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Originally published July 29, 2013 at 5:07 AM | Page modified July 29, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Book news: Timothy Egan, Maria Semple, U Book Store

Northwest authors Timothy Egan and Maria Semple, the Mazama Festival of Books and University Book Store are in the news.

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Lit Life

Late summer is a placid time on the literary scene, but here are some worthwhile news bits:

Mazama Festival of Books

This literary festival, held in Washington state’s Methow Valley, otherwise known as “The Methow,” is back for its second year. Dates are Sept. 7 and 8. Featured authors so far include Olympia artist/author Nikki McClure and novelists Peter Mountford and Gregory Spatz, and Spokane short-story writer Shawn Vestal. I understand that complimentary pie is involved. For more information, go to

Timothy Egan’s next book

The publishing newsletter Publishers’ Lunch notes that Seattle author Egan’s next book, tentatively scheduled for 2016, will be about Thomas Francis Meagher, a 19th-century Irish rebel who was banished by the British and sent to Tasmania. Meagher moved to America and fought for the Union in the American Civil War as general of the Irish Brigade. As with other subjects of Egan’s books, one is moved to the thought that they don’t make ’em like they used to.

University Book Store news

The open position of U Book Store CEO has been filled by Louise Little, the company’s former director of human resources. Little takes the place of CEO Bryan Pearce, who passed away in April of this year. Little has been with the store since 1980 and is the first woman in its history to hold the CEO position. UBS is the nation’s largest college store based on total sales of books and student supplies.

Other news

Olympia writer Lucia Perillo is on the shortlist for a PEN literary award for her book of short stories, “Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain.” There are five finalists; the winner of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, given for a short-story collection, receives $25,000.

Susan Adkins, a longtime board member of The Seattle Public Library Foundation, has received the 2013 Urban Player Award for her service to the library. The award is given by the Urban Libraries Council, a national organization of about 150 large public library systems. Adkins has been on the board since 1998 and has served terms as vice president and president and chaired the donor relations, advocacy and governance committees.

Seattle author Maria Semple has won the Melissa Nathan Award for comedy romance for her Seattle-based satirical novel “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” This is a British award, and it tickles me to think that Brits apparently found Semple’s portrayal of Seattle hilarious.

Finally — there is still time to apply for a residency at Hedgebrook, the Whidbey Island writers’ retreat for women. Deadline is Sept. 4. For more information, go to

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or Gwinn appears every Tuesday on TVW’s “Well Read,” discussing books with host Terry Tazioli (go to for archived episodes). On Twitter @gwinnma.

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