It's Tome Time

Chippewa Valley Book Festival at its next chapter

Abi Zimmer

This autumn, “turning leaves” has a dual meaning for the Chippewa Valley Book Festival. With the changing colors of fall comes the diversity of authors and genres in the festival’s ninth year celebrating writers and readers with the theme of “Many Voices, Many Worlds.” From Oct. 16-19, a number of discussions and readings are open to the public. Authors will gather to read Norwegian, Ojibwa, Hmong, and German, while other sessions will focus solely on one genre, such as mystery, fantasy, and sci-fi.

“It brings readers and authors together to meet informally, to create a kind of energy in the community,” says Mildred Larson, who has been on the festival committee since its beginning. “It’s a chance to make a connection between an author and what they write about.”

The Festival started in 1999 when the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library received grants from the American Library Association to bring authors to the community. Larson says committee members were inspired by the major book festival in Charlotte, N.C., called the Novello Festival. “We thought we could do something like it on a smaller scale,” says Larson.

Since then, the festival has brought in such writers as poet Naomi Shihab Nye and journalist Sandy Tolan. This year highlights include Tom Farley presenting on his deceased comedy star brother (Wisconsin’s own Chris Farley) and Oregon’s poet laureate, Lawson Fusao Inada.

The growing festival will hold presentations on Thursday and Sunday as well. Memorial High’s improv team will open for Farley, bringing in an aspect of spoken word. Also new this year is the hors d’oeuvre reception Friday night at the Haymarket Grill, open to the public to welcome author and readers.

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