When literary types think of Moriarty, they usually have Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis in mind.
More and more, though, New Mexicans are starting to equate Moriarty – the small city east of Albuquerque – with its annual Authors for Literacy Event. Each year, New Mexico authors come to Moriarty to meet readers, sell a few books and help out a good cause. The eighth edition of the event will be held Saturday, April 19 at the Moriarty Civic Center. More than 40 New Mexico authors are slated to be at the event.
“We had a great turnout last year, and I’m looking forward to seeing even more readers this year,” said Albuquerque author Steve Brewer. “Events like these give writers a chance to visit with fans and attract new readers. Not only is it for a good cause, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Brewer, the author of 25 books, is releasing his latest crime thriller, “Duke City Split,” in April, written as Max Austin. It’s only available as an ebook from Random House/Alibi, but he said he’ll bring several of his other titles in both hardcover and paperback.
Proceeds from the event will go the Moriarty Community Library and the Read “Write” Adult Literacy Program in Torrance County, said Tina Cates-Ortega, an organizer of the event.
The program helps adults increase their reading, writing and speaking skills by offering literacy programs and related educational service to Torrance County and surrounding communities. The program is currently working with about 30 clients.
“We would be able to help more,” Cates-Ortega said, “but we lost some grants in the last year.”
Cates-Ortega said the event has never been a hard sell to New Mexico writers. Most enjoy the short drive to Moriarty and visiting with friends and readers.
“Authors have a soft spot for literacy programs, and ours has been lucky to attract their help,” she said.
Based on information from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 16 percent of Torrance County read below Level I, a 3 percent improvement since the program started in 2001.
Not only is the event a great time for writers, but readers will be able to find great deals and meet the writers. Mysteries and thrillers, romances and westerns, science fiction and comic books will all be available. To be part of the event, authors agree to donate a portion of their sales to Read “Write.”
The event is free to anyone to attend.
Melody Groves, writer of several Western fiction and nonfiction books, said she has been to several Authors for Literacy events in the past and always looks forward to spending time there.
“It’s a short drive from my house in Albuquerque and it’s always a fun place for writers and readers,” she said.
Groves will be publishing two books in the next couple of months through Five Star Publishing. The first, “Kansas Bleeds,” is the fourth in her Colton Brothers Saga. The second book, “Butterfield’s Byway: America’s First Overland Mail Route Across the West,” is a history of the development of mail service in the American West.
In addition to a room full of writers happy to talk to readers, there also will be raffles throughout the day and several panel discussions. Food will be available.
Thriller writer Joseph Badal of Sandia Park said that this event will be his fourth and that it is one that he counts on going to every year. Not only is it fun, he said, but the organizers treat the writers well and run a good event.
Badal – who will be bringing copies of his latest thriller, “Ultimate Betrayal” – said he isn’t surprised that the Authors for Literacy Event is growing with each year with more writers and more readers coming out.
“Anybody who loves books and loves to read is missing out on a great opportunity if they don’t go,” Badal said.