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It's a mixed (book) bag for readers

It's a good news/bad news deal on Charlotte's literary front this fall.

The unquestionably bad news: No Novello. Budget cuts forced the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to cancel its annual literary festival. Let's hope it's a short hiatus.

But there's good news, too. UNC Charlotte English Professor Mark West is pulling together a version of the festival featuring area authors.

"It's like we're putting on the show for the library," he says. He's dubbing it "A Community Tribute to Novello."

Also, local colleges are hosting a couple of literary giants. Some highlights:

Junot Diaz speaks Sept. 23 at Davidson College. Born in the Dominican Republic, Diaz won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his debut novel, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao." The New Yorker magazine has dubbed Diaz one of the 20 best authors of the 21st century.

Fareed Zakaria has been described by Esquire magazine as "the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation." The CNN host and author of "The Post-American World" speaks Oct. 26 at Queens University of Charlotte.

W.S. Merwin, the new U.S. poet laureate, visits twice - on Nov. 2 at Hickory's Lenoir-Rhyne College, then on May 2 at Davidson College. Merwin lives in Hawaii. Concern about environmental destruction is a recurring theme in his work.

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