Your story

The history of literature in the Twin Cities is the stuff of legend. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Saul Bellow, Judith Guest, John Berryman, Garrison Keillor, Louise Erdrich (all of the Erdrichs, for that matter), Tim O’Brien, Kate DiCamillo, Charles Baxter, Neil Gaiman, James Wright–the list goes on and on–have all called the Twin Cities their home at one point or another. And let’s not forget about Bob Dylan and Prince, poets of great stature in their own right.

Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press, The Loft Literary Center, and Milkweed Editions are honored to be part of such a vibrant community of readers, writers, and bibliophiles. So tell us. . .

What do you love about the literary Twin Cities?

Is there a bookstore you can’t live without? Do you know someone who knows someone who knew someone who read a draft of what would become The Great Gatsby? What’s the best author reading you’ve been to in the Twin Cities? What is it about this place that inspires you to write or read?


6 responses to “Your story

  1. Linda

    I think the Twin Cities is thee BEST literary community in the country. I moved to Key West right after college, lulled into thinking it was a literary haven by the stories of Ernest Hemingway and the short-lived television show. I was shocked – shocked! – to discover they didn’t have anything like The Loft! I tried to find a writers group, but found they were all closed to “outsiders” and full. I finally got some gigs doing reviews and author interviews, because, like me, many authors assumed it was a literary community. But it cannot hold a candle to the Twin Cities.
    My favorite things I brag about and can’t live without are (in no particular order): Open Book (and all it contains and proclaims); the library system! (especially my Ramsey County Suburban Library system); the many indie bookstores; and the great opportunities for taking writing classes and sharing your writing (our community ed tradition is great too!).
    I just love this community. It’s a good thing.

  2. I cannot say enough good things about the Twin Cities literary scene. Our local publishers continue to put out material that is a joy to read and is of the highest quality.
    My recently highlights include Robert Boswell’s “The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards” (Graywolf Press) and Norah Labiner’s “German for Travellers” (Coffee House Press).
    I spend way too much money at Micawber’s Books (that’s hardly a bad thing) because I’m always excited by the unique variety that an independent bookstore has to offer.
    And, as an MFA student at Hamline University, it’s hard to overlook the legacy that has been created by prolific writers like Fitzgerald and Berryman.
    This is a place of inspiration.

  3. Was that whole boy-in-the-balloon thing a prank to promote your Literary Twin Cities hot-air balloon logo? The Hunt is on @

  4. Kayla Lundgren

    Perhaps it was the clumps of scholarly-looking men and women, discussing literary themes and the next book event, or staggered individuals huddling over their Mac laptops. Or the staircase flanked by the pages of a book. No, it must have been the Coffee Gallery. Nothing inspires the literary arts like intellectual conversation spurred on by hot caffeine.
    Though the exact source of my excitement is still uncertain, it’s clear that the Open Book building incites inspiration in anyone remotely passionate about the written word.
    The Minnesota Center for the Book Arts and the Loft Literary Center brought me to the Mill District. Then, Deborah Keenan yanked me through her Willow Room, [and] Green Door into Milkweed Editions. In her poetry, she writes about “art for art’s sake” and not for the sake of those who would apply value or worth to it.
    What about the Twin Cities inspires me to read and write incessantly? It’s Minnesota’s confidence that what it has to say matters. None of the books published locally hesitantly asks for acceptance. What’s more, the Open Book building is physical evidence that the Twin Cities demand that other communities take our passion seriously.

  5. Jen

    There are so many amazing examples of thriving independent businesses, co-ops, and organizations here in the Twin Cities and the outstanding local bookstores and presses are no exception. I think this independent streak makes our metro area unique and it’s what has kept me living here happily for over eight years. I value our vibrant community as much for the fantastic variety of arts and literary culture it has to offer as I do for this indie spirit.

  6. I lost my map at the Wild Rumpus. I was sitting in the overstuffed chair perusing Alison McGee’s work to find the answer. Didn’t find it. Lost the map.

    I started a new one, but although I went to EVERY single store/venue and collected a stamp, I have no proof. What else could I do, but write a poem.

    I wrote a luc bat, which is Vietnamese in origin with some French influence. It uses syllablic counts of 6 & 8. The rhyme repeats in a ladder throughout the poem.

    How I Lost My Map

    My clutched and folded map
    Stamped to fill every gap. Each space
    Marked soundly, all in place
    Each letter, none erased–success!
    This game, I did obsess
    Of that, I must profess. And now
    My wrinkled sheet somehow
    Vanished beneath the bough–in lieu
    of my contest review
    Trust me, my words are true. I give
    You my honor, forgive
    My lost page. Don’t relive
    This tragedy. Oh, crap.

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