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Writers' Festival celebrates literary arts

David Housewright

ROSEMOUNT — Minnesota author David Housewright contends writers should not be concerned with capturing a certain kind of audience. When writing, if you enjoy telling the story, readers will enjoy reading the story.

His sincere advice is that simple.

The award-winning author will serve as the keynote speaker at the third annual Rosemount Writers' Festival and Book Fair. The weekend event is slated for Friday and Saturday, March 21-22, at Rosemount Steeple Center.

Housewright, the winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award, is the recipient of three Minnesota book awards for his Rushmore McKenzie and Hollard Taylor private eye novels.

"I will probably talk about the seriously important crime novel and the mystery in particular and genre fiction in general," Housewright said. "The literacy community tends to look down on us and the crime novel and science fiction fantasy is called popular fiction and that is like a left-handed insult."

Housewright said he noticed early in his career and this theory has been confirmed today that it is beneath some literary people to read books that fall under the crime novel and science fiction fantasy genres even though these works of mystery and intrigue are popular.

"It is a large misplaced snobbishness," he said.

Recalling when he took writing classes in college, his English professors would give him high marks for his writing structure and mechanics or the craft of writing and would give him low marks for the writing content. Back then, he wrote Western stories.

His writing was popular with his fellow classmates who often voted to hear his stories read aloud.

"I was not writing Virginia Woolf, but I was writing what I read and what I thought was fun. On Fridays in college most of the students wanted me to read my stories because they thought they were entertaining," Housewright said. "That kind of ... put me on my path and I thought just because something is popular and sells million copies, it is not junk."

Housewright knew at a young age that he wanted to write what he liked to read regardless what others may advised.

"I tell students 'Don't worry about the audience, write what you want to read and the audience will read it,'" he said.

Sue Stein serves as event literary chair. She helped volunteer and lead the festival for the first nine years it was hosted in Bloomington.

"This year we added the dinner on Friday night and the dinner will be more conducive to getting to know the author," Stein said.

On Saturday, there will be 15 writing workshops taught by authors and publishers. A few workshops will be led by writing instructors who teach at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

The public is welcome to attend the free book fair inside the auditorium at The Rosemount Steeple Center where more than 60 authors will sell books. The festival offers door prizes, giveaways and concessions.

"This festival is for beginner writers all the way through published authors, and a lot of the authors will take workshops on social media and public speaking," Stein said. "It is a matter of networking and getting to know people and learning from other people, and talk to see what works for them. ... It is a way to get inspiration."

If you go...

What: Rosemount Writers' Festival and Book Fair

When: 6 p.m. Friday, March 21 and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22

Where: The Rosemount Steeple Center, 14375 S. Robert Trail

Tickets: www.rosemountwritersfestival.com or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4050923

The third annual event is sponsored by Rosemount Area Arts Council and Friends of Robert Trail Library in Rosemount.