The fourth annual Fort Collins Book Fest returns in October to celebrate literature, Colorado writers, and community. This year’s event is billed as “a literary feast for the foodie in all of us” and explores food culture and food systems through books, poetry, and conversations.
Over 40 authors will participate in book talks, panel discussions, cooking demos, readings, writing workshops, and other literary activities during the free two-day event.
But, even the most die-hard bibliophile can’t make it to every session at the Book Fest, despite all the venues being within walking distance of each other throughout Downtown Fort Collins. So, to make the most of your experience, here are recommendations for what to do and who to see.
- Literary Amuse-bouche: Readings
Friday, 7:30 PM, Scrumpy’s Hard Cider Bar & Pub
After expending all that creativity during the writing workshops, sit back, relax, and take in featured authors readings. Octavio Quintanilla, the Poet Laureate of San Antonio, Texas, is joined by fellow poet, Adam Dickinson, and writer, Ramona Ausubel.
- The Traveling Feast
Saturday, 9:30 AM, Ginger and Baker, Mill Top
The main day of the Book Fest kicks off with the opening keynote by Rick Bass, author of The Traveling Feast: On the Road and at the Table with My Heroes. Rick is a highly acclaimed, award-winning fiction and nature writer with over 30 books to his credit. He’ll share tasty anecdotes and tales of meeting his literary heroes from Joyce Carol Oates to David Sedaris to Peter Matthiessen.
- The Blue Plate: A Food Lover’s Guide to Climate Change
Saturday, 11:00 AM, Scrumpy’s Hard Cider Bar & Pub
Have you ever wondered which is more sustainable—fresh or frozen fish? Local conventional or distant organic lettuce? Mark Easter will illuminate simple changes in behavior that consumers can make to reduce their own carbon footprint at the grocery store, with engaging stories that retrace the food supply chain.
- FoCo Writers Read
Saturday, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Art Lab Fort Collins
Support local writers! Twenty writers take over the Art Lab to share their latest works and works-in-progress. Get to know the amazing literary talent right here in your backyard and find some new favorite books to take home. The full lineup for FoCo Writers Read is available at FoCoBookFest.org.
- The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks
Saturday, 12:30 PM, Bas Bleu Theatre
James Beard winner Toni Tipton-Martin spent years amassing one of the world’s largest private collections of cookbooks published by African American authors, looking for evidence of their impact on American food, families, and communities and for ways we might use that knowledge to inspire community wellness of every kind.
- Bon Appétit! – A Visit from Julia Child
Saturday, 2:00 PM, Bas Bleu Theatre
She’s been called the “First Lady of Food” and for good reason. Julia Child charmed the American public and the world with her love of food. Julia, portrayed by Karen Vuranch, visits Fort Collins to share stories of her life and her passion for good food. “Bon Appétit!” (Tip – If you can’t catch her here she will make a special appearance at Savory Spice Shop 7:00 -7:30 PM for the Fort Collins Foodie Walk on Friday, October 18)
- Brew Beer Like a Yeti
Saturday, 3:30PM, New Belgium Brewing
If you like craft beer (and who doesn’t?), then you’ll want to meet author and fermenter Jereme Zimmerman. His work returns to ancient practices and ingredients and brings storytelling, mysticism, and folklore back to the brewing process, including a broad range of ales, gruits, bragots, and other styles that have undeservingly taken a backseat to the IPA.
- The (R)evolution of Indigenous Food Systems of North America
Saturday, 5:30 PM, CSU Lory Student Center
The final keynote with chef Sean Sherman is a must-see session! Sean is the recipient of the 2019 James Beard Leadership Award and the 2018 James Beard Foundation Best American Cookbook Award for The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen. Chef Sean, Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge reservation, focuses on “the revitalization and awareness of indigenous foods systems in a modern culinary context.” He’ll discuss his work to educate and make indigenous ingredients more accessible.
- Writing Workshops
Friday, 9:00AM – 5:00PM and Saturday, 11:00AM – 4:00PM, Old Town Library
The writing workshops are among the most popular activities at the Book Fest. And with authors like Iris Dunkle Jamahl, Susan Harness, Molly Reid, and others set to lead writers in 10 workshops on everything from writing poetry to writing mysteries, it will be packed again this year. Workshops are free, but you need to reserve a seat. Find the workshop schedule and links to register at FoCoBookFest.org.
- Cooking Demonstrations
Saturday, Various times, Ginger and Baker, Teaching Kitchen
Stop by the Teaching Kitchen to take part in cooking demonstrations featuring Colorado chefs like Ana Mario Benavidez (“Sabores de Nuestra Tierra”) and JL Fields (Fast & Easy Vegan Cookbook), and featured author, Ken Albala (Noodle Soup: Recipes, Techniques, Obsession). Schedule available at FoCoBookFest.org.