WordFest restarts June 14 at Keebler Coffee in Roxy Theater

WordFest will meet on Tuesday, June 14, 6:00-8:00 pm, at Keebler Coffee Roasters in the Roxy Theater, at 1101 Commerce Avenue in Longview.

The event will feature five local writers reading from their works.

Retired internist PJ Peterson will read from her latest Dr. Julia Fairchild mystery, One Will Too Many. Dr. Fairchild is invited to a charity gala where she meets a young banker, Jay Morrison. The next day he dies from alcohol poisoning, and Julia’s nephew, a deputy sheriff investigating the homicide, asks Julia for help. Morrison has a long list of secrets and a number of people who might have wished him dead.

Retired English teacher and former Huntington Middle School principal Elaine Cockrell will read from her historical novel about the internment of Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest during World War II. A Shrug of the Shoulders tells the story of the Yano and Mita families and their experiences in the internment camps and working the sugar beet fields of eastern Oregon.

Poets Karen Bonaudi and Robert Griffin will read selections from their poetry. Karen is past president of the Washington Poets Association, and author of the poetry collection, Editing a Vapor Trail.

Robert has received the Shakespearean Award of Excellence and several Rattle Awards.

Local poet, essayist, and activist Mary Lyons will complete the evening with thoughts on Flag Day 2022.

Due to Covid, it is recommended that people be vaccinated and boosted if possible, and wear masks when not eating or drinking.

The monthly gathering of readers and writers meets the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 PM, at Keebler Coffee Roasters, and through the generous donation of space made available by the Roxy Theater. The events are free and open to the public.

WordFest seeks new home

WordFest is seeking a new venue for our monthly gatherings. We had 60+ people attending the March 8 event at the new Broadway Barrel Room (formerly Cassava Coffeehouse.) But there were also a number of complaints–about the sound system and acoustics, the lighting, the seating, and, let’s face it, beer is just not as literary as coffee (Fisher Poets events excepted.)

During the past month, I have been checking out possible venues, including the Monticello Hotel, Stageworks, Longview Public Library, Mill City Grill,  Hearth Coffee & Cafe, and Creekside Cafe, all without luck.

What we need in a location is

  • space to accommodate 40-60 people (though we’ve had 90+ at times.)
  • good sound system and acoustics
  • Longview-Kelso area
  • food, coffee & wines are nice but not necessary
  • and free (being all volunteers, we have no budget.)

If you have suggestions, please email me at alan@alan-rose.com.

WordFest restarts with salute to Librarian Chris Skaugset

WordFest resumes in-person events on Tuesday, March 8, with a farewell and appreciation send-off for Chris Skaugset, outgoing director of the Longview Public Library. Chris’s event will be held from 5:00 to 6:00 pm at the Broadway Barrel Room, 1333 Broadway Avenue in Longview.

The public is welcome to participate in the informal event. It’s an opportunity for people to express their appreciation to Chris for the many roles he has played in supporting the literary community. Chris has worked at Longview Public Library for the past 19 years. As director, he has been a strong advocate for the important functions public libraries continue to perform in communities across the nation. There will be a formal presentation at 6:00 pm., followed by the evening’s presenters.

Jan Bono will read from her Sylvia Avery Mystery series, set on the Long Beach peninsula, and will share her post-Sylvia writing plans. Copies of her six books in the series will be available for sale and signing. Jan has also written five collections of humorous short stories, two poetry chapbooks, and nine one-act plays. She has been published in publications, including Chicken Soup for the Soul and Woman’s World.

Retired judge and storyteller Ed Putka will be reading a short story in the second hour. A WordFest favorite, Ed has been compared to Garrison Keillor for his humorous Cleveland stories set in the Polish neighborhood of his youth. His latest story, “Turtle Soup,” is an account of his uncle’s adventures in trying to find a recipe for turtle soup. Ed also serves on the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Legal Aid Board.

There will be an open mic period following the presentations.

WordFest is an informal gathering of writers and readers who meet the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 PM, at Broadway Barrel Room. The events are free and open to the public.

Sign up for the monthly WordFest newsletter by clicking here.

WordFest on hiatus until a safer 2022

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, WordFest is not meeting in person until the new year, when it is hoped vaccination rates in Cowlitz County will make it possible for the community to gather safely once again.

Until then, you can stay updated on local literary news by subscribing to the free monthly WordFest newsletter here.

Be well, stay safe!

June WordFest offers a variety of voices

The June event of WordFest on Zoom was held on Tuesday, June 8 (7:00-8:00 pm) and featured a Young Adult novel, a mystery set in an Amsterdam art gallery, and a poetic glimpse of Bhutan.

Janie Mulvaney is trapped between kid-and-teenage-hood. She is in between, sentenced to twelve for life. Troubles pounce on her from every direction. Her Highness, older sister Elizabeth, treats Janie like a peon. Mom and Dad refuse to let her get a cell phone. Uncle Alvin embarrasses her in front of her friends. Even Grandma, Janie’s best cheerleader, calls her Bumble Cheeks. To make matters worse, whenever Janie tries to do something right—such as earn money—things backfire and she ends up owing a doink-load. Luckily, Janie has a quirky sense of humor and wacky perspective to help her zigzag through this tween trap.  

In In BeTWEEN TROUBLE Janie pours out her heart hoping someone—anyone, even adults with a twelve-year-old inner child—will appreciate her graveyard-of-despair situation.    

Mary Stone’s non-fiction book, Run in the Path of Peace—the Secret of Being Content No Matter What, placed as a finalist in Oregon Christian Writers published book contest. Her short stories are included in the anthologies Love is A Flame by Bethany House and I Choose You by Oak Tara. When Mary retired from teaching and counseling at Lower Columbia College, she was awarded Faculty Emeritus. She currently teaches writing classes and is a keynote speaker at women’s retreats. Additionally, Mary writes a monthly devotional blog on her website: https://marystonewriter.com


Julia and several members of her dance group are dancing their way through several German cities along the Rhine River before ending the organized tour in Amsterdam. The relaxing vacation threatens to unravel when Julia finds herself enmeshed in a series of missing art from museums that she has visited. And one of the dancers disappears.

Carly, her charming sidekick sister, thinks Julia is looking for trouble when she uses her doctor-detective skills to try to solve the pair of problems which seem to be unrelated. Julia claims it just falls into her lap. Then Carly disappears.

PJ Peterson solved mysteries of the medical kind while she practiced medicine as an internist. Writing murder mysteries seemed like the logical thing to do while practicing retirement. Julia Fairchild, MD, is loosely based on a younger version of herself. The tendency to stumble onto murders is purely fictional, however.


Don Messerschmidt is an anthropologist, writer, tour guide, and development consultant focused on the Himalayas. He began his international career in 1963 as a Peace Corps volunteer on rural development in Nepal. After earning a PhD degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oregon in 1973, he returned with his family to projects in Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan. Among his books are biographies of two Nepalese luminaries — Fr. Moran of Kathmandu (Pioneer Priest, Educator, and Ham Radio Voice of the Himalayas), and the award-winning Against the Current (The Life of Lain Singh Bangdel: Writer, Painter and Art Historian of Nepal). He has also edited regional magazines in Alaska and Nepal. www.EditWithUs.com.

Don will be reading several poems, capturing the beauty, mystery and majesty of the Himalayas.

WordFest is a monthly gathering of local writers and readers, celebrating the joy and magic of words, with public readings, discussions, and networking opportunities. In-person events were suspended in March 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and monthly one-hour events on Zoom were launched in October.

The WordFest on Zoom events are free and open to the public. One doesn’t need to have a Zoom account to participate, but one must register for the free, monthly WordFest newsletter here to receive the Zoom invitation by email.