By Etta Berkland, Co-Editor in Chief, Ivory Tower
In elementary school, one of my favorite memories of autumn was attending my school's annual book fair. Class by class, we were allowed down into the gym where, gleaming on four shelves and two table displays, there were books--hundreds of books, it seemed to me at the time - filled with words and ideas. I would wander through doe-eyed, making lists of titles to pitch to my mother later that evening. Each book had the potential to be a great story, and I loved great stories.
So imagine my excitement when I walked into the Twin Cities Book Festival on October 13 and saw over 120 exhibitors displaying everything from chapbooks to literary magazines to full-length novels. I wound my way through the crowd to the table we were sharing with dislocate (Ivory Tower's graduate counterpart), and chatted with co-editor Casey for a bit. After Casey left to check out the other exhibitors, Amy from dislocate and I took questions and passed out previous issues of our respective magazines to passersby.
It was amazing to see the humming literary world of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. We stood directly next to Conduit's funky, narrow journal, and back-to-back with Hazel & Wren advertising their open mic night. Paper Darts was just down the line flashing their brand new fourth issue. Later in the day, I stopped to look at the University of Minnesota Press' Children of the Northlights book, and Mary Jo Bang's rendition of Dante's Inferno, published by Graywolf Press. There were small publishers I'd never heard of before, like Uncivilized Books, and literary magazines I definitely want to read through in the future, like Hamline's Water~Stone Review. All the people I talked with were eager to discuss their publications, and curious to learn more about Ivory Tower. It felt great to tell them about our fantastic staff, how we're receiving many submissions, how we're applying for grants, and how we're learning InDesign.
What a wonderful opportunity. Thanks to the Ivory Tower class, I have found a new autumn tradition, the Twin Cities Book Festival, where thousands of books and journals hold the next great stories.