Let’s get this party started – Montana Festival of the Book is here!


Of all the wonderful things about living in Missoula – and there are many, many – the Montana Festival of the Book ranks at the top. For the next three days, the town will be awash in all things literary, starting with tonight’s appearance by Sherman Alexie at the Wilma Theatre.

Which pretty much sets the tone for the entire event. The festival features so many terrific authors that to name a few is risk slighting others who are equally deserving. There’ Bill Dedman, whose Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune recounts the life of the reclusive Montana heiress; Susanna Sonnenberg who wrote about her mother in Her Last Death and female friendships in She Matters, and Brad Tyer, Opportunity, Montana: Bad Water, Big Copper and the Burial of an American Landscape. Novelists Jamie Ford (Songs of Willow Frost, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet); David Abrams, (Fobbit); and J. Robert Lennon (Familiar, The Light of Falling Stars). Two-time Edgar winner James Lee Burke (most recently, The Light of the World) will speak at a Cajun-themed lunch in his honor at the Top Hat on Saturday. 

And on and on. Here’s the schedule – read it and weep at the realization that you’ll never be able to get to every event you’d like to attend. In today’s Missoula Independent, Erika Fredrickson lists some priorities. Needless to say, the next couple of days will be a happy blur.

My own small part comes at 2:30 p.m. Saturday with a reading from Montana, along with Gregory Spatz (Half as Happy, Inukshuk) and Emily Jeanne Miller (Brand New Human Being) in the Three Rivers Room at the Holiday Inn downtown. Hope to see you there.

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