About The Festival
The Southwest Festival of the Written Word celebrates the power and beauty of the written word, embracing the rich diversity of Southwestern cultures
The first Southwest Festival of the Written Word was held Friday through Sunday, September 27-29, 2013, at multiple venues in historic downtown Silver City, New Mexico. Celebrating the “textures y sabores” shaping the Southwest’s literary identity, the Festival brought together those who create with those who appreciate the written word. Major sponsors included Western New Mexico University, New Mexico Humanities Council, and the Community Enhancement Fund.
Over 50 presenters—fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, bloggers, journalists, lyricists, editors, dramatists, and publishers from throughout the Southwest—were featured in some 30 sessions and workshops. Children’s activities, book signings, slam poetry, student programs, a dramatic presentation, and musical performances rounded out the weekend offerings.
A trail of compelling words extends from the 19th century to today in southwestern New Mexico, home to writers whose work the New York Times, NPR, and even Conan O’Brien pay attention to. The region’s authors continue to expand understanding of this scenic, culturally complex corner of the American Southwest.
Nationally known for its creativity and hospitality, Silver City hosts major events like the Blues Festival, Tour of the Gila bicycle races, and Clay Festival. With equal panache, the Southwest Festival of the Written Word, or SFWW, will celebrate the area’s vibrant literary life.
SFWW organizers, from many of Silver City’s cultural institutions, came together in the time-honored “Hey, kids, let’s put on a show!” tradition. Partners include the Mimbres Region Arts Council, Silver City Museum, Silver City Public Library, and the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning (WILL). Western New Mexico University (WNMU) is a key collaborator, actively involving its Scholar in Residence, Writer in Residence, Miller Library, and University Bookstore. The Silver City Arts & Cultural District―itself an alliance of community groups―is a valued supporter.
While gearing up for the first Festival, SFWW also –
• established a Poet Laureate program in collaboration with the Silver City Town Council
• committed “random acts of literature” at public events throughout the area
• presented writing workshops
• promoted book- and literacy-related events in the area
• opened a dialogue with area schools on ways to encourage young readers and writers.
The art of the people of this land goes back 10 millennia. It’s art that came directly out of the earth or things from the earth. Spaniards and later settlers, dazzled by minerals, called the area a treasure house; others followed in search of health and new beginnings. Sharing that deep past, the Southwest Festival of the Written Word now opens another room in the house.
How You Can Help
Learn more about how you can contribute.
Our organization brings together members of the Silver City and Grant County, New Mexico community who are interested in reading, writing, publishing, and everything having to do with the written word. Learn about the people who are making it happen here.