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Thursday, September 3, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Bumbershoot And Books: A Wider Page

With a financial infusion this year from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, Bumbershoot's literary program continues to grow, embracing a huge range of readings, panel discussions, book signings, children's activities and the popular small-press bookfair.

Much of the literary program is consolidated in the Bookfair Pavilion, which has its own stage and which Bumbershooters may remember as the old Seattle Art Museum Pavilion at Seattle Center. A few performances and discussions, however, will take place on stage at the Bagley Wright Theatre and the Intiman Playhouse, also at the center.

More than anything else, Bumbershoot's literary program is a celebration of multiculturalism, with emphasis on the Americas - North, South and points in between. Few of the visiting and local writers are household names, but they represent about every household, ethnically speaking, in American society.

Some of this year's highlights include readings by Trinidad-born fiction writer Neil Bissoondath (9 p.m. Saturday, Bagley Wright); poet Carolyn Forche (9 p.m. Monday, Bagley Wright); Native American writer Linda Hogan (9:45 p.m. Monday, Bagley Wright); and African-American writers June Jordan (9 p.m. tomorrow, Bagley Wright) and Ishmael Reed (5 p.m. Saturday, Bookfair Pavilion), who will appear with his 14-year-old poet-daughter, Tennessee Reed.

Bumbershoot also is providing a forum for this year's winners of the biennial book awards given by the Western States Arts Federation - a prize list that includes two Washington state writers. Fiction winner Rebecca Wells, a Seattle-based actress and playwright, will read from her novel, "Little Altars Everywhere" (4 p.m. tomorrow, Bookfair Pavilion); Toby F. Sonneman, who received the federation's creative nonfiction citation of merit for her book, "Fruit Fields in My Blood: Okie Migrants in the West," will read from it at 4 p.m. Monday (Bookfair Pavilion). Sonneman lives in Cashmere.

The other Western States award winners include Arizona writer Richard Shelton, who will read from his memoir, "Going Back to Bisbee" (4 p.m. Saturday, Bookfair Pavilion), and Oregon poet William Stafford, who will read from his new collection, "My Name Is William Tell" (4 p.m. Sunday, Bookfair Pavilion).

Seattle writers appearing this year include fiction writers David Shields (8:15 p.m. Saturday, Bagley Wright), Charlotte Watson Sherman (1:45 p.m. Saturday, Bookfair Pavilion), Ron Dakron (8:45 p.m. Saturday, Bagley Wright) and Brenda Peterson (5 p.m. Monday, Bookfair Pavilion). Local poets include Bart Baxter (8 p.m. Saturday, Bagley Wright), Jill Gonet (8 p.m. Sunday, Bagley Wright) and Kay Kinghammer (8 p.m. Monday, Bagley Wright).

The small-press bookfair has become one of the largest gatherings of independent book and magazine publishers on the West Coast. This year's fair features 76 exhibitors, everything from Ananse Press, which publishes works on African-American history and culture, to Yellow Silk, a "journal of the erotic arts."

Also available is the seventh edition of ERGO!, a paperback anthology of work by this year's Bumbershoot writers, as well as Anita Endrezze's poetry collection, "at the helm of twilight," this year's winner of the Bumbershoot/Weyerhaeuser Publication Award. Endrezze, a member of the Yaqui tribe, lives in Spokane.

Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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