Las Vegas has hosted the American Library Association Annual Conference ©Author Adventures

Literary Las Vegas

Las Vegas is known for many things. Let’s add literature to the list. Readers can find at least three places there to enjoy the written word at its best, from personal chronicles to contemporary ficition: Black Mountain Institute, The Writer’s Block, and, at about an hour’s drive south, the Searchlight Museum. Las Vegas has also hosted the enormous annual conference of the American Library Association in 1973 and 2014.

Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Black Mountain Institute (BMI) is a hub of programs, events, and publications for professional and aspiring writers. Its website at https://blackmountaininstitute.org/about, describes BMI this way: “The Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute brings writers and the literary imagination into the heart of public life through live experiences, fellowships,  innovative media, and literary activism.”

BMI has partnered with the Writer’s Block (a local independent bookstore), the Library of Congress, and the International Cities of Refuge Network, among other major organizations, and has been known for many years for spawning The Believer, an outlet for essays, interviews, and comics. The Believer is a showcase of writing by contemporary established writers and emerging talent.

For information, visit https://blackmountaininstitute.org/about. Its events are typically free and open to the public. Check out the calendar here: https://blackmountaininstitute.org/live-experiences. The address is 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas.

The Writer’s Block

The Writer’s Block at 519 South 6th Street, Suite 100, in downtown Las Vegas offers the ambiance and programs that attract readers to independent bookstores around the globe. More than a shop, it offers a place to sip coffee and enjoy the rarity of an artificial bird sanctuary. It also hosts book groups, workshops, and events. Read more about it here: https://www.thewritersblock.org.

Searchlight, Home of Senator Harry Reid

Visitors to the Las Vegas area may like to visit the Searchlight Museum at 200 Michael Wendell Way, which exhibits the literary works of native son Senator Harry Reid (1939-2021) and memorabilia of other famous former residents. Searchlight is a small town, about an hour’s drive south of Las Vegas. Read more about it here: https://www.clarkcountynv.gov.

Senator Reid authored more than 20 books. Some of the most popular among them are The Good Fight (2008); Searchlight, The Camp That Didn’t Fail (1998); and Reformation: The Dangerous Birth of the Modern World (2009).

“I was born and raised in the high desert of Nevada in a tiny town called Searchlight. My dad was a hard rock miner. My mom took in wash. I grew up around people of strong values – even if they rarely talked about them.” — United States Senator Harry Reid, author of Searchlight, The Camp That Didn’t Fail (1998)

The Las Vegas areas stops are the last of the Nevada Author Adventures Trail for travelers heading south through the state or can be the first for those journeying north.

Patricia Smart