Around Aspen: Summer Words |

Around Aspen: Summer Words

Mary Eshbaugh Hayes
Aspen Times Weekly

MEHWelcoming writers to the Aspen Writers' Foundation annual Summer Words festival are Linda and Denny Vaughn and Aspen novelist Scott Lasser. Denny is the president of the Writers' Foundation.

Summer Words, the literary festival put on by the Aspen Writers’ Foundation, was a stimulating week of writing workshops, talks by famous writers, interviews with agents and editors, and hobnobbing with writers from around the country. It’s always a wonderful early summer week in Aspen.

Awarded the 2009 Aspen Prize for Literature was Ron Carlson, author of eight works of fiction including his newest novel, “The Signal,” and many short stories. Ron also taught a workshop in advanced fiction this year at Summer Words.

Talked with Laurie Wagner Buyer, author of “Spring’s Edge: A Ranch Wife’s Chronicles” which relates a long hard winter in South Park. Whenever we drive back from Denver and top Kenosha Pass, I am always awestruck as we look out over South Park, that huge basin high in the mountains. The memoir does dwell a little too much on the cold and desolation of a South Park winter, but as spring approaches and the red-winged blackbird trills, one senses the enduring and stark beauty.

Aspenite Mark Seal is the author of a just published book titled “Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life and Untimely Death in Africa.” Mark, a contributing editor of Vanity Fair magazine, wrote a story for the magazine in 2006 recounting the life and murder in Kenya of Joan Root, naturalist, Oscar-nominated wildlife filmmaker and staunch conservationist. The article generated such international interest and created so much curiosity for Mark that he set out to investigate this real-life murder mystery and ended up writing a biography, love story, crime story and thriller.

In other national-publication news, Aspen photographer David O. Marlow is featured in the July 2009 issue of Architectural Digest magazine with his photos of a compound in Punta Mita, Mexico. Situated on a deep lot facing the ocean, the compound is conceived as a sequence of open patios and sheltered interior spaces leading inexorably to the sea.

Michael Fain wrote 11 best-selling novels with his wife, Judith Barnard, with the pen name of Judith Michael. Now he spends a lot of time on photography, which has been a longtime passion. He is having a show of his newest digital photographs at The Camera Obscura Gallery in Denver with an opening reception from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, July 24. The exhibition can be viewed online at The exhibition is titled “Essential Elements” and the photos are reminiscent of abstract paintings.

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