A love for literature

Chippewa Valley Book Festival brings new creativity and insight to aspiring writers in the area

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Photo by Lauren Kritter

Four authors shared stories and answered audience questions about their personal writing and publishing experiences on Oct. 18 at Volume One.

The 16th annual Chippewa Valley Book Festival brought 20 authors to area public libraries, UW-Eau Claire campus and community venues to share pieces of writing and engage community members and young writers in the hype of the literary world.

Throughout the week author panels, writing workshops and a young writer showcase brought a crowd to the festival scene.

An author panel held on Oct. 18 at Volume One included acclaimed poet Max Garland and creative writing professor at UW-Eau Claire Molly Patterson along with other authors to discuss the triumphs, struggles and processes of getting pieces from draft to published work.

“Don’t conform to what you think a publisher wants to see,” Patterson said. “Love what you write and hopefully you can find a way to get it out there.”

Junior English student Molly Rambeau attended the event to engage with accomplished authors in hopes to find some answers and motivation towards going forward in the world of literature.

“Hearing their opinions and stories helps to make it seem more real,” Rambeau said. “It gives hope to us aspiring writers who want to make it to where they are.”

Jessi Peterson, Children’s Librarian at the Chippewa Valley Public Library, led a workshop for 18 kids in grades three through five who attended the youth writing workshop Sept. 26.

As a way to engage kids in the ideas of storytelling and writing, Peterson and event co-runner Sarah Bryan had many interactive activities where the kids worked together to create thought-out stories.

One activity included having each kid spend ten minutes drawing a picture of anything that came to their mind. They then passed their drawing to the child on their left who had to create a story to go along with what they felt was going on in the picture. This activity made writing fun for the kids, Peterson said.

“Playing with words and language is fun,” Peterson said. “Not everything has to be serious all of the time. Things can be weird and creative and it can create an awesome story.”

Peterson said she thinks having the kids work with little prompts at a young age has the ability to let the kids pull new ideas out of thin air.

Each workshop had different writing prompts relevant to their age group.

The workshop sponsors a young writer’s contest which is also part of the book festival. The workshops happen ahead of time to let kids think about what they want to enter in the contest. The showcase spotlights the kids who have entered their work to the public and allows them to talk about what their process was of creating what they did, Peterson said.

This year’s showcase took place on Oct. 18 at the Grand Theater in Eau Claire.

The festival is not over yet. At 7 p.m. Oct. 21, bestselling author Brian Freeman will present at Altoona Public Library about mystery and thriller literature while addressing his novel, “Spilled Blood.”