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The lowdown on the panel discussions

The lowdown on the panel discussions

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Here's a brief guide to some of the panel discussions that will be part of the Montana Festival of the Book.

Friday, Sept. 8

9 a.m., Missoula Public Library

"Internet Publishing and Writers' Resources." Charleene Min, of Philadelphia-based Ex Libris, Inc., describes nontraditional publishing alternatives as well as a writers' resources available via the Internet.

10:30 a.m., Wilma III

"The Fine Print: Small and Fine Presses." What role do small and "fine" presses play in the publishing industry? Meet four publishers who specialize in these labors of love.

10:30 a.m., Wilma IV

"Writing in Time: The Art of Historical Fiction." What are the unique challenges and rewards of writing historical fiction? How important is research, how does research change the imagined story, and what happens when historical accuracy collides with creative necessity?

10:30 a.m., Boone & Crockett Club

"The First Voice: Native American Literature." Some of the most important voices in our literature and culture are Native American in origin. Academic and independent scholars discuss our prominent Native American writers and the tradition from which they come.

Noon, Wilma IV

"Writing For The Big Screen." How does a novel become a movie? Five writers who have worked as both novelists and screenwriters discuss the differences between novel and screenwriting, and the joys and frustrations of dealing with Hollywood.

Noon, Boone & Crockett Club

"Back at the Ranch." The harsh beauty and the seasonal rhythms of the working ranch infuse the work of many Western writers. Panelists whose lives and work have been connected intimately to the land will discuss the images of ranch life in their work and in Western literature and what they hope to convey about an increasingly uncommon way of life.

Noon, Missoula Public Library

"Michael Malone and Montana Letters." Michael Malone, a premier historian of the West and president of Montana State University, died in December 1999. This panel will discuss Malone's life and work and his place in Montana and Western letters.

1:30 p.m., Wilma III

"The Contemporary Character." Some characters are so real they seem like a good friend (or hated enemy!) How do writers create these people who seem to live and breathe?

1:30 p.m., Wilma Theater

"The Female West." From the earliest diaries of homesteaders and pioneers, women's voices have been an important part of the literature of the West. Five fiction and nonfiction writers discuss the female voice within the Western tradition.

1:30 p.m., Missoula Public Library

"Protecting Us From Ourselves: Filters and the Internet." An issue confronting schools and libraries is how to make the great informational wealth of the Internet accessible without exposing children and others to offensive or illegal materials. Three prominent Montanans, a librarian, a law professor, and a civic and business leader, offer their views.

3 p.m., Wilma III

"Smile When You Say That - Humor & Literature." Tragedy is easy; it's comedy that's hard. Five authors talk about what makes humor work on the page.

3 p.m., Wilma IV

"Books & Publishing." Editor Dan Conaway of HarperCollins, one of the nation's publishing giants, talks about the nuts and bolts of publishing and editing.

3 p.m., Missoula Public Library

"Lewis and Clark." Joseph Mussulman, a producer and writer of "Discovering Lewis and Clark," a Web site about the Corps of Discovery (, will demonstrate and discuss the site and its development. Dale Burk is the publisher for the Bitterroot Discovery Writers, a group of Bitterroot Valley writers whose works address the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

4:30 p.m., Wilma Theatre

"The Mysterious West." Montana is crawling with mystery writers. While their heroes may sleuth in New York City, San Francisco, Texas or the Hi-Line in northern Montana, these writers are all working in a genre that relies heavily on craft. What are the demands and pleasures of the form?

5:30-7:30 p.m., Holiday Inn Parkside

Festival Reception and Silent Auction. Join authors and other participants in a reception and silent auction to benefit the Festival. Admission is $20, including beverages and hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are available from the TIC-IT-E-Z Outlet, 406-243-4051, in Missoula or 1-888-MONTANA.

8 p.m., Wilma Theater

Gala Reading. The first of two nights of readings and performances by some of the premier voices of the West: "poet lariat" Paul Zarzyski, David James Duncan, Rick Bass and Bozeman poet/social critic Greg Keeler.

Saturday, Sept. 9

9 a.m., Wilma III

"There's Something About Butte." Five writers who have all fallen under the spell of this amazing town and its people talk about their work.

9 a.m., Wilma IV

"Writing For Children." Four prominent children's authors discuss the process of writing for children, from initial concept to published work.

9 a.m., Boone and Crockett Club

"Travel, Adventure & the Great Outdoors." People love to read about remote places and dangerous exploits. Five writers who travel the globe looking for adventure and natural beauty discuss the hazards, joys, and responsibilities of writing about the great outdoors.

10:30 a.m., Wilma III

"Publishers, Agents, Editors." What do these guys want anyway? A panel of publishers, agents and editors explains the process of submitting a manuscript and discuss the state of the industry.

10:30 a.m., Missoula Public Library

"Pottermania." The world has gone crazy over Harry Potter. A panel of adults and children discuss the phenomenon and what to read while waiting for Potter No. 5 to appear.

Noon, Wilma IV

"Changing History of the West." No longer just cowboys and Indians, the history and historiography of the West has changed. Four Western historians discuss their work and the ways in which it reflects changed perspectives on the West.

Noon, Missoula Public Library

"Book Groups." Millions of otherwise absolutely normal people belong to book groups. Who are they, what are they reading, how do they structure their groups, and why has the book group phenomenon become so popular?

1:30 p.m., Wilma IV

"StoryKeepers: How To Tell Your Story." Each of us has a story - but where to start? Susie Rishio of the StoryKeepers, a Missoula organization, leads a workshop designed to help participants begin to tell their life stories.

1:30 p.m., Wilma Theater

"Writing From A Sense of Place." For many writers, the environment that surrounds them is as important to their voice as character or plot. Four writers discuss the inner and outer landscapes that affect their work.

1:30 p.m., Caras Park

"Harry Potter Reader's Theater for Kids." See Harry Potter and friends on the stage at Caras Park. Kids read a script created by Missoula Public Library Director Bette Ammon. World's first known Harry Potter Reader's Theater!

1:30 p.m., Missoula Public Library

"Book Collecting." Chris Mullin, special collections librarian at the Mansfield Library, discusses the perils and joys of book collecting.

3 p.m., Wilma IV

"StoryKeepers: How To Tell A Loved One's Story." In the second part of her workshop, Susie Rishio, of Missoula's StoryKeepers, discusses how to preserve family stories and memories.

3 p.m., Wilma Theatre

"The Art of Memoir." When does your life become your book? How do writers turn memory into art? How much do you reveal, and what do you hold back? Five authors explore and define a genre that is growing in popularity with both readers and writers.

3 p.m., Caras Park

"Happy Tales Literary Contest Winner's Ceremony." The winner of the Festival's Happy Tales "Literary" Contest is Missoula's own Mark Martin! The world premiere performance of Mr. Martin's "Hamlet Refinished," or "The Happy Dane," will take place at the Caras Park stage.

3 p.m., Missoula Public Library

"Book Preservation." A discussion of how to care for and preserve your first editions and old favorites by Julie Mace of the Mansfield Library.

4:30 p.m., Wilma III

"The Food Guys." Novelist Jon Jackson and food writer Greg Patent, KUFM's Food Guys, talk about their favorite foods and recipes.

4:30 p.m., Wilma Theatre

"The New West." The economy, politics, and culture of the West are changing. As we move from a land- and resource-based economy toward greater diversity, how are the people who live and work here affected? What opportunities and choices are before them in governing themselves and in the governing of the West?

7:30 p.m., Wilma Theatre

Gala Reading and Festival Finale. The second of two nights of readings by some of the premier voices of the West: William Kittredge, Richard Ford, Mary Clearman Blew and James Welch.

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