The picturesque town of Mazama, Wash., located near the gateway to the northern Cascade mountain range, will be the site of the first Mazama Festival of Books the last weekend of August. In announcing the festival, independent book publicist Lauren Cerand said, “We’ll draw on the community and the specific voice of this region of the Pacific Northwest to create a salon-like festival with literary conversations and discussions.” Mazama, which is one of three small towns in the remote Methow Valley, is three hours north of Seattle. Trail’s End Bookstore is the only indie in the area, which is also home to two libraries.

The founder and patron of the festival, private equity manager Art Gresh, attended the University of Washington before moving to London for 15 years. It was there that he became enamored of literary festivals. Gresh lives part-time in Mazama and hopes to model the event on the Hay Festival in Wales.

Cerand is eyeing the Trail’s End Bookstore as a possible partner in the festival, which, unlike traditional book fairs will not sell booth space to exhibitors. “This is a passion project, a labor of love,” she says. “Because of the remote location we don’t expect hundreds of people to show up. This will be an intimate affair, totally different from what people might expect. The focus is on quality rather than quantity.” Cerand’s “dream list” of author and publisher participants includes Jonathan Evison, Patrick DeWitt, Ana Maria Spagna, Sasquatch Books, and Publication Studio. The festival, which will be held at the Mazama Community Center August 24 and 25, is still in the planning stages.

“Our goal is to have the festival reflect the full range of this literary community.” For more information e-mails may be sent to