10 Writing Workshops Added to Book Fest

We’re excited to offer 10 different writing workshops this year. As in past years, the writing workshops are free to attend, but you do have to pre-register in order to save a spot. Space is limited.

Registration for all workshops opens on Tuesday, October 1 at 9:00 AM.

Workshops run on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19 at Old Town Library. This year features a young writers workshop (for grades 4-12) presented by Octavio Quintanilla on Saturday.

Visit the Writing Workshops page to review the full workshop schedule and session descriptions. Each workshop description includes a direct link to the online registration through Poudre River Public Libraries. Questions? Call the Library District Answer Center, 970-221-6740.

2018 Fort Collins Book Fest Lineup Announced

Fort Collins Book Festival Announces 2018 Lineup Featuring More than 40 Authors, Scientists, and Storytellers

Lineup Presents Andy Weir, Bill Ritter Jr., Kimiko Hahn, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, and More

Poudre River Public Library District is excited to announce the 2018 Fort Collins Book Festival author and presenter lineup. This year’s festival, The Big Think, features more than 40 renowned writers, scientists, and storytellers including Kimiko Hahn, Fort Collins Poet Laureate Natalie Giarratano, Eric Magrane, Michael McLane, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, Todd Mitchell, and more. The 2018 Book Fest takes place Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20 at venues throughout downtown Fort Collins.

Award-winning poet Kimiko Hahn is the author of nine collections of poetry including Brain Fever and Toxic Flora, both of which were prompted by fields of science. Hahn currently serves as President of the Board for The Poetry Society of America and is a distinguished professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Literary Translation at Queens College, The City University of New York.

Fort Collins Poet Laureate Natalie Giarratano will present selections from her most recent work, Big Thicket Blues and her award-winning debut, Leaving Clean. Giarratano will be joined by Colorado poets Bill Tremblay and Abigail Chabitnoy and by Texas Poet Laureate Jenny Browne.

Eric Magrane won the 2015 Southwest Book of the Year Award and a New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide. He is a poet, cultural geographer, and founding editor of Spiral Orb, an experiment in permaculture poetics. Magrane will participate in a panel discussion on Earth’s sustainability and will lead the “Walking and Writing Place” field trip with Michael McLane that focuses on walking as a means of thinking and writing. McLane is the author of the book Trace Elements and is an editor with Sugar Hosue Review and saltfront: studies in human habit(at). He also serves as director of the both the Utah Center for the Book at Utah Humanities and the annual Utah Humanities Book Festival.

Multimedia artist, composer, and author Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky will present The Imaginary App, a sweeping work that explores the cultural and technological shifts that have accompanied the emergence of the mobile app. Miller is the 2017-2018 recipient of The Hewlett 50 Arts Commission Award which supports the creation of “Sonic Web,” a multimedia performance and an installation based on the history and evolution of the internet.

Colorado Book Award winner Todd Mitchell will host a writing workshop aimed at science fiction and fantasy writers and participate in a panel discussion with fellow writers and scientists that examines the role and impact of science fiction stories and topics in driving scientific advancement. Mitchell’s book The Last Panther won a 2018 Colorado Book Award and a Colorado Author’s League Book Award, and was named 2018 Green Earth Honor Book.

The Big Think features a diverse array of topics, genres, and writers including poets and bestselling authors of fiction and nonfiction. The two-day event includes previously announced authors Andy Weir, Bill Ritter Jr., Dr. Sheila Rowan, Dr. Adam Becker, Michael Benson, Dr. Amanda Hendrix, Richard Munson, Carolyn Collins Petersen, and Sam Kean.

“We’re honored to welcome so many amazing authors, scientists, and big thinkers to Fort Collins,” says Anne Macdonald, Fort Collins Book Festival Director and librarian at Poudre River Public Library District. “The diverse topics presented at this year’s book fest are among the most exciting and distinctive ones we’ve offer yet. There’s sure to be something of interest to everyone.”

The Fort Collins Book Festival kicks off on Friday with six writing workshops at Old Town Library taught by experienced authors like John Calderazzo, Teresa Funke, April Moore, Jenny Browne and Todd Mitchell. Writing workshops are free but require registration. That evening, the special All-Star Poets reading at Downtown Artery will feature award-winning poets David Axelrod and Kimiko Hahn.

Saturday is the main day of the festival and includes more than 40 authors and presenters participating in 30 panel discussions, book talks, readings, presentations, and more.

Local author SueEllen Campbell will present her book The Face of the Earth: Natural Landscapes, Science, and Culture and will participate in a panel discussion about the communication challenges and opportunities for engaging the public in the fields of science.

Writers Matthew Cooperman and Aby Kaupang will present their newly-published book, NOS (disorder, not otherwise specified), and share their experiences following their daughter’s diagnosis of autism and their journey of affection, affliction, love, and protection. The authors will also join Colorado writers Jeffery Pethybridge and Carolina Ebeid in a discussion of how trauma has affected their mind, body, and writing craft in therapeutic and subversive ways.

Popular local author Sasha Steensen partners with WILLA Award finalist Jodi Varon, author of Drawing to an Inside Straight: The Legacy of an Absent Father, and poet David Axelrod to explore how writers shape the energy and argument of their work from an intimacy shared with all lifeforms.

The authors, scientists, and storytellers participating in The Big Think also include up-and-coming Colorado writers, enabling the festival to connect attendees to their favorite writers and introduce them to new ones.

The Fort Collins Book Festival is produced by Poudre River Public Library District in partnership with CSU Morgan Library. The event is offered free to the community through the support and generosity of the City of Fort Collins Fort Fund, the City of Fort Collins Office of Economic Health, Colorado Creative Industries, CSU Office of External Affairs, Associate Students of Colorado State University, Bohemian Foundation, Poudre River Friends of the Library, Downtown Development Authority, KUNC, The Colorado Sound, Front Range Community College, Poudre River Library Trust, Rocky Mountain Student Media (including KCSU 90.5FM, Rocky Mountain Collegian and CTV Channel 11), Downtown Fort Collins Creative District, Liggett Johnson & Goodman, First National Bank, Northern Colorado Writers, Woodward Inc., Happy Lucky’s Teahouse, and other local businesses and creative arts organizations.

Writing & Self-Publishing Workshops Announced

Participate in writing workshops and self-publishing seminars designed to broaden your writing and encourage creativity. Learn how to develop your character’s voice and dialogue, advance your poetry, write scientific articles, create compelling sci-fi, and more.

Due to the popularity of the FoCo Book Fest, we’ve added an entire day of writing workshops and self-publishing seminars so attendees can participate in writing classes and also enjoy a day of author presentations, panel discussions, and readings.

All workshops take place Friday, October 19 at Old Town Library.

Workshops are free but require registration since space is limited. You must be age 16+ to register. Registration opens on October 1 at 10:00 AM.

Learn more about the workshops and how to register by visiting our Writing Workshops page.

Writing Workshops Pre-Registration Open

What’s a book festival without the opportunity to learn the craft of writing from authors themselves? We have three exciting writing workshops scheduled at Old Town Library during the festival on Saturday, October 21.

Participants in the workshops must register in advance since space is limited.

  • Register online: Poudre River Public Library District’s Calendar of Events
  • Register by phone: 970-221-6740


Learn more about each of the writing workshops:

Finding the Story You Need to Write: Nonfiction Writing Workshop with John Calderazzo

From Flat to Round to Lumpy: How to Weird Up Your Short Story Characters with Susan Ring deRosset

Opening the Poem: A Workshop for Readers and Writers with Sasha Steensen

PLUS: One-on-One Publishing Consulting with Teresa Funke (registration by phone only, 970-221-6740)


#FoCoBookFest Schedule Released


You’ve seen the venues. You’ve read up on the authors. Now it’s time to take a look at the #FoCoBookFest schedule!

We’re extremely excited about the diverse selection of topics being presented at Writings and Riffs. It’s a great blend of music-related themes and the literary arts. So, there’s bound to be a number of presentations, discussions, readings, or workshops that will interest everyone. The full schedule can be found online.

Writing Workshops: As with last year’s book fest, the writing workshops require registration as space is limited. Register by calling the Poudre River Public Libraries Answer Center (970-221-6740) or sign up online. If you’re interested in working one-on-one with author Teresa Funke to learn more about the publishing process, her 30-minute consultations also require advance registration.

Select Presentations & Panel Discussions

Collective Groove: Colorado’s Musical Identity. Colorado’s identity is comprised of skiing, hiking, craft beer, bikes, and (we wish) books. Join this impressive group of music specialists—multicultural musicologist, Kip Lornell; Colorado musician and composer, Rick Roberts; journalist, Stacy Nick, and Colorado musician and music blogger, Greta Cornett as they discuss a sixth spoke in our identity wheel—Colorado music.

Driving the King: Nat King Cole. Author Ravi Howard discusses ways that writers use narration and character development to create a sense of depth in characters, even when they are silent or guarded. For his recent novel, Driving the King, Howard was challenged to create an off-stage persona of a well-known musician, Nat King Cole, and to find ways to create a sense of interior with characters who were in this exterior world of performance.

Ecomusicology. Dr. Mark Pedelty argues, not only can music help make our communities more sustainable, it’s essential for doing so. He makes the case empirically, showing how several artists have made tangible contributions to sustainability and environmental justice through performance. In addition to a reading and discussion, a few songs will be performed as illustration.

How Music Got Free. With the success of streaming, the 20-year era of music piracy draws to an end. But what actually happened during this reign of terror? What lessons can be learned? And, most importantly, who controls the future? Stephen Witt, the author of How Music Got Free, tells the story of the scientists, suits, and smugglers who made the contemporary era possible… and what things may come.

History vs. Hamilton! Lin Manuel Miranda’s mega-hit musical Hamilton! has wowed audiences with its stunning musical score and intricate portrayal of early America’s complex politics. But exactly how accurate is the history that Hamilton! Rick Beyer, author of Rivals Unto Death: Hamilton and Burr, explores what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what juicy plot points never made it to the Broadway show. He is joined by his son, Denver-based musician Andy Beyer, founder of the music project Sonic Geometry, for an entertaining song-by-song look at History vs. Hamilton!

Music, Gender, and Politics in Islamic Indonesia. Ethnomusicologist Anne K. Rasmussen describes her teaching, research, and community-engaged activism. Using examples from her book Women, the Recited Qur’an, and Islamic Music in Indonesia, alongside fresh research on Islamic musical arts, Rasmussen shares her perspective on the intersection of cultural production, gender, tradition, modernity, as it plays out on the stage of Islamic music in Indonesia.

Complete session descriptions and the event schedule can be found on the Schedule page. You can also preview the festival program online by downloading a PDF copy. Print programs will be available at all venues the day of the event and at various locations throughout Fort Collins prior to the festival.

Schedule and authors are subject to updates. The most up-to-date event info will be made available on our website home page.