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Originally published Monday, July 9, 2012 at 5:00 AM

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Go east, dear reader, for Mazama Festival of Books

This week's roundup of literary events includes a new festival in the Methow: Mazama Festival of Books. Also, the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival and a discussion with authors Carlos Ruiz Zafón and Garth Stein.

Seattle Times book editor

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Lit life |

This time of year I look for any excuse to get on the North Cascades Highway and head east to the Methow (the Methow Valley, but in our family we just call it the Methow). My version of heaven looks something like this: late afternoon sunlight on a field of wildflowers, high on a mountain above Twisp.

Sorry, getting all Wordsworthian here. I just found a new excuse for the trip — a new literary festival. The first annual Mazama Festival of Books takes place Aug. 18-19. Featured writers will discuss their work with radio host Katherine Lanpher in "intimate salon-style conversations" at the community center in Mazama, otherwise known as the Little Red Schoolhouse.

The author lineup thus far includes state poet laureate Kathleen Flenniken, Olympia novelist Jim Lynch, Portland author Pauls Toutonghi, Seattle novelist Ryan Boudinot and the Methow's own children's book illustrator and author Erik Brooks. For complete information go to www.methowvalleyarts.org, go to Arts & Events and scroll down to Mazama Festival of Books.

Storytelling festival

Here's another new festival: The PowellsWood Storytelling festival, which takes place July 13 and 14 at PowellsWood Garden in Federal Way. Workshops, presentations and more from experts at telling a good story. Presentations for both children and adults, and you can also tour the garden! For more information go to www.powellswood.org/festival.

Breakthrough

Seattle resident Alan Averill is a winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Award. He won in the general fiction category for his novel "The Beautiful Land," and gets a $15,000 advance and a publishing contract from PenguinGroup (USA). "The Beautiful Land" involves thwarted love, a time machine and "a mysterious invention buried deep in the Australian outback." Averill is described as a former video game script doctor. For more information on this award and how it works (it's complicated), go to www.amazon.com/abna.

Upcoming book events

A couple of July events worth checking out: this Wednesday and Thursday, the Elliott Bay Book Co. and the Gardner Center for Asian Art present "Words on Water; Writers from India." Writers appearing at the Seattle Asian Art Museum include M.J. Akbar ("Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan"), and Nayanjot Lahiri ("Finding Forgotten Cities: How the Indus Civilization was Discovered"). For a complete schedule and ticket prices go to Elliott Bay's website or the Gardner Center (www.seattleartmuseum.org/gardnercenter).

And Carlos Ruiz Zafón, the talented author of "The Shadow of the Wind" and "The Angel's Game," returns to Seattle to read from his latest book, "The Prisoner of Heaven." This time he's at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, at 7 p.m. Wednesday in conversation with Seattle novelist Garth Stein. Zafón fans already know that "Prisoner" continues the story of the previous books: expect a titanic (and entertaining) struggle between good and evil and total immersion in beautiful, gothic Barcelona (www.thirdplacebooks.com).

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or mgwinn@seattletimes.com. Gwinn appears every Tuesday on TVW's "Well Read," discussing books with host Terry Tazioli (go to www.tvw.org/shows/well-read for archived episodes). On Twitter @gwinnma.

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