Sneak Peek: Acclaimed Scientists & Storytellers Join “The Big Think” Lineup

Book presentations feature inventor Nikola Tesla, the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, wormholes and warp drives, quantum physics, and much more.

We’re excited to announce additional authors for the 2018 Fort Collins Book Festival. These eight authors are set to present their books over the festival weekend, October 19 and 20, at venues throughout Old Town Fort Collins. The full lineup of authors presenting at the 2018 festival will be released in September.

Dr. Adam Becker is an astrophysicist and author. The New York Times praised his recent debut, What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics, as “a thorough, illuminating exploration of the most consequential controversy raging in modern science.”

Dr. Amanda Hendrix is a Senior Scientist with the Planetary Science Institute, based in Boulder. She worked for twelve years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was the Deputy Project Scientist for the Cassini–Huygens mission (2010-2012). She co-authored the book Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets.

Dr. Sheila Rowan is an experimental physicist, professor, and director of the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow in the UK. She pioneered research on aspects of the technology of gravitational wave detectors which were responsible for picking up the first gravitational wave signals from colliding black holes in 2015.

Michael Benson is an artist, writer, and filmmaker who works at the intersection of art and science. His book Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece was published in April.

Sam Kean is the New York Times bestselling author of Caesar’s Last Breath, The Dueling Neurosurgeons, The Disappearing Spoon, and The Violinist’s Thumb.

Nicholas (Nik) Money is a mycologist and professor at Miami University (Ohio). He will present his most recent work, The Rise of Yeast: How the Sugar Fungus Shaped Civilization, along with Mushrooms: A Natural and Cultural History.

Richard Munson is an author, businessman, and activist in the field of clean energy and industrial energy efficiency. He directs the Environmental Defense Fund’s clean energy efforts in the Midwest. His most recent book, Tesla: Inventor of the Modern, was released in May.

Carolyn Collins Petersen is a Colorado-based science writer who specializes in astronomy and space-science topics. She is the author of Space Exploration: Past, Present, Future along with Astronomy 101: From the Sun and Moon to Wormholes and Warp Drive, Key Theories, Discoveries, and Facts about the Universe.

This year’s festival, The Big Think, includes more than 35 authors, storytellers, scientists, and creative visionaries participating in writing workshops, author readings, panel discussions, and much more. Learn more about the authors online at

Bestselling Sci-Fi Author Andy Weir Joins FoCo Book Fest

Andy Weir, Author of the New York Times Bestsellers The Martian and Artemis, Joins the 2018 Fort Collins Book Festival

Popular sci-fi writer and “lifelong space nerd” to present Closing Keynote

(FORT COLLINS, Colo., July 24, 2018) — Poudre River Public Library District today announced that internationally acclaimed author Andy Weir will present the closing keynote at the 2018 Fort Collins Book Festival, The Big Think. This is the third consecutive year of the free community festival which features diverse local, national, and international authors, poets, and innovators.

Photo credit: Aubrie Pick

Weir’s evening presentation is scheduled for Saturday, October 20 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the Lory Student Center* on the Colorado State University campus. A book signing will follow the presentation. Old Firehouse Books, the official bookseller of the FoCo Book Fest, will be on-hand before and after Weir’s session for book sales.

Prior to the evening keynote, Weir will participate in a discussion on space colonization at Block One Events Center beginning at 3:00 p.m. that explores the possibilities, realities, and challenges of humans living on other planets. He will be joined by featured Colorado author and planetary scientist Dr. Amanda Hendrix (Beyond Earth: Our Path to a new Home in the Planets).

“I’m excited to share my love for space exploration with fellow sci-fi fans during the Fort Collins Book Festival,” says Weir. “It’s a great opportunity to discuss how science, technology, and literature come together to envision future possibilities.”

Andy Weir built a career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full time. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects such as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. His most recent novel, Artemis, was published in November 2017 and was a New York Times bestseller. Geneva Robertson-Dworet is set to adapt Artemis for the big screen, and Phil Lord and Chris Miller will direct.

*Schedule subject to change. Seating for presentations is on a first come basis. No ticket required. A final schedule and author lineup will be released prior to the event.

Loudon Wainwright III Joins FoCo Book Fest Lineup

Legendary Folk Singer-Songwriter to Discuss New Memoir

We’re excited to announce that singer/songwriter, actor, and author Loudon Wainwright III has joined the Writings and Riffs lineup of presenters. His memoir, Liner Notes: On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay, & a Few of My Other Favorite Things, was published earlier this month, and he’s going to join the FoCo Book Festival to discuss his life, lyrics, relationships, and major influences.

Plus, he’s even going to play a bit of live music for us!

Wainwright, the son of esteemed Life magazine columnist Loudon Wainwright, Jr., is the patriarch of one of America’s great musical families. With a career spanning more than four decades, Wainwright has established himself as one of the most enduring singer-songwriters who emerged from the late 1960s. Not only does he perform regularly across America and in Europe, but he is a sought-after actor, having appeared in many movies and TV series.

He joins fellow headliner, Kim Gordon, of Sonic-Youth fame, and featured authors G. Brown, Steve Knopper, Khadijah Queen, and Craig Werner, among many other exciting voices at this year’s book fest.

Author Lineup Sneak Peek Continues

Okay, quick recap of where we are with the 2017 FoCo Book Fest author lineup.

Exciting featured authors Kim Gordon, G. Brown, Steve Knopper, Craig Werner, and Khadijah Queen.


Amazing Colorado poets including Chloe Leisure, Aby Kaupang, Bill Tremblay, and Lisa Zimmerman.


Now, we’re excited to announce more great authors joining us at #FoCoBookFest Writings and Riffs. Take a look and let us know what you think.

Mark Pedelty is an author, professor, and Fellow at the Institute on the Environment. His most recent book is A Song to Save the Salish Sea: Musical Performance as Environmental Activism.

Journalist Stephen Witt is the author of How Music Got Free: the End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy, the definitive history of digital music piracy.

Rick Beyer is a best-selling author, award-winning documentary producer, and long-time history enthusiast. His most recent book is Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. He’s also the author of The Greatest Music Stories Never Told.

Professor Kip Lornell is an award-winning author of 14 books focused on various topics in American vernacular music, with books about Texas Blues and D.C. Bluegrass slated for publication in 2018. He’s a Grammy winner for program notes for Anthology of American Folk Music and is the co-editor of The Music of Multicultural America along with our next author, Anne Rasmussen.

Anne Rasmussen is a professor of music and ethnomusicology and the director of the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble at the College of William and Mary. She recently authored Women, the Recited Qur’an and Islamic Music in Indonesia.

Colorado musician, singer-songwriter, and author Rick Roberts has written two recent books: Lame Brain: My Journey Back to Myself and a collection of stories from his musical career, Song Stories and Other Left-Handed Recollections.

More information about each of these authors and presenters can be found on our Speakers page.

Stay tuned for more additions to the festival!

More Featured Authors Announced

Last week, we announced the headlining author at this year’s FoCo Book Fest: author-musician-artist, Kim Gordon!

This week, we want to tease out a few more featured presenters who’ve joined our lineup. We’re excited to have them participate in Writings and Riffs and can’t wait until October 21!

Drum roll please….

G. Brown is a Colorado guy who’s not only an author but is the founding director of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. His most recent book is Red Rocks: The Concert Years. G is going to talk about the Colorado music scene, share stories, & discuss his favorite books.

Steve Knopper might be best known as a contributing editor to Rolling Stone Magazine, but he also has some serious book cred including MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson and Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age. Look for Steve throughout the book festival talking about the King of Pop, favorite books, & other fascinating topics.

Khadijah Queen is our featured poet who also happens to be a playwright, novelist, and faculty member for the new Mile-High MFA in Creative Writing at Regis University. Her most recent novel is I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On. Khadijah will be joining a few different panel discussions during the festival & reading her poetry.

Craig Werner returns to Fort Collins to talk about his forthcoming book, a history of the 1960s told through music. If you had the chance to see him present on the music of the Vietnam War a few years ago, then you know how engaging and interesting Craig is. He also serves on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee.

And more…

We’re not done yet — there’s still a list of local and national authors we’re working with to round out the FoCo Book Festival. We’ll continue to announce more participants and roll-out the day-long festival schedule, so stay tuned.

Be sure to follow us on social and use #FoCoBookFest to grab our attention!

Kim Gordon’s Coming! #FoCoBookFest

Sonic Youth Musician, Visual Artist, and Author Joins Writings and Riffs

We’re excited to share that Kim Gordon, rocker, writer, artist, and all around bada$! is headlining the 2nd Annual Fort Collins Book Fest on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

Kim Gordon is the first of a wide selection of authors and presenters to be announced. She’ll discuss her New York Times bestselling memoir, Girl in a Band, and participate in panel discussions. Book purchases and signings will follow hosted by Old Firehouse Books.

The day-long event is FREE, open to the public, and will include awesome presentations, panel discussions, writing workshops, author readings, book signings, & much more.

Stay tuned for more announcements about festival presenters, classes & workshops, lead-up activities, and more!

“We’re thrilled with the success of last year’s Fort Collins Book Festival and programs, and we’re looking forward to another exciting festival this year. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience from their favorite authors how books and music are flip sides of the same artistic coin,” says Anne Macdonald, festival co-founder and librarian at Poudre River Public Library District.

#FoCoBookFest #FoCoBooks