Lineup revealed for second Wordplay festival in Minneapolis

Stephen King was among the authors who appeared in last year's inaugural event.
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The lineup has been revealed for the second annual Wordplay festival to be held in Minneapolis this spring.

The literary festival debuted last year with the likes of Stephen King among those making appearances.

The Loft, which is producing the event, has announced the lineup for the 2020 Wordplay, which includes a range of national and local writers.

Among those announced for this year is Alison Roman, a food columnist for the New York Times and Bon Appetit, who became a best-selling author for her 2017 book, Dining In.

She is joined by TV star and standup Michael Ian Black (My Wet Hot American Summer) who has written numerous children's and adult books over the past decade.

Also announced is Charles Yu, best known for his novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and Scott Pelley, the long-running CBS News anchor and journalist who left the network last year.

Local authors booked for the event include Minneapolis writer Kate DiCamillo, the children's fantasy writer whose novels include The Tale of Despereaux, the St. Paul poet and author Danez Smith, whose Don't Call Us Dead was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2017, and Kao Kalia Yang, the Hmong-American writer who wrote Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir.

And there will also be an appearance from Minnesota's own Olympic gold medal winner Jessie Diggins, who will be promoting her new book Brave Enough.

Those who attend Wordplay will be able to hear from and interact with the authors at various workshops, readings and special experiences.

The event will kick off with a "carnival-themed" fundraiser called Open Book on Friday, May 8.

The festival itself will be held on Saturday, May 9 in the Minneapolis Mill City neighborhood.

Here's the full list of writers booked for the event and the works they're promoting:


John Coy and Wing Young Huie – Dads

Christopher Eliopoulos – The Yawns Are Coming!

Heather Fox and Jonathan Stutzman – Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse

Tracy Nelson Maurer – Samuel Morse, That’s Who!: The Story of the Telegraph and Morse Code

Cheryl Minnema – Johnny’s Pheasant

Middle Grade

Sylvia Acevedo – Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist

Tom Angleberger – The Sewer Rat Stink

Max Brallier – Shadow in the Woods and Other Scary Stories

Kacen Callender – King and The Dragonflies

Sayantani DasGupta – The Chaos Curse

Kate DiCamillo – Beverly, Right Here

Debbi Michiko Florence – Keep It Together, Keiko Carter

Omar Mohamed – When Stars Are Scattered

Linda Sue Park – Prairie Lotus

Jacqueline West – The Collectors, A Storm of Wishes (sequel to “The Collectors”)

Young Adult

Tonya Bolden – Changing the Equation: 50+ US Black Women in STEM; Saving Savannah

Patrice Caldwell – A Phoenix Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope

Melissa de la Cruz – The Queen’s Assassin

Minh Lê – Green Lantern: Legacy

Junauda Petrus – The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

Randy Ribay – Patron Saints of Nothing

Len Vlahos – Hard Wired

Kiersten White – The Guinevere Deception

Deborah Wiles – Anthem

Ashley Woodfolk – When You Were Everything

Gene Luen Yang – Dragon Hoops


Alison Roman – Nothing Fancy


Tola Rotimi Abraham – Black Sunday

Quan Barry – We Ride Upon Sticks

Andrea Bartz – The Herd

Clare Beams – The Illness Lesson

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan – Starling Days

Gabriel Bump – Everywhere You Don’t Belong

Rebecca Dinerstein Knight – Hex

Kristin Eiríksdóttir and Larissa Kyzer – A Fist or a Heart

Allen Eskens – Nothing More Dangerous

Charles Finch – The Last Passenger

Peter Geye – Northernmost

Matt Goldman – Dead West

Emily Gould – Perfect Tunes

Lily King – Writers & Lovers

Hilary Leichter – Temporary

Raymond Luczak – Flannelwood

Sara Mesa and Katie Whittemore – Four by Four

Poupeh Missaghi – trans(re)lating house one

Tracy O’Neill – Quotients

Thomas D. Peacock – The Wolf’s Trail: An Ojibwa Story, Told by Wolves

Benjamin Percy – Suicide Woods

John Scalzi – The Last Emperox

Amber Sparks – And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and Other Revenges

Dennis E. Staples – This Town Sleeps

Emma Straub – All Adults Here

Brandon Taylor – Real Life

Deb Olin Unferth – Barn 8

Laura van den Berg – I Hold a Wolf by the Ears: Stories

Jeff VanderMeer – Dead Astronauts

Kawai Strong Washburn – Sharks in the Time of Saviors

Teddy Wayne – Apartment

Rita Woods – Remembrance

Charles Yu – Interior Chinatown

C Pam Zhang – How Much of These Hills is Gold


Michael Ian Black – A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son

Alexis Coe – You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington

Claire Comstock-Gay – Madame Clairevoyant’s Guide to the Stars: Astrology, Our Icons, and Our Selves

Stephanie Danler – Stray

Jessie Diggins – Brave Enough

Cyrus Grace Dunham – A Year Without A Name

Jack El-Hai – The Lost Brothers: A Family’s Decades-Long Search

Nick Flynn – Stay: threads, conversations, collaborations

John Freeman – Dictionary of the Undoing

Mara Hvistendahl – The Scientist and the Spy: A True Story of China, the FBI, and Industrial Espionage

Steve Inskeep – Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Fremont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War

Samatha Irby – Wow, No Thank You.

Karine Jean-Pierre – Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America

Erin Khar – Strung Out: One Last High and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me

Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn – Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope

Laila Lalami – Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America

Edan Lepucki – Mothers Before: Stories and Portraits of Our Mothers As We Never Saw Them

Scott Pelley – Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter’s Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times

Casey Schwartz – Attention: A Love Story

Jennifer Steinhauer – The Firsts: The Inside Story of the Women Reshaping Congress

Jan Stocklassa – The Man Who Played With Fire: Stieg Larsson’s Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin

Kao Kalia Yang – Somewhere in the Unknown World: A Collective Refugee Memoir


Rick Barot – The Galleons

Natalie Diaz – Postcolonial Love Poem

Mark Doty – What is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life

Roy G. Guzmán – Catrachos

Major Jackson – The Absurd Man

Ilya Kaminsky – Deaf Republic

Paige Lewis – Space Struck

Lara Mimosa Montes – Thresholes

Jake Skeets – Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers

Danez Smith – Homie

Jenny Zhang – My Baby First Birthday

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