The Mid-Columbia’s annual literary festival is back with its first event of the season March 10 and is again aiming to inspire book lovers’ passion for the written word.
Organizers said they are excited about this year’s festival and the opportunities it will offer the community.
“We’re trying to touch base on as many literary genres as we can,” said Bill McKay, dean of arts and humanities at Columbia Basin College in Pasco.
The literary festival is sponsored by CBC and several other partners, including the Richland Public Library and Battelle Foundation. It has brought in several notable authors over the years, including Sherman Alexie, Augusten Burroughs and, most recently, young adult fiction writer Stephanie Bodeen.
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Allen Johnson, a psychologist who has written books on travel and self-motivation, will speak about his novel The Awakening on March 10 at the Richland Public Library. He also will discuss the psychology behind developing fictional characters.
Poets Gwen James and Tod Marshal, novelist Pete Fromm and Karen Spears Zacharias, a Central Washington University professor and author of true crime and memoir, round out this spring’s events. LitFest ends May 20 with chamber jazz duo Chris Lee and Colleen O’Brien performing poems that have been set to music and vice versa, as well musical pieces by known writers who also were composers.
Author Andrew Chapman was scheduled to visit the Tri-Cities in early April but canceled, McKay said. Organizers also decided to forgo the community reading book instituted last year with Bodeen’s dystopian young adult novel The Compound.
“We needed to step back and look at operationally what is the best way to go about it,” McKay said.
But with this year’s speakers and events incorporating poetry, music and various forms of prose writing, there should be something for everyone to be excited about, organizers said.
James’ and Fromm’s joint event on April 16 will be at Washington State University Tri-Cities, a first for LitFest and a sign of what could be a bigger role in the annual festival, McKay said.