The 2019 Montana Book Festival kicked off Thursday and runs through Sunday, Sept. 15, at various locations around Missoula. 

A full schedule of events can be viewed at montanabookfestival.org

Each event is $5 each, or all-access buttons can be purchased at Fact and Fiction for $15. 

Read the Missoulian's features on author Tiffany Midge and the collection "We Leave the Flowers Where They Are," a collection of essays from female writers. And, if you missed it, read the Missoulian's preview of the festival here

Some of this weekend's highlights:

'Poet’s Panel: Is this surreal or for real?'

(Friday, Sep. 13)

This discussion features four poets, who will discuss and give tips on how they shape everyday life into surrealistic, imaginative work.

The panel is made up of Jeff Alessandrelli, who has published works on Erik Satie and the Notorious B.I.G.; Adrian Kein, who grew up in Missoula and now lives in Butte; Michael Earl Craig, a recent poet laureate of Montana and Hajara Quinn, of Portland, Oregon.

As a theme, the event uses this quote from Gabriel García Márquez: “It always amuses me that the biggest praise for my work comes for the imagination, while the truth is that there’s not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality.”

The Poet’s Panel will be at 3 p.m. at Fact & Fiction, 220 N. Higgins.

A very special episode of: Erotic fan fiction

(Saturday, Sep. 14)

The erotic fan fiction workshop is a yearly highlight at the book festival, and this year features two great female writers to lead the discussion and reading.

Tiffany Midge, a poet and humor columnist, will be joined by Mara Panich, the manager of Fact and Fiction.

The bawdy, fun-filled event will start at 7 p.m. at the VFW, 245 W Main St.

Stephanie Land keynote

(Saturday, Sept. 14)

The author of “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” will give the keynote address at the book festival, after a year of success after success on the release of her memoir.

The author, who graduated with a degree in creative writing from the University of Montana, published “Maid” in January 2019. The book landed at No. 3 on the New York Times bestseller list, and has been praised by Soledad O’Brien, Terry Gross and Barack Obama, who included it on his 2019 summer reading list.

Land will be accompanied by Debra Magpie Earling at the Mercantile Hotel at 6 p.m.

Shann Ray and Brian Laidlaw performances and readings

(Saturday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 15)

These two poets combine the spoken word with music in inventive ways.

Ray, a native Montanan, has published poetry, short stories and one novel. He will be performing poetry with musical accompaniment.

Laidlaw is a musician as well as a poet, who tours with his band The Family Trade, and has released a companion album with each of his first two poetry collections. He writes poetry, music, and sometimes combines the two, altering his poetry to be more lyrical, with repetition and more conventional rhyme schemes. Expect poetry along with some folk-style music.

Shann Ray will perform at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday at Montgomery Distillery, 129 W. Front St.

Brian Laidlaw will perform at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at the same location.

'How the West was Woman'

(Sunday, Sep. 15)

This panel discussion will feature two female writers living in Montana and Idaho, and how they perceive their place in Western writing. CMarie Fuhrman is a poet and nonfiction writer who co-edited “Native Voices.” Emily Withnall grew up in New Mexico and now lives in Montana as a single LGBTQ parent of two daughters.

The two women will discuss how the West has historically treated women, LGBTQ people and Native Americans, and how their work examines and works to change perceptions.

Missoula author Melissa Stephenson will moderate the discussion, which starts at 3 p.m. at the Dana Gallery, 246 N. Higgins Ave.

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