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Books and beer: Duel Brewing, literary arts group team up to promote reading

Duel Brewing will host Books & Beer events twice a month at its locations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe as part of a collaboration with the New Mexico Foundation for Literary Arts. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Duel Brewing will host Books & Beer events twice a month at its locations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe as part of a collaboration with the New Mexico Foundation for Literary Arts. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Duel Brewing is teaming up with the New Mexico Foundation for Literary Arts to celebrate the written word and encourage people to read.

Books & Beer will be held the first and third Tuesday of each month at Duel’s Santa Fe location and on the first and third Wednesday of the month at Duel’s Albuquerque location. The event is the brainchild of the foundation’s executive director, Alisa Valdes, and Duel events manager Cari Griffo.

“Duel is amazing because of the people who own it,” Valdes said. “Cari and Trent (Edwards) are artists. Trent is a painter, and Cari is a poet. I’ve been really excited to see the brewery culture kind of popping up and doing so well all over Albuquerque and Santa Fe. I thought it would just be really fun to try to incorporate that into what I want to do with the foundation. I met Cari and talked to her about what we’re doing, and she is completely onboard and wants to do it so we came up with this idea.”

Books & Beer will showcase a featured performer, have an open mic session and hold a book exchange. Featured performers will do readings of poetry, prose as well as nonfiction works from the realm of journalism or screenplays or rap. As long as it is a celebration of the written word, it is welcome, according to Valdes.

“The first 20 minutes will be an introduction about what the foundation is doing and then we’ll have our featured performer,” Valdes said. “We’ll have the book exchange and merriment going on in the background and after that we’re having open mic for up to 16 readers. We’re thinking at five minutes each. So anybody who is an aspiring writer or an accomplished writer who wants to get a gauge on how their work is going to come across, they can come and sign up. It’s first come, first serve. No fee.”

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The mission of the foundation, which is relatively new, is to raise awareness of reading and books in central New Mexico. It has big plans ahead.

In the fall, it will launch a program to have authors go into Albuquerque and Santa Fe public schools to read to children and talk to them about writing as a career, according to Valdes.

In April, the foundation plans to launch the Albuquerque Books Festival International on Johnson Field and the Student Union Building at the University of New Mexico.

“Albuquerque is kind of the last city its size to not have a major book festival every year, and we are stepping in to start doing that,” Valdes said. “We’re hoping to emulate what they’re doing in Tucson, where they get 150,000 people a year.”

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