Category Archives: Author Events

December 2nd, 4pm – The Flying Burgowski Flies Again!

The Lopez Island Library celebrates the release of local author Gretchen K. Wing’s latest Young Adult novel Altitude with a book launch on Saturday, December 2nd at 4pm in the community room.  This is the third and final book in her popular Flying Burgowski series. When she is not writing from her home on the south end of Lopez Island, Gretchen can be found baking at Holly B’s Bakery and performing as a singer/songwriter. Gretchen is a former high school English and history teacher.  The Lopez Island Library caught up with Gretchen to ask her a few questions about her writing process.

LIL: Where did you get your idea for the Flying Burgowski series?

GW: The character of Jocelyn Burgowski, a girl who can fly, simply came to me about a dozen years ago, name and all. I had not planned to write a Young Adult novel–let alone a series–but since my main character was clearly a teen, well…okay then! I’ve long been intrigued with the idea of people with special powers living otherwise normal lives, lives in which their special powers might be as much a curse as a blessing. Even deeper than that, since I was a little girl I’ve longed to fly.

LIL: What is your writing process like?

GW: I’m a morning writer. When I wrote the first book I was still teaching public high school in Tacoma, and I had to leave for work at 6:30. That meant writing very early, like five, which I hated, because I’d just be getting going when it was time to stop. I was thrilled to give that schedule up when we moved to Lopez, and that is also the major reason I did not keep on teaching here. I wanted to honor my writing and give it the time it most wanted, which turns out to be a chunk from around seven or eight to noon. My Muse takes an afternoon nap, so I’m not much good then.

LIL: What do you love about writing Young Adult novels?

GW: What I love about writing Young Adult novels is staying connected with the mind of a teenager. I miss interacting with my students more than anything else about teaching, and my own kids have long since quit being teenagers. Teens are more vibrant and dynamic than your average human. [They’re] also more dramatic and lots of fun for a writer; less so, sometimes, for the teens themselves.

The Lopez Island Library supports local authors. Stay tuned for the library’s 2018 Lopez Writes program, a series of free workshops and events designed to connect and engage local writers at all stages of the writing, editing, and publishing process.


Sasquatch: Man-Ape or Myth with Researcher & Author David George Gordon; Thurs. July 13, 2017, 7:00PM, Lopez Center for Community & the Arts

Sasquatch: Man-Ape or Myth

Join the Lopez Island Library Thursday, July 13th, 7:00PM at Lopez Center for Community and the Arts, as we host author, researcher and Humanities Washington Speaker, David George Gordon discussing Sasquatch: Man-Ape or Myth. For hundreds of years throughout the Northwest, people have been reporting encounters with the Sasquatch—a hairy, eight- to ten-foot-tall hominid. Despite eyewitness sightings, some from the earliest humans in the Northwest, no scientifically accepted evidence has established the being’s existence. Author David George Gordon evaluates the data gathered about the legendary Northwest icon and explains how one can become an effective “citizen scientist” by gathering credible evidence that can be used to substantiate the Sasquatch’s status as either Man-Ape or Myth. He is a current Humanities Washington speaker and the author of The Sasquatch Seeker’s Field Manual: Using Citizen Science to Uncover North America’s Most Elusive Creature. An accomplished science interpreter, he has spoken at the American Museum of Natural History, The Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, Yale University, the Smithsonian Institution, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not.  He has been interviewed by National Geographic, TimeThe New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and appeared as a guest on television shows that include The Late Late Show With James Corden, The View, and ABC’s Nightline.  This special evening is sponsored by Friends of the Lopez Library and Humanities Washington.  For more information contact the Lopez Island Library at 360-468-2265.

Desert Writers Read, Friday, June 2nd, 2017 7PM-Lopez Library Community Room

Kate Harris

Kendra Atleework

The Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers and the Lopez Library will present a literary non-fiction event bringing to the Northwest two celebrated desert writers who have been recognized for excellence by the Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers. Reading at the event will be Kate Harris, a writer and adventurer who lives off-grid in Atlin, BC. Named one of Canada’s top modern-day explorers, and past winner of the Ellen Meloy Desert Writer’s Award, her travels edging the limits of nations, endurance, and sanity have taken her to all seven continents. Her first book, Lands of Lost Borders, is forthcoming with Knopf Canada. Also reading at the event is Kendra Atleework, the 2016 recipient of the Ellen Meloy Desert Writer’s Award. Her writing appears in Best American Essays 2015 and elsewhere. She’s at work on a nonfiction book about growing up amid drought and wildfire in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Ellen Meloy Fund supports writers whose work reflects the spirit and passion for the desert embodied in Meloy’s writing and in her commitment to a “deep map of place.” Before her untimely death in 2004, Meloy published four books, numerous articles, and radio commentaries. Her last book, Eating Stone, won the John Burroughs Association Medal for 2007. An earlier work, The Anthropology of Turquoise, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. More information about Ellen Meloy, the Fund for Desert Writers, and the annual award can be found at This very special reading is in memory of the friendship and love between naturalist/writer Ellen Meloy, and longtime Lopez resident Ivaly Hoedemaker. The two met in Utah (husbands Mark Meloy and Steve Rubey tagged along) and shared many adventures on the Colorado Plateau and in the San Juan Islands. For more information on this event please contact Jen Krajack at the Lopez Library. (468-2265)

Celebrando Nuestras Raíces-Celebrating Our Roots; Saturday, May 20, 2017, 6:30PM Grace Episcopal Church

Award-Winning Correo Aereo

Join the Lopez Library for an evening of music, food and community as we celebrate the Americas with music from the award-winning duo of Correo Aereo who will perform the traditional music of Mexico, Venezuela, & Argentina as well as some of their own compositions. Correo Aereo combines a gorgeous array of string and percussive instruments with beautiful vocal harmonies described as “…locked in embrace.” by the Austin Chronicle Correo Aereo is strongly committed to bringing their music into communities and celebrating cultural connections through all ages and ethnicities. Correo Aereo performs at festivals, theaters and music venues throughout the U.S. and abroad including Winnipeg Folk Festival, Austin Music Hall, EMP Seattle & Holland’s Moondive;an international media project/concert produced by VPRO Television-Radio Amsterdam. They have also been featured at Seattle International Children’s Festival, the Knitting Factory in NYC. and on NPR Radio programs; Latino USA, All Things Considered, Splendid Table, and Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now. They were selected winner of the prestigious Austin Music Award for ‘Best Traditional Mexican/Latino Act’.  This special musical event will be held in the beautiful acoustics of Grace Episcopal Church and refreshments will follow.  The evening is sponsored by Humanities Washington and Friends of the Lopez Library.  A suggested donation of $5 – $10 dollars is appreciated and benefits the Lopez Island Family Resource Center. For more information contact Jen Krajack at the library.  468-2265

This Friday Night!! Washington State Poet Laureate Dr. Tod Marshall; Friday. March 31, 2017, 7PM, Lopez Island Library

You are cordially invited to the annual meeting of the Friends of Lopez Library.  Learn about the Friends in a brief intro then enjoy keynote speaker Dr. Tod Marshall, WA State’s current poet laureate. Tod Marshall was born in Buffalo, New York.  He grew up in Wichita, Kansas.  He studied English and philosophy at Siena Heights University, earned an MFA from Eastern Washington University, and graduated with his PhD from The University of Kansas.  He directs the writing concentration and coordinates the visiting writers series at Gonzaga University where he is the Robert K. and Ann J. Powers Endowed Professor in the Humanities.   From 2016-2018, he will serve as the Washington State Poet Laureate. His work has been published in many journals, including Narrative, The Southern Review, The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, Shenandoah, Boulevard, The Colorado Review, The Denver Quarterly, The Columbia Poetry Review, Poetry East, Poetry Northwest, Volt, Interim, The Canary, Willow Springs, Cutbank, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere.  Refreshments will be available.  This event is sponsored by Humanities Washington, Friends of the Lopez Library, Lopez Bookshop & Shark Reef Literary Magazine.  Free to all!

“On Polar Tides” World Kayaker Nigel Foster, Fri., March 10, 2017 7PM Lopez Center for Community and the Arts

“On Polar Tides” World Kayaker Nigel Foster

Join the Lopez Island Library for an evening with world kayaker Nigel Foster.  In the second program of the Lopez Library’s series Beyond Limits, world-renowned kayaker Nigel Foster presents “On Polar Tides” the story of two trips paddling and surviving the coast of northern Labrador. Born in England, Nigel Foster is an expedition kayaker, kayak designer, instructor and author of numerous books on kayaking. He has led trips to Iceland, arctic Norway and Scotland, and in 1977 along with Geoff Hunter, became the first and youngest person to circumnavigate Iceland by kayak. The library’s evening features the Labrador trips the first in 1981 when he accomplished the first solo crossing by kayak of the Hudson Strait. After crossing the 40-mile wide Strait in howling winds and fighting a 10 knot tide race, he crash-landed on a small island in the dark. He had frostbitten fingers, was 300 miles from the closest village and without a means of communication. Eight days later in a stroke of luck, he caught a ride south on an oil tanker that had taken shelter behind Killiniq Island. He had survived marking one of the most notable solo crossings in history. The trip was described by the editor of the BCU Canoeing Handbook as “arguably the most impressive of any sea kayak adventure in the world.” But the failure to complete the second portion of that trip haunted him and in 2004, accompanied by kayaker Kristin Nelson, he completed the Baffin Island to Labrador part of the expedition by paddling from Kuujjuaq in Ungava Bay to Nain, a distance of over 675 miles of uninhabited coastline.  Kristin Nelson will join Nigel Foster for the Lopez Library program. His new book “On Polar Tides” will be available for sale and signing at the event and is also available as a new addition to the library’s collection.  In this program these two life-affirming trips are brought to the Lopez audience with beautifully shared personal perspectives and images of a vanishing wilderness – polar bears, calving icebergs, wildlife and a rugged coastline. Not to be missed! Sponsored by Friends of the Lopez Library and the Ramsey Shirk Fund.  For more information contact Jen Krajack, Lopez Island Library. 468-2265

“A Life on the Edge: Mountaineers Jim Whittaker & Leif Whittaker”, Saturday, February 25th, 2017, 7PM, LCCA

Photo by Ira Spring

In May of 1963 Seattle mountaineer Jim Whittaker stepped into world history by becoming the first American to summit Mount Everest. He was also part of the first American team to summit K2 and fifty years later, he is still regarded highly for his mountaineering, as one of the founders of the outdoor recreation industry, and as a keynote speaker. Jim Whittaker’s son Leif Whittaker reached his first summit when he was 15 years old and since has climbed many of the world’s tallest mountains including Aconacagua, Mount Vinson and Mount Everest twice. He is a passionate mountaineer as well as an avid outdoor enthusiast. His writing and photography has appeared in Powder, Backcountry and The Ski Journal. His first book “My Old Man and the Mountain” was published October of 2016. He is a Climbing Ranger for the US Forest Service. Both Leif Whittaker’s book “My Old Man the Mountain” and Jim Whittaker’s book “A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond” will be available for sale/signing at the event.

This remarkable event launches the Lopez Library’s winter/spring series “Beyond Limits” which celebrates the library’s extensive collection of books on adventure and exploration. The series will also feature World Kayaker Nigel Foster discussing his book “On Polar Tides”, two remarkable kayak trips to north Labrador/Hudson Strait dodging polar bears, storms & calving icebergs; RAAM-Race Across America, a bike race more rugged than the Tour de France & one of the ultra-endurance events held each year (premiering on the Center’s big screen, their new documentary just in time for the Tour de Lopez); Seattle trekking company Mountain Madness discussing their 32 year history & the pursuit of the 7 Summits (Mountain Madness as featured in Jon Krakauer’s bestseller “Into Thin Air”); and our own local climber Gregg Blomberg discussing the first winter ascent of Mt. McKinley in 1967. This exciting series is designed to lift the Lopez community through the last stretch of winter. Presented to you by Friends of the Lopez Library & the Ramsey Shirk Fund. For more information contact Jen Krajack at the Lopez Library 468-2265