SANTA FE LITERARY WALKING TOUR
Traces Southwest's Storytelling Roots
Photograph of Camino Monte
Sol by Scott Christopher
literary tradition of Santa Fe and Taos is just as impressive,
but less well known, than the visual, musical and culinary
arts which each year attract visitors from around the world.
That storytelling tradition is thriving today, with many prominent
authors, along with scores of lesser-known writers, journalists
and poets, residing here and around the state. The love of
language, books, and reading is very much in evidence in New
Mexico, a state of less than two million people, with book-related
events and local author appearances occurring ever week. Santa
Fe, with a population of about 65,000, has the highest number
of bookstores per household in the entire nation, according
to the American Booksellers Association.
writer and bibliophile Barbara Harrelson has developed a 2-hour
walking tour of downtown Santa Fe which explores the history,
personalities, the legends and the lore of the area through
its stories and its literary landmarks. The downtown tour
often includes, access permitting, a visit to the historic
Witter Bynner House, now operating as the Inn of the Turquoise
Bear, a B & B. An optional route down Canyon Road and Camino
del Monte Sol is also possible.
a former language teacher and museum docent (including The
Smithsonian Institution), traces the storytelling roots of
the three dominant cultures of the Southwest, drawing a timeline
to put early literary events into perspective: the "literature"
of the Anasazi and the Aztecs; the encounter with Europeans,
namely the Spanish, who had already established a kind of
publishing industry by the time Cortes entered the Valley
of Mexico; the earliest literature of the Spanish Colonial
era, including the first book printed in New Mexico by Padre
Martinez in Taos; and the books, journals, and letters written
by the Anglo-Americans and others who moved west across the
Santa Fe Trail.
tour also includes contemporary regional authors whose works
are representative of these diverse peoples, including homage
to three noted authors of the Southwest who have died in recent
years: Paul Horgan, Frank Waters and Fray Angelico Chavez.
site of one of the best-known bookstores in Santa Fe's recent
history (no longer existing), some of the traditional local
"haunts" of writers and artists, along with the homes of several
prominent authors from the past, are among the sites included.
Harrelson hands out a sheet with recommended readings and
the current week's listing of literary events in Santa Fe.
For more information, contact Barbara Harrelson email@example.com,
(505) 989-4561. Reservations required 24 hours in advance.