Inaugural WordWave literary festival features Tahoe authors, playwrights and vendors |

Inaugural WordWave literary festival features Tahoe authors, playwrights and vendors

Adam Jensen
A steampunk ball kicks of the inaugural Wordwave literary festival Friday, Oct. 9.
Courtesy photo |

WordWave Presenters

Garth Stein

Pam Houston

Gayle Brandeis

Camille Dungy

Lewis Buzbee

Suzanne Roberts

Ralph Burns

Ben Rupert

Alicia Barber

Michael Branch

Christian Kiefer

Krista Lukas

McAvoy Layne

June Saraceno

Laura Wetherington

Michael Makley

Ann Ronald

Gailmarie Pahmeier

Jeremy Evans

Matthew Makley

Mark Maynard

Tim Hauserman

Ann Marie Brown

Eve Quesnel

Shaun Griffin

Justin Race

Fuse Literary

Lake Tahoe is known for its inspirational abilities, and authors certainly aren’t immune to the lake’s draw.

From Mark Twain to John Steinback to Bertrand Russell, writers have long celebrated the majesty of Lake Tahoe.

And now, Lake Tahoe has a celebration of its own for all kinds of writers, from novelists to playwrights.

WordWave; a three-day literary festival for readers, writers and performers at South Shore’s Tallac Historic Site; will make its debut this week. The festival runs from Oct. 9-11 and features a variety of readings, workshops, performances and activities for kids.

WordWave was founded by publishing executive Jennifer Basye Sander and Bona Fide Books publisher Kim Wyatt, who were attending literary festivals around the country and got to wondering why Lake Tahoe had nothing of the sort.

A year later, a literary festival with a Lake Tahoe vibe has gone from idea to reality.

“We didn’t want it to be a stuffy literary event,” Wyatt said of this week’s festival, adding there is something for everyone at the event.

A paid steampunk ball kicks off WordWave Friday night and allows most of the rest of the event to be free. The event will feature costumes, dancing and a Valhalla Grand Hall decorated in the science-fiction-meets-Industrial-Revolution style of steampunk.

“It’s just kind of fun. It’s very creative,” Wyatt said of incorporating steampunk into the literary festival,

Saturday at WordWave continues with a free day of readings, panels and a Sierra Showcase of 20 regional writers and vendors. Oral storytellers in the Washoe and Paiute traditions and a Maker’s Station, where people learn to make their own books, magazines and prints are also part of Saturday’s festivities. Vendors will have books and related items and author signings will take place all day. Writing workshops and agent sessions are also part of the event.

Garth Stein, the author of 2008’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” a New York Times bestseller that tells the story from a dog’s point of view, will also host a picnic lunch on Saturday, Oct. 10. The keynote address of WordWave will be presented by author and essayist Pam Houston, who will talk to readers and writers about “Turning the Physical World Into Story: On Travel, Glimmers, Paying Attention, and Trusting That the Metaphor Knows More Than I Do” at 10 a.m. Saturday.

WordWave will also stage the debuts of “Compromising Positions,” by Michelle Benson; “Woman Running Late in a Dress,” by Dallas Woodburn, and “Man’s Best Friend” by Rod McFadden. The plays are selections from a one-act playwriting contest by Bona Fide Books this summer that received 200 submissions from across the country. Tickets to the performance of the plays cost $10.

On Sunday, workshops like do-it-yourself publishing, hiking with outdoor writer Tim Hauserman and “Writing Outside the Book” by Camille T. Dungy are ticketed events that cost $40. Sander will also hold a free talk on publishing at 10 a.m. Sunday.

More information on WordWave, including a full schedule, is available at

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