Michael Punke

Michael Punke, author of "The Revenant."

When planning your weekend of literary events, be sure to check out this festival, founded in honor of the famed Montana author.

The In the Footsteps of Norman Maclean Festival is happening in Seeley Lake on Friday and Missoula on Saturday and Sunday.

The theme this year is, "Writing the West: A Way Forward," with guest writers who are pushing the region's fiction and nonfiction in new directions while honoring the past.

The headlining writer this year is Michael Punke, author of the historical novel "The Revenant." Punke's time living in Missoula was interrupted by a stint in a government post in Sweden, during which he couldn't discuss his novel's path to a Hollywood movie.

Other bold-type names speaking include Debra Magpie Earling, Annick Smith, Peter Stark, Dan O'Brien, and some of the production team behind "Perma Red" television adaptation.

It runs Friday-Sunday, Sept. 13-15, with events in Seeley Lake and Missoula. All-access passes are $125. Go to macleanfootsteps.com for more information.


Seeley Lake tours

10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Tour of “Norman's Favorite Fishing Holes” on the Blackfoot River with Jerry O'Connell, Big Blackfoot riverkeeper. $30.

1-3 p.m.: Tour of “Norman's Neighborhood” in Seeley Lake with Ron Cox of the Seeley Lake Historical Museum. $10.


4:30 p.m.: Celebration of the reprinting of Elers Koch's book, "40 Years a Forester: 1903-1943," hosted by Norman Maclean's son, John N. Maclean and Aaron Parrett. Copies of the book will be available. Museum of Forest Service History, Missoula. $10.

5-7 p.m.: Author reception at the Dana Gallery, co-hosted with the Montana Book Festival and featuring writers from both events.


Day pass for all events costs $20.

Morning events at MCT Center for the Performing Arts:

10-11 a.m.: Presentation by author Debra Magpie Earling on the poetry/photography book, "The Lost Journals of Sacajawea," she created with bookmaker Peter Koch.

11 a.m.-12 p.m.: "Exploring the West" with Michael Punke ("The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge") and Peter Stark ("Astoria").

12-1:30 p.m.: Lunch break

Afternoon events at MCT Center for the Performing Arts:

1:30 p.m.: Keynote with Michael Punke, "Why I Write the West."

2-3 p.m.: "Realizing the West" with Judy Blunt ("Breaking Clean") and Rick Bass ("Why I Came West").

3:15-4:30 p.m.: "Restoring the West: The Way Forward," with Dan O'Brien ("Buffalo for the Broken Heart") and Richard Manning ("ReWilding the West").

Festival dinner at MCT with speaker Annick Smith, "Is this Still the Last Best Place?" Cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. $100.


MCT Center for the Performing Arts:

10 a.m.-12 p.m.: "Applied Indigenous Storytelling: Perma Red TV Series and Community Engagement." The production team from the "Perma Red" adaptation will discuss the process of creating a culturally accurate and community-based production. Includes a screening of "A World Unseen," a 40-minute film about the making of "The Revenant." $10.

12-1:30 p.m.: Lunch break.


1:30-5 p.m.: "Creating the film, 'The Revenant,' " with author Michael Punke and screenwriter Mark Smith with a screening of the film. $10.

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