In Celebration of Books

A whirl of color and shrill song is part of any festivity in the high Andes.

There are some commonly-accepted, sensible guidelines for throwing a book launch party. Find a convenient location. Set a realistic budget. Like that. I’m about to break the rules.

The two books I’ve been writing about recently are finally coming off press. Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu: Folk Tales and Stories of Inca Life and Faces of Tradition: Weaving Elders of the Andes are both available now for pre-order on Amazon. Within a couple of weeks, ClothRoads will have copies for sale. By Thanksgiving, they will be available at local booksellers around the country. Definitely time to celebrate!

beyond the stones cover

Faces for MediaThe launch party will be at the Museo Machu Picchu Casa Concha in Cusco, Peru. This is a lovely museum located in an old Colonial manor house on a side street off the main plaza. It houses the “Yale Collection” of artifacts from Machu Picchu that were taken out of Peru by Hiram Bingham in the 19-teens, and only recently returned. Convenient? Well, it’s 4,252 miles from Colorado to Cusco as the crow flies.

So if convenient equals nearby, who on earth will come to this launch party? Happily, a few hundred people from all over the world who will be attending Tinkuy de Tejedores, A Gathering of Weavers, in Cusco at the very same time. And even better, a score or more of village Elders, some of whom are featured in Faces of Tradition. They will be fêted with traditional huayños and dances, and given gifts of rice, beans, analgesics, coca leaves, and other necessities and special treats.

Angel Callañaupa, the Quechua artist who created all the delightful illustrations for Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu, will be there. Joe Coca, the photographer who outdid himself in the 275+ photos in Faces of Tradition will be there. Two of the galleries in the museum will be devoted to their work. Chris Franquemont and Nilda Callañaupa, co-authors of Faces of Tradition, will be there, too. It will be festive.

And about that sensible budget? Never mind.

—Linda Ligon

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