Based upon a comment by Bemidji resident Lynn Moore to Paul Ericsson, branch manager of the Bemidji Public Library, about a book festival she attended in Florida, the initial thought for the same kind of festival in Bemidji was born.
Almost a year later, the first Bemidji Public Library Book Festival will commence Monday, Aug. 9.
As part of the Kitchigami Regional Library System, the local branch library was able to secure legacy funds approved by the voters in November 2008. An event planner, Barb Treat, was secured by the committee, which includes patrons of the library, representatives from the general public and local non-profits. The search for Minnesota authors began.
"The library is very fortunate to be able to provide an event like the Bemidji Book Festival," said Ericsson. "The large attendance at our author presentations and other events this past year makes us optimistic that a weeklong series of author events will be well received. The lineup of Minnesota authors who will be here in Bemidji for the festival is impressive."
A listing of the times and dates and authors are as follows:
- 2 p.m., Monday, Aug. 9, Wild Rose Theater, 501 Bemidji Ave. Brian Duran will speak about his first published novel, "Whiteout," set in the north woods of Minnesota and about a family that has lost its internal compass and is trying to reclaim the right path. The book won the Independent Publisher Association's Gold Medal for Midwestern Fiction among numerous other awards.
- 7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 9, Bemidji Public Library, 509 America Ave. Will Weaver, who writes fiction for adults and young adults, will talk about his work.
Weaver, a retired English professor from Bemidji State University, has published many books and short stories. As a New York Times Book Review stated, "(his writing) views America's heartland with a candid but charitable eye."
- 2 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 10, Sparkling Waters Restaurant, 824 Paul Bunyan Drive. Artist Jane Freeman will speak. Freeman is a lifetime member of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and the author of books and feature articles on watercolor. She is an avid gardener and is known for her flowers and still life paintings.
- 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 10, BSU American Indian Resource Center. An Anishinaabe activist, Winona LaDuke, will speak about issues for which she is nationally and internationally known - sustainable development, renewable energy and food systems. A two-time vice presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket, she is presently on the advisory board for the Trust for Public Lands Native Lands Program.
- 2 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 11, Diamond Point Park. Carol Ann Hauser, a poet, essayist and natural history writer, will speak. Winner of the 2010 McKnight Artist Fellowship Loft Award in Poetry, Hauser's many publications include "You Can Write a Memoir" and "A Field Guide to Poison Ivy."
- 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 11, Bemidji Community Arts Center, 426 Bemidji Ave. Poet and writer Sean Hill will speak. His first book, "Blood Ties & Brown Liquor," was published in 2008, and his newest anthology, "Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry," is forthcoming.
- 11 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 12, Headwaters School of Music and the Arts, 519 Minnesota Ave. N.W. Alison McGhee, who writes books in all forms and for all ages, will speak. A founding member of Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, McGhee is the winner of numerous awards and the author of the "Julian Gillian" series for young readers about a young girl who lives in Minneapolis.
- 2 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 12, Cabin Coffee House and Café, 214 Third St. N.W. Elaine Fleming a member of the Leech Lake Nation and former mayor of Cass Lake, will speak about her first play, "No, My Girl, You Tell the Story." A story of how a grandmother passes on the gift of storytelling to her granddaughter.
- 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12, BSU American Indian Resource Center. Jim Northrup, an Anishinaabe journalist, writer, artist and radio personality, who lives the traditional life with his family in northern Minnesota will speak. Northrup writes a syndicated column, "Fond du Lac Follies," which was named Best Column at the 1999 Native American Journalist's Association Convention.
- 2 p.m., Friday, Aug. 13, Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant, 317 Beltrami Ave. N.W. Larry Schug, winner of the $25,000 Loft Award in the 2008 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers and recent Central Minnesota Arts Board grant winner for poetry, will speak. Schug's experiences as a firefighter, grave digger, dish washer and with army service add richness to his writing.
- 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13, Cabin Coffee House and Café. Beth Solheim, the author of the Sadie Witt Mystery series, lives with her husband in lake country, works at a local hospital during the day and writes at night while she hosts a ghost or two in her humorous paranormal mysteries.
- 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 14, Bemidji Public Library. Marion Dane Bauer, a published author since 1976, has written more than 70 books. Bauer is a retired faculty member and first Faculty Chair of the MFA program in "Writing for Children and Young Adults" at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her writing book, "What's Your Story? A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction," is used by writers of all ages.
- 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 14, Wild Hare Bistro and Coffeehouse, 523 Minnesota Ave. N.W. Carol Ann Russell, professor of Women's Studies and Poetry at BSU, will speak. Her work is widely published, and she is also an enrolled candidate at the Assisi (Italy) Institute's Certificate Program in Archetypal Pattern Analysis.
- Local authors will display their work at the Area Author Fair from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, on the Lake Bemidji waterfront near Paul and Babe. Attendees will be able to speak with the authors and buy their books during the fair.
These activities are funded, in part, by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 11, 2008.