The new version of the Montana Book Festival is off and running. It kicked off last night with an outstanding lecture from author John Vaillant, whose book The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, is this year’s selection for the University of Montana’s “First Year Reads” program. I wrote a blog about the book when I first read it back in 2011 called “In the Taiga, the Czar Always Eats First.” You can check that out HERE. I followed it up with a post about the documentary that inspired the book, Conflict Tiger. I wrote about that HERE. Bottom line, the book is a must read, as far as I’m concerned.
I was excited when I heard John was coming to town, and immediately sought an opportunity to write about it. That resolved itself into an interview that was posted to the Indy yesterday. Check it out HERE. The best result from that interview, though, is that this afternoon I am actually driving John to Bozeman for an event he has there tonight, staying overnight, hoping for a whirlwind drive through Yellowstone Park on the way back to Missoula in the morning in time for him to fly back to British Columbia and for me to meet my remaining bookfest responsibilities. I’m pretty excited. Vaillant’s lecture last night was superb. I am going to allow myself an hour to be a dorky fanboy, then I will settle in to being just one of two dudes out on a road trip.
What are my remaining responsibilities? First off, Friday night at 7:00 at The Dennison Theater I will be telling a story as part of Storyteller Celebration: Tell Us Something and Stephen Graham Jones. Here’s what that is all about:
Tell Us Something is a celebration of storytelling, of the Missoula community, and of each other.
Tell Us Something awakens imagination, empowers storytellers and connects the Missoula community through the transformative power of personal storytelling. It is a celebration of each other, our stories and how we move through the world together. All of the stories at Tell Us Something are true. Stories last for 10 minutes and are told from memory. Everyone is welcome to tell a story. There is a theme for each event.
Generally, storytellers are not announced ahead of time. Tonight’s event is different in that we’ve invited storytellers who have been well received by the Tell Us Something crowds and have been enthusiastic about the program. Usually there are between 8-10 storytellers. Tonight we’ll have four storytellers from the Missoula community.
I’m very flattered and honored to have been one of the people invited to tell a story. As a writer, I consider myself a storyteller, whether it’s a novel or nonfiction. To be invited to be part of this . . . it’s kind of a big deal to me. I hope not to let the people involved down by falling flat.
Saturday morning at 9:30 at the Holiday Inn I’m part of a panel on Freelance Writing. It was actually a panel idea I pitched to them, because it was something I wanted to see. The folks putting the festival together said, “Great idea! Put it together and let us know!” So I contacted my friend John Clayton to be the moderator, and then we worked with (my new best friend) Rachel Mindell to make it happen. We have a good lineup, and it should be fun.
So those are my two events, but I’ll be attending others. Should be a good, interesting weekend. These festivals always are. Then next week I’m off to Alabama for a work trip. It’s gonna be crazy around here for a while. . . .