By David Steinberg

You’re invited to a party to celebrate Western author Max Evans’s 90th birthday and the release of the new tribute book “Max Evans & A Few Friends” at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30. The party is at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW, Albuquerque.

Evans, a longtime Albuquerque resident, is the author of many books, including “The Hi Lo Country,” “The Rounders,” “Bluefeather,” and “Madame Millie: Bordellos from Silver City to Ketchikan.”

Ruth E. Francis Jr., an editor and contributor to the book said in an email, “It was a joy editing a book of tributes to Max Evans, the man and his life’s work. It seems he has done everything: miner, soldier, painter, author, screenwriter, short story writer, cowhand, family man – and raconteur.”

Among the other contributors are Jim Belshaw, former Albuquerque Journal columnist, Santa Fe-based  award-winning Western writer Johnny Boggs, UNM Law School professor Sherri Burr, Rio Rancho author Don Bullis, Luther Wilson, former director of UNM Press, Jeb Stuart Rosenbrook, a senior editor at True West magazine.

Syndicated columnist Slim Randles and Ollie Reed, who wrote for the Albuquerque Tribute, also contributed to and co-edited the book.

Rio Grande Books is the publisher.

Reed recalled how  the book came about.

“This book went from idea to print in just a matter of months,” he wrote in an email.

“In January (2014), Barbe Awalt, o-owner of LPD Press and Rio Grande Books, was meet with Randles at the Flying Star restaurant on Rio Grande Boulevard. (Next door) I was changing the marquee for Bookworks. As they were leaving the restaurant and I was heading back into the bookstore, we all met at the sale books bins on the sidewalk outside Bookworks. We started talking,” Reed wrote.

“I don’t believe Slim and I have ever had a conversation in which the subject of Max Evans did not come up. … I asked Slim how Max was doing. Slim said he had seen him not long before that and Max was doing fine. Then he said, ‘You know he’s going to be 90 in August.’ Barbe jumped on that in a heart beat. She said let’s do a collection of essays about Max for his 90th birthday. You two (Slim and I) could write something and we could get other friends of Max to write something.

“Slim and I admitted that was possible. Barbe said we’d need to have all the essays written by May 1 so that we could have a book put together in time for Max’s birthday. …”

Reed said Max’s wife, Pat, wrote the first essay that appears in the book, “a really fine piece about how she met Max and their early years together in Taos before moving to Albuquerque 47 years ago. Max’s twin daughters, Sheryl and Charlotte, also contributed to the book.”

PS: Max Evans’ actual birth date is Friday, Aug. 29.