Summer in the Twin Cities means outdoor festivals, and Wordplay is one of the best. Curated by The Loft Literary Center, this year’s festival brings some 50 renowned authors to town for readings and conversations focused on social justice.

Beyond big book topics, the event is equal parts fun and food. It features food trucks and beer tents from local restaurants and breweries, activities and readings for kids, a tabling corridor, book signings, crafts, sales and more.

The theme of this year’s Wordplay is Narrative Power. Among the key topics addressed will be racial justice, gender equity, LGBTQIA2S+ rights, and climate change. Wordplay will group leading authors in one-of-a-kind conversations around these important issues.

Newly Announced Books and Authors

The Loft announced the bulk of the Wordplay lineup in April, but they’ve been hard at work adding some more names to round out the list. Here are some of the new additions to Wordplay:

Wordplay will feature a conversation around the new anthology How We Do It: Black Writers on Craft, Practice, and Skill. The new book on creativity and craft is not a typical how-to. It dives deeply into questions of  ‘authenticity’ and truth. Contributors range from Pulitzer Prize winners to new authors, all discussing the Black creative spirit. Among the contributors joining Wordplay are Pulitzer Prize winner Mitchell Jackson, NAACP Image Award for Poetry recipient Frank X Walker, and debut author Darlene Taylor.

Wordplay will also continue to celebrate books adapted for the screen. At the 2022 Academy Awards, Mexico’s entry for Best International Film was “Prayers for the Stolen” (Noche de Fuego), adapted from a book by Jennifer Clement. (The movie is now available in the U.S. via Netflix!)

The youth stage at Wordplay will also now welcome National Book Award finalist and Haitian-American Ibi Zoboi. Her new YA book Nigeria Jones tackles Black girlhood amid complicated family dynamics—when ‘complicated’ is an understatement.

The festival will also explore the many stories of immigration. Released to rave reviews, Belinda Huijuan Tang’s A Map for the Missing jumps between 1990s America and 1970s China at the end of the Cultural Revolution. It explores family, culture, forgiveness and the concept of the American dream. (Read her brief NPR interview for a taste.)

Finally, Wordplay welcomes award-winning author Idra Novey. Her latest is Take What You Need. In it she explores the rural-urban divide, family and self-acceptance, all while questioning who gets to define art.

How to Take Part

Tickets are available for purchase in advance ($20) and at the gate on July 8 ($25). Youth under 17 can attend for free. A ticket provides entrance to everything—all readings, panels, sales, and activities. Anyone who purchases a ticket by June 20 is eligible to win one of two $250 Loft gift certificates.

The festivities are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with some spillover events around town that evening. All ages are welcome and encouraged to join Wordplay’s celebration of modern books and writing.

Wordplay is hosted by The Loft Literary Center, the first writing center in the country, based in Minneapolis. In addition to its annual book festival, The Loft’s many opportunities for the public include classes, conferences, readings, events, grants, and a renowned Mentor program.

Find more about Wordplay at


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