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Jess Walter to Keynote Three-Day Writing Seminar
Monday, April 1, 2024


Best-selling author Jess Walter will headline the second annual “To Taste Life Twice” seminar in May at Ketchum’s Community Library.

Walter is the best-selling author of seven novels, including the New York Times bestseller “Beautiful Ruins” about an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 and resurfaces 50 years later in Hollywood. He also wrote “The Cold Millions” about two brothers set against the backdrop of cops and trams, suffragists and socialists, madams and murderers.

He is a National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

He will speak at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, in a presentation that is free to the public but requires preregistration. The talk will be livestreamed.

The public will also have a chance to take part in writing workshops the following two days, thanks to a collaboration between the library and the Boise-based organization Story Forward. The event was named “To Taste Lie Twice” based on author Anais Nin’s statement “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection…to record the journey…to expand our world.”

"We’re thrilled for the second year of this seminar after a wonderful inaugural year in 2023,” said Martha Williams, the library’s director of programs and education. “Last year we had writers from around the valley learn from incredible Idaho writers, meet others, and share their stories. Writers at every stage, from explorers to full-time career writers, joined us. We have a great community of writers here in Central Idaho, and this is an opportunity to come together, around story.”

The writing workshop instructors are:

Anna Caritj, author of Leda and the Swan and editor-in-chief of the Idaho Review. She is an assistant professor in the MFA and undergraduate creative writing programs at Boise State University. 

Kim Cross, journalist, historian, and New York Times Best-Selling author of meticulously reported narrative nonfiction whose latest book, In Light of All Darkness, won the Truman Capote Prize and has been nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award. 

Alan Heathcock, award-winning author of Volt and 40, who won a National Magazine Award, Whiting Award, NEA Prose Fellowship, and has twice been named a Literary Fellow by the Idaho Commission on the Arts. 

tai simpson, named “The Storyteller” in the Indigenous language of the Nimiipuu/Nez Perce Tribe and organizer for the Indigenous Idaho Alliance and co-Director with the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence. 

Christian Winn, Idaho’s 2016-2019 Writer in Residence, founder of the Writers Write fiction workshop series, co-founder and Director of Storyfort, and producer of the Campfire Stories reading series and the Couch Surfer Artist Series.  

A Writers Roundtable discussion with the five instructors will be held the morning of Saturday, May 18.

The event will culminate with a Storytelling Event in the Library’s lecture hall from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 18, during which attendees and the public will be invited to hear readings from the participants, instructors and special guests. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

"We're incredibly excited at Story Forward to be collaborating with The Community Library and the Wood River Valley community for a second year of To Taste Life Twice,” said Christian Winn, who will also lead a workshop during the seminar. “It's so wonderful to be able to work with really talented and enthusiastic writers from the valley, the Boise area, and all across southwest Idaho over the course of a long writerly weekend. This second year of Taste Life Twice is going to be really special and amazing, and Story Forward is incredibly lucky to be a part of the literary fun!”

Reservations for Jess Walter’s talk are being taken at

To learn more about the To Taste Life twice seminar, visit

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