Last day for discounted tickets to sojourn

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Today is the last day to get tickets at the reduced price for Literary Sojourn. After today, tickets for the daylong gathering of readers and authors increase from $75 to $85. This year, the cost of a ticket will include a meal.

This is the 12th year for Literary Sojourn.

The Literary Sojourn is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Sheraton Steamboat Resort. The day of lectures and readings will be followed by an informal book signing and author reception in the Three Saddles Lounge of the Sheraton.

Every year, a committee of bookstore owners, library employees and English teachers selects five authors to come to Steamboat, read their work and talk about the writing process. The event sells out every year.

A strong body of work, perhaps including one highly visible book, is among the selection criteria. The author must be a good speaker, have extensive literary credentials, such as attending the Iowa Writers School, winning awards or fellowships, or being published in literary publications such as The New Yorker. It also helps if the author is already on a book tour. Ann-Marie MacDonald, for example, will be coming to Steamboat with her 700-page "The Way the Crow Flies," as the first stop on a national book tour. MacDonald's previous book, "Fall on Your Knees," was chosen for the Oprah book club.

This year's selected authors are Cristina Garcia, MacDonald, Audrey Niffenegger, David Quammen and Brady Udall.

Bud Werner Memorial Library director Chris Painter was introduced to Udall's work when she served as a judge for the Mountain and Plains Regional Booksellers Award competition. At the time she read Udall's "Miracle Life of Edgar Mint."

"I fell in love with the book, and my co-judges all agreed," Painter said. "And as far as seeing what the readers are borrowing from the library, Udall is a local favorite."

Udall also published a book of short stories, "Letting Loose the Hounds."

"There are some stories that are heartbreakingly sad and some that are heartbreakingly funny," Painter said. "It's the way he accomplishes this mix of emotions that makes him a good writer."

Painter was also excited about the arrival of Quammen in the Sojourn lineup. The Sojourn committee has been trying to get Quammen to speak at the event for years. Last year, Sojourn author Tim Cahill offered to give Quammen a call when he returned home to Montana. The two writers are friends.

Readers may know Quammen from his writing in Outside magazine.

"He's a brilliant science and nature writer who also has a love of travel and adventure," Painter said. "He has a quirky way of looking at humans compared to the natural world."

"We like to mix it up," she added. "We have a committee that reads extensively and disagrees vehemently on the literary merit of different books. We like to balance literary quality with popular books and cover the spectrum of taste."

-- To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210

or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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