The Bud Werner Library’s nonprofit Author Festival is just two weeks away, and for the first time in more than a decade, it’s not quite sold out. Limited tickets are still available for Literary Sojourn – until they are gone.
Local book-loving procrastinators, this is a rare opportunity you’ve been looking forward to. It’s also the perfect opportunity to introduce Steamboat’s beloved book festival to new members of the community.
Literary Sojourn has been the library’s flagship event since it took root in 1993 as a local dream to bring remarkable authors to our rural mountain community. Since its inception, Sojourn’s list of authors has included more than 150 winners and nominees of the world’s top literary prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Man Booker and the National Book Award.
The September 10 lineup includes this year’s National Book Award winner Jason Mott, along with Omar El Akkad, Gary Shteyngart, Claire Vaye Watkins and Karen Joy Fowler as emcee.
The half-day festival, which begins at 1 p.m., features one-on-one interviews by the five authors sharing stories of inspiration, craft and character in their published works.
It’s the recipe for a perfect Steamboat Saturday: spend the morning nourishing your body with coffee, shopping at the farmer’s market, cruising the bike path and hiking to the quarry; then feed your spirit all afternoon with escapism served up by award-winning authors.
A late afternoon break on the lawn includes a Yampavore box filled with sweet and savory delicacies made at Steamboat, then the stay ends with book signings and a casual chat with the authors. You’ll be gone for happy hour at sunset before you know it – and surely filled with the best conversation piece for a dinner party of the summer.
From a librarian’s perspective, Literary Sojourn is a manifestation of a mission of enrichment, education and escape for all – curated by the thirst for books.
From a book lover’s perspective, the magic of Sojourn is the fleeting in-person exchange with some of the best storytellers of our time. There will be no registrations or virtual participants. The experience is intimate inside the String Pavilion, interrupted only by late summer breezes and murmurs of amazement from the audience.
And my personal opinion? Literary Sojourn remains my one favorite day of the year at Steamboat. After a two-year pandemic hiatus, I can barely contain my anticipation of our live reunion.
If you don’t believe me, listen to old writers swooning over Sojourn.
“Literary sojourn is a rare event,” Ethan Canin said. “Rare in its warmth, rare in its beauty, rare in the love of books that one feels everywhere in this splendid place.”
Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr said, “You are living a singular day where literature is the most important thing in the room. I left Steamboat Springs energized and deeply grateful.
Longtime local favorite Pam Houston called Sojourn, “The best show in the West – it’s a class act.”
But their playlists are so long that you worry.
Mark this thought as an asset to review after the event, not as a liability to deter you from getting started for the day. No one needs to have read the books to appreciate Literary Sojourn. It is a joyful mind-expanding experience, not a test.
Also, it’s inevitable that the stories these authors share will spark a long wish list of books you can’t wait to dive into and read after the event. Thank goodness you have a library with each of their books to loan out for free, and an amazing independent bookstore at Off the Beaten Path that sells books onsite at Sojourn and able to stock your personal library with those books throughout the year. year from their downtown store.
For ambitious readers who are now inspired to read like crazy for two weeks before meeting the authors, they can start their must-read list with “Hell of a Book” by Mott, “Booth” by Fowler, “What Strange Paradise by El Akkad, “Our Country Friends” by Shteyngart and “I Love You But I Chose Darkness” by Watkins.
It’s a hugely diverse lineup, and the library can’t wait to discuss all of these brilliant novels with readers after getting the scoop from the authors on September 10.