Year in Review: 2012

What a year for literary events in the Twin Cities. The recent news that TWO resident Twin Citizens received National Book Awards only caps off what has been, all around, a fantastic year for literature. We saw new releases by big-selling fan favorites Junot Diaz, Michael Chabon, and Zadie Smith (all of whom graced our berg at one point or another), new local literary endeavors like Revolver and Thirty Two Magazine launch inaugural issues, new bookstores breaking ground (er… bookshelves?) in SubText and Moon Shadow Books, plus the grand re-opening of Common Good Books in its new and current location, as well as countless local and touring literary artists broadening minds and inspiring pens with readings on any given night this year.

We here at also entered the fray in 2012, going live back in April.  And though we missed writing about a solid third of the year’s events, we still feel that a year like this one deserves some reflection.  Scroll down to read a brief  recap of each of our personal highlights (and scroll through our archives to refresh your memory more substantially) but mostly we want to hear what you think–weigh in on the poll below and vote for your favorite Twin Cities Literary Event!

Some of our Favorite Literary Events of 2012

wordsatwamWords at WAM, February 22, UMN’s Weisman Art Museum: The first of (hopefully) many Hazel & Wren-produced open mic celebrations at the awesomely crumpled-tin-foil-esque art museum on campus, Words at Wam saw readings from Miles Walser and Lightsey Darst, as well as music from Patrick Hertz.

Pre-show excitement!  @ the Nomad, April 10 2012

Pre-show excitement! @ the Nomad, April 10 2012

Super Super Tuesday, April 10, Nomad World Pub: The editorial/party team at Paper Darts decided to throw a radical reading at Nomad World Pub, inviting local authors John Jodzio, Dylan Hicks, and Dessa as well as out-of-towners Lindsay Hunter and Amelia Gray to read their work.

Denis Johnson reads from Train Dreams

Denis Johnson reads from Train Dreams

Denis Johnson, April 11, UMN’s Coffman Memorial Union: The National Book Award-winning author read from his Pulitzer Prize-nominated novella Train Dreams.

MBAMinnesota Book Awards Gala, April 14, Crowne Plaza-Riverfront Hotel: The Twin Cities literary community got all dolled up and gave some serious credit where credit is due: to the amazing authors that make our state place such an awesome place for books.

strayedNormandale Writing Festival, April 19, Normandale Community College: Cheryl Strayed appeared at Normandale’s annual Writing Festival back before Oprah thought she was cool.

GTCPRThe Great Twin Cities Poetry Read, April 21, Hamline University: Poetry poetry poetry poetry poetry!  Poetry!

Charles Baxter reads Gryphon to an intimate and rapt crowd.

Charles Baxter reads Gryphon to an intimate and rapt crowd.

Northern Spark, June 9, EVERYWHERE!!!: Not strictly a literary event, but so many literary components!  Paper Darts collected dreams, shanties printed broadsides on the spot, and Charles Baxter read “Gryphon” at 2am.

photo courtesy of MillCityBibliophile

photo courtesy of MillCityBibliophile

Revolver Launch Party, September 8, UpperCut Boxing Gym: The online (and now print) literary magazine launched with–what else–a boxing match between local literarians.

JDJunot Diaz, September 18, Fitzgerald Theater: Talking Volumes invited the MacArthur fellowship-awarded, Pulitzer-prize winning, MIT professing Diaz to discuss his life as an awesome, awesome writer.

MCMichael Chabon, September 21, Central Library Minneapolis: Another pulitzer-winner graced the Talk of the Stacks stage, this one reading from the jazz/kung-fu/midwifery tome Telegraph Avenue.

PDPaper Darts #4 Release Party, October 11, Icehouse: To celebrate the release of their fourth print issue, Paper Darts decided to simply blow everyone’s mind with a many-armed goddess of a party.

crowd-b2012Twin Cities Book Festival, October 13, Progress Center at the State Fairgrounds: The thirteenth annual literary get-together saw Mark Z. Danielewski, Chris Ware, Kate Bornstein, Gerald Stern, Sharon Olds, and countless other local and national authors, as well as more than a hundred local publishers, magazines, literary organizations, and exhibiting authors.

Zadie Smith (Photo by Dominique Nabokob)

Zadie Smith (Photo by Dominique Nabokob)

Zadie Smith, October 23, UMN’s Coffman Memorial Union: The charming and stupidly intelligent Smith gave a lecture to a packed Coffman Union after her most recent novel, NW, came out this fall.

So what takes the cake? Remember, if you don’t see the event that stole your heart on our list (there are SO MANY we left out), tell us about it in the comments or email us at litseen.mpls@gmail and let us know! Vote as often as you want and stay tuned to our twitter (@litseenmpls) for the results!



4 thoughts on “Year in Review: 2012

  1. So many great events, but I gotta throw in a vote for the Heartland Fall Forum – even tho it’s not strictly open to the public – because Carrie Obry and her crew did such a GREAT job with the first combined show. It was fab! Also a mention for the LEIF magazine launch, Carol Connolly’s readings, and fun kids’ events! Raucous Lit Death Matches and incredible poetry. It’s all good!

  2. I was at both SubText LIEF Magazine launchings, for Vol 1 No 1 and Vol 1 No 2, plus the State Fair Blue Ribbon poetry Awards, plus the KPV Kerouac Award Ceremony in March, plus the Lucky Park series running through the year. But for me personally, the high poiunt had to be the going gold of the selected poems volume Yukon Gold, the largest chapbook ever issued, with downloads now exceeding 20,000 — an astounding number for a volume of verse. Ignore these portents at your peril!

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