We hope to see you this weekend…

…as we’re counting down the days until September 7th & 8th, a chance to see friends (and make new ones), discover new authors and favorite books, and celebrate a vibrant arts community and the return of the little festival in the woods that could.

We’ve even made the news a little, as a writer who joined us last year profiled this year’s line-up for Seattle’s City Arts. And the Seattle Times was kind enough to give us a mention, too.

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Counting down, just one month away

Counting down, just one month away

This year’s gorgeous poster, by Erik Brooks.

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The Mazama Festival of Books Returns for a Second Year

The Mazama Festival of Books, which made its debut last summer in Mazama, Washington, in the Methow Valley, announced today its full schedule for 2013 programming. Participating authors will discuss their work with moderators Katherine Lanpher or Lauren Cerand in intimate salon-style conversations open to the public on September 7th & 8th at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Mazama. The Mazama Festival of Books is founded by part-time resident Art Gresh, in partnership with the Methow Arts Alliance, and in concert with the Mazama Country Inn and the Trail’s End Bookstore. The schedule is as follows:

Saturday, September 7:

9:30 a.m. Join us as we gather for coffee and an informal meet-and-greet with booksellers and authors

9:45 a.m. Introduction and festival welcome by founder Art Gresh

Morning session:

10:00 a.m.: “Writing Wilderness,” with Shannon Huffman Polson and Ana Maria Spagna

11:00 a.m.  “Before the Hereafter,” with Leni Zumas and Shawn Vestal

NOON: “The Map of Memory,” with Leslie Helm

1:00 p.m. Lunch break with a taco truck on-site with food for sale, or bring a picnic lunch / book sales and signing with Trail’s End

Afternoon session:

2:30 p.m.  “Under Pressure,” with Peter Nathaniel Malae and Vanessa Veselka

3:30 p.m. “Transform Me, Transport Me,” with Sharma Shields and Ellen Welcker

4:30 p.m. “A Matter of Principle,” with Scott Elliott and Peter Mountford

5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. Join us for literary cocktails in the Little Red Schoolhouse. Free and all are invited / book sales and signing with Trail’s End

Sunday, September 8:

Morning session: 

9:30 Gather for coffee and informal meet-and-greet with booksellers and authors

10:00 a.m.  “Nurturing Nature,” with Dia Calhoun and Nikki McClure

11:00 a.m.  “Someone Was Here,” with Alexis Smith and Gregory Spatz

NOON “The Poetry (and Philosophy) of Pie” with Kate Lebo and Jessica Lynn Bonin. Please join us for complimentary pie to celebrate the festival.

1:00 p.m. Closing remarks from founder Art Gresh

Tickets are $15 per adult for the entire festival; children and students up to 18 years of age will be admitted free. For registration and other information, please visit  www.MethowValleyArts.org, email Amanda@MethowArtsAlliance.org, or call 509.997.4004.


Jessica Lynn Bonin lives and works out of a former hardware store and lumberyard in the pastoral art town of Edison, Washington. There, she runs a shop called the Lucky Dumpster, hosting the handmade goods of over 50 local crafters and artists. Her work is a study of Americana, the artifacts and images of our culture, and how that culture transforms, confines and defines us.

Dia Calhoun’s best ideas for books come when she is swinging in the hammock on her family’s orchard in the Methow Valley, where her newest books—After the River the Sun and Eva of the Farm—are set. The author of eight novels for kids and teens, Dia has won the prestigious Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature for her novel Aria of the Sea. Three of her books, Firegold, Aria of the Sea, and White Midnight were selected as American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults.

Scott Elliott is the author of the novels Coiled in the Heart and Temple Grove. His shorter work has appeared in the Antioch Review, Juked, Mayday, the New York Times, and elsewhere. He teaches at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.

Leslie Helm was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, where his family has lived since 1869. He has worked as Tokyo correspondent for Business Week and the Los Angeles Times. It was during a 3-year  assignment in Tokyo in the early 1990s that he adopted two Japanese children and began the research that would result in Yokohama Yankee. Helm is currently editor of Seattle Business magazine.

Peter Nathaniel Malae is the author of the novels Our Frail Blood (2013) and What We Are (2010), winner of the San Francisco Foundation’s Joseph Henry Jackson Award, the Arts Council Silicon Valley Fellowship and a New York Times Editor’s Choice; and the story collection, Teach the Free Man (2007), a New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award and Glasgow Prize finalist, as well as a notable book selection by the Story Prize.  His poems and prose have appeared in Cimarron Review, Missouri Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Southwest Review, Witness, ZYZZYVA, among other journals.  He is a former Steinbeck and MacDowell Fellow.     

Nikki McClure lives in Olympia where she cuts images from paper using an X-acto knife. She also makes a calendar every year as well as many books and pies.

Peter Mountford’s debut novel A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism won the 2012 Washington State Book Award, and his second novel, The Dismal Science, will be published by Tin House Books in February, 2014.  A 2013-14 writer-in-residence at Seattle’s Hugo House, his short fiction and essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Boston Review, Conjunctions, Granta, Slate, Salon, and Best New American Voices 2008.

Shannon Huffman Polson is the author of North of Hope: A Daughter’s Arctic Journey. Her work is published in Huffington Post, High Country News, Seattle and Alaska Magazines, as well as other literary magazines and periodicals. Polson lives with her family in Seattle, and spends as much time as possible in the wilderness of Washington and Alaska. 

Sharma Shields is an award-winning author from Spokane. Her short story collection, Favorite Monster, was selected by Stewart O’Nan as the winner of the 2011 Autumn House Fiction Prize. Her fiction has appeared widely in such journals as The Kenyon Review and Fugue and has been described as by reviewers as “weird,” “funny,” “fabulist,” and “profound.”

Alexis M. Smith grew up in Soldotna, Alaska and Seattle, Washington. She attended Mount Holyoke College, Portland State University, and Goddard College. Her debut novel, Glaciers, has been translated into Italian and Spanish, and was a finalist for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction.

Ana Maria Spagna lives and writes in Stehekin, Washington, just over the hills from the Methow, accessible only by boat, foot, or float plane.   Her books include Potluck: Community on the Edge of Wilderness, finalist for the 2012 Washington State Book Award, Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus: A Daughter’s Civil Rights Journey, winner of the 2009 River Teeth literary nonfiction prize, and Now Go Home: Wilderness, Belonging, and the Crosscut Saw.  

Gregory Spatz is the author of the novels Inukshuk, Fiddler’s Dream and No One But Us, and of the story collections Half as Happy and Wonderful Tricks. His stories have appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Glimmer Train Stories, Epoch, Kenyon Review and New England Review. The recipient of a Michener Fellowship, an Iowa Arts Fellowship, a Washington State Book Award, and a 2012 NEA Fellowship in literature, he teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane. 

Vanessa Veselka is the author of the novel, Zazen, which was a finalist for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and won the 2012 PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize for fiction. Her short stories appear in Tin House, YETI, and Zyzzyva. Her nonfiction is found in GQ, The Atlantic, The American Reader, Salon, and is included in the 2013 Best American Essays.

Shawn Vestal is the author of Godforsaken Idaho, a collection of short stories published in April, and a columnist at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane. His stories have appeared in Tin House, Ecotone, McSweeney’s, The Southern Review, and other journals. A graduate of the MFA program at Eastern Washington University, he lives in Spokane with his wife and son.

Ellen Welcker has a chapbook forthcoming from Shotgun Wedding (alice blue books), and recent poems in H_NGM_N, Everyday Genius, JERRY, Phantom Limb, InDigest, and Leveler Poetry Journal. Her chapbook, The Urban Lightwing Professionals, is available online at www.h-ngm-n.com/chaps, and her first book, The Botanical Garden, was published by Astrophil Press in 2010. She works with writers of all stripes in Spokane, Washington.

Leni Zumas is the author of the story collection Farewell Navigator and the novel The Listeners, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Portland State University.

Kate Lebo is an award-winning baker and writer. Her poems appear in Best New Poets, AGNI, and Poetry Northwest among other journals. After earning her MFA from the University of Washington in June 2012, Kate opened Pie School, her cliche-busting pastry academy. She also hosts a semi-regular, semi-secret social called Pie Stand at galleries, bars, and private homes across the country. In October 2013, Chin Music Press will publish her first book, A Commonplace Book of Pie, based on her best-selling zine of the same name.

Authors who participated in 2012: Ryan Boudinot, Erik Brooks, Kathleen Flenniken, Jim Lynch, Colleen Mondor, Danbert Nobacon, Blake Nelson, Pauls Toutonghi, and Lidia Yuknavitch.

Presenting partner:

Methow Arts Alliance (www.methowarts.org) has for 30 years created programs that enrich the lives of the people living in rural Okanogan County by making the arts an integral and dynamic aspect of community and economic vitality, public education and civic life.  Founded in 1983, Methow Arts curates a diverse season of performance arts and events; manages a vital ARTS EDUCATION program that serves over 6,780 students in eight school districts through innovative arts education programs, maintaining a roster of over 32 professional teaching artists; promotes artists and organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest; and facilitates the creation and placement of visual art in public places.

In concert with:

The Trail’s End Bookstore (www.thetrailsendbookstore.com) has been a Valley institution for over 20 years.  Over the years the bookstore has grown to meet the demands of a literate, outdoor recreational community with titles reflecting the interests and passions of the community at large, and offers a comprehensive section of local and regional titles, including local authors, historical anthologies, and nature writing oriented to the inland Northwest.  

Mazama Country Inn (www.mazamacountryinn.com) is a rustic mountain lodge located at the edge of the Pasayten Wilderness in Mazama, Washington, a short distance from the North Cascades National Park, and surrounded by half a million acres of virgin timberland and mountains that reach all the way to Canada.

For publicity and media inquiries, email Lauren Cerand, correspondence@laurencerand.com. 


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Work-in-progress, coming together (continued)

A few more fabulous authors to add to our previous post:

The excitement is building…


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Work-in-progress, coming together

We’re deep in the thick of programming the second Mazama Festival of Books, happening this September 7th & 8th in Washington State’s astonishingly beautiful Methow Valley.

Authors who have accepted our invitation include:

We’ll also be joined again by the wise and witty cultural journalist Katherine Lanpher, who will moderate several of the talks. This year, we’ll be expanding our salon-style format, to feature two authors in conversation with a moderator for a rich and thematic hour of discussion. Are there any pairings that you’d be particularly keen to see? Please leave us a comment just below, or tweet your thoughts @mazamabooks.

More to come, as always…


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Looking back, and looking forward

2012 was a wonderful start for the Mazama Festival of Books, and we’re delighted to report that we’ll be back for a second year, this September 7th & 8th in Mazama, Washington.

Last year we garnered advance coverage from Publishers Weekly, the Seattle Times, the Methow Valley News and the Los Angeles Times, which took special note of our line-up:

led by Washington poet laureate Kathleen Flenniken. Other authors include children’s book author and illustrator Erik Brooks, young-adult author Blake Nelson and memoirists Lidia Yuknavitch and Colleen Mondor. Also on the bill are the novelists Jim Lynch, Pauls Toutonghi, Ryan Boudinot and Danbert Nobacon — the latter of whom started out as a founding member of the anarchist pop group Chumbawumba, giving the literary festival its own little dose of rock ‘n’ roll.

Methow Grist covered the festival with a (literal) field report, and authors Paul Toutonghi and Colleen Mondor shared their own praise for the experience.

This year, we’ve so far confirmed novelist Vanessa Veselka (Zazen), short story writer Shawn Vestal (Godforsaken Idaho), essayist Ana Maria Spagna (Potluck: Community on the Edge of Wilderness), and children’s book author Dia Calhoun (Eva of the Farm), with more to come.

Please watch this space, or follow us @MazamaBooks for updates.

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Founder Art Gresh’s Remarks at the 2012 Mazama Festival of Books

“Lovers of the written word, thank you for joining us in the beautiful Methow Valley for the First Annual Mazama Festival of Books. The seeds for our gathering originated in the Welsh border town of Hay-on-Wye, home to the Hay Festival of Literature. During my time in London, I had the good fortune to attend this festival and I have a lasting impressions of the intimate nature of the event. The scenic setting and the town’s relative isolation seemed to draw people closer. We hope to capture a similar spirit in Mazama.”

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Join us in a new adventure

We’re founding a new literary festival in the Pacific Northwest, highlighting the writers and stories of the region. Publishers Weekly has the scoop on our launch. Please check back here in coming weeks as we add new details. You can also keep up with the news @MazamaBooks.

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