October 9, 2000
Northwest Bookfest celebrates literary diversity
by Deborah Stone
The sixth annual Northwest Bookfest, to be held Oct. 21 and 22 at the Stadium Exhibition Center (next to Safeco Field), promises to be a celebration of the region's literary passions.
The festival boasts an impressive roster of more than 200 distinguished local and national authors who will participate in interviews, panel discussions, workshops, readings and book signings. More than 25,000 book lovers are expected to attend.
Bookfest 2000's expanded programming reflects the interests of Northwest readers and writers of all ages and backgrounds.
Headlining authors represent a wide spectrum of styles, genre and sensibilities, from Ha Jin, author of "The Bridegroom," a compilation of twelve stories that deal with the daily dramas of Chinese men and women, to Mark Salzman and his novel, "Lying Awake," a story set in a monastery in California, to "King," the first true photobiography of the journey of Martin Luther King Jr., by Charles Johnson.
Woodinville resident, author Amy Thomson, will take part in a panel discussion entitled, "Aliens Aren't Us: How Science Fiction Defines Humanity." Together with other science fiction authors, Thomson will share her view of humanity and how she writes about aliens.
"I consciously use aliens to make social and political statements about people," explains Thomson. "This topic is of great interest to me and I am honored to take part in Bookfest."
Thomson has had three books published, "The Color of Distance," "Through Alien Eyes" and "Virtual Girl," and is currently working on number four, which is about a storyteller who adopts a young boy.
She says, "As you move through the story, you will find that the storyteller is more than you think she is. There's more than meets the eye. It delves into folklore and is at the intersection of science fiction and fantasy. I hope to have it out in another year or so."
New this year is the Writers in Between Café, an informal coffee-house setting in which teens can read their own work aloud, meet other young adult readers and writers and interact with nationally acclaimed authors.
Notable authors include Sherman Alexie, Ana Castillo, Stephen Coonts, Jane Hamilton, Patrick McManus, Murray Sperber, Terry Tempest Williams, Alan Lightman and Marianne Williamson.
The Book Arts Exhibition is the largest in the Pacific Northwest with 200 exhibitors, featuring traditional fine press books and artists' books selected by a jury of artists and curators.
In addition, there will be a demonstration cooking stage with renowned chef/authors preparing their favorite recipes and a Young Writers and Readers area offering a full range of activities for children and families, including storytelling, bookmaking, hands-on publishing and illustrating.
Bookfest Boulevard, a "literary street" winds through the heart of the festival and will hold special activities, including the Scrabble Challenge, a magnetic poetry wall, Giant Chess, the Ingram Biblioclinic (where "doctors" prescribe the perfect book), the Friends of the Seattle Public Library Giant Book Swap, seated massages and numerous benches for reading, relaxing or just people watching.
Northwest Bookfest's goal is to bring people together to share in the joy and power of the written word and promote literacy.
Proceeds from Northwest Bookfest benefit literacy organizations in the region. Admission is free, however, a donation of $5 is suggested to support literacy programs in both rural and urban areas. For more information call (206) 378-1883 or access the festival's website at www.nwbookfest.org.