Wordplay festival to stay virtual in 2021; Chelsea Clinton and Kazuo Ishiguro among speakers

This year's event will be held the week of May 2-8.

With the pandemic forcing Minneapolis' Wordplay literary festival online in 2020, the same will happen in 2021 with the virus still widespread.

The Loft Literary Center, the organizers of the Minneapolis festival that debuted in 2019, has announced the full lineup for this year's event, which will be held May 2-8 and will once again be virtual.

And among the headline speakers in this year's event is Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who in recent years has written a series of books titled She Persisted, which celebrate feminist heroes.

Joining Clinton are best-sellers including suspense author Dean Koontz, memoirist Cheryl Strayed, and British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, whose novels include The Remains of the Day.

Local authors Kao Kalia Yang, Megan Maynor, Heid Erdrich, Bao Phi, and Douglas Kearney are among the lineup of 40-plus authors for the third festival.

The event is free to watch on Crowdcast, YouTube and Facebook Live, but there are enhanced ticket options and experiences available for $35 to $50.

You can find out more about the event, the schedule, and its enhanced ticket options here.

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The Loft Literary Center says it has learned "many lessons" from the virtual event in 2020, with Wordplay this year filling one week with 3-4 virtual events held each day. 

Morning sessions will focus on children's books and authors, with afternoon sessions focusing on international authors, and evening sessions "cross-genre conversations with a poet, non-fiction author and a fiction author about specific topics.

“Since its founding in 2019, Wordplay has looked a little different each year,” said Steph Opitz, founding director of Wordplay. “We’re excited to bring back the virtual format to allow book lovers from around the world to join us for a week of fun, informative and thought-provoking discussions with such incredible authors.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story described Hillary Clinton as the former Vice President, when she was in fact the former Secretary of State. We apologize for the error.

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