Find Fall Reading at Counterpath's Indie Author and Press Book Fair | Westword

Find Fall Reading at Counterpath's Indie Author and Press Book Fair

Denver author Hillary Leftwich organized the event to showcase the city's strong literary scene.
The Counterpath event space includes both inside and outside areas for the book fair.
The Counterpath event space includes both inside and outside areas for the book fair. Counterpath
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Writing can be a solitary business at almost every stage. There’s the act of creation itself, usually done in solitude with only the muses and an authorial choice of beverage for company. Then there’s the selling of the story, either to an agent or a small press, which either way is more likely than not an exercise in extensive emailing. Even once a book or story is published and writers get their copies, they usually have to promote the book themselves, too.

Denver author Hillary Leftwich knows this process all too well. So do the many local colleagues she’s met through her work as a writer (she wrote Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock and, more recently, the Buzzfeed-recognized memoir Aura). Leftwich worked at BookBar for a time, and still runs the well-respected and much-needed reading series At the Inkwell. “There’s a lot of support for writers in our community,” Leftwich says, “but there’s really no event where everyone can come together. We’ve had other book fairs, of course, but I can’t recall the last time it happened. I thought it was time.”

Time specifically for the Indie Author and Press Book Fair, set for September 30 at Counterpath and designed to be as open and inclusive as possible. “People keep contacting me and asking how they get an invitation,” Leftwich says, and laughs. “There is no invitation. Or this is the invitation: Join us, please. Just show up. There’s no hierarchy here.”

There will be a seller’s area where authors and presses can set up a table to sell their works, as well as readings, panels and even a dance party to end the night.

“This is not a new idea,” admits Leftwich. “I’m just gathering all the experience I’ve had being born and raised here in Denver, with its vibrant literary and arts scene. I just wanted to bring together all those amazing pockets of people out there working: the academics, the agented and the un-agented, small presses, aspiring writers who are just starting to figure things out. I wanted to bring as many of them as I could together under the banner of one event.”
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Hillary Leftwich isn't just waiting for someone else to gather Colorado's authors and presses.
Jay Halsey
Leftwich chose Counterpath as the location for the event in part because At the Inkwell, the reading series she’s run for years, has happened there since BookBar closed in January. “But it’s also because they’re so good at supporting writers and small presses,” she says. “Counterpath is doing the work. Mutiny is doing the work. There are so many bookstores in Denver that are just awesome, strengths from which writers can draw some energy.”

The response from Colorado creatives has already been significant. Author Manuel Aragon is running an authors' panel from 12 to 1 p.m. with seven notable local writers. Journalist and author Bart Schaneman is hosting a press panel from 2 to 3 p.m. with four important small imprints. One of those, Gesture Press, is hosting a reading from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., and the spotlight speaker is Ahja Fox, Aurora's poet laureate, and the night will close with more than twenty accomplished authors reading quick and delicious bites of creative work. The day will also include authors offering their books, as well as giveaways, prizes, and an open mic for those who feel the need to get up and read. For a full schedule of readers and participants, see the event website.

Despite the fact that Leftwich is the person who got the ball rolling on this project, she wants it to be clear that it’s a group effort. “Everybody came together to make this happen,” she says. “This isn’t about me. We all shaped it together, and that’s what’s so great about it.”

As for whether this will be a yearly event, Leftwich says, "It really depends on how this first one goes. If it goes well and I’m not too utterly exhausted at the end of it, I would like to continue it every year. Just keep improving on it. You know, 'community' is a word that gets thrown around a lot. We all define it differently. But at its root, it’s everything. It’s everything.”

The Indie Author and Press Book Fair will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 30, at Counterpath, 7935 East 14th Avenue. The event is free (donations encouraged) and open to the public — and any and all writers.
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