Thoughts of Summer and A Time To Give

Everything is in storage now for the winter, the folding tables and pop-up tents, the coffee carafes and wicker baskets, the painted canvas stage backdrop, the tablecloths, and the orange plastic jack-o-lantern we put out at evening events to collect donations. Next June, after the long months of winter, we will throw open the storage unit’s roll-up door to reveal it all, and set it all up again. We’ll be here in June as usual – and we hope some of you may be here again, too. We return each year for one simple reason: to help usher literature into the world.

And so I am writing you today to ask for your support as we close out 2017. It is hard to express how complex and challenging is this thing we do. And how expensive. In an atmosphere of increasing costs, our goal, always, is to keep the workshops affordable, and this experience possible, for talented writers. Now we need your help to close the gap between our tuition income and the actual costs of the summer of workshops.

Of course, so much has been shaken loose of late – in winds, fires, floods – and there are so many who need your help, but we hope nevertheless that we will be part of your giving plan for 2017. With your help, previously isolated poets and writers may find friendship and support in their writing lives, and discover a wider audience for their work, so their words may have a lasting influence in this world.

Donations, large and small are needed and appreciated. All donations are tax-deductible. We can’t do what we do without you. Please give today.  You may donate securely online, or mail a check to the address below.

With gratitude and warm wishes,



Brett Hall Jones, Executive Director
Community of Writers
PO Box 1416, Nevada City, CA 95959


Words, Music and Vodka flowed at our Evening with Janet Fitch!

On Saturday, November 11, Sacramento was treated to a festive evening with Janet Fitch to celebrate the publication of her new novel The Revolution of Marina M.

The event was a fundraiser for the Community of Writers and featured a conversation between Janet and local radio host Beth Ruyak, dramatic staged readings from the novel by local actor Allyson Finn, and lively acoustic music by the band Beaucoup Chapeaux! This staging was inspired and supported by Stories on Stage Sacramento, who has actors perform readings from authors’ works. The interview was interspersed with the dramatic readings which brought Fitch’s words to life.  Vodka (donated by Dripping Springs Distillery) flowed into the commemorative shot glasses generously donated by Little, Brown & Co, Janet’s publisher. The food, prepared and donated by friends and Board Members included Russian brown bread, caviar and more.

We were honored to have Beth Ruyak participant in this the event.  Tremendous gratitude goes to Sue Staats and Stories on Stage Sacramento, who has been instrumental in bringing this together. Thanks to Andrew Naify and Beers Books for making books available for sale. Many thanks to our wonderful volunteers Cathy Chapell, Ana Cotham, Livia Keene, Emily Malsam, Michael Melas, Tatiana Morfas, Lydia and Jim Seely, as well as our board members Ruth Blank and Chris Spanos, James and Carlin Naify, and Nancy and Fred Teichert. Thanks also to Peggi Wood, the casting director for the event. A big thank you goes out to Beaucoup Chapeaux for donating their appearance and serenading us with Eastern European, Balkan and Russian folk music. And, of course, thank you to Janet Fitch for making this all possible!

The Event was Sponsored by Stories on Stage Sacramento and Beers Books.

View Photos Here

Many thanks to Barry Schwartz Photography and Eva Melas and for taking these wonderful photos.


Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review 2016

Available for the Holidays!

Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review 2016

We are delighted to report that the annual poetry anthology of poems first written during the 2016 Poetry Workshop is available now! Order it now and it will arrive in time for the holidays. This lovely edition would make a wonderful Christmas present.

Book Description: Invite some of the magic of wind on the mountain and warm days in the valley into your mailbox. From the turbulent summer of 2016, 43 poets bring you 67 poems. This edition of Written Here presents a selection of the pieces that emerged from our week of poetry workshops. Edited and designed by participant volunteers from the workshop, it’s a beautiful anthology that reflects a range of subjects, a variety of styles, and concerns that continue today. Edited by Amy Elisabeth DavisRichard SimeChristine GosnayAbriana JettéTrisha Peck, and Roberto Santiago and designed by Cody Gates and Maureen Forys, the book’s profits go to the Community of Writers Scholarship Fund. Every copy you get for yourself or someone else is also a gift to a future participant in the workshop.

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Images from the June 2017 Benefit Poetry Reading

After a long delay, we finally uploaded images from the 2017 Benefit Poetry Reading. The Benefit was held in Nevada City at the historic Miners Foundry on June 23 to an overflowing and enthusiastic crowd. The June evening in the Sierra Foothills was blistering hot — nevertheless, the audience endured the heat to hear great poetry and meet the beloved guest poets.

The 2017 Benefit Reading featured poets Francisco Aragón, Forrest Gander, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Sharon Olds, and Gregory Pardlo, emcee Molly Fisk, and were welcomed by Sands Hall.
The Benefit Reading is held every year on the night before the Poetry Workshop in Squaw Valley to raise important funds for the Community of Writers Scholarship Fund for Poets.

Many thanks to the coordinator Elizabeth Kelley Gillogly, as well as YubaLit’s Rachel Howard, and all the volunteers who made the event such as success.

Special thanks to Chuck and Jo Baker for the photographs!

View Photos


Recently Published Alums Return to Read From Their Books

Natalie Baszile, Vanessa Hua, Carole Firstman, Jade Chang, Mauro Javier Cardenas, and Kimball Taylor

In July 2017, we continued our tradition of inviting recently published alums back to the Community of Writers to read from their new books. On Wednesday, July 12, we presented The Published Alumni Reading Series, preceded by a reception in the honor of these writers.  This year’s alums were Mauro Javier Cardenas, Jade Chang, Carole Firstman, Vanessa Hua, Kimball Taylor all introduced by Natalie BaszileThe Community of Writers was delighted to celebrate the success of these writers and to present them to the participants, staff, and the public.

  • Mauro Javier Cardenas
  • 2017_chang
    Jade Chang
  • Carole Firstman
  • Vanessa Hua
  • Kimball Taylor