Authors unite at 13 annual Literary Connections event

The 13 annual Literary Connection event, featuring Sharman Apt Russell and Craig Johnson, was recently held on Oct. 7.  

Russell has published many books that have been translated into different languages, and has also had essays published in journals, magazines and anthologies.

Russell has been writing since she was eight years old and has fallen in love with writing ever since.

“I fall in love a lot and I have a fearless heart when writing,” Russell said.

Russell’s “Diary of a Citizen Scientist” was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing and the WILLA Award.

Russell is currently working on “Within Our Grasp: Feeding the World’s Children for a Better and Greener Future,” which focuses on her interests of the environment and hunger.

“Writing has become the way I think and feel,” Russell said. “Writing helps generate a voice and generate who I am.”  

Russell’s “Standing in the Light: My Life as a Pantheist” was named by Booklist as a top 10 book in religion.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door was the winner of the Arizona Authors Association for Fiction and New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Science Fiction.

Russell teaches part-time at Antioch University in Los Angeles, and lives in the Gila Valley of southwestern New Mexico.

Johnson is the author of the Walt Longmire series, which is the inspiration for the show “Longmire.”

Johnson began writing the first book of the “Longmire” series, “The Cold Dish,” and didn’t finish it until he picked it up nine-and-a-half years later. Now there are 13 books in the series.

The show series got cancelled by A&E, then Warner Brothers showed interest and soon after it appeared on Netflix.

Johnson and his wife, Judy, live on their ranch in Ucross, Wyoming.

“He is a really good author and I can connect to the stories being a Wyoming native,” said MaQuela Staples, a criminology major.  

Johnson’s novels have received many awards. “Hell is Empty” was selected by Library Journal as the best mystery of the year and was a New York Times best seller. His novel, “As the Crow Flies,”received recognition as a New York Times best seller.

Not only have his books received many awards, the “Longmire” series has also been translated into 17 different languages.

During the event, an attendee pointed out the humor that can be found in Johnson’s books.

“By the end of the day you can do two things: laugh or cry,” Johnson said. “I would much rather laugh than cry.”


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