Fort Collins is celebrating books with a festival — for a whole month

Listen Now
4min 42sec
Courtesy Poudre River Public Libraries
Author Rick Beyer speaks at a Fort Collins Book Fest event in 2022.

A new version of a festival celebrating books is coming to Fort Collins this month.

In 2016, librarians and book lovers put together the Fort Collins Book Fest to honor the unique cultural history of America while encouraging reading, literacy, and social conversation.

Angela Kettle is the programming and events coordinator for the Poudre River Public Library District. She said a historically jam-packed sort of schedule at the celebration served the bookfest … for a time.

“The first several years it really was crammed from — goodness, a Thursday or Friday night — through the weekend, not even a week-long,” Kettle said. “And it was back-to-back powerhouses from all over the country.”

Kettle said the Book Fest started as a wonderful idea to convene, authors and community members around a theme.

But over time, organizers switched their thinking, and instead decided to space things out.

“But we've just discovered over the years that we wanted the focus really to be on books and literature and celebrating what we all love about that.”

Now the Book Fest is a whole month long, which allows people to see more and do more events.

Kettle said this longer Book Fest also allows more venues to participate while holding space for Colorado and Western writers. 

Courtesy Poudre River Public Libraries
An audience listens at a Fort Collins Book Fest event in 2022.

This year, the partners include various breweries around town, such as Mythmaker Brewing and Snowbank Brewery

Revati Kilaparti, a Bookfest committee member and the manager of Old Firehouse Books, said a key goal is to highlight Colorado authors.

“We also like to do events [that] don't necessarily have an author, but they are a way for them to connect,” Kilaparti said.

Organizers also have their favorites. 

Aby Kaupang,a former poet laureate of Fort Collins, has been involved in making the fest happen ever since taking the post. Kaupang selected John Tipton's, Believers And Seven Sermons From The Bacchae.

“John interested me so much with his draw towards religion, but with such a hesitancy to offer any guidance towards it, but more so an exploration of theology,” Kaupang said.

Kilaparti picked White Horse by Denver-based author Erica T. Wurth, which Kilaparti described as Literary Horror.

Courtesy Poudre River Public Libraries
A stack of books at one of the Poudre River Public Libraries.

“Because it's this atmospheric kind of book about horror and family secrets,that takes place in Denver. So it's kind of a love letter to horror fans and Stephen King and Denver and dive bars,” Kilaparti said. 

Kettle said she recommends a book that she devoured in one day: The New Neighbor, from thriller writer Carter Wilson.

“It's a psychological thriller. I read it in the span of 24 hours. It was one of those books that I wasn't able to put down, even if I had other responsibilities and stuff, those fell by the wayside until I finished that book,”  Kettle said.

Kettle recommended that festival goers look at the session titles to see what genres and topics each panel or talk is about, then start with your top three based on those titles.

“We really do have a wide variety this year of panels, talks, workshops, and then some fun offsite things too, like literary trivia, and book bingo and some fun events to help celebrate the love of reading.” 

The month-long celebration of books and reading in the Fort Collins Books Festival is free and runs through February.