Peter Heller, a renowned author, adventure writer, and the featured guest at this weekend’s Lit Fest, compared his kayaking excursions on some of the world’s most daunting rivers to literature: “You put on a river, and it is sort of like a narrative, a story. It had a beginning, it had a pretty exciting middle, and if you lived, you know,” he laughs, “it had an end.”
To someone like Heller, probably everything begs to be put into a literary narrative. He is a contributing editor to Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, a frequent contributor to NPR, and an award-winning author of four nonfiction books as well as two bestselling novels, The Dog Stars and The Painter. And this weekend, you can meet him in person.
This year’s Telluride Literary Arts Festival, the third annual, features another great lineup of activities and seminars and some terrific poets, writers, and journalists. All of the programs except the Literary Burlesque are free to the public. Here is what’s in store:
Friday, May 20:
Mark Fischer Poetry Prize and Talking Gourds Poetry Performances
Starting at 6 p.m. at Arroyo Wine Bar, meet the prize-winning poets (selected from 130 entries from 22 Western states) and then enjoy readings by Peter Heller, Judyth Hill (whose poem “Wage Peace” received international acclaim after 9/11), followed by an open mic.
Saturday, May 21:
Word Up! Moderated Panels
Two great discussions take place at the Wilkinson Public Library. At 10 a.m., Craig Childs will moderate “Environmental Journalism: The State of the Art,” featuring Judy Muller, Amy Irvine, Alec Jacobsen, and Peter Heller.
At 12:30 p.m., Daiva Chesonis will moderate “Guidebook Authoring: The Ethics and a How-To of an Ever-Expiring Genre,” with panelists Tor Anderson and Ted Floyd.
Birding with Ted Floyd
Ted Floyd, author of The Field Guide to Birds of Colorado and Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America will lead a birding foray at 3 p.m.. The walk and talk starts at Between the Covers Bookstore.
Kids Book Bash
From 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the library, there are hands-on offerings for kids: traditional Japanese book binding, black out poetry, and a Guess the Book contest.
Literary Burlesque and The Rapture Dance Party
Starting at 8 p.m. at the Ah Haa School for the Arts, poets will perform a racy burlesque program called “O Sister, Where Art Thou?” in what has become Lit Fest’s signature event, followed by a dance party featuring DJ Radio Addiction. This is the only element of the program with a fee—$15.
Sunday, May 22:
Featured Author Brunch with Peter Heller and Closing Gourds Circle
Meet Peter Heller and hear him speak at 11 a.m. at the library, and stay for the closing ceremonies with the local Talking Gourds poetry collective at 2 p.m.