A new literary festival is coming to Minneapolis. The inaugural Wordplay, which is sponsored by local literary nonprofit the Loft, is set for May 11-12, 2019.
The two-day festival will take place in the Mill District area around the Mill City Museum, Guthrie Theater, and Open Book (where the Loft is headquartered). The event, according to a statement from the Loft, will feature "talented and marquee authors from around the country and world [and] be a celebration that lives up to its name.”
The Loft expects Wordplay to draw approximately 10,000 attendees its first year for author signings, pop up events, and children’s activities. While the Loft anticipates that much of the festival will be free, there will be fees attached to some of the higher profile author events and workshops.
With the Twin Cities Book Festival (now in its 17th year) already an established literary event in the region, Wordplay does have competition. When asked if the Twin Cities can support a second annual literary festival, Loft marketing and communications director Chris Jones said it can. The Loft's calculation is that the Twin Cities Book Festival can be the dominant literary event in the fall, and that Wordplay can draw readers in the spring.
“We have a different approach and a different vision,” Jones told PW, comparing Wordplay to the Texas Book Festival and to the Los Angeles Times Book Festival. He pointed out that while the Twin Cities Book Festival highlights its vendor area, which features the offerings of literary presses and small publishers from throughout Minnesota, Wordplay will emphasize author events and activities.
"Wordplay will be more of a community celebration, focused on the programming, bringing people together to talk about books, rather than the [Twin Cities Book Festival] book fair model," Jones said.