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Literary lights: Albuquerque Museum hosts diverse gathering of local writers

Like the colorful collective of balloons that will soon fill the October skies, the Albuquerque Museum in Old Town will be hosting an eclectic and colorful collection of local writers as part of the first Author Festival on Oct. 1.

Twenty-one diverse New Mexican authors will represent just about every genre of fiction and non-fiction at the event. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the authors will talk to the public about both their literary and life experiences, while displaying, signing and selling their works of Western history, thriller, non-fiction, science-fiction, fantasy and historical, southwestern, contemporary mystery and much more.

“It’s the first of its kind and the public’s opportunity to personally meet some of the greatest authors in New Mexico,” said Joseph Badal, a local mystery and thriller writer who came up with the idea for the event and has been involved with the Albuquerque Museum for decades.

Writer Anne Hillerman will give one of six presentations at the Author Festival. (Courtesy of Jean Fogelberg)

Writer Anne Hillerman will give one of six presentations at the Author Festival. (Courtesy of Jean Fogelberg)

Authors participating are Badal, Anne Hillerman, Don Bullis, Gloria Casale, Pamela Christie, Melody Groves, Steve Havill, Betsy James, Robert Kidera, Rob Kresge, Jane Lindskold, David Morrell, Steve Brewer, Paula Paul, Margaret Tessler, Neecy Twinem, Pat Wood, Robert Vardeman, Rory McClannahan, Albert Noyer and Jennifer Noyer.

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“People from all over the country and all over the world attending the Balloon Fiesta will get an introduction to understanding our rich cultural heritage and New Mexico writers,” said Anne Hillerman, the late Tony Hillerman’s daughter, who has continued her father’s bestselling mystery series.

Six authors will give presentations on a variety of topics, every hour starting at 11 a.m., including Hillerman’s talk on “Why Stories Matter,” Badal’s “Where Do Your Stories Come From?” Morrell’s “Rambo: The Story Behind The Story,” Brewer’s “Humor Writing,” Vardeman’s “Westerns, Weird & Otherwise” and Lindskold’s “Writing Science Fiction/Fantasy.”

“This is a chance to show the diversity of talented authors in New Mexico and to bind with the larger community. It’s rare to bring so many accomplished authors together in one place at one time, and during one of the state’s most famous events, Balloon Fiesta,” said Morrell, an award-winning author, famous for the novel “First Blood,” in which Rambo was created.

There’s something about the enchanted land here that inspires amazing work. Albert Noyer, a historical and contemporary mystery writer who retired to Sandia Park with his wife, Jennifer Noyer, pinpoints this phenomenon as a place that “favors and promotes culture.”

“New Mexico has inspired my writing. The Land of Enchantment has been that for Jennifer and I – we’ve been here for 30 years and it’s been the most creative years of both of our lives,” Noyer said.

Seemingly like the beginning of a riddle, only October will tell what happens when 21 creative minds are put in a room together for seven hours.

“There’s bound to be a lot of cross-pollination of ideas and hopefully building relationships,” said Badal, who already knows each of the participating authors and who Albert Noyer refers to as the “best networker around.”

Badal said he couldn’t have created this event without Cathy Wright, the Albuquerque Museum director, and museum staff’s help – envisioning the afternoon as a way for authors to give back to the community and to receive national exposure. Although the event is free to the public, a portion of the authors’ proceeds will go to the museum.

New Mexico authors David Morrell, left, and Joseph Badal will be two of 21 writers featured at an authors event Oct. 1 at the Albuquerque Museum. (Courtesy of Joseph Badal)

New Mexico authors David Morrell, left, and Joseph Badal will be two of 21 writers featured at an authors event Oct. 1 at the Albuquerque Museum. (Courtesy of Joseph Badal)

The festival will expose out-of-state visitors to both the museum and also to New Mexican authors, while filling the gap between the Balloon Fiesta’s morning and night events.

“I wish we could have had 100 tables, because there are so many talented authors in this state,” Badal said.

The event is sponsored by the Albuquerque Museum and advertised through the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, go online to the museum’s website at albuquerquemuseum.org.


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