Lit Fest starts Tuesday at Bookwalter Winery

An impressive list of authors and poets will cover a wide range of writing styles and their approach to literature during the annual Mid-Columbia Literary Festival.

"Lit Fest" as it's commonly known, kicks off at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bookwalter Winery in Richland and runs through May 24.

Tuesday's kick-off at the winery includes talks from various writers about books that they think are great reads.

Then on Feb. 15 it will be the "Poetry Out Loud" regional finals starting at 7 p.m. in the theater at Columbia Basin College in Pasco. Students from local high schools will recite classical and contemporary poetry as they compete for a chance to make it to the state finals.

On Feb. 24, fiction writer Benjamin Percy will give a talk on creative writing starting at 7 p.m. on the Hawk Union Building's main stage at CBC. Percy is a faculty member at Iowa State University and wrote two novels, Red Moon and The Wilding.

On March 3, fiction writer Pam Houston will give a lecture starting at 7 p.m. in the HUB at CBC. She won the 1993 Western States Book Award for her collection of short stories titled Cowboys Are My Weakness.

On March 9, Richard Yancey will give a talk at 7 p.m. in the Gjerde Center at CBC. Yancey, a former Internal Revenue Service officer, took up his lifelong dream of being a writer in 2004 and is the author of Confessions of a Tax Collector.

On April 7, poets Shan Ray and Katrina Roberts will be featured at 7 p.m. on the main stage in the HUB at CBC. Ray's poetry and prose deal with the nature of humanity with regard to violence and forgiveness. He is the author of a collection of stores titled American Masculine.

Roberts is a Harvard grad and a professor of English and the humanities at Whitman College in Walla Walla. She is the author of four books of poetry -- Underdog, Friendly Fire, The Quick and How Late Desire Looks.

On April 28, the featured speaker will be Brett Lott at 7 p.m. in the HUB at CBC. He's the author of 12 books, most recently Ancient Highway, published by Random House.

The May 12 festival will feature a presentation where the winners from the annual writing competition from area high schools will read their poetry, fiction and nonfiction entries.

The event starts at 7 p.m. in the HUB at CBC.

On May 24, the festival wraps up the same way it starts with an "About the Book" event at 6 p.m. at Bookwalter Winery.

Admission to all events is free and all ages are invited to attend.

Lit Fest is sponsored by Columbia Basin College and its partners: Bookwalter Winery, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Battelle, Tri-City Herald, National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.