High Plains BookFest

High Plains BookFest: Schedule of Events

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2018 HIGH PLAINS BOOKFEST SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18

Presentation
Ready for Takeoff: Montana, World War I, and Aviation
Kate Hampton, Montana Historical Society Community Preservation
Western Heritage Center, noon

Literary Butte: A Celebration
Aaron Parrett, Mark Gibbons, Paul Zarzyski, David Abrams, Dave Thomas, Robert Lee, Sheryl Noethe, Ed Kemmick, Peter Tolton, Russell Rowland and a tribute to the late Butte poet Ed Lahey.
Babcock Theatre, 7:30 pm (TICKETED EVENT: $10 ticket may be purchased at the door)

  •  Aaron Parrett was born in Butte, Montana in 1967. He is an American musician, author, and letterpress printer. Born in Butte, Montana, he earned a PhD in Comparative Literature in 2001 from The University of Georgia. He is currently Professor of English Literature at the University of Providence in Great Falls, Montana. He has written Montana: Then and Now, Montana Americana Music, and Literary Butte.
  • Mark Gibbons is a lifelong resident of Montana. His first chapbook of poems, Something Inside Us, was self-published in 1995, and a second, Circling Home, won the Scattered Cairns Press chapbook competition in 1999. Connemara Moonshine, the first full length collection of his poetry, was published in 2002 by Camphorweed Press, followed by blue horizon in 2007 from Two Dogs Press. He lives in Missoula, Montana, with his wife and two cats.
  • David Abrams, author of Fobbit, which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, served in the U.S. Army for twenty years and was deployed to Iraq in 2005 as part of a public affairs team. His stories have appeared in Esquire, Glimmer Train, Narrative, and other publications. He lives in Butte, Montana.
  • Ed Kemmick is a Minnesota native who has lived in Montana for most of the past 40 years. He has worked for newspapers in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Butte and Billings, Montana.  At The Billings Gazette, he wrote the popular City Lights column for 13 years, before running an independent online news site, Last Best News. He and his wife, Lisa, have three daughters.
  • Pete Tolton is a Billings-based filmmaker, artist, and writer, whose projects center on community engagement, small business, history, and music. He currently manages digital content and video production for Montana Gallery, a fine art gallery in Billings. His experience in documentary films includes serving as producer and production manager for Makoshika (2015).
  • Paul Zarzyski is a cowboy poet who grew up in Hurley, Wisconsin. The recipient of the 2005 Montana Governor’s Arts Award for Literature, Paul Zarzyski received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in creative writing in the mid-1970s at the University of Montana. In the same breath in which he first pursued his poetry passion, he discovered a second unexpected calling—bareback bronc riding—and competed on the amateur, ProRodeo, and Senior circuits into his early forties.

 FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19

Presentation & Discussion
Jane Little Botkin, Frank Little and the IWW: The Blood That Stained an American Family
Western Heritage Center, noon

  • Jane Little Botkin retired from a thirty-year teaching career in Texas public schools, and is an independent historian. After graduating from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BA in English, Jane taught high school students for thirty years and supervised fifteen volumes of the student-publication A History of Dripping Springs and Hays County. Frank Little and the IWW: The Blood That Stained an American Family is her first nonfiction book. She won two Spur awards for the book in 2018.  The subject of the book is Botkin’s great-granduncle, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, who was lynched for his words on August 1, 1917.

Writing History as Adventure
Doug Ammons, A Darkness Lit by Heroes: The Granite Mountain – Speculator Mine Disaster of 1917
Western Heritage Center, 2 pm

  • Doug Ammons is 48 years old and has been one of the top expedition whitewater kayakers in the world for the last 20 years, doing first descents in many countries and making adventure documentaries for National Geographic, ESPN, and Outdoor Life. He is known for his poetic and thoughtful writing style, as well as his extremely exciting action stories. He works as an editor for two large international scientific journals.

Science: Powerpoint Presentation
Dale Leckie, Rocks, Ridges, and Rivers
Western Heritage Center, 3 pm

  • Dale Leckie has a Ph.D. in Geology from McMaster University, a M.Sc. in Geography from McMaster University and B.Sc. in Geography from University of Alberta. Dale is a professional geologist who has worked as a scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada and as chief geologist in a large Canadian energy company. He has edited numerous books and published more than one hundred papers, many on the geology of western Canada. He has been leading geological field trips in western Canada throughout his career.

Private Reception
Invitation Only
Book Award Finalists & Readers & Book Reviewers
Billings Public Library, 5-7 pm

A Reading of Her Own
Nonfiction stories from women writers that challenge the audience to connect to their own experiences. Hear readings of short memoirs and essays by women writers including High Plains Book Award finalists:
Chauna Craig, The Widow’s Guide to Edible Mushrooms
Becky L. Mandelbaum, Bad Kansas
And other local writers, including Allie Cohen, Rebecca Flores, Tami Haaland, Precious McKenzie, and Sue Lawrence.
MoAv Coffee, Montana Avenue, 7:30 pm

  • Chauna Craig grew up in Great Falls, Montana. She acquired and Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Montana. A fiction and essay writer, she now lives in a purple house in Pennsylvania with her partner and children.
  • Becky L. Mandelbaum is the author of Bad Kansas, which received the 2016 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her work has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Georgia ReviewHobart, Salt Hill, The East Bay Review, South Dakota ReviewMidwestern Gothic, Kansas City Voices, and has been featured on the show Medium.

SATURDAY,  OCTOBER 20

Reading / Creative Nonfiction
Bill Jones, Homestead Soldiers
Doug Ammons, A Darkness Lit by Heroes
Robert Rebein, Headlights on the Prairie
Billings Public Library, Community Room, 10 am

  • Bill Jones is a native of Montana, he’s a loyal University of Montana Grizzly fan, and has lived in Billings since 1980. During his professional career, Bill worked for Del Monte Foods in San Francisco, he was a Hospital Administrator, and was Business Manager for a Law Office. He has authored two books, the first in 2005, entitled Texas Holdem Montana Style, written after he finished in 17th place at the 2003 World Series of Poker. He self-published Homestead Soldiers, his second book, and is currently writing a collection of short stories. Bill says he is not a trained writer and has thoroughly enjoyed learning the trade.
  • Doug Ammons is 48 years old and has been one of the top expedition whitewater kayakers in the world for the last 20 years, doing first descents in many countries and making adventure documentaries for National Geographic, ESPN, and Outdoor Life. He is known for his poetic and thoughtful writing style, as well as his extremely exciting action stories. He works as an editor for two large international scientific journals.
  • Robert Rebein is professor of English and chair of the Department of English at Indiana University Purdue in Indianapolis. His books include Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City and Hicks, Tribes, and Dirty Realists: American Fiction after Postmodernism.

Reading for Children
Ellen Horowitz, What I Saw in Glacier
Julie Gilum Lue, What I Saw in Grand Teton
Billings Public Library, Story Tower, 10:30am

  • Ellen Horowitz is an outdoor educator whose career spans more than 35 years, she teaches preschoolers to adults about the wildflowers and wildlife of the Rocky Mountains. Montana Audubon has honored her with their Educator of the Year Award for her work as a natural history instructor at Flathead Valley Community College. In addition, she has received awards for her magazine writing from Outdoor Writers Association of America and the National Wildlife Federation. What I Saw in Glacier is her first book.
  • Julie Gillum Lue grew up in the Colorado mountains, where she learned to love the outdoors and public lands. She graduated from the University of Colorado School of Journalism and studied elementary education. After college she worked for the National Park Service for about eight years, mostly in Rocky Mountain and Canyonlands national parks. She later transferred to the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the US Forest Service.

Reading for Young Adults
Colleen Nelson, Blood Brothers
Billings Public Library/Teen Center, 11 am

  • Colleen Nelson is the author of YA fiction books. The Fall and Tori by Design both won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. A junior high school teacher for ten years before having children, Colleen is familiar and comfortable with the tricky phase of life called ‘adolescence’. Now a Teacher-Librarian in Winnipeg, Canada, Colleen is constantly on the look-out for books that will catch the attention of her reading-reluctant sons.

Reading: Short Stories
Aaron Parrett, Maple & Lead
Chauna Craig, The Widow’s Guide to Edible Mushrooms
Giano L. Cromley, What We Build Upon the Ruins
Yellowstone Art Museum, 11am

  • Aaron Parrett is an American musician, author, and letterpress printer. Born in Butte, Montana, he earned a PhD in Comparative Literature in 2001 from The University of Georgia. He is currently Professor of English Literature at the University of Providence in Great Falls, Montana. He has written Montana: Then and Now, Montana Americana Music, and Literary Butte. 
  • Giano Cromley was born in Billings, Montana. He’s been featured in the Chicago Sun-Times’ Hot Chicago Writer Blog, and his writing has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Literal Latte, and The Bygone Bureau, among others. He is a recipient of an Artists Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council. He teaches English at Kennedy-King College and lives on Chicago’s South Side with his wife and two dogs.
  • Chauna Craig grew up in Great Falls, Montana. She acquired a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Montana. A fiction and essay writer, she now lives in a purple house in Pennsylvania with her partner and children.

Reading: Nonfiction Writers
John Clayton, Wonderlandscape
Chris Turner, The Patch
Billings Public Library, Community Room, noon

  • Chris Turner is one of Canada’s leading writers and speakers on sustainability and the global clean-tech industry. He is also the author of the bestseller The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need, a Globe & Mail Best Book of the Year. Turner’s first book was the international bestseller Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation. His feature writing has earned seven National Magazine Awards.
  • John Clayton is an independent journalist, essayist, and historian based in Montana. John’s latest book is Wonderlandscape: Yellowstone National Park and the Evolution of an American Cultural Icon. John is also the author of Stories from Montana’s Enduring Frontier, a collection of essays on Montana history. His major previous book, The Cowboy Girl, is a biography of the Montana/Wyoming novelist, journalist, and homesteader Caroline Lockhart.

 Reading: Fiction Writers
Jamie Ford, Love and Other Consolation Prizes
Jamie Harrison, The Widow Nash
Yellowstone Art Museum, 1 pm

  •  Jamie Ford is the son of a Chinese American father, he is the New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, which won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and Songs of Willow Frost. Ford now lives in Great Falls, Montana. He has been a previous finalist for a High Plains Book Award in the year 2014.
  • Jamie Harrison has lived with her family in Livingston, Montana for thirty years. She has worked as a magazine, book, and script editor, a cook and caterer, and a technical editor and researcher. The daughter of writer Jim Harrison, she is the author of four previous books, The Edge of the Crazies, Going Local, An Unfortunate Prairie Occurrence, and Blue Deer Thaw: A Mystery.

Reading: Woman Writers
Sherri Smith, Follow Me Down
Becky L. Mandelbaum, Bad Kansas
Billings Public Library, Community Room, 3 pm

  • Sherri Smiths first novel Follow Me Down is a thriller set in North Dakota. When not writing she spends time with her family and two rescue dogs and restores vintage furniture. She lives in Winnipeg, Canada.
  • Becky L. Mandelbaum is the author of Bad Kansas, which received the 2016 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her work has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Georgia ReviewHobart, Salt Hill, The East Bay Review, South Dakota ReviewMidwestern Gothic, Kansas City Voices, and has been featured on the show Medium.

Art & Photography Lecture
Rick Newby, Theodore Waddell, Theodore Waddell: My Montana
Trevor Herriot, Branimir Gjetvaj, Islands of Grass
Yellowstone Art Museum, 3 pm

  • Trevor Herriot is a grassland conservationist and naturalist who writes about human and natural history on the northern Great Plains. His last book, Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds was a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year and one of Quill & Quire‘s 15 Books That Mattered Most in 2009. He has written two radio documentaries for CBC’s Ideas and is a regular guest on CBC Radio Saskatchewan’s Blue Sky.
  • Rick Newby has contributed major essays to the exhibition catalogs A Ceramic Continuum: Fifty Years of the Archie Bray Influence and The Most Difficult Journey: The Poindexter Collections of American Modernist Painting. He is the editor of In Poetic Silence: The Floral Paintings of Joseph Henry Sharp, by Thomas Minckler. He founded the Drumlummon Institute which is a nonprofit organization that seeks to foster a deeper understanding of the rich culture of Montana and the broader American West through research, writing, and publishing.

Poetry Reading
Greg Kuzma, Hose and Iron: Selected Poems
Randall Gloege, The Bunch Grass Motel
Emily Ursuliak, Throwing the Diamond Hitch
This House of Books, 3 pm

  • Randall Gloege (deceased) 78, a retired professor from Montana State University Billings, died on February 19, 2013. He was born in Helena, Montana on Dec. 6, 1934. His early life was spent in Miles City and Billings. He was a graduate of University of Washington with an MA in creative writing and later, a PhD in English from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He taught English at MSUB for 26 years. He continued teaching one course a year in philosophy, for the joy of it.
    Greg Kuzma recently retired from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as Professor Emeritus, having taught poetry writing at all levels there for forty-two years. A prolific writer, his poetry has appeared in some of the most significant journals in this country, and his many books include Good News, The Buffalo Shoot, Village Journal, For My Brother, and News for the World. He lives in Crete, Nebraska.
    Emily Ursuliak writes both fiction and poetry and has an MA in English from the University of Calgary. A lover of books and literacy, she is currently working on a Masters in Library and Information Science to become a librarian. She hosts and produces CJSW’s, a campus radio show, that features a literary arts radio show Writer’s Block.

High Plains Book Award Banquet
Ticketed event
Yellowstone Art Museum, Cocktail hour 6 pm, Dinner 7 pm

Visit our Facebook Community to keep updated on upcoming BookFest events.

Authors interested in taking part in a future BookFest should contact Corby Skinner, Writer’s Voice director at corby@skinnerbenoit.com.

    The Billings Public Library Board has established the High Plains Book Awards to recognize regional literary works which examine and reflect life on the High Plains, including the states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

    ADDRESS

    1302 - 24th St W. #109
    Billings, MT 59101

    PHONE

    (406) 652-2053

    EMAIL

    info@highplainsbookawards.org