The public is invited to attend a flurry of free writing and poetry workshops at the inaugural Cortez Literary Festival, June 7-8.
Keynote speaker Anne Hillerman will kick off the Cortez Library event at 6 p.m. June 7 discussing her latest book, “The Tale Teller.” It is the continuation of the Four Corners-based mystery series started by her late father, Tony Hillerman.
On June 8, local and national authors – plus a unique literary artist – will present nine back-to-back, half-hour workshops about the writing craft.
Thirty authors and artists will set up vending booths at the library offering books and artistic items for sale. Checks and cash will be accepted. Indoor and outdoor cafes will sell food from Sweetwater Gypsies Wood-Fired Pizza and The Farm Bistro.
“We’re transforming the entire library for the festival; it is going to be exciting,” said organizer and librarian Kathy Berg.
An innovative art style called graphic recording will add extra zing to each workshop.
As the writer talks, graphic artist Heather Martinez will draw images with phrases related to the topic on a canvas visible to the audience.
“It is an interpretive drawing that records the event,” said Casandra Leoncini, library marketing coordinator. “The audience enjoys a dynamic visual experience as well as hearing the writer speak.”
Prints from the graphic recordings of the workshops will be made into a special book about the event.
Workshop authors will include: Ann Hillerman, Art Goodtimes, Fred Blackburn, Nancy Bo Flood, Dennis Medina, Mary-Anne deLany, DeEtta Johnson, Renee Podunovich, Benton Yazzie, Phil Duke, William Pitt Root and Martinez.
Some of the topics to be covered will be: poetry tips, research strategies, writing children books, effective storytelling, writing family history, historical fiction and stencil painting.
Vendors will include: artists and photojournalists; Navajo comic book illustrator Keith Him; novelist and anthropologist Phil Duke; local author David Feela; wildlife writer Glen Hinshaw; adventure writer Vince Lee; Durango author Brooke Smith; short-story writer Jennifer Leeper; and children’s author Wendi Silvano.
Berg said the goal of this festival and other library events is to draw people into the library, showcase local talent and encourage expanding life experiences through reading and writing.
The event has great value for students, aspiring writers and anyone interested in the literary arts
“It is a great opportunity for the public to learn from successful authors and meet them in person, and all for free,” Berg said. “Don’t say, ‘Darn, I missed it.’ Just be there.”