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The YMCA Writer's Voice and the Billings Cultural Partners, a consortium of 18 organizations including the Yellowstone Art Museum, Western Heritage Center, MSU-Billings, Parmly Billings Library and Mansfield Health Education Center, are organizing the first High Plains BookFest scheduled for July 11-13 downtown.

The festival will feature seasoned and emerging writers from Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Canada and the numerous Indian Tribes therein.

"Eastern Montana and the High Plains region has its own vernacular which is often reflected in its literary works," said Writer's Voice director Corby Skinner. "There are a number of significant writers in this region who feel the landscape makes for this distinction, and places them a unique position especially relative to the examination of the West."

This celebration of the book is designed to appeal to a broad audience through diverse topics such as fiction/non-fiction Western history, Native literature, memoir writing, biographies, the mystery, the environment, screenwriting, writing for young people and health related topics. To date, more than 65 writers have committed including Tom McGuane, Pete Fromm, Judy Blunt, Tim Cahill, Rick Bass, David Quammen, C J Box, Diane Glancy, John Taliaferro, Alston Chase, Jamie Harrison, and Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve.

Credit and noncredit classes will be offered through MSU-Billings.

Activities will be held at Alberta Bair Theater, Western Heritage Center, Parmly Billings Library, Yellowstone Art Museum and numerous other venues within walking distance of downtown hotels, restaurants and shops.

For further information,

contact the Billings Cultural Partners at (406) 294-5059 or sharin@downtownbillings.com. This project funded in part by a grant from the Montana Committee for the Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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