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Pen Pals 2014 Season

See Chip Kidd at May Pen Pals!
See Chip Kidd at May Pen Pals!

Friends of the Hennepin County Library is pleased to announce the 18th season of Pen Pals, the highly-regarded and longest-running literary series in the Twin Cities.

The 2014-15 Pen Pals season offers an eclectic range of presenters from different genres who have collectively written, critiqued or created thousands of books. Mark these dates on your calendar!

· Joyce Carol Oates in conversation with literary critic Michael Dirda: Oct. 2, 2014, 7:30 PM

· Doris Kearns Goodwin: Oct. 23, 2014, 7:30 PM & Oct. 24, 2014, 11 AM

· Richard Blanco: Mar. 12, 2015, 7:30 PM & Mar. 13, 2015, 11 AM

· Jodi Picoult: Apr. 16, 2015, 7:30 PM & Apr. 17, 2015, 11 AM

· Chip Kidd: May 7, 2015, 7:30 PM & May 8, 2015, 11 AM

Individual tickets are $40/$50 and go on sale August 11. Additional student and group discounts are available.

Subscriptions (starting at $128) are on sale now. You can order a subscription by phone at 612-543-8112 (M - F, 9 AM - 4:30 PM) or download a mail order form at Subscribers save 20% on their ticket purchase!

Friends of HCL members receive an additional discount of $10 per subscription or $5 per ticket.

All Pen Pals programs are held at the Hopkins Center for the Arts - offering great sound and sight lines throughout the entire house. Located at 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins (just 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis), Hopkins Center for the Arts offers free convenient parking as well as numerous nearby restaurants.

A pre-show reception is held before each performance with complimentary desserts and coffee, music and book sales. There is a book signing after each daytime talk. A reception after the evening event is available for an additional $25 with the purchase of a ticket, which includes refreshments, wine and a book signing. Pre-signed books are available for purchase for both evening and daytime events.

Proceeds from the program benefit Friends of the Hennepin County Library (Friends of HCL). Friends of HCL is an active community of supporters-helping the Library fulfill its mission to nourish minds, transform lives, and build community. By raising critically needed funds for books, movies, music, programs and technology, and through the presentation of the highly regarded Pen Pals and Talk of the Stacks author series, Friends of HCL opens doors and minds to new worlds.

Details on all the upcoming talks are as follows:

Joyce Carol Oates (in conversation with critic Michael Dirda)
October 2, 2014, 7:30 PM

The prolific Joyce Carol Oates is often described as America’s foremost woman of letters. She has published more than 50 novels and countless short stories, plays, essays, poems and children’s books. Her literary output is so legendary, it is said that she works with three different publishers: one for fiction, one for poetry and one for books her other publishers simply cannot schedule. Oates’ productivity matches her literary skill. The recipient of countless awards and honors, she has received the O. Henry prize twice, the National Book Award, a Norman Mailer Lifetime Achievement award and a Presidential National Humanities Medal. Her recent works include the New York Times best sellers, A Widow’s Story: A Memoir and The Accursed.

For this special 1-night only event, Oates will be joined on stage by Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic Michael Dirda for a conversation about literature and writing. Mr. Dirda (who has frequently written about Ms. Oates) has written for The Washington Post Book World for more than 35 years and is the author of several collections of essays and the memoir An Open Book. All attendees will receive a copy of Oates’ new collection Lovely, Dark, Deep: Stories.

Doris Kearns Goodwin
October 23, 2014, 7:30 PM

October 24, 2014, 11 AM

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a prominent historian and author of several acclaimed books delving into the lives of America’s famous past presidents. She served as an assistant to President Lyndon Johnson in his last year in the White House, and later aided him in the preparation of his memoirs. Film rights to her work Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln were purchased by Stephen Spielberg and used to create the 2012 motion picture Lincoln, which won two Oscars and a Golden Globe. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Homefront During World War II and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Charles Frankel Prize, Goodwin is a frequent commentator for NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CNN, The Charlie Rose Show and Meet the Press.

Goodwin will share her journalistic writing process and discuss the creation of her most recent work, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.

Richard Blanco
March 12, 2015, 7:30 PM

March 13, 2015, 11 AM

In 2013, award-winning poet Richard Blanco was chosen to serve as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, following in the footsteps as such great writers as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. His inaugural performance of One Today, an original poem he wrote for the occasion, catapulted him onto the world’s literary stage as the youngest, first Latino, and openly gay writer to hold this honor. That same year, Mr. Blanco was asked to create a poem in reflection of the Boston Marathon bombing victims for a benefit concert. Proceeds from the resulting chapbook, Boston Strong, went to support those affected by the tragedy. Blanco was born in Madrid in 1968 to Cuban-exiles and shortly after immigrated to the United States. His other collections include City of a Hundred Fires (1998), Directions to the Beach of the Dead (2005) and Looking for the Gulf Motel (2012). His highly-anticipated memoir, Los Cucuyos: A Miami Childhood, will be published in Fall 2014.

In a unique presentation of prose and poetry, Blanco will share his life story, creative inspirations and poetic works.

Jodi Picoult
April 16, 2015, 7:30 PM

April 17, 2015, 11 AM

In just over twenty years, Jodi Picoult has published twenty-one novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. With sales of more than 46 million books in 34 languages in 35 countries, several of her works have been made into films for television and the big screen. In each novel, she crafts a moral dilemma and exposes moral ambiguity through the viewpoints of different key characters. Winner of countless honors, she is part of the Writer's Council for the National Writing Project, which recognizes the universality of writing as a communicative tool and helps teachers enhance student writing. Leaving Time (her 22nd novel) will be published in Fall 2014.

In her talk, "The Facts behind the Fiction," Picoult will explore the fascinating, and sometimes humorous, research she does for her novels.

Chip Kidd
May 7, 2015, 7:30 PM

May 8, 2015, 11 AM

According to USA Today, Chip Kidd is “the closest thing to a rock star” in the world of graphic design. As Associate Art Director at Knopf, where he has been a jacket designer since 1986, he has created thousands of iconic designs. He is lauded for revolutionizing the book cover and for his remarkable illustrations such as the iconic T-Rex image that he created for the cover of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. Chip Kidd: Book One brings together his collected design work and includes an introduction by John Updike as well as contributions from authors David Sedaris, Donna Tartt and Elmore Leonard. A distinguished and creative lecturer, Kidd has spoken at Princeton, Yale, Harvard and elsewhere. His 2012 TED talk has garnered hundreds of thousands of views and is cited as one of the “funniest of the year.” In addition to his design work, Chip Kidd has published two novels and several books about comics and graphic design.

In a visual talk entitled, “Book Jackets I Have Known and Loved,” Kidd will make you reexamine the way you judge a book by its cover.

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