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Annual Gallup Authors Festival returns

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Festival brings out nearly 1,600

Adults and young people alike explored the many different worlds of books April 7 at the 3rd annual Gallup Authors Festival. The two-day event was held at the Octavia Fellin Library and saw a little more than 1,600 people pass through the doors of Fellin and the Children’s Branch Library.

The theme of the 2017 Gallup Authors Festival was “Unity Through Diversity.”

“It was a tremendous success,” Library Director Mary Ellen Pellington said. “We had a variety of writers and every year there are more and more people who attend the festival.”

The event featured book talks and discussions such as one called “Diversity in Poetry.” That discussion was led by Navajo Nation Poet Laureate Laura Tohe and former Albuquerque Poet Laureate Jessica Lopez. Tohe holds a Ph.D in English from the University of Nebraska.

“I thought it was a very good showing and there were a lot of interesting questions asked,” Lopez said. Lopez has been a featured writer for 30 Poets in their 30s by Muzzle, and named one of the “10 Up and Coming Lantinx Poets You Need To Know.” Added Lopez, “I hope to be at this festival again next year.”

John Taylor of Gallup was at the festival for the second consecutive year. Taylor, originally from Kentucky, last year debuted the book, “Looking for Dan: The Puzzling Life of a Frontier Character-Daniel DuBois.” Taylor noted that he’s in the beginning of research on a new book entitled, “Navajo Scouts.”

“It’s a wonderful place to get the word out about books that you already have published,” Taylor said. “It’s also a very good place to network with people in the profession.”

Martin Link was on-hand at the festival for the third straight year. Link, a Wisconsin native and long-time Gallup resident, published his first book, “Navajo: A Century of Progress 1868-1968.” That book came out in 1968.

Link’s past publications include “The Goat in the Rug and “The Signers of the Treaty of Peace.” Link recently published “New Mexico Kicks on Route 66.”

Link and Taylor are retired instructors from the University of New Mexico-Gallup.

Pellington said there were 37 authors that attended the 2017 authors festival, which is a little more than the past couple of years. She said preliminary organizational work for the 2018 festival has already begun.

Those who attended the festival appeared to like what it offered. “I like coming to this festival because it’s in Gallup and all in one place,” Karen Yazzie, 50, of Window Rock, Ariz., said. “My kids like it a lot.”

By Bernie Dotson
Sun Correspondent