Las Vegas is in the midst of the Vegas Valley Book Festival. The annual event runs through Saturday and many - but not all - of the events take place downtown at the Historic Fifth Street School.
Friday, The Writer’s Block, an independent bookstore on Fremont Street, hosts a release party for the book, “Anarchy of Memories: Short Fiction Featuring Las Vegas Icons.”
The writers featured in the book were asked to select an icon from Las Vegas’ past and build a short story around that icon.
“The interesting thing about this is you think about Elvis Presley. You think about Frank Sinatra,” editor Geoff Schumacher told KNPR’s State of Nevada. “In fact, most of the writers were more clever than that, and they found an iconic person that wasn’t part of that obvious list. You still have iconic figures as the basis of these stories, but they’re not the usual suspects.”
Writer Erica Vital-Lazare chose R&B singer Ruth Brown for her short story "Moraines." Vital-Lazare’s choice stems from a personal connection to Brown.
“My mother and my father, they lived in this condominium complex [in downtown Las Vegas]. I would see Ruth Brown in the elevator or in the hallway," Vital-Lazare said. “She was very gracious. I knew of her from of course, our similar origins, being from Virginia. But also because I’m a blues fan. I grew up in a house that’s infused with the blues. So, I already knew who she was. And seeing her in such an intimate setting as a neighbor, as a friend in 1999 when she released one of her CDs, she gave it to the family. She was just so approachable."
Scott Dickensheets, deputy editor for "Desert Companion" magazine, which is published by Nevada Public Radio, contributed the short story “Like I Need Another Hole in My Head.”
He chose the late, great gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson for his story. Thompson, of course, penned one of the great books about Las Vegas, "Fearing and Loathing in Las Vegas."
Geoff Schumacher, editor, “Anarchy of Memories: Short Fiction Featuring Las Vegas Icons"; Scott Dickensheets, Deputy Editor, Nevada Public Radio’s “Desert Companion” magazine; Erica Vital-Lazare creative writing professor, College of Southern Nevada and editor-in-chief of “Red Rock Review”
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