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Behind the Scenes: Whatcom Reads! events celebrate Daniel James Brown’s ‘The Boys in the Boat’

Daniel James Brown, who talked about his award-winning book, “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics”,” on Oct. 22 as the Western Reads! author for 2014-15, will return to Bellingham Feb. 24-26 for numerous speaking engagements as this year’s Whatcom Reads!

“The Boys in the Boat” is about the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team that stunned the world by winning the gold medal, beating the German team as Adolf Hitler looked on at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Brown shares the moving story of working-class boys who came from the state’s “foggy coastal villages, damp dairy farms, and smoky lumber towns” and mastered the art of rowing and working together to become Olympic champions.

Meanwhile, Whatcom County readers can get ready for his visit in February (besides reading the book, that is).

Whatcom Reads! is now accepting submissions for Whatcom Writes! 2015, with the theme of “competition.”

Have you ever entered a competition where winning wasn’t the point? Have you won and found it wasn’t what you expected? Or perhaps competition was an interior journey for you. How did it transform you? Who helped you along the way? What did you learn about yourself or the world?

Here’s how to enter:

Entries must be submitted by midnight Dec. 1.

Write up to 800 words on the theme.

Send your entry via email to

In the subject line of your email please include your name, title of work, and word count.

In the body of the email please include your name, school if you attend one, community you live in, and phone number.

Submissions are limited to one entry per person.

Two Microsoft Word documents should be attached separately to your email: a biographical author statement (maximum 50 words) and your submission (maximum 800 words).

Poetry, fiction and non-fiction are welcome.

Whatcom READS! will publish an anthology of the top entries. Portions of an entry may be used rather than the whole. By submitting an entry, all writers grant permission to Whatcom READS! to share their writing in Whatcom READS! publications, online at and on Whatcom READS! social media sites. Rights return to the author upon publication.

Writers accepted into the anthology will be notified in December and will be invited to read at Village Books on Feb. 8, 2015. Winning writers will receive a copy of the anthology.

Whatcom READS! is a countywide program that encourages everyone to read and discuss the same book. The program is organized by the public and academic libraries of Whatcom County and its community partner, Village Books, with major funding from the Friends of the Bellingham Public Library and the Whatcom County Library Foundation.

Do your talents lie in visual arts rather than written words? Allied Arts of Whatcom County recently announced a call to artists for the Whatcom READS! Art Challenge. Submitted art will be displayed at participating libraries, Allied Arts of Whatcom County, Western Washington University and The Jansen Art Center during February and March.

To participate:

1. Read the book “The Boys in the Boat” (if you buy it at Village Books, 10 percent of the purchase price goes to Whatcom READS!)

2. Create an art piece and write a statement explaining how the book inspired your work.

3. Submit your work to be exhibited.

It is an open exhibit and will not be juried; however works must be inspired by “The Boys in the Boat.” All mediums, genres and skill levels are welcome to participate. Space is limited and items will be shown on a first come, first hung basis.

Drop off artwork Feb. 2 or 3 at Allied Arts Gallery, 1418 Cornwall Ave. Entry forms are available at the gallery and at under the “exhibits” header.