Literature lovers have night out: Program brings regional and national authors to Stillwater

A monthly event coming to Stillwater will give literature lovers the chance to meet regionally and nationally acclaimed authors.

Valley Bookseller is partnering with Pamela Klinger-Horn, of Excelsior Bay Books, to bring the popular Literature Lovers’ Night Out to Trinity Lutheran Church.

As the sales and event coordinator for Excelsior Bay Books, Klinger-Horn meets many authors and publishers from across the country. The idea for Literature Lovers’ Night Out came to her because she enjoyed telling friends about her conversations with authors she met during bookseller conventions.

“I thought, we need to do something like that for people who aren’t booksellers,” she said.

Literature Lovers’ Night Out was born.

Each event features four to five authors, and each author has a book table. Doors typically open at 6:30 p.m., half an hour before the moderated program starts, and guests have a chance to visit the authors’ tables.

Starting at 7 p.m. Klinger-Horn introduces each author.

“Everybody gets about 15 minutes at the microphone to talk about their life and work,” she said. “We do no reading. I figure everyone can go home and read the book themselves. This is your 15 minutes to have this special time with the author.”

After the program — which runs about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes — the authors return to their tables, where they’re available to sign books and answer questions.

Having seen the event succeed in Excelsior for the past few years, Klinger-Horn is excited to bring it to readers in the East Metro.

“When Kathleen Eddy and Gretchen West [of Valley Bookseller] approached me about bringing it over to their side of town, I thought it was a great idea,” Klinger-Horn said.

Eddy and West, co-managers of Vally Bookseller in Stillwater, are also excited.

“Pamela is like the Twin Cities’ literature guru,” Eddy said.

Although Valley Bookseller has successfully partnered with regional authors in the past, Eddy expects the partnership will help Valley Bookseller bring in more nationally recognized names.

“Typically the big publishers tend to send people to the Twin Cities Metro area and forget that we’re only 20 minutes away,” she said.

Klinger-Horn has noticed a similar pattern — many literary programs take place in Minneapolis and St. Paul, but they’re more difficult to find in the greater metro area.

She said the program has been a hit in Excelsior, and that many participants go out to dinner and make a night of it when they attend Literature Lovers’ Night Out. Book clubs, especially, have embraced the program.

Stillwater’s first Literature Lovers’ Night Out is Thursday, Sept. 7. It features Eleanor Brown (editor of “A Paris All Your Own: Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light”), Gabrielle Zeven (author of “Young Jane Young”), Leah Weis (author of “If the Creek Don’t Rise”), Ann Hood (author of “The Book that Matters Most”) and J.T. Ellison (author of “Lie to Me”).

Future Stillwater events include the likes of Allen Eskens, Alison McGhee, William Kent Krueger, Stephanie Gangi and more.

In the past year, Klinger-Horn estimates about a quarter of the authors at the Excelsior events have been from Minnesota, with the rest coming from other parts of the U.S. or beyond. Once she put together an evening with Swedish authors, and it sold out quickly.

Klinger-Horn tries to select authors who write high quality work that’s worth reading, even if they aren’t on the bestseller list. She also tries to include a variety of genres in the same evening.

“It’s a great way for people to expose themselves to other genres,” she said. “We try to bring in mystery, non-fiction … literary fiction, southern fiction, collections of essays … so that people have a really nice selection to choose.”

The September event in Stillwater begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 115 Fourth St. N. Stillwater. Tickets are limited and cost $11.

For more information or to reserve a spot, go to valleybookseller.com or call 651-430-3385.

Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]