Telluride Lit Fest: Peter Heller, Featured Guest

3rd Telluride Literary Arts Festival, Friday, May 20 – Sunday, May 22. Award-winning author Peter Heller is special guest. Panel discussions, burlesque, a major poetry prize, bird forays, activities for kids, all part of Lit Fest. For an event overview, go here.

Author-adventurer Peter Heller is featured guest at the 3rd annual Telluride Literary Arts Festival. Courtesy, John Burcham

Author-adventurer Peter Heller is featured guest at the 3rd annual Telluride Literary Arts Festival. Courtesy, John Burcham

Does he read as much as possible instead of watching TV?

Does he write primarily for himself?

When he is plying his trade, does he disconnect from the world?

Does he tell stories about what people actually do, acknowledging all the dimensions his characters may have?

Does he write for the pure joy of the discipline, indifferent to (or despite) the slings and arrows of public opinion?

Renowned author Stephen King famously served up 22 lessons about how to be a great writer. It is a fair bet Peter Heller could easily check off all the boxes.

Peter Heller is a longtime contributor to NPR, a contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He is also an award-winning author of four nonfiction works, two best-selling novels: “The Dog Stars” and his most recent novel, “The Painter, which won the Mountain & Plains Reads the West Award, shared in years past with Cormac McCarthy, Terry Tempest Williams, Pam Houston and other literary luminaries.

Heller’s next nonfiction work, “Celine” is scheduled to be published in March.

“The Painter” is Peter Heller’s most recent novel. His next, “Celine” is to be published in March by Knopf.

“The Painter” is Peter Heller’s most recent novel. His next, “Celine” is to be published in March by Knopf.

“Heller’s writing is sure-footed and rip-roaring, star-bright and laced with ‘dark yearning,’ coalescing in an ever-escalating, ravishing, grandly engrossing and satisfying tale of righteousness and revenge, artistic fervor and moral ambiguity,” Booklist, ★ Starred Review.

“A stunning, savage novel of art and violence, love and grief, The Painter is the story of a man who longs to transcend the shadows in his heart, a man intent on using the losses he has suffered to create a meaningful life,” goodreads.com

Heller is also special guest and featured presenter at the 3rd annual Telluride Literary Arts Festival, where he will be everywhere you want to be over the weekend, with his talks book-ending, (so to speak), the event.

According to Lit Fest founder Davia Chesonis, also co-owner of Between the Covers Bookstore, customers have long recommended Heller as a featured author. Thanks to sponsorship from the Wilkinson Public Library, the nonprofit was able to bring the celebrated author-adventurer to town.

Lit Fest poster

 

LitFest kicks off Friday, May 20, with the weekend’s official “opening of the book” and the awarding of the annual Mark Fischer Poetry Prize at Telluride Arroyo Wine Bar, 6 p.m.

Following a post-awards dinner break, Lit Fest continues with an all-star panel of poets featuring Heller, plus Judith Hill and Dr. Zoey Benally.

Saturday morning, May 21, introduces a new and exciting LitFest offering, “Word Up,” moderated panels featuring fiction and non-fiction writers at the library.

(Heller, as mentioned, is both. In addition to the aforementioned, much vaunted fiction, his book about his adventure with a team challenging the most ambitious whitewater expedition in history, “Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet’s Tsangpo River,” won a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and was #3 on Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List” of all pop culture. A Denver Post review ranked the story “up there with any adventure writing every written.”)

First up at 10 a.m. will be “Environmental Journalism: The State of the Art,” moderated by author-teacher Craig Childs, with Heller joined by Judy Muller (USC Annenberg professor of journalism, NPR contributor, and author of “Emus Loose in Egnar: Big Stories from Small Towns:); Amy Irvine (MFA Faculty Fellow at Southern New Hampshire University and winner of both the Orion Book Award and Colorado Book Award for “Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land”); and Alec Jacobsen (Executive Director of the San Juan Independent and former Editor-in-Chief of ArtsRiot.com).

Peter Heller’s bestselling “The Dog Stars” is Telluride Library’s pick for 2016 Spring read. The book is also available at Between the Covers.

Peter Heller’s bestselling “The Dog Stars” is Telluride Library’s pick for 2016 Spring Read. The book is also available at Between the Covers.

Lit Fest wraps on Sunday, May 22, with a Featured Authors Brunch, 11 a.m., at the library, where Heller will read from a number of his books and take the audience behind the scenes of some of his gnarliest adventures, (Think treacherous whitewater, whale warriors, big boats, little planes).

To gear up for the Heller’s visit, “The Dog Stars,” is the library’s 2016 Spring Read. Between the Covers has the book in stock as well.

Borrow or buy, but get your hands on a copy of a book The New Yorker described as “a brilliant success.” “Dog Stars” was chosen as Best Book of the Year by The San Francisco Chronicle and Atlantic Monthly.

“The Painter” made Amazon’s list of best 20 Books of 2014; Oprah’s Best 10 Novels of 2014; and Apple iTunes Best 5 Novels of 2014.

To learn more about Peter Heller, click the “play” button and listen to his podcast.

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Susan Viebrock

Susan Viebrock

Susan is Telluride Inside… and Out’s founder and editor-in-chief, the visionary on the team, in charge of content, concept and development. For 19+ years, Susan has covered Telluride’s cultural economy, which includes non-profits and special events. Much of her writing features high-profile individuals in the arts, entertainment, business, and politics. She is a former Citibank executive specializing in strategic planning and new business development, and a certified Viniyoga instructor.

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