Join Us in Berkeley for the 2016 Poetry Benefit Reading!

On Friday, June 17th, the Community of Writers welcomes six fabulous poets to the stage at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley for an incredible evening of poetry.

2016 Poets Strip_Web_revised_Brenda

Please join us at 7:00 as Kazim Ali, Robert Hass, Brenda HillmanCathy Park Hong, Patricia Spears Jones, and Sharon Olds read their from their work, as well as the work of the C. D. Wright, a longtime staff member and beloved poet who died this winter.

This gathering of the tribe—including staff poets from this year’s Community of Writers’ Summer Poetry Workshop in Squaw Valley—will raise scholarship funds for the Poetry Workshop. Books by the poets will be available for purchase and signing.

7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:00)
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

Tickets are $25 advance/$30 at the door for general admission and $15 advance/$20 at the door for students (with current student ID). Group discounts are available.

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Just 7 Days until The Big Day!

SQUARE FOR FBNext Tuesday, May 3rd, is a Big Day!

Because we are based in Northern California, the Community of Writers has the extraordinary opportunity to participate in the 3rd BIG Day of Giving, which benefits our region’s nonprofits. If you already plan on making a gift to the Scholarship Fund, donating on Tuesday, May 3rd will leverage your donation even further.

Last year, because of the many generous friends and alumni who donated during the Big Day of Giving, we raised over $13,000. Those funds helped us bring in new teaching staff, sustain our remarkable alumni community with many events and opportunities, and offer financial aid to talented writers who would not have been able to attend the workshops without it. We’d love to be able to better that number this year.

How you can help on May 3rd:

1) Make a donation (starting as small as $25) on May 3rd to The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley at If you can, donate between 11:00 a.m. and noon, Pacific Standard Time. The non-profit with the most unique donations of $25 or more during that time period wins an additional $1,000!

2) Spread the word. Tell your friends, post on Facebook, and tweet about it. This is an opportunity to be part of something really big. Help us get there!

Thank you in advance for your generosity to our community; together, we can make a BIG impact!

Facebook: BIG Day of Giving, SRCF, PlacerCF, YoloCF

Twitter: @Bigdayofgiving @sacregcf, @placercf

Hashtag: #BIGDoG2016

The Community of Writers at AWP – Reunion News

AWP_GroupThe Community of Writers made an appearance at the 2016 AWP Conference in Los Angeles March 30 – April 2.

On Wednesday evening, we hosted a casual reunion at a private home in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Writers and poets got to know each other on a blustery spring evening. One highlight was that 5 members of Fiction Workshop 6 from 2007 were in attendance.

Prizes were awarded to the alums who had traveled the furthest (Patricia Spears Jones, who will join the Poetry teaching staff this summer); the alum who had attended the most times over the years (Joan Baranow); and the newest alum (shared between the several alums of the 2015 Workshops that attended). New board member, alum, and teaching staff member Alex Espinoza gave a generous speech to the assembled.

Many thanks to Board Members Ruth Blank, Carlin Naify and Jim Naify for making this evening possible.

During the three day conference, regular teaching staff members, as well as alums in Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry, appeared on dozens of panels. We were delighted that there was a tribute in the honor of long-time staff member and Board member Al Young. And of course, Poetry alum Claudia Rankine (’93) gave the brilliant Keynote speech.

  • Lisa Alvarez and Alex Espinoza
  • 2007 Workshop Group 6
  • Group Photo
  • Al Young
  • Patricia Spears Jones

Photos by Amy Rutten




Support Our Scholarship Fund

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 1.18.38 PMThere is a long tradition at the Community of Writers of scholarship recipients turning around and helping another writer attend the workshops. This continuum is one of the most meaningful ways in which we support each other. Whether you received a scholarship in the past or just had a remarkable experience at a summer workshop, we are asking you to help the next crop of writers access the same transformative week of writing, camaraderie, and community. These scholarships ensure that talented writers from all backgrounds and means are able to attend, and that new and diverse writers continue to benefit from this opportunity.

Donations in any amount are welcome. You can give to our General Scholarship Fund, or to an established named scholarship that honors alumni, staff, and family members; or reaches out to a specific population.

Named scholarships already established by generous donors include:

  • The Henry Carlisle Memorial Scholarship
  • The Alan Cheuse Memorial Scholarship
  • The Lucille Clifton Memorial Scholarship for Poets
  • The Gill Dennis Memorial Scholarship
  • The Blair Fuller Memorial Scholarship
  • The Hillary Gravendyk Memorial Scholarship The Oakley Hall Memorial Scholarship
  • The James D. Houston Memorial Scholarship
  • The Maat Scholarship for Writers of Color
  • The Galway Kinnell Memorial Scholarship for Poets

Please visit our Financial Aid & Scholarships page for more information about these, and other, scholarships.

In the next few weeks, we will be making admissions decisions. Those decisions include grants of financial aid for our most talented and needy writers. All gifts received before May 5th will go directly to our 2016 Scholarship Fund. If you would like to help, but cannot donate before the May 5th, please email us and pledge the amount you would like to give.

If you are interested in creating an honorary scholarship, email

You can donate online here:

Donate Now

You may also mail a check to:

Community of Writers – Scholarship Fund
PO Box 1416
Nevada City, CA 95959

Thank you for changing the life of writer!