Best bets: Book season begins – Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — Astronomical Fall begins Sept. 22, Meteorological Fall begins Sept. 1, and Basic Fall begins Aug. 30 with the seasonal launch of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. The performing arts seasons will soon begin to pick up speed, but the fall literary season can’t wait. This week’s best bets include four book events… plus some music, art, and of course some harvest parties.

Among online bookworms, “TBR” stands for “to read,” like in the pile of books you plan to read. If your stack can handle another book or two, here are four author appearances you might consider checking out.

Contributed / Forged Books

This week’s most lavish book release event is taking place at the Marshall Performing Arts Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Carol Dunbar, a UMD grad who “left the grid for the woods of northern Wisconsin” 20 years ago, is celebrating the release of her first novel. “The Net Beneath Us” is about a year in the life of a woman raising two young children, off the grid in the Wisconsin woods, after her husband has a logging accident. The launch event will include a reading, discussion, dessert, live music and “special appearances from local authors”. For more information, visit

Minneapolis author Peter Geye brings “The Ski Jumpers” to Fitger’s Bookstore on Wednesday (6:30 p.m.) and Zenith Bookstore on Saturday (7 p.m., in conversation with Linda LeGarde Grover), among other Northland appearances. The novel has obvious appeal in our region, a hub of winter sports: it centers on a veteran ski jumper forced to confront a painful family history even as he grapples with an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. . The book is set very specifically in Minnesota, and the ruminations on the depths of Lake Superior are some of the most soothing thoughts Geye’s protagonist can call upon. For more information, see

Book, "The hidden room" by William Durbin and Barbara Durbin, held by one hand in front of weathered wood.
“The Hidden Room” by William Durbin and Barbara Durbin, photographed at Veterans Memorial Hall at the St. Louis County Depot.

Jay Gabler/Duluth News Tribune

“The Hidden Room” is a novel by Duluth authors William Durbin and Barbara Durbin, set in Ukraine near the end of World War II. Written for young adults, it is based on the true story of a Jewish family who took refuge in a cave to hide from the Nazis. It’s a harrowing story of survival, anchored in specific detail and propelled by the direct prose of the Durbins. The authors donate half of their royalties to Ukrainian food aid; the Durbins will be at the Bookstore at Fitger’s on Saturday at 3 p.m. to present their new book. For more information, visit

hand holding book "where the secrets live" by SC Richards in front of the Duluth Public Library.  The cover of the book features a house with a dark silhouette in a brightly lit window.
“Where Secrets Live” by SC Richards, photographed at the Duluth Public Library.

Jay Gabler/Duluth News Tribune

SC Richards is also a Duluth author, and his latest is “Where Secrets Live.” How juicy and local is this book? In the first 100 pages, mention is made of:

  • A mysterious boat accident on the Apostle Islands.
  • St. Paul’s Summit Avenue (“smelled of burnt grass and old money”).
  • Mourning sex.
  • “Inhumanely cold winters in Minnesota.”
  • A private investigator who makes an important discovery while staying at a motel in Bayfield.
  • Valley Fair.
  • A psychiatrist named Lee Atwater who wears $300 suits and sits behind a mahogany desk in a glass-walled ninth-floor office in downtown Minneapolis.

Richards will be at the bookstore at Fitger’s on Saturday at noon. For more information, see

Immerse yourself in the new season of performing arts

Wade Stadium, pictured July 1, 2020.

Jed Carlson / File / Upper Telegram

“Some of our organizations have been able to continue performing live for most of the pandemic, others are just returning to the stage this season,” notes a press release for Thursday’s Season Splash event. “Anyway, the past few years have taught us that we are stronger together.” Several of Duluth’s nonprofit performing arts organizations take to the field at Wade Stadium (home of the Huskies) for a free all-ages night of music, drama and dance performances. Last year’s event featured, among other entertainment, the pleasantly surreal spectacle of the ballet on the ballpark. For more information, see

A trail through the woods during the day, with yellow leaves on the trees and orange leaves carpeting the ground.
The Harvest Moon Festival is a sign of fall in St. Louis County.

Contribution / Ely Chamber of Commerce

Is it harvest time already? Apparently yes, because this weekend you have two opportunities to celebrate the season in Northland. Ely’s Harvest Moon Festival runs all weekend in Whiteside Park, with more than 100 craft vendors plus vintage vehicles – and food and drink, including “lots of blueberry pie freshly baked in the pavilion,” according to a press release. When you’re ready to branch out, the Chamber of Commerce has a map of local businesses offering special festival-related promotions. For more information, visit

Meanwhile, in Duluth, the Sustainable Farming Association is hosting a Harvest Festival Saturday at Bayfront Festival Park. You can learn more at and by reading Melinda Lavine’s News Tribune article about the event.

The art escapes! no you are

The view from a boat has the American flag in the foreground and the autumn landscape in the background.  A pier and a low blue building are also visible.
Bayfield, as seen from a Madeline Island ferry in fall 2021.

Contributed / Jay Gabler

Bayfield is known for its New England seaside village vibe, annual Apple Festival, and for being the mainland terminus for the Madeline Island Ferry Line. It’s also home to a number of artists, and the community is showcasing that fact with a new nine-day event called Art Escape. From Saturday through September 18, dozens of Bayfield-area artists—ranging from Oulu to LaPointe, Red Cliff to Drummond—offer demonstrations, performances, classes, and open studios. It all starts with the 59th annual Bayfield Arts Festival at Memorial Park this Saturday and Sunday. You can find a complete art escape guide at

Five years of Earth Rider Fest

A line of men hoisting mugs full of beer, standing outside on a grassy field.
Hoisting mugs at Earth Rider Fest, 2019.

Contribution / Earth Rider Brewery

Earth Rider Fest is celebrating its fifth anniversary, and the Superior Brewery is not holding back local programming for its Saturday event. Performers include jaw-dropping singer-songwriter Haley (now of St. Paul, formerly of Duluth); the two Daves (Simonett and Carroll) from Trampled By Turtles; righteous rockers Kiss the Tiger; Lanue, supporting a sparkling new EP; and the buzzworthy Emma Jeanne, among others. The event also marks the unofficial kick off of the Oktoberfest season, with kraut tasting and tankard tasting competitions as well as a polka party. Superior will even bring the Paine with an official proclamation from the mayor. Prost! For tickets and information, see

Angela C. Hale