Cracked Walnut is holding 29 readings in some of the most unusual places!
For the third year in a row, Cracked Walnut founder Satish Jayaraj has planned a reading festival that will cover the Twin Cities Metro in more ways than one. Not only does the 2015 Cracked Walnut Literary Festival cover a large geographic area, it will also happen in many settings that differ from your typical reading and include nearly 200 readers. From Saint Paul to Chaska, writers will read at a community center, a children’s hospital, the Arboretum, a Montessori Center, and the ever-popular funeral chapel location. Of course, there will also be readings at bookstores, coffee shops and cafes.
Each reading will be themed, with the writers invited to interpret the theme as they wish. Audiences will hear about Dislocated Love (the one reading labeled as ‘adult-oriented’) at a church, Urbanization at Mill City Museum, and Mother Earth at the University of MN. The Festival will also repeat stops in Duluth and Rochester from previous years. Each reading will include several writers, with lots of names familiar in the literary community. Many genres are represented, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and spoken word.
Highlights this year include a reading at Lift Garage, where the theme will appropriately be Fractured Fairy Tales. This will be hosted by Ethna McKiernan and will include a musical performance. (Lift Garage’s mission is to fix cars of those with low incomes.) The reading titled Eastern Migration will feature readers from India and the Middle East (which, ironically, was one of the sessions that Satish, who hails from India, had the most trouble finding people for). Other stops on the schedule include a nature center, a church, and a brewery. There is also a reading at St. Thomas Academy which will include some student readers.
The Festival begins on May 1 and will run until June 21. This year, music will be incorporated into some readings with live performances. See the website for the complete, updated schedule and list of readers, including bios. Five new chapbooks featuring Cracked Walnut Literary Festival pieces from the 2014 Festival will be available for purchase at the 2015 readings, along with a limited edition, hand-bound omnibus of all five chapbooks in hardcover. All of these will have original covers by Azure Anderson Jayaraj, who is also doing the binding on the omnibus edition.
The Cracked Walnut crew includes Satish Jayaraj, Azure Anderson Jayaraj, David Stein, Mary L. Schmidt and Linda White. Cracked Walnut also produces events during the year, with the next taking place in July at the new location of Subtext: A Bookstore. The Festival is a concentrated effort which aims to cover as wide an area as possible in as little time as possible, involving as many people as possible in the enjoyment of literature. The Festival readings also all feature themes, which are not typically used during the stand-alone readings. There’s sure to be a reading near you – check the schedule and come on out. All readings are free and open to the public, with the one exception this year of the reading on May 17 at the MN Landscape Arboretum, which does require an entrance fee.
Cracked Walnut organizes readings in traditional and non-traditional spaces to foster a love for spoken literature, community and creativity. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.