This year's Wordplay book festival will be scaled back from two days to one, but organizers are bringing in the same number of authors to downtown Minneapolis — about 100. And while there is no blockbuster opening act like last year's Stephen King appearance, plenty of events will fill the day, including readings, conversations and activities for children.
Wordplay will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, at the Loft Literary Center, 1011 S. Washington Av. S., and venues nearby.
This year's lineup includes Lily King, who won the Kirkus Fiction Prize for "Euphoria"; graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, who teaches in Hamline University's low-residency MFA program in children's literature and who was the 2016 Library of Congress Ambassador for Young People's Literature; and writer, poet and memoirist Nick Flynn, author of "Another Bull---- Night in Suck City," which became the movie "Being Flynn."
Others include novelists Laura van den Berg, Quan Barry, Clare Beams, Charles Finch, Thomas D. Peacock and C Pam Zhang; children's writers Melissa de la Cruz, Minh Lê and John Coy (who will appear with photographer Wing Young Huie, his collaborator on a book about "Dads"); poets Danez Smith, Ilya Kaminsky and Mark Doty; and nonfiction writers Laila Lalami (the only writer returning from last year), Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and Kao Kalia Yang.
The full list is online at loftwordplay.com.
Wordplay debuted last year and attracted about 10,000 people to the Mill City neighborhood over the two days of Mother's Day weekend, but attendance the second day was only about half of that of the first. This year's event opens Friday, May 8, with an evening carnival at the Loft (tickets $35).
Wristbands for Saturday's festival are $17 in advance and $20 at the door and include a $5 book voucher. Youth aged 17 and under can attend the street fair at no charge. There is also a $500 Friend of the Festival wristband, which will give the wearer access to reserved seating at all venues, VIP access to Friday's carnival and admittance to other exclusive author events.
Tickets will go on sale to Loft members at 10 a.m. March 18 and to the general public March 19 at loftwordplay.com.