all things romance! Have you always loved romance novels? Curious about what makes romance the best-selling genre of fiction? Never ever dreamed of picking up a book focusing on a love story? There will be something for everyone, from lifelong fans to those just starting to develop an interest in the genre. From games, to readings to prizes and giveaways—stop by to find out why Romance Rocks!

Wobegon’s Gone: Writing Modern Minneapolis

Time 1:15–2:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Target Stage
Featuring Frank Bures—Under Purple Skies: The Minneapolis Anthology
Genre Nonfiction

Join Frank Bures and selected writers from Under Purple Skies: The Minneapolis Anthology for a discussion of what it means to write in the post-Gopher Prairie, post-Lake Wobegon era. How do we honor our literary forebears while best representing our lives today? We’ll talk about new narrative threads that reflect our city and state, and what it means to be a writer in Minnesota today.

Creative Outlets

Time 2:15–3:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Target Stage
Featuring Sam Barry—Write That Book Already! | Alan Zweibel—For This We Left Egypt? | Roy Blount Jr.—Save Room For Pie
Moderator Jay Gabler
Genre Multigenre

So these guys know how to write and publish, but do they really know how to rock? The inaugural Wordplay weekend gets kicked off with a concert at First Avenue featuring the reunited Rock Bottom Remainders. Get ready to laugh along as authors and band members Sam Barry (Write That Book Already), Alan Zweibel (For This We Left Egypt?), and Roy Blount Jr. (Save Room For Pie) talk books, friendship, and encouraging creative energy to flow through many outlets. After all, even writers love to kick back and make some noise.

More Than Words

Time 3:15–4:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Target Stage
Featuring Gabrielle Bell—Cecil and Jordan in New York
Moderator Eric Lorberer
Genre Graphic Novel

How do comic artists choose which moment to draw? How do they convey humor, skepticism, anxiety with just a few lines, shading, and a sharp eye for design? Gabrielle Bell will give us a glimpse into the art of graphic storytelling in Cecil and Jordan in New York—best described by her signature wry voice and restrained illustrations. These short stories keep us down to earth while exploring the vast spectrum of shared human experiences, from the mundane to the fantastical.

Journalism as Storytelling: A Press Freedom Celebration with PEN America

Time 4:15–5:15 p.m.
Stage Street: Target Stage
Featuring 10 Panelists (TBD)
Moderators A. Rafael Johnson and Rebecca Stump
Genre Nonfiction (Journalism)

Featuring a number of PEN America Members reading excerpts of important journalistic and literary pieces that emphasize the importance of the free press. In celebration of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, members across the country will be participating in the same or similar programs in their communities throughout the early part of May. The Minnesota celebration will be at Wordplay. The event will culminate in the reading of a Press Freedom Manifesto, which we hope will serve to inspire and unite writers across all genres at Wordplay in support of journalism as a vital form of storytelling.