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Originally published Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Lit Life

Northwest Bookfest returns this weekend

The Northwest Bookfest, coming up in Kirkland this weekend, features a wide array of serious novelists, thriller writers, romance novelists, musicians and a whole gaggle of children's authors.

Seattle Times book editor

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Plans for Northwest Bookfest, scheduled for this coming Saturday and Sunday in Kirkland, are firming up. Serious novelists, thriller writers, romance novelists — they'll all be there. Headliners include Erica Bauermeister, Greg Bear, Dave Boling, Carol Cassella, Ivan Doig, Jonathan Evison, Nancy Horan, Stephanie Kallos, Jim Lynch, Karl Marlantes, Peter Mountford and Cherie Priest.

Lots of children's programming is on the menu, including appearances by Erik Brooks, Deb Caletti, Karen Cushman, Kevin Emerson, Laura Kvasnosky, Kirby Larson, Clare Hodgson Meeker, Craig Orback, David Patneaude, Samantha Vamos, Wendy Wahman and others. At 10 a.m. Saturday, area musician/author Caspar Babypants entertains, and from 1- 4 p.m. Sunday the "Smart Chicks Kick It" tour features musicians and young-adult authors such as Melissa de la Cruz and Kirkland paranormal novelist Richelle Mead, a very smart chick indeed.

Bookfest, a regional celebration of books and authors that migrated around the city of Seattle for several years (most recently in Columbia City in 2009), has moved to Kirkland, thanks to support from the city of Kirkland, the King County Library System and several area sponsors, including Book Publishers Northwest. Events will be geared toward writers and readers, including children and young adults.

Panels and activities will run from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m.; for more information consult the website or call 425-483-3040. The event is free, but donations are suggested; $5 for individuals, $10 for families.

For information on specific panels, including times, dates and locations, cruise the program at www.northwestbookfest2011.com/program.

Erik Larson speaks

Larson, Seattle's best-sellingest author of the moment, is having an enormously successful run with his book "In the Garden of Beasts." This eerie re-creation of two pivotal years in Berlin when Hitler consolidated his power has been riding atop the best-seller lists since it was published in May.

Larson will be the main attraction at a "Book Club Extravaganza" from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Federal Way Branch of the King County Public Library. The first portion of the program will be devoted to running a successful book club; Larson speaks at 3:30 p.m. Learn more about this free event at www.kcls.org/events or call the Federal Way branch at 253-838-3668.

Congratulations

To Seattle author Lesley Hazleton, recent recipient of a "Genius" award from the Stranger newspaper. Hazleton, a former psychologist, educator and foreign correspondent for Time magazine, spent 14 years in the Middle East, and her accumulated acumen shows in her provocative books about the region's religion and history. They include "Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography of the Virgin Mother," "Jezebel" and 2010's "After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam."

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or mgwinn@seattletimes.com.

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