This week marks the arrival of a large literary conference in Minneapolis, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs takes place Wednesday through Saturday and what better choice of location than the Twin Cities, which has a thriving literary scene.

Even if you’re not attending the conference, you can enjoy a literary weekend just by visiting one of the Twin Cities’ many fine bookstores and enjoying a read there instead. We have a wonderful book community here, and it’s up to us to keep it alive and vibrant.

Birchbark Books in south Minneapolis is a cozy neighborhood store with an eclectic array of books for sale, along with Native American arts and jewelry and even an indoor tree house for kids. The store is owned by Louise Erdrich, author of Shadow Tag and The Round House.

St. Paul’s Common Good Books is another author-owned store. Garrison Keillor is the proprietor of this shop and it’s full of local interest books, wide-ranging fiction and poetry.

Magers & Quinn in Uptown Minneapolis is the area’s largest indie bookstore. It’s a gigantic collection of all kinds of books, new, used and collectible. The staff is knowledgeable and can help you find exactly what you need in this huge store.

Micawber’s is a gem in the St. Anthony neighborhood, not far from the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. The store may be small, but it has an impressive inventory, including lots of sale books and a great kids’ area.

Subtext Books is located in St. Paul, in the lower level beneath Nina’s Cafe. It’s a cozy, nook-filled store that rewards people who like to browse. Bonus: take your purchases upstairs for coffee.

Speaking of kids, Minneapolis and St. Paul both have wonderful children’s bookstores, full of tantalizing reads for all ages and staffed by well-read, thoughtful book lovers. St. Paul’s Grand Avenue is home to Red Balloon Bookshop while Minneapolis’ Linden Hills neighborhood has Wild Rumpus Books, both excellent destinations for outings with the young ones.

Those interested in sci-fi/fantasy, mysteries and crime books have their own havens. Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s Books are side-by-side in south Minneapolis, with Hugo’s focused on sci-fi/fantasy and Edgar’s on mysteries. Not far away is Once Upon a Crime, a small underground store packed full of everything related to mystery and crime.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment Finding Minnesota.

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