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Close to 220 attendees are expected at this year's Rocky Mountain Literary Festival. Photo courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Literary Festival

Rocky Mountain Lit Fest Is Here to Stay

This small gathering of Colorado-based authors, books, and bookworms became a bestseller in 2015 with its simplistic format and intimate setting—and this year promises the same. 

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The survey results of last year’s inaugural Rocky Mountain Literary Festival said it all: Attendees promised to be back.

The one-day lineup of Colorado’s veteran and emerging novelists brought about 185 readers to Golden’s Mount Vernon Country Club to learn about the author’s backstories, ask questions, and purchase new reads. While so many established lit fest behemoths pack their schedules with speakers and events, this one found its strength in small numbers.

“A lot of the comments that we got were in praise of how accessible everything was,” says Rita Carver, author selection committee member and co-chair for next year’s RMLF festival. “It’s not really big—we’re sticking to five featured authors per year—so everything just flows. There’s no waiting in line between sessions.”

On Saturday, this year’s festival builds on that success. Committee members have crafted its second iteration to stick to that successful six-hour format, but with a new set of award-winning writers spanning diverse genres. So military history buffs can sit front row at Dan Hampton’s talk—detailing his New York Times bestseller Viper Pilot, which tracks his 20-year career as a U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel—while noir reading enthusiasts can check out Manuel Ramos’ breakout session on his Colorado Book Award-winning Chicano crime fiction. Just like last year, Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist and Evergreen resident Greg Dobbs will moderate the one-day literary extravaganza.

Each session will include a 30-minute presentation by the author (sans any literary readings), followed by a 15-minute Q&A. A selection of the writers’ works will also be available for purchase onsite and can be autographed during the meet-and-greets beginning at 2:15 p.m.—if you haven’t already met the authors at lunch, another perk of the small fest.

If you need something to lug all that new print around, the festival is also selling a RMLF tote bag to help boost its fundraising efforts in partnership with insurance company Land Title Guarantee. All ticket, tote bag, and silent auction proceeds benefit Bootstraps, a local nonprofit that offers scholarships and interest-free loans to college-bound high school students.

“It can be a challenge for the selection committee to find Colorado-tied authors we can afford, because our main goal is to ultimately raise money for Bootstraps,” says Carver. “After awarding two $1,000 scholarships through last year’s festival, we aim to raise enough for three scholarships of a higher dollar amount this year.”

So whether you really need that signed bundle of the authors’ books, it’s a literary purchase you can feel good about.

If You Go: The Rocky Mountain Literary Festival takes place Saturday, October 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mount Vernon Country Club, 24933 Clubhouse Circle, Golden. Visit rockymountainliteraryfestival.org for a full schedule.

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