What: Sisters Festival of Books

When: Friday through Sunday


• Friday: FivePine Lodge & Conference Center, 1021 E. Desperado Trail, Sisters

• Saturday: Sisters Middle School, 15200 McKenzie Highway

• Sunday: Paulina Springs Books, 252 W. Hood Ave., Sisters

Cost: $15 Friday local author reception, $35 Saturday general admission, $45 publishing workshop, $100 Saturday evening author dinner, $300 for Friend of the Festival package (plus fees) at brownpapertickets.com

Contact: sistersfob.com, info@paulinaspringsbooks.com or 541-549-0866

More than 40 authors will descend on Sisters Friday evening for the start of Sisters Festival of Books, a new three-day festival devoted entirely to the written word.

It’s no accident that Paulina Springs Books owner Lane Jacobson and the rest of the team behind the festival, Ann Richardson and Mac Hay, chose this weekend for the inaugural event.

The main reason, according to Jacobson, was that mid-October is among the few empty spots on Sisters otherwise packed calendar.

“That was the first consideration,” he said. “It’s also right when the weather starts to turn.”

October is a month when the area’s natural beauty abounds. The leaves are turning and the mountain passes are still passable, “but it’s starting to get chilly, and people are in the mood for books and things that make them feel cozy,” he said.

Launching a new festival in a town already known for established events such as Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and Sisters Folk Festival could be a huge and daunting task. But Jacobson had an ace up his sleeve: Prior to moving to Sisters, he managed a Chapel Hill, North Carolina, book shop that hosted over 300 events a year.

“So I have a lot of experience with individual events,” he said. And though book festivals are hardly a new concept regionally or nationally, Sisters Festival of Books is not really modeled after any of them.

“In a way it’s been kind of freeing to not have this idea of what it should be. So we’re able to pull these ideas of what we think would be fun, and we’re not limited by what we’ve been exposed to before,” he said.

The fun includes a catered reception Friday at FivePine Lodge & Conference Center for local authors, including Paul Alan Bennett (“Night Skies”), Mark Corbet (“Between the Dragon and His Wrath”), Diane Goble (“Beyond the Veil”), Julia Huni (Space Janitor series) and others.

Saturday features a day of readings and signings by over three dozen writers at Sisters Middle School. Authors from close to home include Prineville’s Rick Steber (“Fall Down Angel”), Bulletin beer columnist Jon Abernathy (“Bend Beer”) and historical fiction novelist Jane Kirkpatrick (“One More River to Cross”). Other authors planning to attend include former Congressman Les AuCoin (“Catch and Release”), Oregon poet laureate Kim Stafford (“Wild Honey, Tough Salt”), Portland sci-fi writer Molly Gloss (“Unforeseen: Stories”), to name but a few.

North Carolina writer David Joy, known for his brand of “Appalachian noir,” will present his third novel, “The Line that Held Us.” Its plot is set in motion when a poacher mistakes a local woman — foraging illegally in a private ginseng patch — for a wild boar and shoots to kill. After her crazy, violent brother begins to sniff out the cover-up, retribution ensues.

A murder factors into the plot of McMinnville author Joe Wilkins’ debut novel, “Fall Back Down When I Die,” the story of a struggling ranch hand saddled with caring for a traumatized 7-year-old amid the hardscrabble eastern Montana plains.

Though promoting his first novel, Wilkins, the head of the creative writing program at Linfield College, is a longtime, award-winning poet and memoir writer. The novel’s setting is a familiar world for Wilkins, who grew up in a single-parent home in rural Montana.

“One of the impetuses here is to try to see the place I grew up,” he said. “We’re still trying to figure out what to do about these communities that are really struggling. … And you also see these bouts of violence erupt in these communities, whether it’s the Bundys or the (anti-government group) Freemen up in Jordan, Montana, or some other group. You see these people reacting so strongly to a slight that they feel or to some injustice that they feel. So the book in a lot of ways is me trying to understand that, trying to put some characters who … share commonalities with me, but don’t share my story, and see what happens when they end up converging.”

Its setting is outside Oregon, but the book has a local tie, Wilkins said: “We love to get across the mountains whenever we can. I don’t know what draft it was, whether it was an early draft or I had a complete draft, but I do remember once sitting at Lower Bridge Campground there on the Metolius going over some of the pages for ‘Fall Back Down When I Die’ by lantern light.”

Though the emphasis is on reading, not writing, Saturday afternoon will offer aspirants a one-hour book publishing workshop. And once everyone’s worked up an appetite for something other than books, there will be a three-course dinner with six of the participating authors Saturday evening at Paulina Springs Books.

While both Friday’s and Saturday’s events are ticketed (see “If you go”), Jacobson stressed that Sunday offers a range of free family-style book events at Paulina Springs Books.

As it happens, the Sisters Festival of Books lands just two weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of Jacobson’s purchase of Paulina Springs Books.

“It’s been rapid, I guess you could say,” Jacobson said. “The community support of the store has been really fantastic over the last year. It really enabled me and made me feel like we have the bandwidth to make something like this happen.”