Come and feast your eyes on the banquet of all available new books at the sixth annual Payson Book Festival Saturday, July 17. The 80 Arizona authors will have fiction and non-fiction books of many genres at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino. Sponsored by Arizona Professional Writers (APW), Rim Country chapter, the goal of the festival is to promote literacy with a celebration of books for readers of all ages. Activities include: entertainment with cowboy poetry and songs; Kid Zone fun sessions for youngsters; and captivating author presentations.

The Western theme presenters include: Marshall Trimble, Dee “Buckshot Dot” Strickland Johnson and Tom Martin and friends.

Trimble, the official Arizona State Historian, is a noted historian, author, folksinger and humorist. He’s been a board member of the Wild West History Association since its founding. The author of 22 books on Arizona and the West, he writes a monthly column, “Ask the Marshall,” in True West Magazine. He has won numerous honors and awards. In 2012 he was selected for the U.S. State Department’s “Cowboy Hall of Fame Tour,” a goodwill visit to Kyrgyzstan to share American cowboy culture. He was inducted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.

Strickland Johnson, aka Buckshot Dot, will delight you with her original western poetry and cowboy songs. Dot is an Arizona Culture Keeper and wrote all the poems she is presenting at the festival. She has been awarded the Academy of Western Artists Female Cowboy Poet of the Year. Among her awards is the Will Rogers Medallion Award for her book “Arizona Herstory.” One of her books was named Cowboy Poetry Book of the Year. She has written seven books, five dance folk operas, and has produced four CDs. Folks always enjoy Dot’s guitar music and poems.

Martin and a panel of writers — Jon Fuller, Kern Nuttall and Dave Elston — will delight you with stories of the Grand Canyon and paddling its rivers. The panel has been hiking in and rafting through the Grand Canyon for decades. Martin views as critically important, protecting the wilderness resources of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. He co-founded the Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Association, and the Grand Canyon Wilderness Alliance.

Martin has written a number of books including, “Guide to the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon: Lee’s Ferry to South Cove,” which won the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award.

Their accounts bring the canyon and rushing waters of the rivers to life.

Kids can meet the Story Monster and Clifford the Big Red Dog. The Kids Zone sessions will have Story Times and other creative arts and craft activities.

Free book gifts and lots of silent auction items are available for bids all day.

While at the festival sit and enjoy the presentations, ask questions of your favorite authors, and get your books signed. Food is available in the casino.

The festival is from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, July 17. More information is available at paysonbookfestival.org.

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