Weather Forecast


Bemidji Public Library to host 5th annual book festival

Bemidji Public Library

BEMIDJI -- A diverse and talented group of authors will be in Bemidji this week for the 2014 Bemidji Public Library Book Festival.

The annual event will take place at the library Monday through Saturday and will offer attendees a chance to participate in writing workshops, author presentations, a poetry slam, and cultural events.

Paul Ericsson, the branch manager at the Bemidji Public Library, said the festival originally started as an idea from someone who attended a book festival in Florida. At first the library thought it would be too expensive to host a festival but then in 2009 the library caught a break.

"When the Legacy Funding from the state materialized, then we realized there was an opportunity to financially back something like a book festival," Ericsson said.

Since the first festival in 2009 the event has enjoyed great success with more than 1,000 people usually coming to the festival over the one week it is held.

According to Ericsson, the 2014 festival has been in the planning stages for the last nine months and will cost $27,000 which comes from grants and the Kitchigami Regional Library System budget.

"One of the large expenses is simply getting authors here," he said.

For the fifth annual event, 15 authors from Minnesota and around the country will be at the library to talk about their books and to host writing workshops. Among the authors are names such as Sarah Stonich, the author of "Vacationland" which was a finalist for the 2014 Minnesota Book Award, and Laura Purdie Salas, an award-winning author of more than 120 books.

Ericsson said the authors come from many different backgrounds and genres, an aspect that will hopefully appeal to multiple groups of people.

"What we're shooting for is a little bit of something for everyone," he said.

The typical day during the week will start out with a children's author reading in the morning at the Bemidji Public Library with workshops and presentations for adults taking place during the evenings.

Evening activities will be at multiple locations such as the library, the American Indian Resources Center at Bemidji State University, the American Legion, Diamond Point Park, and Sparkling Waters.

Haley McKeon, the festival coordinator, said the book festival is beneficial to the community and is a good way to get children interested in reading.

"It's a really unique thing to offer," she said.

The festival is free to the public with free-will donations being taken at each event to help raise money to fund the 2015 festival. The writing workshops will have limited seating for 20 people so pre-registration is encouraged.

Ericsson said the festival is accessible to everyone and encourages the public to come enjoy the festivities.

"I would challenge people in the community, if they haven't came to a book festival event or another author event we've had at the library to come try one," Ericsson said. "It really does expand the experience of reading a book."

For more information about the festival vist or call 751-3963 to pre-register for the writing workshops/poetry slam.

BEMIDJI -- The following is a look at events scheduled for the Bemidji Book Festival this week.

Interested event-goers should note that pre-registration is required for the 2 p.m. weekday and 10 a.m. Saturday workshops, as well as presenting poems at the Poetry Slam. Contact the library at 751-3963 to register.


10:30 a.m. “Nalah & the Pink Tiger” puppet show with Anne Sawyer-Aitch at Bemidji Public Library, 509 America Ave. NW.

Noon “The Road to Blue Ribbon Baking” with Marjorie Johnson at Sparkling Waters, 824 Paul Bunyan Drive SE. Optional lunch available for purchase.

2 p.m. “Write It Wild!” children’s interactive poetry workshop with Laura Purdie Salas at Diamond Point Park.

2 p.m. “Mystery Writers Workshop” with Marilyn Jax at Bemidji Public Library.

7 p.m. “Vacationland” book presentation with Sarah Stonich at Bemidji Public Library.


10:30 a.m. “Storytime with Laura Purdie Salas” at Bemidji Public Library.

2 p.m. “Give My Monster Life: Writing With the Senses” workshop with Sarah Stonich at Bemidji Public Library.

2 p.m. “Plant a Pocket of Prairie” book presentation with Phyllis Root at Bemidji Public Library.

7 p.m. “The Answer to Your Question” book presentation for adults with Paulette Bates Alden at Bemidji Public Library.


10:30 a.m. “Adventurous Life: A Biography Told Through Children’s Books” book presentation with Ann McGovern in American Indian Resource Center on BSU campus, 1500 Birchmont Drive NE.

2 p.m. “Everything I Know About Creative Writing: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous” workshop with Paulette Bates Alden at Bemidji Public Library.

7 p.m. “A Journey From an Idea to a Published Book” book presentation with Ann McGovern in American Indian Resource Center.


10:30 a.m. Book presentation with Michael Hall at Bemidji Public Library.

2 p.m. “Structure of the Novel” writing workshop with David Housewright at Bemidji Public Library.

7 p.m. “Capitol Hell” book presentation with Jayne Jones at Bemidji Public Library.


10:30 a.m. Book presentation with Marsha Wilson Chall at Bemidji Public Library.

2 p.m. “A Picture Book Worth Its Words: Mining Childhood Gold” writing workshop with Marsha Wilson Chall at Bemidji Public Library.

5 p.m. Area Author Showcase American Legion, 217 Minnesota Ave. NW

7 p.m. “An Evening of Poetry” with guest poets Matt Mauch and Sean Hill plus a Poetry Slam for local poets at American Legion, 217 Minnesota Ave. NW.


10 a.m. “Get Started in Writing For Children” writing workshop with Lisa Bullard at Bemidji Public Library.

10:30 a.m. “Painting With Words” book presentation with Jean Pendziwol at Bemidji Public Library.