Lit Fest 2010 starts with a few words from readers

By the Herald editorial staff

Call it chance, call it luck or call it serendipity, the Mid-Columbia Literary Festival folks have stumbled across a great new venue for their Lit Fest 2010 opener.

Well, not stumbled, exactly; they went looking for it, so the serendipity idea probably is not accurate. (But it's such a pretty word!)

Tonightthe first event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Bookwalter Winery, 894 Tulip Lane in Richland.

It's a twist on the usual and continuing practice of Lit Fest, bringing celebrated authors to Columbia Basin College to talk about their works.

Why not, wondered Lit Fest board member Ed Frost and Michelle Price, Barnes & Noble Booksellers' community relations manager, have a session built around book readers?

"About the Book" was born.

Lit Fest recruited speakers who've each shown a lifetime of respect for the printed word.

Moderator will be Chris Sivula, a member of the Lit Fest board of directors and editorial page editor of the Tri-City Herald.

In order of presentation, the presenters, talking about books they love, will appear in this order:

1. Bonnie Taylor, who has a background in journalism, mostly in Florida with the Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald and Rollins College. She is co-author of several mysteries published in the 1980s and 1990s. She helped found the Herald's book page as a volunteer in 1988. She is on the Lit Fest Committee and still writes book reviews for the Herald.

2. Amanda Workman is the librarian at Desert Hills Middle School -- which she loves! She has worked in libraries for over 10 years, including the central libraries of Portland, and Olympia, and is currently the Benton-Franklin Reading Council secretary. A young adult book enthusiast, and self-proclaimed nerd, she loves all types of books but finds herself gravitating toward fantasy and graphic novels.

3. Pam McDonald and her husband, Ted, and their 19-year-old son have lived in the Tri-Cities since 2001. Pam is a contract specialist for Dade Moeller & Associates in Richland. She has been a contract administrator for over 25 years. Pam belongs to two book clubs in the Tri-Cities and has been an avid reader since she was 8 years old.

4. Robert Ingersoll works for Goodwill Industries. He says he loves to read, and his favorite author is Mark Twain. He also likes memoirs, biographies, history, science fiction and other genres.

5. Aaron Schroeder says he has been interested in literature since discovering Charles Bukowski in eighth grade. His love of reading was encouraged by many of his high school teachers who would frequently allow him to read books in class rather than pay attention to their lectures. When Aaron began working at Barnes & Noble in Kennewick five years ago, he believed that the only good authors were dead Russians. With a little curiosity and encouragement by Barnes & Noble customers and employees, Aaron soon found himself interested in a much broader range of authors.

6. Allison Stormo is the Sunday features and book editor of the Herald where she has been working for nearly 10 years. She's an Oregon native and lives in Richland. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a journalism degree. Her book collection well surpasses her bookshelf space and includes all her books from her childhood. She tries to attend Wordstock book convention in Portland every year.

7. Carol Berry was a school librarian for 33 years, now enjoying retirement. She is a member of the Lit Fest planning committee and president of The Literacy Connection, a nonprofit organization coordinating author visits to schools in the region. She first started working with authors while a member of the executive board for Mid-Columbia Young authors from 1983-90.

8. Ed Frost is a member of the Lit Fest steering committee. He loves short stories. His favorite fiction author is Kurt Vonnegut, his favorite nonfiction author is David Halberstam and his all-time favorite book is A Confederacy of Dunces.

Programs with authors begin in March and run through May. Most events take place at Columbia Basin College, a principal sponsor of Lit Fest. Other current and past sponsors are Barnes & Noble, Battelle, Baker Boyer Bank, Louise Foskett Estate, The Children's Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia, Humanities Washington and the Tri-City Herald.

For more information, call 542-4772 during business hours or visit the website at www.columbiabasin.edu/litfest at any time.