News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Festival of Books opens in Sisters next weekend

The upcoming weekend in Sisters is going to be one for the books — literally. Sisters Festival of Books, a three-day celebration of the literary culture of Central Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, runs October 18-20 at multiple venues around town.

The festival features more than 40 local, regional, and national authors. Books featured at the festival will cover a wide range of subjects, including politics, Western historical fiction, Vikings, motherhood, romance, Arctic exploration, Central Oregon recreational activities and more.

Lead organizer Lane Jacobson of Paulina Springs Books is gratified with the response to the inaugural festival, both from the local community and from the broader literary community.

“It’s been exclusively positive and excited,” he said. “I wouldn’t say a home run, but a solid triple or a really impressive ground-rule double.”

Ticket sales have been brisk and satisfying, but there will be room for more throughout the event.

“Tickets will be available at the door for everything except the (Saturday-night author) dinner,” Jacobson said.

The idea for the festival was sparked by local resident Mac Hay, who travels annually to the Edinburgh International Book Festival in Scotland. Hay’s reports on the festival have been featured in The Nugget. While the Edinburgh festival is huge in scope, Hay was convinced that Sisters could adapt the model and provide a perfect venue for a festival of its own.

“This started with Mac coming to me and talking about his love for the Edinburgh Book Festival and his feeling that Sisters needs one,” Jacobson said last summer. “It just seemed like a no-brainer. It made a lot of sense.”

Jacobson, assisted by Ann Richardson, began shaping an inaugural festival that fits Sisters.

He told The Nugget that the festival offers “a high concentration of authors in a short period of time at a reasonable cost — and also (the opportunity) to mingle with like-minded book lovers, which is also a big part of it.”

The festival begins Friday, October 18, at FivePine Lodge and Conference Center with a catered reception featuring some favorite Central Oregon authors including Paul Alan Bennett, Jill Stanford, Craig Rullman, Jim Barnett, Joshua Savage, Jim Cornelius and more.

The festival continues on Saturday with a full lineup of author events, a pop-up bookstore at the festival venue, and author dinners. Some of Saturday’s featured authors include the renowned North Carolina author David Joy, whose novels “Where All Light Tends To Go,” “The Weight Of This World,” and “The Line That Held Us” have won critical acclaim and a fiercely loyal readership. Joy is a native of the North Carolina mountains, as familiar with the fly-rod as he is with his pen. He is also the author of the memoir “Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman’s Journey,” a finalist for the Reed Environmental Writing Award and the Ragan Old North State Award.

Other featured authors include Oregon Poet Laureate Kim Stafford, former congressman Les AuCoin, NYT Bestselling Author Jane Kirkpatrick (“One More River to Cross”), Bill Sullivan (author of the “100 Hikes” series of guidebooks, “Listening for Coyote,” and “The Ship in the Hill”), Debra Gwartney (“I Am a Stranger Here Myself”), Molly Gloss (“Unforeseen: Stories, The Hearts of Horses, Falling from Horses”), and Meaghan O’Connell (“And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready”).

Those who are interested in becoming a published author themselves may wish to attend a “Navigating the World of Book Publishing” workshop with Kim Cooper Findling on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Ponderosa Room at Best Western Pondrerosa Lodge. This is a ticketed event.

Sunday will feature primarily kid- and family-focused events in-store at Paulina Springs Books. Programming includes story times, sing-alongs, coloring and more.

Jacobson noted that Jonathan Tweet, the author of a kids’ book on evolution entitled “Grandmother Fish” will be on hand.

“He is also the lead designer of the third edition of “Dungeons & Dragons,” Jacobson said. “It’s cool to have him involved.”

Proceeds from the festival will be used to establish a scholarship fund for Sisters High School students through the Sisters Graduate Resource Organization (Sisters GRO).

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