On Saturday, May 21, City Square Park in Uptown Marion will be filled to bursting with artists and art fans for this edition of the Marion Arts Festival. The enterprising folks at Swamp Fox Bookstore, located just a couple of blocks from City Square Park, hope to draw the attention of some of those visual arts lovers who might also love to read.
Swamp Fox is hosting an Author Fair outside the store at 809 6th Ave in Marion. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., area authors who write in a variety of styles and genres will be on hand to offer their wares to readers.
Among those appearing will be Iowa native and bestselling thriller writer Heather Gudenkauf who will be there from 10 a.m. to noon. Her most recent novel, The Overnight Guest, was released in January.
In a 2020 interview following the publication of This Is How I Lied (which I also reviewed for Little Village), I asked Gudenkauf what being a writer from Iowa means to her.
“One of my favorite authors, Willa Cather, said, ‘Let your fiction grow out of the land beneath your feet,’ and I really take this to heart with my writing,” she explained. “I was fortunate to grow up in Iowa and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Iowa has such a lovely, varied landscape — from farmland and rivers and lakes, to woodlands, caves and bluffs. Ultimately, I want to share with readers a thrilling mystery, set among the beauty of Iowa.”
Also on the schedule for the duration of the event is retired journalist Dale Kueter, whose nonfiction and historical fiction offerings are grounded in true stories with an Eastern Iowa connection. His novel Ma Bremer’s Boys fictionalizes the lives of Eugene and Henry Floyd Brown. Eugene Brown was a well-known business man in Cedar Rapids in the 1960s and 1970s — and a man Kueter encountered during his years working at The Gazette. “I’m not sure I could write pure fiction,” Kueter told me in a 2021 interview, chalking that up to his long career as a reporter.
Urban fantasy writer Erin Casey, who recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for the third book in her Purple Door District series, will be on hand from noon to 3 p.m. So too will Dennis Green, author of the Traveler series, which features a police detective who keeps encountering alternate versions of himself as he slips from reality to reality (full disclosure, Dennis and I are both members of the writing group known as The Writing Lads).
If you are in the market for something spicy, you’ll want to stop by to meet Tricia Andersen between 9 and 11:45 a.m. M.L. Williams will participate throughout the day with something for sci-fi lovers and for those looking for folksy and humorous tales. Dennis Maulsby will have short stories (including a collection about a priest in Winterset, Iowa, who encounters the supernatural as often as Scooby Doo encounters masked villains), poems and his recent novel on offer. And you can meet Kristine Plum (paranormal romance) in the morning and Mary Chalupsky (children’s books) in the afternoon.
The complete schedule for the event can be found on the Swamp Fox website.