Ah, life doesn’t get much better than to spend a glorious weekend in scenic Northeast Iowa, soaking up the beauty of the rolling hills and limestone bluffs and listening to a slate of about thirty authors discuss their craft. The Luther College Writers Festival is on September 22 to 24, 2016 in Decorah.
Start your weekend early on Thursday evening, September 22, when pre-festivities activities begin with a reading by author Kali Van Baale (The Good Divide, Midwestern Gothic 2016) at Decorah’s independent bookstore, Dragonfly Books (112 W Water St., Decorah). With stark and swift prose, The Good Divide explores one woman’s tortured inner world, and the painful choices that have divided her life. Immediately after her talk, Kali will chat with attendees and sign copies of her book. This event is free and is open to the public.
Following the reading at Dragonfly Books, stroll a few blocks down Decorah’s Water Street to the Elks club (402 W Main St., Decorah), and join ArtHaus’ not-to-be-missed Poetry Slam either as a participant or an audience member. Emceed by local celebrities and showcasing a featured artist, ArtHaus Poetry Slams welcome all to participate in the non-competitive "Original Voices" (3 minutes or less of your own poetry) or the "Slam" (a good-natured competition complete with prizes and Applause-o-Meter). Call ArtHaus at 563-382-5440 or signup online to perform. Recommended for adults, ages 16 and up. Admission is $5.00; $3.00 for students.
Registration for the Luther College Writers Festival opens at 3 pm on Friday, September 23rd. Registration is still open, and is very reasonable: $50 general public, $25 Luther alums, and $10 students. The opening panel discussion, "Fiction Reading and Discussion" with best-selling authors Jane Hamilton (Excellent Lombards, Map of the World, Book of Ruth) and Charles Baxter, is at 4 pm on Friday, September 23, and will be followed by a book signing.
The keynote address at 7:30 pm on Friday, September 23 by best-selling author Erik Larson (Devil in the White City, Dead Wake), is free and open to the public. His talk, “The Lost City of Me: Strange Odyssyes in Nonfiction Writing” will be followed by a book signing and festival reception.
Saturday brings a full day of breakout sessions, author signings, a book fair, and coffee breaks. Read more about the featured presenters, including Decorah authors and poets June Melby, Charlie Langton, John Hall, Amy Weldon, Carol Gilbertson, David Kamm, and Lise Kildegaard. If you are a writer, a reader, a lover of poetry and prose, or someone who just loves to listen to their favorite authors talk about their books and their craft, this is the festival workshop for you.
The complete schedule for the Luther College Writers Festival is available online.
Photo credit: Luther College Writers Festival