2013 Great Falls Festival of the Book

City of Great Falls Montana

The Great Falls Public Library presents the 13th annual Great Falls Festival of the Book with literary events spread throughout the month of March.  All events are free and open to the public.  This festival is sponsored by the Great Falls Public Library, The GFPL Foundation, and Humanities Montana.  Find the full schedule here.

Great Falls Festival of the Book


Thursday, March 7, 7:00 P.M. - Message from Afghanistan

Lt Col Nancy LaChapelle kept this journal while embedded with the US Army for six months in 2007-2008 as the Chief Nurse Mentor for Paktia Regional Medical Center, Gardez, Afghanistan. The mission was to assist a staff of 120 Afghan National Army medical professionals in the establishment of their Military Health System. Nancy retired from the Air Force in September 2008 after 22 years of service; she is currently living in Fort Benton Montana.

Thursday, March 14, 7:00 P.M. - The Man Who Planted Trees

Jim Robbins, a Helena-based journalist, is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and numerous magazines.  He is the author of four non-fiction books, the most recent, The Man Who Planted Trees.  This is the true story of David Milarch, who set about cloning the strongest tree species in order to save all trees.

Saturday, March 16, 2:00 P.M. - Mysterious and Poetic

A reading with Hi-Line Archaeological Mystery Writer Theresa Danley, winner of Epic’s E-Book Award Finalist for Effigy; Great Falls Grand Dame of Poetry Elsie Pankowski;  and Fort Belknap Poet Minerva Allen, author of Nakoda Sky People.

Thursday, March 21, 7:00 P.M. - An Evening with Playwrights Jay Kettering & Michael Gilboe with Renata Birckenbuel

Spend an evening with Missoula Playwright Jay Kettering, who has penned many plays for Montana Repertory Theatre, and Great Falls’ Michael Gilboe, who is a gifted actor, producer, songwriter, playwright and the head of University of Great Falls Performing Arts Department, as they talk about writing and theatre with writer Renata Birckenbuel.

Saturday, March 23, 2:00 pm - Let Them Paddle

Bozeman author and outdoor enthusiast Al Kesselheim, whose most recent work is Let Them Paddle, will read from his work and talk about how life in Montana inspires his life and writing.  He has written for many magazines and authored ten books.

Sunday, March 28, 7:00 pm - Grand Word Meister Contest

The fifth annual Word Meister Contest combines love of words, healthy competition and a drive for the Great Falls Food Bank.  Previous competitors have included teams from the Great Falls Tribune, local radio and TV stations.  Former Great Falls Public Library Director Jim Heckel hosts.

Saturday, March 30, 2:00 pm - Homegrown Writing

Kareen Bratt reads from and talks about writing her memoir My Home's In Montana.   This memoir of growing up on a ranch in the Fort Benton area draws the reader into an era and a way of life that is nearly unknowable except to the hardy few who still stake their claim to the prairies of Montana. Kareen’s story reaches back into her memories of a family struggling to hold on to their place under Montana's big sky, all the while dealing with hard times, heartbreaking tragedies and their own human frailties. Told with the authenticity of one who remembers with great affection, the wind, sky and land of her ranch home, the reader can almost feel the chill of an early morning run to the outhouse or the heat of a harvest kitchen.

Saturday, March 30, 3:00 pm   - Life & Death on the Upper Missouri

Ken Robison, Great Falls author and historian will read from and talk about his new book, Life on the Upper Missouri: The Frontier Sketches of Johnny Healy.  This book presents the life of Irish immigrant Johnny Healy, who tried his hand at many things including story telling, mining, politics, business, and journalism.  He blazed across the Upper Missouri frontier seeking adventure first, fortune second.  He chronicled his adventures in a series of Frontier Sketches for the first newspaper in northern Montana, The Benton Record.  Ken’s book shares these stories and commentary, offering through stories one of the best ways to delve into history of the Wild West and life around and near Fort Benton.