Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 16, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Facebook Page

Jack Zipes launches The Castle of Truth and Johnny Breadless

This event is now virtual! Tune in to the Magers & Quinn Facebook page at 7pm central time on Tuesday, June 16.

Hermynia Zur Mühlen (1883–1951), one of the twentieth century's great political writers, was not seemingly destined for a revolutionary, unconventional literary career. Born in Vienna to an aristocratic Catholic family, Zur Mühlen married an Estonian count. But she rebelled, leaving her upper-class life to be with the Hungarian writer and Communist Stefan Klein, and supporting herself through translations and publications... Altogether, Zur Mühlen wrote thirty novels, mysteries, and story collections, and translated around 150 works, including those of Upton Sinclair, John Galsworthy, and Edna Ferber. A wonderful new addition to the Oddly Modern Fairy Tales series, The Castle of Truth and Other Revolutionary Tales presents English readers with a selection of Zur Mühlen's best political fairy tales, some translated from German for the first time. In contrast to the classical tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, Zur Mühlen's candid, forthright stories focus on social justice and the plight of the working class, with innovative plots intended to raise the political consciousness of readers young and old.

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During World War I at Christmas time in 1914 there were sudden widespread unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front organized by the French, British, and German soldiers. They crossed trenches to exchange food, souvenirs, and ideas. In some cases they played soccer, sang Christmas carols, held burial ceremonies, and exchanged prisoners of war. The ceasefires were also held at various places in 1915. However, by 1916, the war had become more bitter, and the officers in the French, British, and German armies squashed the ceasefires. Killing was much more important than peacemaking.

Paul Vaillant-Couturier (1892–1937) was one of the French soldiers among those who celebrated truce. As a young man from a well-to-do bourgeois family in Paris, he had never thought he would one day fight for France and kill Germans. His parents were successful singers and actors, and as he indicated in his fictional autobiography, he was groomed to become a professional lawyer or engineer. However, he followed in his parents’ footsteps and became an artist. Yet, after enlisting in the French army and serving in the infantry and artillery, he came to realize how cruel war was and caused the deaths of thousands of young men who sacrificed their lives to protect the interests of the ruling classes. By the time he was dismissed in 1919, he emerged as a pacifist and socialist with five medals of honor for heroism. From this point of his life, he went on to become a major journalist and politician; he was one of the founders of the French communist party and served as editor of the left-wing newspaper L’Humanité. He died in 1937 due to wounds from an assassination attempt.

Concerned about the future of young people, Vaillant-Couturier published numerous books about the war, and one of his most significant works was Jean sans pain (Johnny Breadless, 1921). It describes a much different education than he had received, for Johnny Breadless is an orphan and does not understand why and how his parents died and why there is no help for him. It is only after he encounters an amazing rabbit who takes him on a trip to various parts of France during World War I that Johnny begins to grasp the true conditions that lead to the exploitation of common people and to wars that benefit the rich. It is in this remarkable fairy-tale novel that a ceasefire takes place—one that gives Johnny hope that people can live together in peace. It is a truce that Vaillant-Courturer "waged" for most of his life.

Jack Zipes is the translator of The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm and editor of The Sorcerer's Apprentice (both Princeton), as well as editor of The Great Fairy Tale Tradition (Norton). He is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota.

Thursday, June 18, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Kaia Preus presents The War Requiem

THE WAR REQUIEM blends memoir, research, and historical fiction in order to explore Benjamin Britten’s dynamic piece of choral and orchestral music, War Requiem, Op. 66. Written to commemorate the new Coventry Cathedral’s consecration (following World War II bombing), Britten's composition blends the Latin Mass for the Dead with nine poems by Wilfred Owen. Just as Britten’s piece pulls together many threads and subjects, this book braids three separate stories of Britten, Owen, and the author, to better understand the process of art-making and the lasting effects of both art and war.

Kaia Solveig Preus teaches writing in Minneapolis. She received her MFA from Hollins University and is a 2019 Author Fellow through the Martha's Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in Barely South Review, The Briar Cliff Review, The Drum, Pleiades, and Watershed Review.

Tuesday, June 30, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Alison McGhee presents The Opposite of Fate

The Opposite of Fate brings together themes of bodily autonomy, women’s rights, and making exceptionally difficult decisions. The story follows twenty-one-year-old Mallie Williams—scrappy, headstrong, and wise beyond her years—who has just landed on her feet following a tumultuous youth when the unthinkable happens: she is violently assaulted. The crime leaves her comatose, surrounded by friends and family who are hoping against hopes for a full recovery.

But soon Mallie's small community finds themselves divided. The rape has left Mallie pregnant, and while some friends are convinced that she would never keep the pregnancy, others are sure that a baby would be the only good thing to come out of all of this pain. Who gets to decide? How much power, in the end, do we have over our own bodies? Mallie, her family, and her town find themselves at the center of a media storm, confronting questions nobody should have to face. And when Mallie emerges from the fog, what will she think of the choices that were made on her behalf?

Alison McGhee's best-selling novel Shadow Baby was a Today Show Book Club pick, and her picture book for adults, Someday, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. She is the recipient of many fellowships and awards, has three grown children, and lives a semi-nomadic life in Minnesota, Vermont, and California.

Monday, September 14, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

JP Gritton presents Wyoming

It's the tail end of the '80s and Shelley Cooper is in trouble. He's broke, he's been fired from his construction job, and his ex-wife has left him for their next door neighbor and a new life in Kansas City. The only opportunity on his horizon is fifty pounds of his brother's high-grade marijuana, which needs to be driven from Colorado to Houston and exchanged for a lockbox full of cash. The delivery goes off without a hitch, but getting home with the money proves to be a different challenge altogether. Fueled by a grab bag of resentments and self-punishment, Shelley watches things go from bad to worse to (maybe) good enough.

JP Gritton's awards include a Cynthia Woods Mitchell fellowship, a DisQuiet fellowship and the Inprint Donald Barthelme prize in fiction. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Greensboro Review, New Ohio Review, Southwest Review, Tin House and elsewhere. His translations of the fiction of Brazilian writer Cidinha da Silva are forthcoming in InTranslation. Wyoming is his first novel.

Thursday, September 17, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Midway Journal Reading

Midway Journal is excited to highlight several of the talented Minnesota writers whose work has been featured in the journal in the first annual Twin Cities Midway Journal reading. The event will feature both poets and prose writers, with time to mingle and enjoy refreshments.

Thursday, December 31, 5:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Postponed Indefinitely: Poetry Reading with Joyce Sutphen and Connie Wanek

This event has been postponed. We hope to reschedule for as soon as it is possible to safely gather again.

Joyce Sutphen's evocations of life on a small farm, coming of age in the later 1960s, and traveling and searching for balance in a very modern world are both deeply personal and familiar. Readers from Maine to Minnesota and beyond will recognize themselves, their parents, aunts and uncles, and neighbors in these poems, which move us from delight in keen description to something like wisdom or solace in the things of this world.

In addition to poems selected from the last 25 years, Carrying Water to the Field includes more than forty new poems on the themes of luck, hard work, and he ravages of time--erasures that Sutphen attempts to ameliorate with her careful attention to language and lyrical precision.

Joyce Sutphen grew up on a farm in Stearns County, Minneasota. She is a professor emeritus of English at Gustavus Adolphus College and is Minnesota's poet laureate. She is the author of seven poetry collections.

Connie Wanek was born in Wisconsin, raised in New Mexico, and lived for over a quarter century in Duluth, MN. Wanek’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Great River Review, Poetry East, Water-Stone, and many other publications over the years. In 2006, US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser named her a Witter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress. She served as a co-editor with Joyce Sutphen and Thom Tammaro on the comprehensive anthology, To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present, which appeared in 2007 from New Rivers Press. Author of four books of poetry, Wanek also published a book of prose, ten stories, called Summer Cars with Will o' the Wisp Press in 2014. Forthcoming from Candlewick Press is a children’s book of poetry co-written by Wanek and Ted Kooser.

Connie Wanek was deeply honored to receive the George Morrison Artist of the Year Award, which recognizes an individual artist whose body of work has made a significant contribution to the arts in Northeastern Minnesota. And in 2017, a wildflower trail in Duluth’s Hartley Nature Center was named in her honor.


Thursday, December 31, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

POSTPONED INDEFINITELY: Ander Monson presents Gnome Stories and I Will Take the Answer, in conversation with Patrick Nathan

This event has been postponed indefinitely. We are working to reschedule in late summer or fall of 2020 if possible. Thank you for your interest in this event, and we apologize for any inconvenience!

In The Gnome Stories, Ander Monson presents eleven unforgettable stories about oddly American situations. His characters are loners in the truest sense; in the process of recovering from mental, physical, or emotions trauma; finding solace--or at least a sense of purpose--in peculiar jobs and pursuits. A man whose wife left him is robbed, so he decides to start doing his own breaking and entering into his neighbors' homes. When another man's girlfriend is cryogenically frozen by her family after a car accident, he becomes a maintenance worker at the cryogenic facility, eavesdropping on visitors as they whisper secrets to their frozen loved ones. A woman serves as an assistant to the Starvationist, whose methods to help clients lose large amounts of weight are unorthodox, sadistic--and utterly failproof. Another woman and her robot assistant have become hired to tinker with the troubling memories inside a celebrity's brain. The stories are as surreal as an urban legend and at the same time perfectly mundane.

In I Will Take the Answer, a book of essays, Monson grapples deeply with the idea of connection. In the opening essay, which extends across the book in brief subsequent pieces, a trip through a storm sewer in Tuscon inspires Monson to trace the city's relationship to Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who shot Gabrielle Giffords and killed six bystanders, along with how violence is produced and how we grieve the dead. With the formally inventive "I in River," he ruminates on water in a waterless city and the structures we use to attempt to contain and control it. Monson also visits the exuberantly nerdy kingdom of a Renaissance Faire, and elaborates on the enduring appeal of sad songs through the lens of March Sadness, an online competition that he cofounded, an engaging riff on the NCAA basketball tournament brackets in which sad songs replace teams.

Ander Monson is the author of Letter to a Future Lover and Vanishing Point, and is also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in Tuscon, where he teaches at the University of Arizona.

Thursday, December 31, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

POSTPONED INDEFINITELY: Sarah Kendzior presents Hiding in Plain Sight

Unfortunately, this event has been postponed indefinitely. We are working to set up a new date later in 2020. We apologize for any inconvenience.

President Donald Trump is often portrayed as a doddering narcissist who lucked his way into office and has wreaked havoc like a bull in a China shop ever since. St. Louis-based journalist and expert on authoritarian states Sarah Kendzior is here to dismiss that dangerous misconception and set the record straight: Donald Trump’s presidential run was nothing short of a calculated effort in the works for decades, and, once in office, Trump set in motion a plan to drive the United States into the ground for personal profit.

In her unflinching hardcover debut HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America, New York Times bestselling author Kendzior unveils a startling portrait of the way foreign powers and organized crime have infiltrated our democracy, setting the stage for an autocratic leader like Donald Trump to take power.
Kendzior follows Trump decade by decade, from 1980s tabloid king and real estate tycoon to early aughts reality show star to the invention of today’s Tweeting politician, but she also illuminates what was happening in the shadows, behind all that glitz and glam, from changes in legislation that undermined democracy and shifts in the media landscape that paved the way for politics to become an arena for the rich, the famous, and the crooked. Her work draws on varied sources in the public record—including a 1984 Washington Post interview in which Trump discusses his desire to forge an alliance with Russia, evidence of Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election from NSA whistleblower Reality Winner, and the philosophy of Hannah Arendt—to uncover the threat that has been hiding in plain sight for decades.

As someone who has always been in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kendzior sits in the perfect vantage point to tell this story. She worked at the New York Daily News when print media was on the brink of collapse, lived in New York City when the Twin Towers fell and in St. Louis when Michael Brown was shot, and studied media and authoritarianism right as Trump emerged using the very same tactics as post-Soviet dictators. And now, she is a mother raising children who will inherit a nation forever changed, and who wonder aloud, “Why did no one stop people from doing bad things?”

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT gives readers an in-depth, comprehensive narrative to hold on to in the shifting sands of a 24-hour news cycle driven by click bait, drawing connections between events that span nearly forty years. In this bitingly honest book, Kendzior takes her singular commitment to speak the truth from the digital space, where she has over half a million followers on Twitter, to the printed page to document whispers of criminal activity and leave a record for generations to come.

Sarah Kendzior is best known for her reporting on St. Louis, her coverage of the 2016 election, and her academic research on authoritarian states. She is currently an op-ed columnist for the Globe and Mail and she was named by Foreign Policy as one of the “100 people you should be following on Twitter to make sense of global events.” Her reporting has been featured in many publications, including Politico, Slate, The Atlantic, Fast Company, The Chicago Tribune, TeenVogue, and The New York Times.