Vegas Valley Book Festival at a glance

Kay Ryan will be giving the keynote speech for the Vegas Valley Book Festival.

Kay Ryan will be giving the keynote speech for the Vegas Valley Book Festival.

Thursday, November 5

An Evening with Kay Ryan. Poet Laureate of the United States, opening keynote address. (7 p.m., Fifth Street School)

Friday, November 6

• The Sin City Sonneteer Spectacle Jarret Keene and Claudia Keelan host this spoken-word mobile tour through the arts district—seven poets via trolley to different sites on the half-hour. Mayor Oscar Goodman and Dayvid Figler open at 6 p.m. on the First Friday stage with haiku. (6–10 p.m., in the Arts District)



Sonneteer Spectacle
6 p.m. Kickoff with Mayor Oscar Goodman and Dayvid Figler, Book Festival Stage
6:30 p.m. Jarret Keene, Clark County Government Center
7 p.m. Donald Revell, Atomic Todd Gallery, 1221 Main St.
7:30 p.m. Claudia Keelan, The Fallout Gallery, 1551 S. Commerce St.
8 p.m. Elizabeth Quiñones, Trifecta Gallery, 101 E. Charleston Blvd.
8:30 p.m. Keith Brantley, Contemporary Arts Center, 101 E. Charleston Blvd.
9 p.m. Jeff Grindley, Tiffany’s, 1700 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
9:30 p.m. Josh Kryah, Dino’s, 1516 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Jarret Keene

Sonneteer? Can any good come of a venture so named? Is it wise to grant roaming privileges to “an eclectic cadre of bards, spoken-word artists and performance poets”? We’ll see. Meantime, we asked co-organizer Jarret Keene a few questions:

Poetry on wheels—why hasn’t this been tried before?!

Because there is social stigma attached to and legal complications that derive from drinking and driving, which is what many poets tend to excel at, I’ve learned. Luckily, Mayor Goodman has agreed to be our designated driver.

What do you expect the trolley angle to add to the experience?

Nausea. Or maybe I was thinking of Emily Dickinson and her line: “The carriage held but just ourselves/And Immortality.” So we expect to be immortalized for this event, I imagine.

Did the mobile setting change the way you chose what works you’ll read?

Very much so. We are reading poems that suggest mobility, speed, fast-food drive-throughs and avoiding obstacles. I’ll be reciting my poem “RPM,” which is about cars, teenagers and “Louie Louie.” I’ve heard poet and UNLV prof Claudia Keelan karaoke The Kingsmen at Dino’s, and she delivers an awesome version. Which is why I’m bringing earplugs for everyone!

Saturday, November 7


• Four Paths to Children’s Literature With Ellen Hopkins, Sharleen Collicott, Daria Snadowsky, Kristin Venuti. (10 a.m.)

• Book Clubs Select With Margaret Coel, Vicki Pettersson and Indu Sundaresan. (11:15 a.m.)

• Illustrating Children’s’ Books Ellen Hopkins. (11:30 a.m.)

• Sudden Orpheus Puppeteer Ariel Goldberger and poet Leonard Schwartz integrate themes from the Orpheus myth, Giacometti sculptures and poetry. (12:30 p.m.)

• Urban Fantasy Workshop: Beyond Twilight and True Blood. Vicki Pettersson. (1 p.m.)

• City of Second Chances Literary Nevada editor Cheryll Glotfelty, novelist Douglas Unger and journalist John L. Smith read stories about people reinventing themselves in Las Vegas. (1:45 p.m.)

• Poetry in the Courtyard With Claudia Keelan, Donald Revell and others. (1:45 p.m.)

• How to Get Published in Literary Journals. Richard Logsdon, Tina Eliopulous, H. Lee Barnes and Todd Moffet of Red Rock Review. (3 p.m.)

• Restless City Writer Vu Tran reads the final chapter of the serial novel Restless City, followed by a roundtable with the six authors, who also include John L. Smith, Constance Ford, H. Lee Barnes, John H. Irsfeld, Leah Bailly and Brian Rouff. (4 p.m.)


Target Children’s Book Festival. Centennial Plaza at the Fifth Street School.

The Comic Book Festival. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo.

Local Authors Fair. 50 authors, Fountain Courtyard at the Fifth Street School.

John L. Smith, Amelia’s Long Journey: The Challenge of Writing What You Know. Smith talks about the ups and downs of writing about his daughter’s illness. (7 p.m., Clark County Library Theater, 1401 E. Flamingo)

Sunday, November 8

Education in the Neon Shadow. Jami Carpenter, Kay Carl, Julie Newberry, John Gallifent and Rick Watson discuss the history and present of the Clark County School District, now in its 50th year. (10 a.m., Fifth Street School)

Great Characters from Las Vegas History. Geoff Schumacher, Michael Green, Lorraine Hunt and Jack Sheehan look at who was truly important and who was just colorful. (11:15 a.m., Fifth Street School)

An Evening with E.L. Doctorow. Renowned American author, presents the closing keynote address. (7 p.m., Clark County Library Theater, 1401 E. Flamingo)


E.L. Doctorow

1. Because he’s good: The Modern Library judged Ragtime to be the 86th-best novel of the 20th century.

2. His books are long; this talk won’t be.

3. What, you’d rather sit home and watch Andy Rooney complain about paper clips?

4. Because he writes opening sentences like this, from World’s Fair: “Startled awake by the ammoniated mists, I am roused in one instant from glutinous sleep to grieving awareness; I have done it again. My soaked thighs sting.” Or this, from Loon Lake: “They were hateful presences in me.”

5. Because any time a writer of Doctorow’s stature shows up to drop some knowledge, you should pay heed, stockpiling those experiences against the day, nearly here, when all literature is blogged, tweeted or simply ignored.

All events free. For more information, see


Previous Discussion:

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