Authors flock to Missoula for Maclean book festival

Rob Chaney

Love for solitude and open spaces can sure draw a crowd.

The first post-pandemic revival of the Norman Maclean Literary Festival at the end of June has already logged 1,100 participants who want to hear from a lengthening list of best-selling writers.

“It’s almost the population of Seeley Lake that’s registered for this event, said Bill Lombardi, one of the festival organizers. “We wanted to do it at the new Missoula Public Library, but the registration got so big, and we wanted to do it for free, that we had to move it to the Wilma to have enough capacity.”

The theme of “Public Lands and Sacred Ground” gives the two-day slate of presenters lots of territory to cover. New York Times reporter and author Timothy Egan’s keynote on “Public Lands in American History,” building off his investigations of forest fires and the Dust Bowl era in “The Big Burn” and “The Worst Hard Time” on June 26. Norman Maclean’s son John Maclean, reporter and author of “Home Waters: Chronicle of a Family and a River,” bookends the second day with his discussion of “Books, Rivers and Too Damn Many People.”

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