Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 19, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

James Anderson O'Neal presents Riley and the Great War

“Riley was my grandfather on my mother’s side. He was born on May 6, 1898. He died on October 18, 1993. Every day in between, he was a tough son of a bitch.”

Quiet, intense, and deadly, Riley is fated never to live the respectable life he convinces himself he craves. Smart, witty, and cocky, Cornelius fancies himself a lover, though he’s actually a bit of a bastard. Together, they’re a force to be reckoned with — assuming they’re telling the truth. Their grandson Jim is tasked with digging out the truth in Cornelius’ memoirs, with color commentary from Riley. The problem is that the two old friends are the biggest liars of the Twentieth Century.

Their adventures span the era of American predominance in a pre-global world, a world still often savage and brutal, where torturers and fascists see no impediments to glory. From the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Riley and Cornelius find themselves linked to many of the great events of the Twentieth Century.

George Patton takes them to meet Pancho Villa. Winston Churchill dines with them. A mysterious secret agent targets them, forcing one to spy on Rosa Luxemburg and the other into a fixed boxing match refereed by a young fascist with a Charlie Chaplin mustache. Codebreakers, torturers, soldiers, lovers, even a dachshund and a tiger — all of these figure into their adventures.

If you believe them, that is.


James Anderson O’Neal enjoyed a long career as a trial lawyer based in Minneapolis at the Faegre Baker Daniels firm. His courtroom successes won him recognition as a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. Now retired from his practice, O’Neal serves as the Vice Chair of the Advocates for Human Rights, a globally-focused non-profit that implements international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. Along with the Riley series, O’Neal is writing a novel set in Liberia, inspired by his human rights work there. He and his wife Sally split their time between the Twin Cities and Lake Vermilion, Minnesota.

Wednesday, June 20, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Paul Arneson presents I Closed Too Many Eyes: A World War II Medic Finally Talks

It was a quiet afternoon in Mountain Lake, Minnesota on Sunday, December 7th, 1941. Twenty-four year old Bayer Ross took a nap after lunch while his parents and younger brother drove to Windom to visit his mother’s sister and her family. The two families ran the dry cleaning and tailoring businesses in their towns— the John Rosses in Mountain Lake and the John Hoffmans in Windom.  At around 4:00 pm Bayer’s mother ran up the stairs to their apartment above the dry cleaning shop screaming that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor.  Bayer’s life was never the same after that moment. 

A few months later Bayer left for Camp Barkeley Texas to learn the skills of an Army medic.  By October 1942 he was in England with the 3rd Battalion of the 16th Infantry Regiment preparing for the liberation of North Africa, Sicily, and eventually Sicily, and eventually France, Germany, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia.  He wouldn’t see Minnesota again until the Fall of 1945. 

Bayer’s brother-in-law, retired Air Force Colonel Paul Arneson, will be discussing his new book, I Closed Too Many Eyes. His talk will focus on Bayer’s parents' decision to make Minnesota their home after immigrating from Sweden, his life before the war in Windom and Mountain Lake, and the trials he went through for those three war years trying to keep soldiers alive.  Bayer kept a journal throughout the war and wrote letters home that the family kept. The book contains many of his notes and letters. You’ll hear Paul read many of Bayer’s descriptions of the chaos he was going through as he experienced it — many things you’ve likely never heard before about World War II. 

Thursday, June 21, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Amy Thielen presents Give a Girl a Knife: A Memoir

“Awesome for foodies, this book should also be read by fans of literary memoir.” — PBS Newshour

“One of the best coming-of-age food memoirs you’ll ever pick up.” — Rolling Stone

Before Amy Thielen frantically assembled rings of truffled potato salad while working for New York’s finest chefs — David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten — she grew up in a northern Minnesota town, home to the nation’s largest french fry factory, with a mother whose generous cooking pulsed with joy, family drama, and an abundance of butter. A coming-of-age tale tracing a path between city and country, cultures high-brow and low-down, Thielen’s story is told with brimming energy and a cook’s eye for detail. Give a Girl a Knife offers a fresh, vivid view into New York City’s high-end restaurant scene before returning the cook to her small town origins—where she finds that the marrow running through her bones is not demi-glace but gravy, and that taste memory is the most important ingredient of all.


Amy Thielen is a two-time James Beard Award-winning food writer. She’s the author of two books— The New Midwestern Table, and the memoir Give a Girl a Knife, both from Clarkson Potter—and is at work on a cookbook to be published by W.W. Norton. A former New York City line cook, she was the host of Heartland Table on Food Network, and is a contributing editor at Saveur magazine. She lives with her husband, visual artist Aaron Spangler, their son, his dog, and a bunch of chickens, in rural Park Rapids, Minnesota.

Sunday, June 24, 5:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Melissa Bahen presents Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast: 70 Simple Recipes & Crafts for Everyday Celebrations!

Let Scandinavian Gatherings be your hygge handbook (pronounced hoo-ga) for cozy retreats in the comfort of your own home! With this darling collection of Scandinavian-inspired recipes, crafts, and entertaining ideas, you can turn your home into a stress-free hygge oasis and embrace relaxation the Nordic way. From the creator of the popular Lulu the Baker blog, Scandinavian Gatherings illustrates the Scandinavian spirit of simple pleasures through 10 seasonal, family-friendly gatherings filled with the flavors and traditions of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland (a region regularly reported as the happiest place on earth!).

The book boasts 30 simple craft projects for entertaining and decorating, as well as 40 accessible recipes that put a modern twist on sweet and savory Scandinavian treats. You’ll soon be warming your home with the comforting smells of Mom’s Maple Pecan Rings, Swedish Meat Pies, Lucia Buns, Hot Chocolate with Homemade Cardamom Marshmallows, and more.

With gatherings like Nordic Brunch, Woodland Tea Party, Afternoon Fika, Lucia Day, and Christmas Cookie Exchange, you’ll be able to relax with loved ones and enjoy the hygge atmosphere.


Melissa Bahen writes Lulu the Baker, a food and lifestyle blog focusing on fresh recipes, simple projects, and modern country life. She lives in western Oregon.

Monday, June 25, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Abdi Nor Iftin presents Call Me American

The incredible true story of a boy living in war-torn Somalia who escapes to America--first by way of the movies; years later, through a miraculous green card.

Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop artists like Michael Jackson and watching films starring action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S... marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these real Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies.

Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it suddenly became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches to NPR and the Internet, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. But as life in Somalia grew more dangerous, Abdi was left with no choice but to flee to Kenya as a refugee.

In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America--filled with twists and turns and a harrowing sequence of events that nearly stranded him in Nairobi--did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin's dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why western democracies still beckon to those looking to make a better life.



Abdi Nor Iftin currently lives in Portland, Maine, where he works as an interpreter for Somalis who have immigrated to the state. Abdi was accepted to the University of Southern Maine, where he will be studying political science.

Tuesday, June 26, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

C.L. Polk presents Witchmark

In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family's interest or to be committed to a witches' asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans' hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.


C. L. Polk wrote her first story in grade school and still hasn't learned any better. After spending years in strange occupations and wandering western Canada, she settled in southern Alberta with her rescue dog Otis. She has a fondness for knitting, bicycles, and single estate coffee. C. L. has had short stories published in Baen's UNIVERSE and Gothic.net, and contributed to the web serial Shadow Unit, as well as spending too much time on Twitter. Witchmark is her debut novel.

Wednesday, June 27, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Peter Stark presents Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father

George Washington is lionized as wise and virtuous, the indispensable Founding Father. Yet, as New York Times bestselling author Peter Stark explores in his incisive new book, Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father, Washington in his youth was immature, arrogant and prone to disastrous mistakes. His impulsive actions as a flailing commander serving the British Crown in the Pennsylvania wilderness ignited the French and Indian War, which in turn helped spark the American Revolution. Stark tells a gripping adventure story about Washington’s struggling early years so at odds with his popular image, while showing how Washington’s passage through the wilderness laid the groundwork for the great leader he would become.

In Young Washington, Stark takes us into Washington’s head and helps us understand what drove Washington: how he fumbled into and found his way out of multiple crises and how these experiences helped forge the wise, empathetic leader he became.

Stark, a historian and seasoned adventure writer, paddled, hiked, and climbed the region where young Washington’s story played out. Stark recounts Washington’s early exploits into the wilderness with singular empathy, bringing to bear his own insights into the psychological stresses of the unknown. In this vivid telling, Stark breathes new life into a Washington who exists largely outside the lore of American history.


Peter Stark is the author of the New York Times bestseller Astoria, along with The Last Empty Places, Last Breath, and At the Mercy of the River. He is a frequent contributor to Outside Magazine, has written for Smithsonian and the New Yorker and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. He lives in Montana with his wife and children.

Thursday, June 28, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Chris Bauer presents Those Three Words: A birthmother’s story of choice, chance, and motherhood

“You are pregnant.”

Those three words uttered together pack a powerful emotional punch. For many women, hearing those words elicits tremendous joy and excitement. It is the start of a dream come true. Those same words said together also cause the opposite reaction – one of panic and despair.

The first time Chris Bauer heard those words, she was just 18 years old and weeks into her freshman year of college.  She was devastated.  She was not ready to be a mother, and she had an agonizing decision to make. 

Those Three Words takes readers along on Chris’s emotional journey about the power and importance of choice and the deep bond of maternal love. It is a bittersweet book full of heartache and joy and is a powerful testament to love in all its forms.


Chris Bauer is first and foremost a proud and happy mother and grandmother – of both humans and canines. (Truth be told, there were moment along the motherhood journey when she preferred the canines.)

She is also a writer and marketing professional living in Minneapolis. She has loved words, books, reading, and writing for as long as she can remember. Those Three Words is her first book.  Visit www.authorcbauer.com to learn more.

Tuesday, July 3, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Jennie Case presents Sawbill: A Search for Place, with Karen Babine and Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life

Two essayists discuss a search for home and place in the Upper Midwest.

In Sawbill Jennifer Case watches her family suddenly exchange their rooted existence for a series of relocations that take them across the United States. In response Case struggles to “live in place” without a geographical home, a struggle that leads her to search for grounding in the now-dismantled fishing resort her grandparents ran in northeastern Minnesota. By chronicling her migratory adulthood alongside the similarly unpredictable history of Sawbill Lodge, this memoir offers a resonant meditation on home, family, environment, and the human desire for place in the inherently mobile twenty-first century.

Jennifer Case’s essays have appeared in journals such as Orion, Sycamore Review, Fourth River, North American Review, and Zone 3, among others. She is the recipient of a Bread Loaf Bakeless Scholarship and Stone Canoe‘s 2014 Allen and Nirelle Galson Prize in Fiction. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas and the Assistant Nonfiction Editor of Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments.



Consider your place, the place where you feel the most at home: a tree-lined lake, a bean field planted on stolen land, a rig drilling the golden prairie, city streets alive with energy. Written in the language of the northern landscape of experience, Karen Babine explores the meaning of being in your place on a particular day.

In Water and What We Know, winner of the 2016 Minnesota Book Award for memoir/creative nonfiction, Babine travels from the wildness of Lake Superior to the order of an apple orchard, tracing an ethic of place, a way to understand the essence of inhabiting a place deeply rooted in personal stories. She takes us from moments of reflection, through the pages of her Minnesota family’s history, to the drama of the land and the shaping of the earth. From the Mississippi’s Headwaters in Itasca State Park—its name from veritas caput, or “true head”—she explores the desire that drives the idea of the North. The bite of a Honeycrisp apple grown in Ohio returns her to her origin in Minnesota and to pie-making lessons in her Gram’s kitchen. Babine pursues what the Irish call dinnseanchas, place-lore. How, she asks, does land determine what kind of people grow in that soil? And through it all runs water, carrying a birch bark canoe with a bullet hole and a bloodstain, roaring over the Edmund Fitzgerald, flooding the Red River Valley, carving the glaciated land along with historical memory.

As she searches out the stories that water has written upon human consciousness, Babine reveals again and again what their poignancy tells us about our place and what it means to be here.

Karen Babine's second essay collection, All the Wild Hungers, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in 2019. She also edits Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies. Her work has appeared in such journals as Brevity, River Teeth, North American Review, Slag Glass City, Sweet, and more. She lives and writes in Minneapolis.

Thursday, July 5, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Mike Finley presents 89 Objects of Happiness Arrayed in Ascending Order

Mike Finley has been a part of the Twin Cities lit scene for 50 years. He's authored an implausible 230 titles. Like 98% of poets, he is usually associated with weird, even disturbing insights. But -- he will be doing something very different at this M&Q event-- focusing on events that made him happy. His book 89 Objects of Happiness Arrayed in Ascending Order will make you laugh, smile and wonder what your 89 things would be! (They're there, you just haven't compiled 'em yet.)

Come for an evening of delight!

Mike Finley has been working the Twin Cities poetry trenches for 50 years. He’s published over 230 books. He makes poetry movies, tells stories, and roams our city stages like a fabulous creature -- half angel, half troll. His goal is to measurably magnify the amount of happiness in the metropolitan area.

Sunday, July 8, 5:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Laurie Kilmartin presents Dead People Suck: A Guide for Survivors of the Newly Departed

When stand-up comedian Laurie Kilmartin learned her dad was dying, she responded in the only way she knew how: with humor. In 2014, she made headlines by live tweeting her father’s time in hospice, bringing a touch of lightness to the devastating experience of losing her dad. Picked up by outlets like Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, and Today.com, Kilmartin’s hilarious tweets took the world by storm and revealed the need for a comic interpretation of grief.

Dead People Suck: A Guide for Survivors of the Newly Departed is an honest, irreverent, laugh-out-loud guide to coping with death and dying. Filled with relatable anecdotes and practical advice, Kilmartin voices all of the insensitive things you may have thought about your dying loved one, or wanted to scream at a well-meaning friend, but didn’t. She also brings heart and humor to a topic that is too often met with solemnity and silence, despite being as complicated, messy, and emotional as any other part of our human experience.


Laurie Kilmartin is an Emmy Award-nominated writer for Conan and the cohost of The Jackie and Laurie Show. As a stand-up comedian, she has appeared on Conan, Last Comic Standing, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Comedy Central.

Tuesday, July 10, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Cary J. Griffith presents Gunflint Burning: Fire in the Boundary Waters

On May 5, 2007, two days into his twenty-seventh trip to the Boundary Waters, Stephen Posniak found a perfect spot on Ham Lake and set about making a campfire. Over the next two weeks, the fire he set would consume 75,000 acres of forest and 144 buildings. More than one thousand firefighters would rally to extinguish the blaze, at a cost of 11 million dollars.

Gunflint Burning is a comprehensive account of the dramatic events around the Ham Lake fire, one of the largest wildfires in Minnesota history. Cary J. Griffith describes what happened in the minutes, hours, and days after Posniak struck that fateful match—from the first hint of danger to the ensuing race to flee the fire or defend imperiled property to the incredible efforts of firefighters and residents battling a blaze that lit up the Gunflint Trail like the fuse to a powder keg.

In sharp detail, Gunflint Burning describes the key events of the Ham Lake fire as they unfold, providing readers with a sense of being on the front lines of an epic struggle that was at times heroic, tragic, and sublime.


Cary J. Griffith is the author of four books, including Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods; Opening Goliath, winner of the 2010 Minnesota Book Award; Wolves, winner of a Midwest Book Award; and Savage Minnesota, which was published serially in the Star Tribune. He lives in Rosemount, Minnesota.

Wednesday, July 11, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Amber Tamblyn presents Any Man

After writing a widely shared and lauded opinion piece for The New York Times, “I’m Done with Not Being Believed,” Amber Tamblyn has emerged as one of the most important voices of our time, writing about sexual assault and abuses of power. Now, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actress, director, and poet uses the novel form to explore a provocative and haunting story of a violent serial predator who, in the form of a woman, is the personification of a culture responsible for re-traumatizing, disbelieving, and silencing the stories and voices of her victims. 

Equally disturbing and lyrical, empathetic and sardonic, this novel is a riveting, suspenseful read—part crime thriller, part cultural commentary, part poetic prose. ANY MAN is a remarkable examination of the darkest parts of our culture: what we see and what we don’t see, how we act and how we don’t act, and what we will and will not tolerate. It is a timely, necessary, and strikingly original work that challenges us all to do better and celebrates the transformative power of language when the stories of victims are at long last heard.


Amber Tamblyn, author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Dark Sparkler, has been nominated for Emmy, Golden Globe, and Independent Spirit awards. She has published two additional books of poetry, Free Stallion (2005), which won the Borders Book Choice Award for Breakout Writing, and Bang Ditto (2009), an IndieNext bestseller. Tamblyn reviews books of poetry for Bust Magazine, is poet in residence at Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls and is a contributing writer for The New York Times. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Teen Vogue, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Iowa Review, Poets & Writers, PANK, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

Thursday, July 12, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Kimberly J. Brown launches The I-35W Bridge Collapse: A Survivor’s Account of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure

“A bridge shouldn’t just fall down,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said after the August 1, 2007, collapse of the Minneapolis I-35W eight-lane steel truss bridge, which killed 13 motorists, injured 145, and left a collective wound on the city’s psyche and infrastructure.

On her way to a soccer game with a fellow teammate, Kimberly J. Brown experienced the collapse firsthand, falling 114 feet in her teammate’s car to the Mississippi River. Although terrified, injured, and in shock, she survived. In this sobering memoir and exposé, Brown recounts her harrowing experience.

In the aftermath of the disaster, Brown became both an advocate for survivors and an unofficial whistle-blower about decaying infrastructure. She details her investigation and correspondence with Thornton Tomasetti engineers, including the false official account of the collapse and the eventual revelation of its real causes. In addition, she chronicles the ongoing decay of America’s bridges and the continuing challenges faced by leaders to address infrastructure problems across the country.

After nearly a decade of research into the collapse and her active and ongoing recovery from psychic and physical injuries, Brown shares her experience and answers the questions we should all be asking: Why did this bridge collapse? And what could have been done to prevent this tragedy?


Kimberly J. Brown is an IT technical writer. On August 1, 2007, she was one of the 180 people on the I-35W bridge when it collapsed. She is now an outspoken advocate for victims and survivors of the collapsed bridge.

Sunday, July 15, 5:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Come Draw with Kickliy: Rescheduled!

Calling all artists: join us for an interactive comic drawing tutorial with renowned comic artist Kickliy. This free event (rescheduled due to an awful and surprising April blizzard) is perfect for children of all ages who are interested in drawing, creativity, and the master painter Claude Monet. Bring your sketchbooks and your sense of wonder!

Critics have called Kickliy's Musnet series "a charming take of humour, art, and adventure, as the little mouse grows to find his meaning and place in the world.” (The Guardian)

After the tutorial, Kickliy will be available to sign books and answer questions about drawing-for-a-living, publishing, or anything else you might want to know.


Kickliy is the creator of the critically acclaimed Musnet book series. Musnet was nominated for the 2017 Prix Angouleme for Kids Comics. Kickliy lives both in Minneapolis and in France. During his most recent time in France, Kickliy toured the country teaching children about Musnet, Monet, and comic book illustration, teaching at Paul Cezanne’s studio in Aix en Provance and building a partnership with the Fondation Monet in Giverny. 

Monday, July 16, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Jo Weldon presents Fierce: The History of Leopard Print

Fierce is a bold, fascinating chronicle of one of the world’s most beloved fashion patterns—leopard print— celebrating its beauty and place in couture, and the women who have dared to wear it. Jo Weldon expertly traces the history of the iconic print from its inception as a textile to its use as a royal status symbol, popularization by flappers and starlets, and contemporary ubiquity. Featuring gorgeous full-color images, Fierce is a one-of-a-kind book and an absolute must-have for lovers of fashion, celebrity, history and pop culture.

Jo Weldon is the author of The Burlesque Handbook as well as the Headmistress of the New York School of Burlesque and an expert on contemporary burlesque, women’s issues, and fashion. Her writing on leopard print has been published in Mental Floss, Time Out New York, and The New York Times.

Thursday, July 26, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Dan Kaufman presents The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics

For more than a century, Wisconsin was known nationwide for its progressive ideas and government. It famously served as a "laboratory of democracy," a cradle of the labor and environmental movements, and birthplace of the Wisconsin Idea, which championed expertise in the service of the common good.

But following a Republican sweep of the state’s government in 2010, Wisconsin’s political heritage was overturned, and the state went Republican for the first time in three decades in the 2016 presidential election. Here is untold story behind the most shocking political upheaval in the country.

The Fall of Wisconsin is a deeply reported, searing account of how the state’s progressive tradition was undone and turned into a model for national conservatives bent on remaking the country. Dan Kaufman, a Wisconsin native who has been covering the story for several years, traces the history of progressivism that made Wisconsin so widely admired. Kaufman reveals how the “divide-and-conquer” strategy of Governor Scott Walker and his allies pitted Wisconsin’s citizens against one another so powerful corporations and wealthy donors could effectively take control of state government.

Neither sentimental nor despairing, Kaufman chronicles the remarkable efforts of citizens who are fighting to reclaim Wisconsin’s progressive legacy against tremendous odds.

“Through the microcosm of one state Dan Kaufman does a masterful job explaining what’s happened to America, and why. It’s not a happy tale, but it’s an important one.” — Jane Mayer, best-selling author of Dark Money


Dan Kaufman has written for The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker. Originally from Wisconsin, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

Thursday, August 23, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Mara Altman presents Gross Anatomy: Dispatches from the Front (and Back), moderated by the Loft's Steph Opitz

For every woman who has ever heard the phrase, “That’s so gross!” aimed in the direction of her hairy legs or sweaty pit stains, Mara Altman gets it. As a newly pubescent eighth grader, those three words simultaneously indicted her bare, unshaven legs and sparked a lifelong obsession with the female body and its many (often-embarrassing) excretions.

Arranging the collection into two parts, Altman takes readers on a wild and relatable ride from head to toe. In Part One, “The Top Half,” she tackles topics such as body hair, lice, facial features, sex sounds, sweat glands, boobs, and belly buttons. In Part Two, she investigates “The Bottom Half”—why dogs sniff crotches, why butts are considered attractive, if anal sex worsens hemorrhoids, whether PMS is real, and much, much more. Why, for example, wasn’t evolution smart enough to build us with buttholes made of out something more durable, like lead piping?

Altman’s journey to answer this and other questions take her to an inventor’s workshop, a plastic surgeon’s exam table, a menstrual retreat, and nudist colony. She interviews doctors, scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, researchers, historians, and scholars. Along the way, Altman uses her personal experiences as springboards and her own body as guinea pig, laying bare her innermost anxieties and physical foibles. Altman unsparingly documents the weird, quixotic, and downright icky aspects of bodily functions in her quest to diminish the sting of shame and find space for self-love and acceptance—gross parts and all.

With the dark humor of a trusted friend (who enthusiastically shares her favorite pimple-popping YouTube videos), Altman holds a magnifying glass to commonly held beliefs, practices, biases, and the most grody body parts to show that even in grossness, there is greatness.


Mara Altman enjoys writing about issues that embarrass her (e.g. chin hair), because she has found that putting shame on the page diffuses the stigma, leaving her with a sense of empowerment and freedom. Her first book, Thanks for Coming, an investigation into love and orgasm, was translated into three languages. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon and New York Magazine among other publications. Before going freelance, She worked as a staff writer for the Village Voice and daily newspapers in India and Thailand. She is an alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and lives in San Diego with quite a few other hairy beings.

Steph Opitz is the founding director of Wordplay at The Loft Literary Center. She serves on committees for the National Book Foundation, PEN America, Rain Taxi, among others. She has curated literary events and festivals around the country and was the books reviewer for Marie Claire magazine for six years. Her book reviews can also be found in Garden & Gun, Departures, Kirkus, and elsewhere.

Wednesday, September 5, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Kathleen E. Allen presents Leading from the Roots: Nature Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World

Can we design organizations in a way that creates a space where employees, the organization, and the larger community all thrive? And if so, where can we go for inspiration to help us achieve this goal?

In a time of volatile and complex uncertainty, it is time to learn the lessons that nature has compiled from 3.8 billion years of research and development. Nature is an interdependent, dynamic and living system – just like today’s organizations and communities. Kathleen Allen uses nature as a model, mentor, and muse to rethink how leadership is practiced today. Leading from the Roots: Nature Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World takes nature as a source of inspiration to help organizations see a new way of leading and designing workplace structure, applying the generous framework found in mature ecologies to human organizations.

In Leading from the Roots, Kathleen Allen helps shift assumptions, practices, structures, and processes of organizations to become more resilient and nourishing for all, and, along the way, design the way out of workplace dysfunction and drama.


Dr. Kathleen E. Allen is President of Allen and Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in leadership coaching, innovation, and organizational change in non-profit and for-profit organizations.

She is the author of Leading from the Roots: Nature Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World and has written widely on leadership and change. She writes a weekly blog on leadership and organizations that describes a new paradigm of leadership based in lessons from nature and living systems. She has a doctorate in leadership from the University of San Diego.

Thursday, September 6, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Dianna E. Anderson presents Problematic: How Toxic Callout Culture Is Destroying Feminism

From Beyoncé’s Lemonade to The Force Awakens to the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, the entertainment industry seems to be embracing the power of women like never before. But with more feminist content comes more feminist criticism—and it feels as if there’s always something to complain about.

Dianna E. Anderson’s incisive Problematic takes on the stereotype of the perpetually dissatisfied feminist. Anderson suggests that our insistence on feminist ideological purity leads to shallow criticism and ultimately hurts the movement. She proposes new, more nuanced forms of feminist thought for today’s culture, illustrated by examples from across the spectrum of popular music, movies, and TV, including Lena Dunham, Nicki Minaj, and even One Direction.

While grounding her inquiry in pop-culture media and topics, Anderson draws on concepts of feminist theory to show how we can push for continued cultural change while still acknowledging the important feminist work being done in the pop-culture sphere today.


Dianna E. Anderson is a freelance journalist, author, and activist in women’s issues. She is a regular contributor to Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, the Establishment, Vice, and Bitch magazine. Anderson is the author of Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity.

Tuesday, September 11, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Mindy Mejia presents Leave No Trace

From the author of the “compelling” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) and critically acclaimed Everything You Want Me to Be, a riveting and suspenseful thriller about the mysterious disappearance of a boy and his stunning return ten years later.

There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later... the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.


Mindy Mejia is the author of The Dragon Keeper and Everything You Want Me To Be. She writes what she likes to read: contemporary, plot-driven books that deliver both entertainment and substance. She lives in the Twin Cities and holds an MFA from Hamline University.

Wednesday, September 12, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Bill Percy presents The Bishop Burned the Lady

A mysterious fire in a remote forest clearing; a woman's charred bones; unexplained tracks in the rutted road—the only clues Deputy Andi Pelton has until she meets an old man living alone in a forest compound that houses a dormitory. Sex trafficking in the Montana wilderness? As Andi and psychologist Ed Northrup struggle to solve the brutal fiery murder, Andi faces a fear she didn’t know she had.

The horrors they unearth lead them deep into the appalling reality of prison gangs and a cult led by a malign Bishop. They threaten Andi and Ed’s romance and her growing bond with her “step-girlfriend,” Ed’s adopted daughter, Grace.

Will that center hold when Andi finds the Bishop holding a knife against her throat? And if it does and she succeeds, will she be able to face her greater fear?


Bill Percy, an award-winning Idaho writer, draws on his experiences as a psychotherapist to write vivid, engaging tales of people confronting painful and challenging mysteries. His previous novels in the Monastery Valley series, Climbing the Coliseum and Nobody’s Safe Here, were finalists or distinguished favorites in multiple book award competitions. Bill lives with his wife, Michele, in Hope, Idaho, above the shore of idyllic Lake Pend Oreille in the shadow of the rugged Cabinet Mountains.

Wednesday, September 19, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

William Kent Krueger presents Desolation Mountain

All his life, Stephen O'Connor has had visions, portents of tragedies to come.  When he’s visited time and again by the vision of a great bird shot from the sky, he knows something terrible is about to happen in Tamarack County, Minnesota.  The crash of a private plane on Desolation Mountain in a remote part of the Iron Lake Reservation, which kills a U.S. senator and most of her family, confirms Stephen’s worst fears. Stephen and his father, Cork O’Connor, join a number of Ojibwe men from the Iron Lake reservation, who were the first on the scene. They’ve barely begun to sift through the smoldering wreckage when the FBI arrives and quickly assumes control of the situation, dismissing Cork, Stephen, and the other searchers.

In that far north Minnesota county, which is overrun with agents of the FBI, NTSB, DoD, and even members of a rightwing militia, all of whom have their own agendas, O'Connor, his father, and Bo Thorson, a private security consultant, attempt to navigate a perilous course. Roadblocked by lies from the highest levels of government, uncertain who to trust, facing evermore threats the deeper they dig for answers, the three men finally understand that to get to the truth, they will have to face the great menace: the beast huge and evil lurking in the woods that surround Desolation Mountain, a beast with a murderous intent of unimaginable scale.


William Kent Krueger writes the New York Times bestselling Cork O’Connor mystery series. Krueger’s work has received a number of awards, including the Edgar Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. He makes his home in St. Paul, a city he dearly loves.

Tuesday, September 25, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Rebecca Clarren presents Kickdown

When Jackie Dunbar's father dies, she takes a leave from medical school and goes back to the family cattle ranch in Colorado to set affairs in order. But what she finds derails her: The Dunbar ranch is bankrupt, her sister is having a nervous breakdown, and the oil and gas industry has changed the landscape of this small western town both literally and figuratively, tempting her to sell a gas lease to save the family land. There is fencing to be repaired and calves to be born, and no one—except Jackie herself—to take control. But then a gas well explodes in the neighboring ranch, and the fallout sets off a chain of events that will strain trust, sever old relationships, and ignite new ones.

Rebecca Clarren's Kickdown, shortlisted for the PEN/Bellwether Prize, is a tautly written debut novel about two sisters and the Iraq war veteran who steps in to help. It is a timeless and timely meditation on the grief wrought by death, war, and environmental destruction. Kickdown, like Kent Haruf's Plainsong or Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone, weaves together the threads of land, family, failure, and perseverance to create a gritty tale about rural America.


Award-winning journalist Rebecca Clarren has been writing about the rural West for nearly twenty years. Her journalism, for which she has won the Hillman Prize, an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship, and nine grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, has appeared in such publications as Mother Jones, High Country News, The Nation, and Salon.com. She lives in Portland, Ore. with her husband and two young sons.

Wednesday, September 26, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Porter Fox presents Northland: A 4,000-Mile Journey Along America's Forgotten Border

America’s northern border is the world’s longest international boundary, yet it remains obscure even to Americans. The northern border was America’s primary border for centuries—much of the early history of the United States took place there—and to the tens of millions who live and work near the line, the region even has its own name: the northland.

Travel writer Porter Fox spent three years exploring 4,000 miles of the border between Maine and Washington, traveling by canoe, freighter, car, and foot. In Northland, he blends a deeply reported and beautifully written story of the region’s history with a riveting account of his travels. Setting out from the easternmost point in the mainland United States, Fox follows explorer Samuel de Champlain’s adventures across the Northeast; recounts the rise and fall of the timber, iron, and rail industries; crosses the Great Lakes on a freighter; tracks America’s fur traders through the Boundary Waters; and traces the forty-ninth parallel from Minnesota to the Pacific Ocean.

Fox, who grew up the son of a boat-builder in Maine’s northland, packs his narrative with colorful characters (Captain Meriwether Lewis, railroad tycoon James J. Hill, Chief Red Cloud of the Lakota Sioux) and extraordinary landscapes (Glacier National Park, the Northwest Angle, Washington’s North Cascades). He weaves in his encounters with residents, border guards, Indian activists, and militia leaders to give a dynamic portrait of the northland today, wracked by climate change, water wars, oil booms, and border security.


Porter Fox is the editor of literary travel writing journal, Nowhere, and the author of Deep: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow (2013). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and The Best American Travel Writing. Raised in Maine, he lives in New York.

Thursday, September 27, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Julie Schumacher presents The Shakespeare Requirement

Now is the fall of his discontent, as Jason Fitger, newly appointed chair of the English Department of Payne University, takes arms against a sea of troubles, personal and institutional. His ex-wife is sleeping with the dean who must approve whatever modest initiatives he undertakes. The fearsome department secretary Fran clearly runs the show (when not taking in rescue parrots and dogs) and holds plenty of secrets she's not sharing. The lavishly funded Econ Department keeps siphoning off English's meager resources and has taken aim at its remaining office space. And Fitger's attempt to get a mossbacked and antediluvian Shakespeare scholar to retire backfires spectacularly when the press concludes that the Bard is being kicked to the curricular curb.

Lord, what fools these mortals be! Julie Schumacher proves the point and makes the most of it in this delicious romp.


Julie Schumacher grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from Oberlin College and Cornell University, where she earned her MFA. Her first novel, The Body Is Water, was published by Soho Press in 1995 and was an ALA Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her 2014 novel, Dear Committee Members, won the Thurber Prize for American Humor; she is the first woman to have been so honored. She lives in St. Paul and is a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of Minnesota.