Friday, October 02, 2015

Last night, I was very fortunate to have attended Stories of El Paso, an fundraising event for the El Paso Public Library Foundation. For those of you who aren't familiar with El Paso, we are a large city (the 19th most populous city in the U.S, according to Wiki) located on the Rio Grande, right on the Western edge of Texas, bordering Las Cruces, New Mexico and Juárez, Mexico. 

The exciting thing about living in El Paso is that it is filled with culture, is centrally located, and is constantly changing and expanding. Sadly, however, we do not have that many literary events for a city of our size. We almost never have authors do signings here (unless they are local, or have ties to El Paso, like Rachel Caine), we don't have any indie bookstores, and if you'd like to join a book club, the pickings are very slim and narrow. This event in particular also featured local authors (no surprise!), but the main point of the event was to benefit the El Paso Public Libraries' after school programs, so each author chosen told stories that showed the "spirit of El Paso." Here's a look at the authors that spoke last night:

Rus Bradburd // Former UTEP basketball coach


Joe Hayes // Renowned storyteller


Linda Francis Lee // New York Times bestseller


Sergio Troncoso // Premio Aztlan winner


Dan Wetzel // Renowned sports writer


All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening. Each speaker had an interesting story to tell, and not only were they able to enthrall people with their writing, but with their spoken words, as well. It was a magical event, and I'm glad I was able to attend. I had never before been to Ardovino's Desert Crossing, but it was a really beautiful location, and the ambiance was made complete with the alluring Mexican folk music performed by Maria and Yahvi.

I even got to take home a spoil of war by snagging one of the last available copies of The Devil In The Junior League, which Linda Francis Lee happily signed for me! Funnily enough, I had spoken to her before the program outside in the parking lot, when she asked for directions to the venue entrance & I had to apologize, as I had never been there before and didn't know where I was going, either! 

So yes, it was rather embarrassing to go up to her after the event to ask for a signature, but she was very cheerful about it and we ended up laughing about our earlier encounter. The best part? She said that she's working on a series that is set in El Paso! I am always on the lookout for a good fictional novel set in my home city - so far I've only read Benjamin Alire Sáenz's Aristotle and Dante Discover The Universe (which I loved, by the way!) I'm excited to see what she comes out with, and will be reading her other works in the meantime.
One of the many changes that I will slowly be introducing to this blog will be "regularly" posting about either literary events in El Paso or features on local authors. I use quotations on that since, as I've said, there really aren't that many here, but I will definitely keep my fingers crossed! El Paso could definitely use some more lovin'!


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