After teaching a 10-week class about the authors of the 2004 Literary Sojourn Readers Festival, Michelle Dover noticed a difference. She walked into the September event with a deep knowledge of each author and a personal connection to many of the other attendees.
Seeing its effects, Dover, front desk manager at Bud Werner Memorial Library, plans to make the Colorado Mountain College Literary Sojourn summer class an annual tradition.
Dover has a master's degree in English, and the class has given her a chance to reconnect with one of her passions -- in-depth study and analysis of literature.
"At the library, I get to have short conversations about books, but this class is so much a part of what I'm about," Dover said.
Not only do students of Dover's summer class read the works of Literary Sojourn authors, but they also watch film adaptations of books and explore the authors' backgrounds.
For example, one of this year's authors, Patrick McGrath, had his psychological thriller "Spider" turned into a movie. Students attending the McGrath portion of the Literary Sojourn class will watch and read "Spider."
"I try to set up a theme with each class," Dover said. "People who take the Chris Abani class will study the political history of Nigeria in order to better understand his books."
Abani, author of "Graceland," is a recent winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award. He was thrown in jail in Nigeria after publishing his first novel, said Chris Painter, director of Bud Werner Memorial Library. Abani now lives in political exile in California.
This year's author list also includes a Steamboat favorite, Ruth Ozeki, author of "My Year of Meats."
"That book was a huge success," Painter said. "Everyone in town had read it.
"We always talked about bringing her to the Literary Sojourn, but no one had a connection." When Ozeki's book "All Over Creation" was released in 2003, Painter contacted her publicist.
Within days, Painter was e-mailing Ozeki about the possibility of coming to Steamboat. Students who take the section about Ozeki will explore her work as an award-winning documentary filmmaker.