Southwest Word Fiesta 2023

Mon, Oct 2, 2023, 8:57am | By Catalina Claussen

Sprung from our wildest imaginations, the Southwest Word Fiesta, originally known as the Southwest Festival of the Written Word, was established in 2010 to honor and celebrate writers who live and work in the Southwest. The event is designed to bring together “those who create with those who appreciate.” This year’s hybrid festival of both in-person and Zoom events will be held October 22-29, 2023, honoring the theme "We Are All Connected."  


The Steering Committee for the Southwest Word Fiesta dreams big. With each fiesta we gather a list of celebrated writers and standouts in the industry along with those who are fresh on the scene to create a program that offers a mix of readings, workshops, and how-to sessions for attendees. This year’s fiesta includes retired National Public Radio (NPR) correspondent John Burnett as keynote speaker and sessions on outdoor experience, poetry, crime writing, children’s books, science fiction, fiction, audio recording, film, essays, young adult writing, songwriting, history, oral history, the book business, and more. The first League of United Latin America Citizens (LULAC)-Southwest Word Fiesta (SWWF) award recognizing the best book by an author of Hispanic descent will also be presented. For a full list of sessions and the schedule visit swwordfiesta.org. 


The first winner of the LULAC-SWWF award is Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz for her book Earth Medicines: Ancestral Wisdom, Healing Recipes, and Wellness Rituals from a Curandera, published by Roost Books in November 2021. Roost Books is an imprint of Shambhala Publications, a countercultural publisher since 1969. Their books are distributed by Penguin Random House. Last year Earth Medicines received a Reading the West Award in the category of Eating the West.  


Ruiz is a curandera (a traditional healer), and an indigenous foods activist and holistic chef. She lives in Phoenix with her husband.  She is of Hispanic and indigenous descent. Earth Medicines is available from Shambhala Publications. Known as the “Kitchen Curandera,” Ruiz shares her knowledge in private consultations, workshops, and ceremonies. 


The Southwest Word Fiesta offers a crossroads where writers, industry professionals, and word lovers meet to discuss the craft of written and oral expression, publishing, and other topics that inspire. We gather on Zoom and in-person in historic Silver City, N.M., to delight in and immerse ourselves in the wonder of words. 

Catalina Claussen is a member of the Southwest Word Fiesta steering committee. She is an award-winning young adult novelist, poet, and short story author who carries on a love affair with the land, language, and people of southwest New Mexico. She lives with her dog and tends a prolific garden on a ranch in the Mimbres Valley. To find out more about Catalina Claussen and her work, visit her website at: catalinaclaussenbooks.wordpress.com.

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this blog post/article does not necessarily represent those of the New Mexico Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Tags 4poetsandwriterssoutwestwordfiesta2023silvercitynmweareallconnected

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