Utah Humanities Book Festival spreads to Ogden

Tuesday , September 06, 2016 - 4:30 AM3 comments

Standard-Examiner correspondent

OGDEN — The Utah Humanities Book Festival has been happening each fall for the past 19 years, with author events throughout the state — offering opportunities for people to meet local authors, get books signed and learn more about the craft.

Last year, retired librarian Kathy Gambles noticed there wasn’t much scheduled in Ogden.

She contacted one of the directors of the festival, Michael McLane, and he suggested that the community put it together. So, she went to work. She gathered a group of local literary experts, and the team has put together a list of authors who will appear throughout Weber County in the next two months.

Ogden School Foundation director Janis Vause sits on the festival committee with Gambles. “Our community owes a lot of credit to Kathy (Gambles). She really rallied the community to bring this together and it will be incredible,” Vause said. “She has done this out of pure love for her community,”

Vause said she has enjoyed working with other local book lovers to bring in some great authors. “We just started brainstorming and figuring out connections we had and before we knew it, things were really coming together,” she said.  

Gambles said she hopes the event will stimulate more interest in local book groups. The group tried to choose a wide variety of authors to represent all parts of the community, she said. 

“With that in mind, we ... now have 14 events in September and October here in Weber County,” Gambles said. The Utah Humanities Council is covering the costs of most of the events, too, she said. 

As part of the Ogden events, the group is offering a science-fiction writing contest for all ages. Winners will be announced on Oct. 8 at a Brandon Sanderson writing workshop at Ogden High School. Gambles said the workshop will be a huge event for writers, as well as lovers of reading. 

“The main push now is to bring awareness of the Sanderson Art and Writing Competitions so people have a few weeks to create,” Gambles said. “The competitions allow all to let their creativity flow. Competition is open to anyone interested,” Gambles added.

The student competition for ages 18 and younger requires writing on one of two ideas:

1. Base a dystopia on a breakfast cereal.

2. Kids get magical powers from their Halloween costumes.  

The open category for any age can be about one of three topics:

1. Retell a Bible story in a sci-fi setting.

2. Identify an everyday object, and write a post-apocalyptic story that uses that object as currency.

3. Write a story in a world with a magic system based on stamps.

The story ideas are based on Sanderson’s podcast, “Writing Excuses,” according to the website on the event. Submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. Sept. 20, and winners will be notified by Oct. 1. Submission can be emailed to webercountybooklinks@gmail.com. Prizes, including an autographed Sanderson book, will be awarded at the Oct. 8 workshop.

Weber State University professor Mikel Vause has lined up Weber State University graduate students to judge the writing submissions.

Entries will be displayed in the art gallery in the OHS lobby outside the auditorium on the day of event, Gambles said.



Sept. 15 — 7 p.m., “Ageless Wonders,” with Carol Masheter, Pleasant Valley Library, 5568 S. Adams Ave., Washington Terrace. Masheter will speak on the climbing adventures she embarked on after a series of tragedies in her life. Masheter is now 65 and has reached the top of the tallest mountains in all seven continents. She will speak about her books, “No Magic Helicopter: An Aging Amazon’s Climb of Everest” and “Brightest of Silver Lining: Climbing Carstensz Pyramid in Papua at Age 65.”

Sept. 16 —7 p.m., “Your Brain on Nature,” with David Strayer, Ogden Nature Center, 966 West 12th St., Ogden. Strayer will speak on his two books, “The Power of Parks” and Rubin’s Pathology,” and his research on the effects of nature on your mind and brain.

Sept. 20 —  7 p.m., “Poetry by Ishion Hutchinson,” Booked, 147 25th St., Ogden. Hutchinson will speak on his two books of poetry, “House of Lords and Commons” and “Far District.” The Jamaican-born author has won several writing awards. He teaches in the graduate writing program at Cornell.

Sept. 20 — 7 p.m., “Unexpected Strength,” Southwest Branch, 2039 W. 4000 South, Roy. A group of students and graduates from Two Rivers High School will share some of their excerpts from “Unexpected Strength,” which is a compilation of stories and writings from the young authors.

Sept. 28 —7 p.m., “Searched the World Over for Elie,” with Sharilyn Olsen, Southwest Branch, 2039 W. 4000 South, Roy. Olsen will speak about her journey of international adoption and her book on the same subject. 

Sept. 29 - 7 p.m., “Blitz Kids,” with Tres and Josh Ferrin, Pleasant Valley Library, 5568 S. Adams Ave., Washington Terrace. Tres and Josh Ferrin will discuss the book they wrote about their father and grandfather, and his experiences with the University of Utah basketball team with his good friend and teammate, Wat Misaka during World War II.


Oct. 4 —6:30 p.m., “Music & Mayhem: A Night with the Maestro of Mystery Gerald Elias,” Southwest Branch, 2039 W. 4000 South, Roy. Elias will speak about his experience as a Utah Symphony musician and mystery writer.

Oct. 6 — 7 p.m., “Pottery & Books,” with Ben Behunin, Pleasant Valley Library, 5568 S. Adams Ave., Washington Terrace. Behunin will talk about his books, one being about his experience with a potter in Germany. He met the while serving a church mission and then returned to work for him later in his life. That book, “Remembering Isaac: The Wise and Joyful Potter of Niderbipp,” will be one of a few he will discuss.

Oct. 8 — Noon, “The Way of the Writer: World-Building with Brandon Sanderson,” Ogden High School, 2828 Harrison Blvd., Ogden. Science-fiction author Sanderson will work with people of all ages in an all-day writing workshop. Sanderson is a Hugo-award-winning author and will talk of his work and techniques, and also sign books. For more information on the workshop, visit https://sandersonogdenvisit.wordpress.com.

Oct. 18 — 7 p.m., “Lost Ogden,” with Melissa Johnson and Sarah Langsdon, Southwest Branch, 2039 W. 4000 South Roy. The co-authors of the “Lost Ogden” book will talk about their process of compiling old photos and telling Ogden’s rich history.

Source: Utah Humanities website




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