2018-19 Pen Pals Season Announcement

May 4, 2018

Friends of the Hennepin County Library is pleased to announce the 22nd season of Pen Pals, the award winning and longest running literary series in the Twin Cities.

Friends of the Hennepin County Library is pleased to announce the 21st season of Pen Pals, the award-winning and longest-running literary series in the Twin Cities.

The 2018-19 season offers a range of today’s most acclaimed literary voices, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, two National Book Award finalists, and winner of the 2014 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature.

  • Timothy Egan – Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter & National Book Award-winning author of The Worst Hard Time
    • Sept. 27, 2018, 7:30 PM  /  Sept. 28, 2018, 11 AM
  • Amor Towles New York Times bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow
    • Oct. 11, 2018, 7:30 PM   /  Oct. 12, 2018, 11 AM
  • Min Jin Lee – National Book Award finalist for fiction and New York Times bestselling author of Pachinko
    • Oct. 25, 2018, 7:30 PM  /  Oct. 26, 2018, 11 AM
  • Lauren Groff – National Book Award finalist for fiction, Critics Circle Award finalist, and author of Amazon.com’s #1 book of 2015, Fates and Furies
    • Feb. 7, 2019, 7:30 PM  /  Feb. 8, 2019, 11 AM
  • Celeste Ng Winner of the 2014 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the 2017 Goodreads Readers Choice Award for Little Fires Everywhere
    •  May 2, 2019, 7:30 PM  /  May 3, 2019, 11 AM

Season subscriptions (starting at $180) will go on sale Monday, May 7, 2018. Subscribe by phone at 612-543-8112 (M - F, 9 AM - 4 PM), or download this order form. Season subscribers receive 10% savings.

Individual tickets ($40/$50) will go on sale Wednesday, August 1, 2018.

Proceeds benefit Friends of the Hennepin County Library (FHCL). FHCL members receive an additional discount of $10 per subscription or $5 per individual ticket.

Thanks to our many 2017-18 individual sponsors and corporate sponsors, including Standard Heating and Air Conditioning, RBC Wealth Management, and Eyebobs.

ABOUT PEN PALS: All Pen Pals programs are held at the Hopkins Center for the Arts—located at 1111 Mainstreet in Hopkins. Individual tickets are $40-$50 (prices include all taxes and handling fees) and can be purchased online at supportHCLIB.org or by calling 612-543-8112.


Friends of the Hennepin County Library builds awareness, appreciation and support for our world-class Hennepin County Library. Friends of HCL raises resources for vital library programs such as Homework Help and Teen Tech Squad, as well as initiatives like engaging readers of all ages, expanding early learning environments, and supporting kindergarten-readiness programs.


Timothy Egan

September 27, 2018, 7:30 pm  
September 28, 2018, 11 am 

Timothy Egan is an acclaimed writer and veteran chronicler of the West whose interests range wide across the American landscape and American history. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, a popular columnist, and a National Book Award-winning author. His books include The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America; The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl; and The New York Times bestseller, The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero.



Amor Towles

October 11, 2018,  7:30 pm
October 12, 2018, 11 am 

Born and raised in the Boston area, Amor Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. His first novel Rules of Civility (2011) was a New York Times bestseller and was named one of the best books of 2011 by the Wall Street Journal. His second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, was on The New York Times bestseller list for over forty weeks and was named one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR. The book is being translated into more than twenty languages, including Russian.


Min Jin Lee

October 25, 2018, 7:30 pm
October 26, 2018, 11 am 

Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko (2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award. A New York Times Bestseller, Pachinko was a Top 10 Books of the Year for The New York Times, the BBC, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Public Library, and the Chicago Public Library. Pachinko was on more than four dozen best books of the year lists, including NPR, PBS, CNN, Esquire, Amazon, The Boston Globe, BuzzFeed, Chicago Tribune, Publishers Weekly, and The Irish Times. Lee’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires (2007) was a No. 1 Book Sense Pick, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, a Wall Street Journal Juggle Book Club selection, and a national bestseller.


Lauren Groff

February 7, 2019, 7:30 pm
February 8, 2019, 11 am 

Lauren Groff is the New York Times bestselling author of three novels, The Monsters of Templeton, Arcadia, and Fates and Furies, as well as the celebrated short-story collection Delicate Edible Birds. Fates and Furies was a New York Times bestseller, finalist for the National Book Award, and Amazon’s #1 Best Book of the Year in 2015. Groff’s work has appeared in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Atlantic, and in several of the annual The Best American Short Stories anthologies.


Celeste Ng

May 2, 2019, 7:30 pm
May 3, 2019, 11 am 

Celeste Ng is a graduate of Harvard University with an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her first novel, Everything I Never Told You (2014), was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the American Library Association’s Alex Award. Her second novel, Little Fires Everywhere (2017), is a New York Times bestseller and was named a best book of the year by over 25 publications. Ng’s fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, One Story, and The Guardian.