Wordplay Book Festival returns with 100 authors

Amy Tan hung out at First Avenue at last year's event.

Amy Tan hung out at First Avenue at last year's event. Star Tribune

This may be one of those times where it’s safe to say that there will be something for everyone at this massive celebration of the written word.

Last year, the Loft Literary Center at Open Book announced that it would host a mega-fest featuring authors in just about every genre. Heavy hitters like Amy Tan, Stephen King, and Marlon James showed up. King hosted a rock ‘n’ roll gig at First Avenue, there was a books and bars crawl in Uptown, and book lovers met authors onstage at the Loft’s outdoor space.

This year, the event returns with a massive roster of writers. One-hundred freaking authors. 

“With the exception of Laila Lalami, who’s back to promote her new book, we’re bringing you an entirely new lineup of authors and books that represents an outstanding year in literature,’ says Steph Opitz, founding director of The Loft’s Wordplay.

A few highlights:

Alison Roman, who is a columnist for New York Times’ food section and for Bon Appétit. She is also a social media star, and recently released the book Nothing Fancy, filled with recipes aimed at stopping trainwreck dinner parties.

Standup comedian/actor Michael Ian Black, whose published writings include humorous essays and children’s books.

Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and the short-story collections Third Class Superhero and Sorry Please Thank You

Journalist Scott Cameron Pelley, multi-decade career includes work as a correspondent and anchor for CBS News and 60 minutes. He is also the author of Truth Worth Telling.

The local author list is also studded with great talent, such as Kate DiCamillo, Danez Smith, Kao Kalia Yang, and Peter Geye.

This year’s Wordplay is set to start with a kick-off event on May 8, with the main happening taking place on Saturday, May 9 in the Mill City neighborhood. Tickets go on sale in March, and range from $17 to $20 for general admission (which also comes with a $5 book voucher), $35 for the kick-off party, or $500 for super VIP treatment. Teens and kids 17 and under are free.

To see the full lineup and more details about Wordplay, visit