Read Across Chippewa Valley

MenomonieLibraryBy Molly Schecklman —

Fall into a book with the 16th Annual Chippewa Valley Book Festival (CVBF) going on October 15-22.  The CVBF started back in 2000 in order to promote reading and writing in the Chippewa Valley area.  Since the festival’s start in 2000, it has hosted almost 300 nationally and locally known authors.

The festival is sponsored by Literary Arts Committee of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council and has nearly 5,000 attendees. Both students and adults can participate in readings and book discussions, workshops, author visits, youth programs and a Young Writers Showcase for students in grades fourth through eighth.

Aside from giving students and adults a creative learning experience, the CVBF also benefits local bookstores, libraries and businesses by providing a positive reputation to the local art scene.  The CVBF is entirely dependent on volunteers.

With an annual budget of roughly $40,000 each year, every donation made by a business or an individual helps enrich the lives of attendees through exposure to the liberal arts. The budget is created based on advertising and printing expenses as well as locking in the authors and writers who present at the festival.

This year’s festival will have around fifteen authors who will participate in book discussions, readings and dinners.  The workshops that are offered are writing workshops with the intent to improve the skills of those who attend.

“I think it is a great event for people of all ages.  Obviously the workshops will help writers become more confident and skilled. The showcase is an amazing feature! The students involved get to show off their skills and hard work, plus it also acts as a huge confidence booster,” said Malachi David, a Professional Communications and Emerging Media major at the University of Wisconsin–Stout. “Hopefully [the festival] keeps the kids interested in writing and keeps the art alive for another generation.”

David aspires to be a sports journalist, so he knows that writing requires a lot of dedication and hard work.  With workshops like the ones offered to students and adults at the CVBF, it keeps the dream alive across generations by providing the opportunity to continue to learn and improve.

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The CVBF kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15 with a fiesta buffet at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire campus.  From there on out, the rest of the festival is filled with presenters discussing their writings such as poems, books and many more mediums as well as the Young Writers Showcase and dinner with the authors.  

The CVBF will not only be at UWEC, but it will spread its wings and make its way to libraries, campuses and theatres throughout the Chippewa Valley area. The festival will turn to its final page and end on Thursday, Oct. 22 right back where it started at the UWEC campus with its final presenter beginning at 4 p.m.

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