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Telluride Colorado

LitFest Kicks Off Festival Season

A Different Kind of Festival

As the first festival of the annual Telluride summer season, Telluride’s Literary Arts Festival celebrates readers, writers, poets, and lovers of books. With events from Friday, May 20th through Sunday, May 22nd, the weekend’s festivities showcase poetry, literary burlesque, moderated panels, author events, and plenty of focused events for kids of all ages. Take a look at the general lineup of events and stay tuned for more events to come:


Friday, May 20th

  • 6 pm - Arroyo Wine Bar - Mark Fischer Poetry Prize - Named in memory of Telluride’s much-loved poet, lawyer, skier and raconteur, this annual prize is awarded after the official “Opening of the Book.” Prizes are awarded to entries that best exhibit originality, novelty, complex meaning, linguistic skill, and wit. In the spirit of Fischer and Telluride, the wilder the better. 329 poems were submitted by 129 poets from all over the US. Click for more information.
  • 8:30 pm - Arroyo Wine Bar - Gourds Spotlight Poetry Performance - Poetry performances ramp up after a dinner break with features from Peter Heller, Judyth Hill, and Sarah Pletts with an open mic to follow. Click for more information.


Saturday, May 21st

  • 10 am - Wilkinson Public Library - Word Up! A tandem of moderated panels with authors and journalists - Panelists will include Judy Muller, Amy Irvine, Alec Jacobsen, and Peter Heller. Moderated by writer Craig Childs, the panel will give visitors a look into the processes and inspiration behind passionate writing and give a real-life look into the art and challenges of environmental journalism.
  • 11 am - Wilkinson Public Library - Kids Book Bash at the Library - With hands-on activities, kids will participate in traditional Japanese Bookbinding, Black Out Poetry (writing a poem by blacking out the text in an old book to create a poem with the remaining words), and Guess the Book (a contest to see who can decipher the title of a shredded book in a jar for a prize). Stop on by, it;s guaranteed to be a great time for kids and their parents.
  • 12:30 pm - Wilkinson Public Library - Word Up! A tandem of moderated panels with authors and journalists - Panelists will include Tor Anderson and Ted Floyd and moderated by Daiva Chesonis. This panel will give insight into the difficulties and ethical challenges when mastering guidebook authoring, an ever-expiring genre.
  • 3 pm - Between the Covers Bookstore - Birding with ABA Pro Ted Floyd - A fantastic walking tour of Telluride to do some birding with a professional from the American Bird Association. Stop by for an annual favorite in its third year at LitFest brought to you by The Nature Conservancy.
  • 7 pm - Ah Haa School - Daniel Tucker Gallery - Literary Burlesque & The Rapture Dance Party - With a $15 admission fee and a cash bar for all of-age attendees, a troupe of regional female poets and writers will drop layers, both literal and literary, to this year’s theme of “Oh Sister, Where Art Thou?” playing off the Coen Brothers’ classic. Immediately following Literary Burlesque will be The Rapture, featuring KOTO DJ radio addiction spinning your favorite dance floor hits. Tickets are on sale now at Ah Haa or Between the Covers or you can buy yours at the door.


Sunday, May 22nd

  • 11 am - Wilkinson Public Library - Featured Author Brunch with Peter Heller - Reading from his myriad books, Peter Heller is sure to entertain with plenty of behind-the-scenes tales of his many adventures around the world. Take a look at Peter’s many books and his complete bio by clicking here.
  • 2 pm - Wilkinson Public Library - Closing Gourds Circle & the “Closing of the Book” on Litfest 2016 - Immediately following Peter Heller’s Author Brunch, all attendees are invited to “pass the gourd” and share their poetry and musings. “It’s a ritual thing, really, and a chance to listen to others. And it’s a great way to welcome the summer season of festivals and community gatherings...with words,” mentioned Director Art Goodtimes.

Looking for an official schedule of events during the weekend? Pick one up at the bookstore, the library, or at the Ah Haa School on May 9th. Haven’t booked your lodging yet? Be sure to get the best rates with our specials and packages and don’t miss our trip planning page for all things getting to and staying in Telluride. We hope to see you around this weekend, and when you fall in love with Telluride, be sure to check out the full schedule of events in May and June and the full 2016 summer festival lineup as well.