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I’m not sure how 2020 somehow managed to be both the longest, yet unsettlingly the shortest, year ever; what I do know is that now that we’ve entered Month Thirteen of this strangeness, I can’t be the only one ready for a communal reversal of fortunes, right?

I know, I know: We’re getting there.

So, in the spirit of silver linings, I’m excited to announce that the 2021 Authors Out Loud Spring Author series is here — and it’s all virtual!

Beginning Tuesday, April 13, you’re invited to join us virtually (via the Zoom platform) to enjoy conversation and Q&A with four talented regional and local authors, beginning with Maya Sharma, author of “Paving: Conversations with Incredible Women Who Are Shaping Our World.”

Additional events will feature Yakima-born author Noé Álvarez; debut mystery author Rob Phillips; and local history buff and tour guide Ellen Allmendinger.

Although I will definitely miss getting to host these events — and all of you — in person, I’m truly excited about this year’s lineup of authors. And another silver lining: The virtual platform means you can “attend” any of these events from the comfort of your sofa.

If that’s not impetus enough to join us, here’s a rundown of our upcoming author events:

Maya Sharma

6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13; online via Zoom; register at

Maya Sharma is a high school student from Western Washington. Her book, “Paving: Conversations With Incredible Women Who Are Shaping Our World,” is a collection of 25 interviews she conducted with women world leaders, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Olympian Lindsey Vonn and more.

According to Sharma, “the discussions range from gender equality to global economy, from space exploration to running billion-dollar companies; the book is filled with inspirational stories of struggle, triumph” and, perhaps most important, insights about inspiring the next generation of leaders.

Noé Álvarez

6:30 p.m. April 29; online via Zoom; register at

The Yakima-born son of undocumented immigrants, Noé Álvarez fled a life of labor in fruit-packing warehouses thanks to a full-ride scholarship to Whitman College; however, as a New York Times reviewer explains, at college he was “thwarted by his own high expectations and shame about his upbringing.”

In an attempt to outrun, and then to better understand, his role in American society, Álvarez dropped out of college to participate in the Peace and Dignity Journeys, a six-month marathon from Canada to Guatemala. “Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America’s Stolen Land” is an electrifying memoir in which he recounts the continent-spanning marathon that taxed him physically, and which made him re-imagine immigration, his upbringing, America, and his place in it.

Rob Phillips

6:30 p.m. May 11; online via Zoom; register at

Yakima’s own Rob Phillips was already a successful outdoors writer when he turned to fiction with his debut mystery novel, “The Cascade Killer.” In it, Phillips brings readers a fast-paced thriller featuring the character of Luke McCain, a Fish and Wildlife police officer, who must use all of his skills as an outdoorsman, and as an investigator, to stop a serial killer who is prowling Eastern Washington’s scenic Cascade Mountains.

Ellen Allmendinger

6:30 p.m. May 19; online via Zoom; register at

Ellen Allmendinger is a local history buff whose writing, presentations and historical walking tours have helped bring the history of Yakima to life. In her new book, “Murder and Mayhem in Central Washington,” Allmendinger shares stories about the fascinating, and often surprising, early 20th century crimes, jailbreaks, murders, burglaries and riots that once made Central Washington the roughest region of the Pacific Northwest.

All events are free, but registration is required. For more information, visit

• Krystal Corbray is programming and marketing librarian for Yakima Valley Libraries. She and other library staffers write this column for Thursday’s SCENE section. Learn more at

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