Naturalist-Poet Bob Pyle on WordFest-Zoom, Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

Watch the video of the December WordFest on Zoom below.

Naturalist, essayist and poet Robert Michael Pyle is now also the subject of “The Dark Divide,” a film based on his personal story. Bob will talk about the making of the film and also read from The Tidewater Reach, a collection of his poetry accompanied by the photographs of Judy VanderMaten that celebrates the beauty, history and mystery of the lower Columbia River region.

Bob is the author of more than 20 books, including WintergreenSky Time in Grays RiverChasing Monarchs, and Where Bigfoot Walks. A Yale-trained ecologist, Guggenheim Fellow, and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, he lives in rural southwest Washington.

Retired judge Ed Putka is one of our most popular presenters at WordFest. His stories may be tall tales about growing up in his Polish neighborhood in Cleveland, or fishing on the Kalama River, but they all reflect his humorist’s wit and underlying themes of the value of family, friendship and community.

Ed will be reading a new story in the second half of the program.

Watch the October 2020 WordFest on Zoom

Suspended due to the covid-19 pandemic, WordFest resumed on Zoom on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 7-8 pm. See the video below!

Jan Bono reads from Oyster Spat, the fifth in her Sylvia Avery Mystery series set on Washington’s Long Beach peninsula. Jan discusses her planning, research, and writing process that creates these fun and funny “cozy mysteries.”

Playwright and storyteller Leslie Slape introduces one of her recent Zoom plays that was performed in a “bake off playwriting competition”–and explains what is a bake off competition. Her 12-minute play, “The Feather of the Firebird,” is then performed by  students from Muhlenberg College.

During Open Mic, Jim MacLeod shares some of his recently inspired limericks, and Craig Allen Heath reads a story that will be part of a new short story collection.

The next WordFest on Zoom will occur on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 7-8 pm, featuring naturalist Robert Michael Pyle and storyteller Ed Putka. Details here

WordFest on Zoom 
Host: Alan Rose
Creative Design and Editing: Bethany Glenn
Zoom Technical Direction: Vikki J. Carter

WordFest on literary hiatus for 2020

Global pandemics are no fun. Along with destroying lives and livelihoods, COVID-19 has also disrupted our local literary community.

At this point (July) it is not looking like WordFest will resume for the remainder of 2020. However, you can stay in touch with the community and literary happenings through our monthly newsletter by subscribing here.

Until we can meet again face(mask) to face(mask), please stay safe and sane.

WordFest & Longview Library host Pandemic Writing Club

The Longview Public Library and WordFest will offer an 8-week series on writing about the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Sessions will be conducted Tuesdays from 1:00-2:30 pm on the Zoom Conferencing platform.

Alan Rose, who coordinates the WordFest events, will facilitate the sessions. His newest novel, As If Death Summoned, about the AIDS epidemic, will be released in December by Amble Press, an imprint of Bywater Books.

“This is an unprecedented time in our community’s history,” said Rose. “We hope this class will provide people a way to experience it, express it, and share it in a positive and healthy way.”

All forms of writing are encouraged: nonfiction memoir and personal reflections on the pandemic, but also fiction short stories, flash fiction, poetry, science fiction and fantasy, even humor and whimsy, how ever people want to express their experience of the pandemic.

The program is open to all ages and all Cowlitz-Wahkiakum residents. People can participate by Zoom Conferencing on their laptops, PC/Mac, or tablets. The library will offer technical assistance to get people set up.

The organizers plan to publish some of the writing on the library’s website and on the WordFest webpage at, and to hold a special WordFest event where writers read their works before the public at a future time.  

All sessions are free and open to the public, but spaces are limited and pre-registration and an email address are required. You can register today by contacting Elizabeth Partridge at the Longview Public Library at her email,

Note: WordFest gatherings have been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WordFest suspended due to COVID-19

With the closing of Washington state’s schools and out of concern for people’s health and literary well-being, the monthly WordFest events will be suspended for the foreseeable future.

Updates and bookish news will be posted in the monthly newsletter. Click here to sign up for it.

Stay safe, healthy and well-read!