Rich offering of experiences at September WordFest

WordFest will offer a variety of stories and experiences on Tuesday, September 13, 6:00-8:00 pm, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1428 22nd Avenue in Longview.

Caroline Kurtz will read from her memoir of growing up in Ethiopia, A Road Called Down on Both Sides, and from her second memoir, Today is Tomorrow, about returning to the area in the midst of a brutal civil war.

A citizen of two cultures, Caroline grew up, absorbing the sights, sounds, smells and customs of Africa, then returned later as an adult with her husband and three children where she taught, advocated for women, and supported peacemaking efforts between Ethiopia and Sudan. Fluent in Ethiopia’s Amharic language, Caroline has organized community-led projects for sheep banks, bee-keeping, apple orchards, and has raised funds for schools in Muslim villages. Now living in Portland, she continues to work with their community leaders to bring solar energy, clean water, and women’s empowerment to the region.

Steve Anderson reads from the third installment of his Book of Hours trilogy. The beautifully reconstructed fourteenth century Book of Hours is presented to the Pope, though without the shreds of an incendiary letter Brother Alphaios found hidden in the book’s leather-and-wood cover. Having determined who wrote it and knowing how damaging the letter could be to the Vatican, Brother Alphaios steals the letter and invites a select group to help decide how to handle the historical but potentially explosive document. Steve lives and writes in Longview, WA.

Craig Allen Heath will read from his debut novel, Where You Will Die. This amateur-sleuth murder mystery follows unconventional minister Alan Wright as he struggles against external obstacles and his own inner demons to discover who killed his new best friend, Ruth MacKenzie. Wright can’t fathom why anyone would harm one of the oldest and best-beloved citizens of Eden Ridge, a tiny foothill tourist town where he has found refuge from a broken heart. He and Ruth’s friends, five elderly women known as The Little Red Hens, join forces to reveal how even the admirable trait of loyalty can lead to evil acts.

Craig decided he wanted to become a novelist at age fourteen. He is on the cusp of achieving that goal fifty years later. Living in southwest Washington state with his wife, too much lawn to mow, a vegetable garden, and a hole in his heart where his dog should be, he is now working on Killing Buddhas, the sequel to his first story about Alan Wright in Eden Ridge.

Marc Imlay has been a meditation instructor since 1974, a chiropractor since 1981, and an acupuncturist since 1988.  He retired from his private practice in Kent, Washington, in 2014.  Marc has written poetry since high school, and recently published his first poetry book, Pilgrimages to a Bullfrog Buddha

In this collection, the saviors, saints, and sages of all religions, times, and places reside in an unspoiled, natural setting as various native creatures. With the poet, they consider the human predicament, finding ways to  minimize suffering and optimize happiness amid the vicissitudes of life. Marc has lived on Coal Creek for the past 8 years.

An open mic follows the presentations.

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, in the fellowship hall of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The events are free and open to the public.