A Literary Person’s Guide to Marana and the Tucson Festival of Books

The Sonoran Desert is a writer’s muse

Our 2022 Tucson Festival of Books, Abridged Guide 

Click here for the full schedule and to pre-register. This two-day event is live and in-person in 2022.

Saturday, March 12 Author Panel Discussions 

10 a.m. The Diné Reader
10 a.m. Hope and Happenstance
10 a.m. Reclaiming, Reshaping Our History
10 a.m. Writing Truth to Power

11:30 a.m. Hopi History
11:30 a.m. Reporting from the Homelands
11:30 a.m. A Criminal Injustice System
11:30 a.m. Two Views of the Sonoran Desert
1 p.m.  Answers in Culture

2:30 p.m. Workshop: Movie-Ready Prose
2:30 p.m. Forgotten Women of Arizona
2:30 p,m. Wondrous Strange
2:30 p.m. Parables for Our Times
4 p.m. Precision on the Page
4 p.m. Giving the Diné Flute a Voice

Sunday, March 11 Author Panel Discussions

10 a.m. Unruly Women in Western History
10 a.m. Can We Talk About the Border?
10 a.m. Liberty and Justice for All
11:30 a.m.  Arizona Foodways (with Carolyn Niethammer)

1 p.m. Hopi Voices
1 p.m. Dude Ranching in the West (with Russell True)

Places to Dine, Drink, and Explore

La Olla Mexican Café. Refined classic family Sonoran-style Mexican food that comes in generous portions. Save room for an horchata White Russian, mojito, or a fabulous dessert.

Catalina Brewing Co, & Button Brew House. Catalina Brewing Company's original brewer, Hank Rowe, may have been the first person in a millennium to craft an excellent libation from mesquite and agave. After you taste more than a couple of beers made with wild Sonoran Desert ingredients, head around the corner from Catalina Brewing to Button Brew House, where brewmaster and owner, Todd Button, a brewing scholar, knows fermentation science and philosophy.

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. Meet friends for drinks at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, patio bar and enjoy the Native American flute playing delivered from a precipice above the canyon at sunset. And then dine on Sonoran haute cuisine in the Forbes Travel Guide four star-rated CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar, downstairs.

Li’l Abners Steakhouse. Finish the evening with a whiskey or a steak cooked over a mesquite wood-fired outdoor grill, where many classic Western filmmakers visited while working in this neighborhood from the 1930s-present. 

Places to Stay that People Write About 

Sanctuary Cove. This nondenominational sanctuary, with one guest cottage that you may reserve online, is set into the Tucson Mountains on the boundary of Saguaro National Park West. The best quiet place for day hikes (the parking lot is locked at sunset) and for overnight guests. Star gazing, novel writing are highly likely activities.

White Stallion Ranch. Here you can sit around the stone fireplace in the great room of The Lodge with rustic mid-century Modern cathedral ceiling and windows framing majestic desert peaks and talk for hours about the good ol' days. Be they days of book and film festivals, memories of dining at Taix French Restaurant in Echo Park, long gone architecture, or secret corners of the world – like this one – you will sleep very well, knowing that the good ol' days are still happening everyday, right here. You will meet the owner, Russell True, who presents his book, Dude Ranching in Arizona, at this year’s Festival of Books. You will ride horses morning, noon, and night and learn that you don't want to be a cowboy or cowgirl. And you will want to visit this guest ranch, again and again. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. Ensconce yourself in understated elegance to write and/or entertain in effortless luxury in this Forbes Travel Guide five star-rated resort with a Forbes five star-rated spa, and four star-rated restaurant. The senses are played like a symphony by the fragrant air, views, textures, bird calls, and cocktails with herbs and citrus grown onsite, and locally-sourced Sonoran haute cuisine. 

Mira Vista Resort. A historic dude ranch where many film directors, producers, and actors stayed while filming in the surrounding landscape. It has been well taken care of and is now a clothing-optional resort with vintage Pueblo Modern architecture and brand new condos with full kitchens for longer stays. A one-of-a-kind high-style nude ranch. 


The Tucson Festival of Books
March 12th & March 13th, 2022
University of Arizona campuswide

Dove Mountain area:

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
15000 North Secret Springs Drive, Marana, AZ 85658 United States

Ignite at The Ritz-Carlton – Upscale gastropub/bar 
Check hourse

CORE Kitchen and Wine Bar at The Ritz-Carlton – The finest contemporary dining in Southern Arizona, featuring regional and Marana-sourced ingredients with a seasonal menu. Upscale resort casual. Reservations are recommended, please call (520) 572-3000.

Cayton’s Burger Bistro – Family-friendly with gorgeous views, hearty food, resort casual
The Golf Club at Dove Mountain (at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain)
Check hours. Reservations are recommended, please call (520) 572-3000.

Wild Burro Wash Trail – An easy walk up the main wash for about 1.5 miles, with 5 additional miles of steep hikes that branch off up the canyon sides and loop back to the Wash.
14810 North Secret Springs Drive, Marana, AZ

Northern Marana area:

The Feedblot Café at Marana Stockyards – Cattle auctions Wednesdays. Real cowboy diner.
14901 W Kirby Hughes Rd, Marana, AZ 85653
Check hours. Open for breakfast and lunch only.

Mid-Marana/Silverbell Road area:

Li’l Abner’s Steakhouse – Authentic rustic cowboy steakhouse and Old Hollywood hangout, full bar.
8501 N Silverbell Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743
(520) 744-2800
Check hours. Open for dinner only.

Mira Vista Resort – Built in 1936 as a rustic Craftsman dude ranch with Pueblo Moderne architectural influences, Mira Vista Resort is as impeccably restored and maintained as the Arizona Inn. Clothing optional resort. Open to guests only.
7501 N Wade Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743
(520) 744-2355

The White Stallion Ranch – The top-rated dude ranch in Arizona, a classic high-end dude ranch centered on horse riding situated in majestic scenery and offering experiences to be long-remembered.
9251 W. Twin Peaks Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743
(520) 297-0252

Sanctuary Cove – Contemplative easy desert walk, stone labyrinth, amphitheatre, non-denominational rock chapel.
8001 N Scenic Drive, Tucson AZ 85743
Open sunrise to sunset every day of the year. Check to verify hours.

Southern Marana/Ina Road/Thornydale Road area:

Bookman’s Northwest Entertainment Exchange – The locally-based one-of-a-kind chain of used books, media, tchotchkes, jewelry, musical instruments, and new calendars and tote bags, and much more.
3733 W. Ina Rd., Tucson, AZ 85741
(520) 579-0303
Check hours.

Button Brew House - Craft beer made with seasonal and Sonora Desert wild foods, food trucks.
6800 N Camino Martin Suite 160, Tucson, AZ 85741
(520) 268-8543
Check hours.

Catalina Brewing Co. – Innovative craft beer made with locally-sourced and desert ingredients, games, occasional food trucks.
6918 N. Camino Martin #120, 85741
(520) 329-3622
Check hours. 

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