2019 Poetry Benefit Reading

An Evening With Beloved Poets

Nationally Known Poets return to Nevada County

Click on the author portraits to learn about these poets and their work. Or View as List

Forrest Gander  •  Brenda Hillman  •  David Tomas Martinez
Jane Miller  •  Sharon Olds •  Gregory Pardlo • with special guest Robert Hass

This year we are pleased to welcome seven extraordinary poets including four Pulitzer Prize winners, a recipient of the Griffin International Prize, a recipient of the Wallace Award for Poetry, a former U.S. Poet Laureate, a National Book Award winner, and a recipient of the Pushcart Prize.

Click here to view bios.

Community of Writers Poetry alum Maxima Kahn will Emcee the Event.

Friday, June 21, 2019
7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:00)

St. Joseph’s Cultural Center

On Friday, June 21, 2019, acclaimed poets Forrest Gander, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, David Tomas Martinez, Jane Miller, Sharon Olds, and Gregory Pardlo will read from their poetry at the St. Joseph’s Cultural Center

410 S. Church Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945

This gathering of the tribe—all staff poets from this year’s Community of Writers’ Summer Poetry Workshop in Squaw Valley—will raise money for the Poetry Program’s financial aid and scholarships. Join us for a reading, signing, and reception with the poets. Books by the poets will be available for purchase before and after the reading.

We are delighted to report that St. Joseph’s Cultural Center is air-conditioned!

For more information contact us.

TICKET PRICES

General Admission: $25 advance/$30 at the door

Students: $12 advance/$15 at the door for students (with current student ID)

Premium Seats (first 2 rows): $45

Groups (10 or more purchased at the same time): $20/ticket
** Advance Ticket Sales end at 10:00 AM on June 21 ** 

If you would like to purchase tickets over the phone, call 530-470-8440

Tickets

Directions

St. Joseph’s  is located at 410 S. Church Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945.  For location map and directions, please visit the St. Joseph’s Cultural Center’s website.

Parking

St. Joseph’s has a parking lot. If full there are several other lots in Grass Valley as well as street parking.

Parking for visitors with disabilities can be found in St. Joseph’s lot.

This venue is wheelchair accessible.


Get Involved!

Become a Sponsor or Give to the Poetry Scholarship Fund

We are looking for volunteers! We need help with:

  • Promoting the event during the months of April and May.
  • Crowd-wrangling on the evening of June 21.

If you are interested in helping (and in a free ticket to the event), please contact us.

Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review 2017

It’s here!

We are delighted to announce the publication of Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review 2017.  This annual anthology is made up of poems first written during the 2017 Poetry Workshop, and is available now! Proceeds benefit the Poetry Workshop’s Scholarship Fund.

Each June at the Community of Writers, poets gather in the Sierras to write and share their new work. Participants and teaching staff poets alike write a poem each day and then bring their new draft to workshop the next morning. All of the poems in Written Here 2017 first emerged during the Poetry Workshop week. This edition of Written Here contains a historic first for the Community: it contains work by each and every one of the poets who attended in 2017, as well as poems by each of the staff poets: Francisco Aragón, Forrest Gander, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Sharon Olds, and Gregory Pardlo. The result is an astonishing look into what this generative and supportive week can yield. Congratulations to the volunteer alums who made this happen: Editor, Aaron Graham; managing editor Roger Soffer; photographer, Ananda Lima; and Cody G. Gates, the book’s designer.

Poets included in the issue:

Allison Albino · Amy Antongiovanni · Francisco Aragón · Gene Berson · Judy Bertelsen · Rebecca Black · Allyson Boggess · Jennifer Swanton Brown · Sammi Bryan · Lucy Burns · Anita Ann Cabrera · James Cagney · Brian Cochran · Susan Cohen · Alana de Hinojosa · David R. Dixon · Ryan Dzelzkalns · Janet Fitch · Neil Flatman · Kari Flickinger · Tracy Fuad · Josie Gallup · Forrest Gander · Aaron Graham · Kelsey Gutierrez · Susie Hammond · Kim Harvey · Robert Hass · Zakia Henderson-Brown · Brenda Hillman · Jackie Hymes · Alisha Kaplan · Michele Karas · Stefan Karlsson · Hannah Perrin King · Elizabeth Lapin · Lester Graves Lennon · Raina J. León · Ananda Lima · Yuxi Lin · Bonnie Long · Antonio Lopez · Jami Macarty · Dean Wilfred Martineau · Max McDonough · Dawn McGuire · Maggie Millner · Penelope Moffet · David Moody · Madeleine Mori · David Mucklow · Robin Myers · Kimberly Nunes · Sharon Olds · Gregory Pardlo · Therí Pickens · C. Pirloul · Laura Post · Henry Rappaport · Nicholas Reiner · Laura Rosenthal · Deborah Dashow Ruth · Brynn Saito · Cintia Santana · Matthew Schmidt · Vernon Small · Roger Soffer · Carl Steen · Jeanine Stevens · Cameron Stuart · Gabriella R. Tallmadge · Jan Verberkmoes · Marci Vogel · Katie Walker · Jeff Walt · Paul Watsky · Randy White · Annette Wong · Emma Winsor Wood

The book available through a print-on-demand site for $18

Buy Now

More Anthologies 


 

Dream Manifested: The Paul Radin Memorial Dream Wagon

Today we want to  celebrate the construction and near completion of the Paul Radin Memorial Dream wagon. Construction started in early 2018, but months of planning, researching and fundraising came first.

Please scroll down and see the dozens of photos we’ve posted. We will take you from initial planning to the finished project.

An homage to our neighbor, the late Paul Radin, this Tiny House on wheels offered a practical answer to the problem of limited space and time constraints for a bookstore in the Valley. The Dream Wagon is a multipurpose tiny house on wheels. It is hard to believe we actually accomplished this project in so little time, and the endeavor was a delightful project once we saw clearly how to make it happen.

The Dream Wagon had its debut during the workshops last summer, and even in its not-quite-finished state, it was a success in every way.  As a bookstore and as a stage for our readers and performers, it met and exceeded all our expectations. Imagine our authors giving readings from the stage. Then, when the reading is over, the audience can move inside to purchase that author’s book.

After the summer,  it arrived back in Nevada City where it was settled under the canopy of a pear tree. Each fall it will serve as our headquarters until next spring when it will be towed to the Valley again.

We’re deeply grateful to everyone who contributed to its creation, whether with donations, labor, advice or materials. Now that it is (mostly) complete, we’re proud to show it off. The process of inventing and bringing it to fruition was risky, stressful, and deeply satisfying.  It responds to a long-standing need for a moveable office, archives, and bookstore space. It helps us look to the future as a charming and unforgettable evocation of our place in the writing world. Scroll down to see pictures of the construction process and join us on our journey!

Deep thanks to the family of Paul Radin for major funding of the project and for providing the initial burst of inspiration and enthusiasm, and to the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation for the last funds that kept us under budget. (See the full list of project donors below.)

When he died in 2005, Paul Radin left to the Community of Writers a small box of books labeled “Paul Radin Library.” Now, in his honor, the Community has dedicated a mobile bookstore, office and library in his name.

Lots of planning went into the Dream Wagon. Brett visited several  tiny houses and researched styles extensively, making sure this little dream wagon worked for a variety of purposes all year round.
It was time to raise support for this project and we needed an image. Thanks to artist and writer Stephanie Taylor for this perfect imagining of the project. She even added staff writer Greg Spatz and his wife Caridwen. Those who have attended the Writers Workshops know what amazing musicians they are!
Most tiny houses sit on trailers with an 8 1/2 foot width, but given the many purposes of the Dream Wagon, we needed something wider, so we went with a trailer with a 10-foot width. This allows more space for bookcases, desks and mobility in the tiny house. Damon at TrailerMade Trailers gave us a terrific discount in late 2017 and then delivered it to us.
And here it is in place in Nevada City, the build site. This photograph was taken January of 2018. It would only be a few months before the tiny house made its debut at the 2018 session of the Community of Writers in Squaw Valley.
After leveling, spray foam insulation goes into the floor of the trailer. That stuff is expensive!
With the floor down, the framing starts to go up. Journeymen Dave and Larry lift the inaugural wall. This will be the wall of Brett’s office in the tiny house with two windows looking out at the meadow and the garden.
During framing, this is the board designated to be in the middle of the wall where Brett’s desk would sit.
Starting to look like a house!
A view of the rafters being installed.
Rafters on!
Another view of the rafters.
Roof on!
It is coming together. The unique curve of the roof was to evoke the traveling “caravan” or “vardo” without being too derivative. For a while the front door (right) was planned with a curved entryway, but the arch was later rejected to get the ‘staircase’ effect of the two windows and the door on the front of the tiny house.  The archway on the side is for the french doors which will open up onto the fold-down deck/stage. This will allow conference participants to enter the bookshop interior.
Stained glass windows. A Craigslist find. These were salvaged from a 1910 cottage in Berkeley.
Hand-built windows arrived from Portland! Single paned to avoid glass problems with moving the structure up over Donner Summit. Carl Kagy of Designs for People made these by hand, and then, because he had other stops to make in California, delivered the windows himself.
Spray foam insulation in, and the windows can be installed. Here is our contractor, Jim, installing a window.
Windows going in.
Hunter staining the cedar siding. The siding is from local incense cedar trees and was milled in Nevada City and beveled on the spot.
The good stuff. The siding was stained with Sikkens ‘dark oak.’
With the windows in and the siding stained, the exterior can start to come together.
More cedar was used to follow the curvature of the roof on the front and back overhangs of the roof. It’s cut to 3 1/4″ strips to match what will be the interior ceiling boards.
The deck/stage made by Preston Williams arrives. It weighs 500 pounds!
Deck on! It will fold up for transport and cover the french doors. The platform will be made out of plywood sheets.
Reclaimed door for the entryway.
Siding on the front of the tiny house.
On to the interior. Here’s Lindsey sanding down the salvaged boards that will compose the ceiling of Brett’s (under loft) office. She’s a scientist in real life.
And priming the interior walls. Because the tiny house has to move and flex in transport, drywall is too heavy and brittle to hold up. Auburn Hardwoods gave us a deal on these sheets of baltic birch plywood. It’s sturdy and lightweight. Here they are getting primed before they get installed.
The ceiling is made from the remaining incense cedar used for the siding, cut to 3 1/4″ width to match the curvature of the roofline. This was a beast to install for Hunter and Lindsey who weren’t sure it would ever end. Days of holding board after board above their heads and checking and rechecking for straightness.
They did it! Ceiling done! Over time the cedar will deepen in color.
And now that the floors are in, bookcases can be installed. More Craigslist bargains: The four bookcases were $100 for the four; the mahogany wainscoting was torn out of a 1950s Eichler home in Marin County. All the wood was $35.
Jim and Mike installing bookcases. Dealing with the trailer wheel wells took some creativity.
This fold-down desk will serve as the pedestal for the cash register in the summers, and can fold up into the wall for transport.
Looking good!
Time for the roof! Here’s the roofer, Andy Roberts, rolling the sheets on the spot.
By this time everyone was rushing to finish. Brett and most of the rest of us had already gone up to Squaw Valley to set up the office and workshop spaces for the workshops. Jim was under great pressure to get the project done in time for the Poetry week. Long hours were worked to make that happen! The stained-glass windows are in, the roof is installed, the interior trim and beams completed, the stage and door installed and painted. Eva stayed behind to monitor the packing up of the tiny house interior and to give it blessings on its voyage.
Everyone besides our trucker, Dan Crouch, was nervous about the tiny house’s trip. His truck was a bit larger than necessary, but we were grateful for his confidence and experience. It’s only a 50-minute drive from Nevada City to Squaw Valley, but it’s a 4,000-foot ascent on narrow, curvy state highway 20, with a steep cliff off to the right (the side of the tiny house with the 500 pound deck attached to it). Then there’s a long stretch of interstate 80 over Donner Summit, where the truck chains in winter create deep ruts that could vibrate the hardware right out of windows and doors. Imagine building a house and immediately putting it through a tornado and an earthquake.
Luckily the ride up wasn’t nearly as perilous as we had all imagined. Here it is an hour later in position, with the deck folded up over the french doors.
Everyone was exhausted and relieved. Tears of joy shed. It is so beautiful!
Lisa enjoying the view.
In position next to a ski lift in Squaw Valley. Many thanks to Brad Barth, Adam Feehan and Tom Kelly of Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows for making this possible.
Special thanks to Jim Seely, the contractor on the project, who worked tirelessly to get this project finished in time for the conference. He was the core of this project and without him it wouldn’t have been so beautiful. Here is Brett and  Jim celebrating the Dream Wagon at the base of the mountain.
Elves setting up the interior. This was Eva’s first time running the bookshop. The first thing that she had to do was clean the construction dust and dirt from the inside! Jack Norman, Lindsey Gordon, Hunter Jones, Eva Melas and Livia Keene. Livia sold books during the conference.
Eva Melas and the fabulous elves: Hannah Casey, Livia Keene, Jesse Bedayn, Jack Norman and Louis Tonkovich.
With a perfect view of the mountain.
And a wonderful bookstore. Eva and the Elves set this up in a matter of hours. The loft provides plenty of storage for extra bookstore inventory. We still haven’t designed or built the loft ladder. That should be done by June.
Painting donated by long-time former staff-member, Olga Carlisle. Besides being a prolific memoirist, she is a wonderful painter. Thanks to Board Member and Nonfiction Director (and her son) Michael Carlisle for hand-delivering it to the Dream Wagon. We love it.
Sands Hall on stage during the Writers Workshops.

To sit in the audience in Squaw Valley with the day transitioning to dusk, and to see our staff writers read from the stage as the landscape changed character with the setting sun, was deeply moving. This wagon is wonderfully emblematic of the ethos and spirit of this transient, yet half-century-enduring community, as well as the man whose legacy inspired it.

 

Amy Tan reading from the stage.
Wonderful Board Member Carlin Naify with the help of CapRadio’s Beth Ruyak hold an impromptu fundraiser to fund some of the final expenses of the project. Thanks to all of you who gave!
The follies.
David Radin (left), Robin Radin, (center), and Paul Radin himself. All of our love and gratitude to the Radin family for spearheading this incredible endeavor. The Dream Wagon wouldn’t exist without you. And thanks to all who donated or helped to make this dream a reality.
We designed the Dream Wagon in the spirit of Paul (right). Pictured here with his brothers,  Paul was a wild man, an intellectual, a poet and a traveler. He attended the very first Community of Writers using his guitar as a deposit. Riding Zumgali over from his place in Ramparts on the Truckee River each year to visit the workshops, he found a seasonal home in our community. Now he’ll always have one.
Robin Radin at the dedication of the Paul Radin Memorial Dream Wagon with Brett looking on. Members of the Radin family traveled from all over the country to attend.
(Back in Nevada City.) Thanks to the resourceful and hardworking crew who put many long days into its construction. From left to right: Larry Beck, Dave Stokes, Brett Hall Jones, Preston Williams, Jim Seely, Mike McLeran, Dave Wills, Terry Honea, Hunter Jones, Lindsey Gordon (and Greta). Not pictured: Roofer Andy Roberts and finish carpenter Gene Mesick.
Thanks also to the following people for consulting on the project: Jim Seely, Lydia Seely, Steve Rempe, Julie Cobden, Gloria Novak, Robert Austin. And to Louis B. Jones, who put up with a year’s worth of obsession, design consultation, and worries, and in the end contributed all the great ideas for its design.
Every day Brett and Eva work here, getting ready for this summer’s workshops. The submissions are rolling in!
Eva managing submissions from her desk at the bow of the tiny house.
The Community’s Dream Wagon, the rest of the year. A rent-free office. This is where we work. Felix likes it there in the shade of the pear tree. In June, we will move it back up to the Valley for another season of writing workshops.

Thank you to everyone who donated to make this dream possible!

Dream Wagon Founding Donors
David Radin and Robert Radin

With A Generous Grant From
The Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
ttcf

Vardo
Eddy and Osvaldo Ancinas • René & April Ancinas • Michael Carlisle •  Michael and Janet Pietsch • Steve & Michele Rempe • Cecile Weaver

Caravan
Reagan Arthur • Adam Cole • Nancy Evans • The Hall Family • Sands Hall • Joy Harris • William Haxton • Pam Rorke Levy • John Roberts II • Carlin & James Naify • Beth Ruyak & Mike McWhirter • Julia Flynn Siler & Charlie Siler • Nancy Teichert • Cora Yang & • Myron Marx • Pat Woeber • Vonetta Young

Wain
Marcia Bradley • Elizabeth Chapman • Susan Call • Charmaine Craig • Leslie Daniels • Thomas Ennis • Margot Garcia • Harriet Garfinkle • Jim Hill • Joy Johannessen • Calvert Morgan • Cynthia Newberry • David Paul • John Pula • Barbara Ristine • Logan Robertson • Greg and Caridwen Spatz • Elizabeth Tallent & Gloria Rogers • Mary Winsor • Kent Wright

And a big thank you to our wonderful Board of Directors for their constant guidance and support.

Thank you to all who believed in this project and who helped to make it happen. 


Announcing our 2019 Summer Writers Workshops

The Community of Writers is pleased to announce the 2019 Summer Writing Workshops in Poetry and Fiction, Nonfiction and Memoir.
We are now accepting applications. 

 THE POETRY WORKSHOP

June 22 – 29, 2019

The Poetry Workshop is founded on the belief that when poets gather in a community to write new poems, each poet may well break through old habits and write something stronger and truer than before. The idea is to try to expand the boundaries of what one can write. In the mornings we meet to read to each other the work of the previous twenty-four hours, and in the late afternoons we gather for a conversation about some aspect of craft.On several afternoons staff poets hold brief individual conferences. Director: Robert Hass.

Forrest Gander  •  Brenda Hillman  •  David Tomas Martinez
Jane Miller  •  Sharon Olds  •  Gregory Pardlo

with special guest Robert Hass

Financial Aid Available.
Application Deadline: April 1, 2019. 

More program details, bios, logistics, and application form:

Visit the Poetry Workshop Page

THE WRITERS WORKSHOPS
in Fiction, Nonfiction & Memoir

July 8 – 15, 2019

 These workshops assist serious writers by exploring the art and craft as well as the business of writing. The week offers daily morning workshops, craft lectures, panel discussions on editing and publishing, staff readings, and brief individual conferences.The morning workshops are led by staff writer-teachers, editors, or agents. There are separate morning workshops for Fiction and Narrative Nonfiction/Memoir. In addition to their workshop manuscripts, participants may have a second manuscript read by a staff member who meets with them in individual conferences.

SPECIAL GUESTS

Katharine Dion • Richard Ford • Diana Fuller • Daniel Halpern • Michelle Latiolais •
Joyce Carol Oates • Beth Ruyak • Amy Tan

TEACHING STAFF

Lisa Alvarez • Ramona Ausubel • Michael Carlisle • Leland Cheuk • Tyler Dilts
Frances Dinkelspiel • Alex Espinoza • Janet Fitch • Dagoberto Gilb • Sands Hall
Rachel Howard • Vanessa Hua • Rhoda Huffey • Louis B. Jones • Krys Lee • Tom Lutz
Patricia K. Meyer • Howard Norman • Victoria Patterson • Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
Greg Spatz • Héctor Tobar • Andrew Tonkovich • Jane Vandenburgh          

PLUS

Literary Agents – Book & Literary Magazine Editors and more

INTRODUCING PUBLISHED ALUMS

Marcia Butler • Kate Day • Devi S. Laskar • Wayétu Moore

Financial Aid available.
Application Deadline: April 1, 2019

More program details, bios, logistics, and application form:
Visit the Writers Workshops Page

Quarterly Roundup of New Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni Authors published in October – December, 2018

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums who have published books during the last quarter of 2018!

We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below.

Visit our Omnium Gatherum to explore all the recent alumni news.

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP ALUMNI

 

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOPS ALUMNI

Do you have a forthcoming publication? Send us your news, and and we will post it in our Omnium Gatherum: Alumni News.  And if your news is a book publication, we’ll include it in our next quarterly 2019 New Alumni Books Update here.


 

Burnett Miller: 1923-2018

Founding Board Member Burnett Miller in 2016. He died in late October.

The Community of Writers is mourning the loss of our founding Board Member, friend and supporter, Burnett Miller.

Burnett made the Community of Writers possible since its earliest days. It’s a lucky thing for us, in the first place, that he and Mimi have always had a house in the Valley, and it’s a lucky thing for us that they’ve been such champions of the arts, including literature. In the city of Sacramento, Burnett and Mimi have been longstanding pillars of the cultural scene, and to Squaw Valley they brought the same warm enthusiasm and stewardship that they provided the Sacramento region.

Here is how the Sacramento Bee begins its remembrance of Burnett:

Burnett Miller survived shrapnel wounds at the Battle of the Bulge, helped liberate a concentration camp — and recounted his war stories for an acclaimed PBS documentary. After returning home to Sacramento, he spent his business career running a millwork and cabinetry company founded by his ancestors shortly after the Gold Rush.

He helped save historic Old Sacramento buildings from the wrecking ball, and was founding member of an annual conference at Lake Tahoe that mentors aspiring poets and writers. He rode camels in Iran and, until recently, played tennis with one of America’s most celebrated painters. 

Oh, and he served as Sacramento’s mayor for about a year.

The city of Sacramento would be a plainer place today if not for Burnett’s work on behalf of its great museums, parks, historic buildings, arts organizations. And as a summer resident of this unincorporated resort village in the mountains, he may not have been the mayor, but he had his hand on the tiller of the Valley’s major cultural institution. As Chairman of our Board of Directors, Burnett for many years sat at the head of the table, knowing when to intervene and change the subject but also – and mostly – practicing the art of listening with an intense empathy. Wherever Burnett was, things flourished. We remember one August, when, on the post-conference day after all the participants had gone home, a few of us administrators were beginning the packing-up process, in our morning-after fatigue – and then the Chairman of the Board arrived, with a spring in his step. And with, also, the slight hitch in his walk that came along in his eighties, he started picking things up and churned everyone into action, making decisions about sorting office equipment for winter storage, carrying off boxes or computer printers. It was Private 1st Class Miller, the one who led a patrol in the Battle of the Bulge.

Burnett must have seized on the Community of Writers (and, by the way, made lifelong friends of us all) because he was at heart an intellectual. He may have been a practical politician and a businessman, and those are two callings that don’t like overly highbrow pursuits or fancy tastes – businessmen and politicians have good reasons to, rather, be known as down-to-earth. But in Burnett’s home, the freshest “New York Review of Books” was always out on the coffee table, and it had obviously always been ransacked, its tabloid folds disheveled. The walls of all the rooms and staircases in that house are covered chockablock, salon-style, with oil paintings by contemporary artists, and new hardcover fiction and nonfiction stands on end tables, bookmarked. He and Mimi showed up at every one of the summer conferences, attending lectures and readings stylishly dressed and seated in the very front row. Burnett knew how to be a bon vivant, often buying a bottle to go around, and sometimes ruling a dinner table with his beautifully told stories. He had plenty of stories to tell. His patrol in the Ardennes forest walked “on point,” meaning at the brunt. He was one of the American officers who personally, literally, opened gates at the Mauthausen concentration camp, while prisoners on the other side watched him do it. And all their lives, he and Mimi have been adventurous world travelers, not the kind of tourists who merely ride and eat, but explorers seeking out hard-to-get-to places, and places without amenities. His stories were always masterpieces. His destiny was to work largely in the business and government worlds, but he may have been an artist or writer manqué – as if, maybe, had there been no “Burnett & Sons” (fine millwork and planning, founded 1869), he might have been an editor or critic, one of us ink-stained wretches. We’re fortunate that one of Burnett’s greatest arts was making everybody else’s life brighter.

Read more about Burnett in the Sacramento Bee.

If you are interested in honoring Burnett’s long 50 year history with the Community of Writers with a donation, please go here.

Thank You For A Remarkable Summer!

Thank you to all who helped make the 2018 summer of workshops happen!

Jack Norman, Lindsey Gordon, Hunter Jones, Eva Melas, and Livia Keene setting up the bookstore.

As they have done for 48 years, the Summer Workshops came together with the tireless participation of many friends and colleagues.It always strikes me as a minor miracle when the workshops all come together. But of course it is the enmeshing of hundreds of kindred spirits, learning about and from each other and their work, that makes it so. Without all of you it just wouldn’t be possible.

We are grateful to and astounded by our generous teaching staff members in PoetryFiction and Nonfiction who make the summer workshops an unforgettable and productive experience. And in particular I want to thank our program directors: Lisa AlvarezMichael CarlisleRobert HassDiana Fuller, and Louis B. Jones.

Thanks also to Patricia K. Meyer who joined us in the valley to teach her special class on the Alchemy of Adaptation. A big thank you to Diana who founded and shepherded this program from a full screenwriting program to an adaptation program for fiction and nonfiction writers. Thanks to Christopher Upham as well for photography and general technical support.

Robin Radin speaks at the dedication of the Paul Radin Memorial Dream Wagon.

Heaps of gratitude again to Andrew Tonkovich, who was essential every step of the way: from the management of all the manuscripts during registration, to moderating panels, he was central to it all. Many thanks to Eva Melas and Livia Keene, who both managed our pop-up bookstore in the Dream Wagon. Thanks also to Lindsey Gordon and Tracy Hall for documenting the goings-on with their cameras (including the photos here). And thanks to Tracy and Jim Chumbley, Hunter Jones and Lindsey Gordon, for creating a bit of home in our humble snack bar. Our Elves (and all-around helpers) were Christian AguilarJesse BedaynHannah Casey, Lindsey Gordon, Jesse Israel, Hunter Jones, Eva Melas, Jack Norman, Livia Keene, Audrey Rawson, and Louis Tonkovich. With high energy and good spirits, they all made things happen seamlessly.

Jim Seely surveys his work.

Hunter helped us record events and will soon be putting them on our website as podcasts. Eva Melas organized the Poetry Picnic this year at Meeks Bay along with the help of Lindsey Gordon, Hunter Jones, and Jack Norman. Indispensable also at the Poetry Picnic was Ethan Andrews who barbecued with confidence. A big thank you to all of our work waivers Daniel Duffy, Anuradha Bhowmik, Lily Jamaludin, and Katherine Noble for their help all week. And thanks to Sands Hall for the inimitable Follies and for hosting Poetry’s final dinner. Liz Thiem and Storey Rafter graced our Poetry party with delicious food and good humor.

Participants in the Poetry Softball Game including staff poets Sharon Olds and Mónica de la Torre

The Paul Radin Memorial Dream Wagon: On Saturday, during the Writers week, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley memorialized one of its longtime friends, the late Paul Radin, during the dedication of the Paul Radin Memorial Dream Wagon. The commemoration ceremony preceded the Writers Workshop’s annual Follies, with remarks by Louis B. Jones and Robin RadinDavid and Robin Radin, along with members of Paul Radin’s extended family, were there to represent the family. The Radin family donated seed money to the Community dedicated to the purchase of a portable “tiny house” on wheels to be used as an office and bookstore onsite during the conference weeks in Squaw Valley. Also honored that night was the builder of this tiny house on wheels project, Jim Seely, who was given a standing ovation. We have many other donors to thank for helping make the Dream Wagon real, please stay posted.

We would like to acknowledge our friends who have been tremendously generous with their time and local support over the years: Eddy & Osvaldo AncinasMimi & Burnett Miller and Amy Tan & Lou Demattei. And thanks for years of advice and excellent legal care David Riegels who has been our generous pro-bono attorney for decades.  We say a loving goodbye to him as he starts his retirement. Thanks also to alum and friend Bob Austin for his ADA compliance advice. Special thanks also to Capital Public Radio’s Beth Ruyak, who impressed us all as she emceed a panel of memoir-writing fiction writers, and more.

The Benefit Poetry Reading took place in Nevada City in June and many thanks are in order, especially to Molly Fisk who emceed the event, as well as the six participating poets: Kazim AliMónica de la Torre, Robert Hass, Sharon Olds, Evie Shockley, and Dean Young.

Special thanks to the Event Coordinator Elizabeth Kelley Gillogly who, with the able help of Rachel Howard at YubaLit, made this one of the best-attended  Benefit

Gary Short, Louis B. Jones, and Andrew Tonkovich

events we’ve done. Thanks so much to our sponsors Caseywood Corporation, Joan Baranow and David Watts, The Entrekin FoundationYubaLit, and Nevada County Arts Council. Thanks to Copper Canyon PressCounterpoint Press, and Wesleyan University Press for donating books.Thanks to our enthusiastic volunteers: Catherine Bilheimer, Cathy Chappell, Eva Melas, Michael & Emily MalsamLydia & Jim Seely, Tom Taylor, and Mary Vogt.

Many thanks to the Board of Directors: a person in my position couldn’t ask for a more responsive, generous and wise Board, especially president Jim Naify.  I am grateful to our Events Committee (Carlin Naify, Nancy Teichert & Ruth Blank) who made great things happen during the programs. Special thanks this year to my comrades Michael Carlisle and Michelle Latiolais who are always there with advice, support and friendship. This year we welcomed two new Board Members: Reagan Arthur and Dana Johnson.

Edan Lepucki, Lisa Alvarez, and Reagan Arthur

Our Donors: What a community this is! Your support is essential to this thing we do.

With love and gratitude,

 

-Brett Hall Jones
Executive Director

 

 

 


 

Goodbye to Tom Rickman, 1940-2018

Tom Rickman, Squaw Valley Screenwriting Program, 1977. (Photo by Tracy E. Hall)

People may have heard that the legendary screenwriter was rumored to be around, but those who didn’t happen to be enrolled in the Screenwriting Program might not have run into Tom Rickman during the week – or recognize him, until the night of the Follies came around.

He loved the Follies. One particular song he’d written, “Why Does the Toast Fall Butter-Side-Down?” had to be reprised every year by popular demand; people got to know the refrain by heart and came to sing along with loud abandon making that existential complaint. He also had an a cappella version of “Minnie the Moocher,” just him and the mic up there, where his voice swung low and took on an amazing trombone blare. His avid performing abilities – implying a necessary empathy for actors and their art – of course must have helped make his success as a dramatic writer. He was always happy and relaxed onstage. People will remember under bright lights the ruddy cheeks and the plentiful snow-white hair, the recurrent, even perpetual shrug, hands-in-pockets, the impression he always made that he was, somehow, standing off to one side from the point he was making.

Tom Rickman and Gill Dennis (1981), who along with Diana Fuller, founded the Screenwriting Program at the Community of Writers. (Photo by Barbara E. Hall)

He grew up in Kentucky in a home without plumbing or television and made a journey from there to writing the movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” No doubt as a boy he heard Loretta Lynn on the radio, so coming to write her bio-pic would have been a fine life experience. He had first come to Squaw Valley some years before that success, to help get a screenwriting program going; Diana Fuller had invited him because she was adding a movie component to a playwriting program that existed here at the time. And she and Tom, along with Gill Dennis, invented a whole separate world across the campus, where participants’ scripts were analyzed, and then during the week, actors would learn the parts and scenes would be blocked out, directed, filmed, and even edited (in those days before digital), then screened for the whole group – so that inexperienced screenwriters might see the practical outcome of written work. It was a great program and we’re sorry it’s gone, dependent as it was on Tom and Gill. He was young then when it started, in his early thirties, and he continued to come up and help run it every year without fail, except for maybe one or two times when production schedules wouldn’t allow. He stopped coming a few years ago when cancer therapy started keeping him home. He hasn’t, ever since, been able to return.

An important element in Tom was his cordial humility. In an industry town where self-effacement is not recommended for beginners, Tom (the Kentucky boy, as he styled himself) arrived and throve, transiting naturally to the rare Hollywood echelons where to be laid back isn’t a ruinous handicap. Here at the Workshops, even the shyest, most unpublished short-story writer found an easy comrade in Tom, somebody who would confide unpretentiously, somebody who would listen with genuine fresh interest. Always witty and unassuming and quiet with his entrances and exits, he’s gone up yonder. We here have been missing him for a long time already.

1982 Screenwriting Program. Familiar faces include Tom Rickman, Gill Dennis, Nancy Kelly, Anna Deveare Smith, Kristin Peckinpah Dennis, Andrew Reinhardt, Susanne Simpson.

 

Song by Tom Rickman. Poster was a gift from Tom Rickman to the Community of Writers. (Use subject to permission.)

 

New Alumni Books Update

Books by Alumni Authors published in Summer 2018

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums who have published books during the summer months of 2018!

We are delighted to share their success with you. Visit our alumni newsfeed on our Omnium Gatherum page.

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP ALUMNI

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOPS ALUMNI

View Summer News

 

Do you have a forthcoming publication? Send us your news, and and we will post it in our Omnium Gatherum: Alumni News.  And if your news is a book publication, we’ll include it in our next quarterly 2018 New Alumni Book Update here!

Recently Published Alums Return to Read From Their Books

In July 2018, we continued our tradition of inviting recently published alums back to the Community of Writers to read from their new books. On Wednesday, July 11, we presented The Published Alumni Reading Series, preceded by a reception in the honor of these writers, who made the journey to present their newly published work to participants and staff of the 2018 Writers Workshop. This year’s alums were Michael Andreasen (The Sea Beast Takes a Lover), Laurie Doyle (World Gone Missing), Jimin Han (A Small Revolution), Mary Kuryla (Freak Weather: Stories),and Brian Rogers (The Whole of the Moon),all introduced by Charmaine CraigThe Community of Writers was delighted to celebrate the success of these writers and to present them to the participants, staff, and the public.

 

 

  • Michael Andreasen
  • Laurie Ann Doyle
  • Jimin Han
  • Mary Kuryla
  • Brian Rogers

Six Extraordinary Poets Together on One Night in Nevada City

Nationally Known Poets Return to Read in Nevada City to Benefit the Community of Writers

This year we are pleased to welcome six extraordinary poets, including two Pulitzer-Prize winners and a 2018 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Last year’s Benefit Poetry Reading was such a success that we have decided  to once again return to the Miners Foundry in Nevada City, California.

FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018, 7:00pm


Buy Tickets Online Now

  • Kazim Ali
  • Mónica de la Torre
  • Robert Hass
  • Sharon Olds
  • Evie Shockley
  • Dean Young
 

View Poet Bios 

NOTE: We have a limited number of premium seats available in the first two rows–get yours today! 

This gathering of nationally known poets—all staff poets from this year’s Community of Writers’ Summer Poetry Workshop in Squaw Valley—will raise money for the Poetry Program’s financial aid and scholarships. Join us for a reading, signing, and reception with the poet teachers. Books by the poets will be available for purchase before and after the reading.

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

Premium seating, first 2 rows: $45.

Group price, 10 or more tickets purchased at the same time: $20/ticket.

If you would like to purchase tickets over the phone, call 530-470-8440.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Caseywood  •  The Entrekin Foundation •  Nevada County Arts  •  YubaLit •  David Watts and Joan Baranow  •  Hip Pocket Press

Buy Tickets Online Now!

Just 7 Days Until the 2018 Big Day of Giving

Next Thursday, 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 BIG Day of Giving, which benefits our region’s nonprofits. If you already plan on making a gift to the Scholarship Fund, donating on Thursday, May 3rd may leverage your donation even further with over $10,000 in matching funds available!

 

Last year, because of the many generous friends and alumni who donated during the Big Day of Giving, we raised over $20,000. 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 to The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley at www.bigdayofgiving.org.

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

Twitter: @Bigdayofgiving 

Hashtag: #BDOG2018

This event is produced by the wonderful people at the Sacramento Regional Community Foundation.

Donate

Poetry Alums Among Headliners at the Sierra Poetry Festival

The Community of Writers is pleased to recommend the 2nd Annual Sierra Poetry Festival, this Saturday, April 28 which will feature several Community of Writers alums.

Among the poets headlining the Festival are Marcelo Hernandez CastilloMolly Fisk, and Judy HalebskyMaxima Kahn‘s workshop “Igniting Your Poetic Fire,” will also be featured. The event will be emcee’d by our own Sands Hall.

Click on the author portraits to learn about these poets and their work.

  • Fisk, Molly
    Molly Fisk
  • Judy Halebsky
  • Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
  • Maxima Kahn

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo  •  Molly Fisk  •   Judy Halebsky •  Maxima Kahn

Nevada County Arts Council will present the 2018 Sierra Poetry Festival on April 28, all day, at Sierra College in Grass Valley. Activities will include a keynote address by Los Angeles Poet Laureate Robin Coste Lewis, author of Voyage of the Sable Venus, winner of the National Book Award for Poetry. Three other California poets laureate, and an array of local, national and international poets and performers will join Coste Lewis. Among the day’s line-up are Kim Shuck, Indigo Moor, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Judy Halebsky, V.S. Chochezi and Staajabu as Straight Out Scribes, Neeli Cherkovski, Bill Gainer, Molly Fisk, Charles Entrekin, Gail Entrekin, Sands Hall, Mel Pryor, Kirsten Casey and more.

Join us there for a wonderful day of workshops, readings and performances!

More Details


The Tiny House on Wheels Project

We are excited to report that construction on our long-planned bookshop/headquarters on wheels has begun. The Paul Radin Memorial Writers Lodge (named in honor of our friend), this project will be complete by this summer. Yesterday, the first wall was pushed up by the journeymen on the project. 

Concept drawing courtesy of artist and alum Stephanie Taylor featuring Caridwen & Greg Spatz performing during the Follies.

Spearheaded by a major donation by the family of Paul Radin, and with substantial support of other donors,  this project was conceived to create a useful way for us to solve several problems:

  • It will create a bookshop that can sell hundreds of staff books on site during the workshops, as demands for space in the Squaw Valley resort continue to grow more competitive.
  • When our access to the venue ends on the same day the conference does, it will allow us to simply tow it away and complete our extensive inventories and returns off-site.
  • The structure will also serve as our year-round headquarters (office) in Nevada City .

 With a fold-down stage for readings and presentations, French doors, built-in book cases, and an office, this promises to be a whimsical and useful abode for the Community of Writers. More details on Paul Radin and the origins of this project can be found here. The dedication of the tiny house will be Saturday evening, July 14, as part of the Writers Workshops Follies.

Send us your ideas…

The structure is now called The Paul Radin Memorial Lodge. However, we are interested in your ideas on its more informal everyday appellation, as “Lodge” brings to mind a larger structure and might be confused with other local buildings. The Paul Radin Memorial… __________… what? The name might evoke books, learning, writing, migration, travel… 

If you too would like to support this project and have your name on the donor wall, contact us for more details. 

 

The Continuum: Gifts To Our Scholarship Fund Sustain Poetry and Prose

One of our principle goals, always, is to keep the Summer Workshops affordable for our participants.

In the early days, our workshops shared the Valley with few other visitors, (cheerleaders! wrestlers! endurance runners!) but as the ski resort has prospered, the Valley has become an attractive year-round destination and the local costs of participant and teaching staff accommodations and food for the workshop week have risen dramatically.

With rising costs, financial aid has become essential for many of our participants. Offering scholarships and waivers ensures that talented writers from all backgrounds and means are able to attend, and that new and diverse writers continue to benefit from this opportunity.

The Continuum: Many of you reading this now were once recipients of some kind of financial aid. Some of you may still be strapped financially; nevertheless we hope you can send something. You may no longer be a student, or may have a better job, or you may have even seen your book published. Did your time at the Valley help your writing life?  If it did, I hope you will consider sending us a larger donation to help another talented writer have that experience.

The application manuscripts have arrived for the 2018 Summer Workshops. We are delighted and astonished with the work, and we are all looking forward to another productive summer with these writers and poets. 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.

Visit our Financial Aid & Scholarships page for more information on how you can donate to our scholarship fund, or to a specific scholarship.

Donations to the Community of Writers may be tax-deductible.

Please give Today. All gifts received on or before May 1 will go directly to our 2018 Scholarship Fund. If you would like to help, but cannot donate before May 1, please email us and pledge the amount you would like to give.

If you are interested in creating an honorary scholarship, email brett@communityofwriters.org

Or you can donate online today or send a check to:

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


Announcing Our 2018 Summer Writers Workshops

The Community of Writers is pleased to announce the 2018 Summer Writing Workshops in Poetry and Fiction, Nonfiction and Memoir. We are now accepting applications. 

 THE POETRY WORKSHOP

June 23 – 30, 2018


  • Kazim Ali
  • Mónica de la Torre
  • Robert Hass
  • Sharon Olds
  • Evie Shockley
  • Dean Young

Kazim Ali  •  Mónica de la Torre  •  Robert Hass
Sharon Olds  •  Evie Shockley  •  Dean Young

The Poetry Workshop is founded on the belief that when poets gather in a community to write new poems, each poet may well break through old habits and write something stronger and truer than before. The idea is to try to expand the boundaries of what one can write. In the mornings we meet to read to each other the work of the previous twenty-four hours, and in the late afternoons we gather for a conversation about some aspect of craft.On several afternoons staff poets hold brief individual conferences. Director: Robert Hass.

Financial Aid Available.
Application Deadline: March 28, 2018. 

More program details, bios, logistics, and application form:


Visit the Poetry Workshop Page

THE WRITERS WORKSHOPS
in Fiction, Nonfiction & Memoir

July 8 – 15, 2018

TEACHING STAFF

Lisa Alvarez • Tom Barbash • Michael Carlisle  •  Charmaine Craig • Leslie Daniels • Karen Joy Fowler  •  Glen David Gold • Sands Hall • Dana Johnson  •  Louis B. Jones • Edan Lepucki • Edie Meidav • Peter Orner  •  Kirstin Valdez Quade • Jason Roberts • Elizabeth Rosner  •  Margaret Wilkerson Sexton • Julia Flynn Siler  •  Elizabeth Tallent  • Andrew Winer

PLUS

Literary Agents – Book & Literary Magazine Editors and more

SPECIAL GUESTS

Max Byrd • Mo Gawdat  •  Michelle Latiolais • Gabriel Tallent • Amy Tan

INTRODUCING PUBLISHED ALUMS

Michael Andreasen • Laurie Ann Doyle • Jimin Han    •  Mary Kuryla  •  Brian Rogers


 These workshops assist serious writers by exploring the art and craft as well as the business of writing. The week offers daily morning workshops, craft lectures, panel discussions on editing and publishing, staff readings, and brief individual conferences.The morning workshops are led by staff writer-teachers, editors, or agents. There are separate morning workshops for Fiction and Narrative Nonfiction/Memoir. In addition to their workshop manuscripts, participants may have a second manuscript read by a staff member who meets with them in individual conferences.

Financial Aid available.
Application Deadline: March 28, 2018

More program details, bios, logistics, and application form:

 

Visit the Writers Workshops Page

New Alumni Books Update

Books published by Alumni Authors published in October – December, 2017

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums who have published books during the last quarter of 2017!

We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below.

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP ALUMNI

  • Judy Bebelaar
  • Jeanne Foster
  • John Harvey
  • Erin Adair Hodges
  • Devi S. Laskar
  • Jami Macarty
  • Christopher Sindt
  • Laura Swearingen-Steadwell
  • Ian Randall Wilson

 

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOPS ALUMNI

  • moonglow
    Michael Chabon
  • Terence Clarke
  • Jennifer Egan
  • Janet Fitch
  • David Hagerty
  • Jill Kolongowski
  • Mary Kuryla
  • Martin J. Smith
  • JJ Strong
  • Amy Tan

Do you have a forthcoming publication? Send us your news, and and we will post it in our Omnium Gatherum: Alumni News.  And if your news is a book publication, we’ll include it in our next quarterly 2018 New Alumni Book Update here!

Community of Writers Poetry Program Founder Galway Kinnell’s “Collected Poems” Now Available

We are excited to announce the publication of Galway Kinnell’s Collected Poems, just out this week from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt!

The definitive collection of poems from Pulitzer Prize-winner, MacArthur Fellow, National Book Award-winner, and Community of Writers Poetry Program founder, Galway Kinnell.

 

“It’s the poet’s job to figure out what’s happening within oneself, to figure out the connection

between the self and the world, and to get it down in words that have a certain shape, that have

a chance of lasting.” —Galway Kinnell

 

The Poetry Program, as we’ve practiced it since 1985, was Galway Kinnell’s design, along with Sharon Old’s. When he became director, he created a poetry program different from any other that operated on very simple principles.: to write a new poem every single day, avoid critical comments and find what is working in each other’s poems. Galway died in 2014 and left a legacy of poetry and community that can find no parallel.

Now comes the long-awaited compendium of  his work: “a body of poetry that pushed deep into the heart of human experience” (New York Times). This vast collection is the very first to represent Kinnell’s entire body of work, including seven previously uncollected poems. Collected Poems collects 65 years of, as he would call poetry, ” inspired thought.” This large and lovely volume is sure to be an essential part of any poetry collection, especially of those who worked with him at the Community of Writers.

From the Publisher:

In a remarkable generation of poets, Galway Kinnell was an acknowledged, true master. From the book-length poem memorializing the grit, beauty, and swarming assertion of immigrant life along a lower Manhattan avenue, to searing poems of human conflict and war, to incandescent reflections on love, family, and the natural world—including “Blackberry Eating,” “St. Francis and the Sow,” and “After Making Love We Hear Footsteps”—to the unflinchingly introspective poems of his later life, Kinnell’s work lastingly shaped the consciousness of his age.

In his introduction to the book, Edward Hirsch writes: “Reading over Kinnell’s work as a whole, one finds that he was essentially looking for ultimate meaning, which he could not find in a provisional universe. What he could create was a poetry that embraced our earthly hold, the bonds of connection, the nature of being. His ambition was overarching. He dreamed of a true poem of embodiment, one that would incorporate as much of the available world as possible. That dream is realized as these Collected Poems, the single work he was writing all his life, his Leaves of Grass. It could be described as Tenderness Toward Existence.”

“There’s no one whose work has so often and with such consistency brought into the world a sense of wonder and exaltation, no one who so often discovered rich new harmonies of poetic language, no one who devised so many metaphors that resonate through so many levels of materiality and spirit, uniting the physical with the moral and passion with thought. In short, there’s no one whose work has elaborated so ample and comprehensive a vision of the lives we’ve lived.” — C. K. Williams, The New Yorker

Galway Kinnell published ten books of poetry, a novella, and several books of translations, including of the poetry of François Villon and Rainer Maria Rilke. In 1982 his Selected Poems won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. A former MacArthur fellow and State Poet of Vermont, he was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing and the cofounder and longtime mentor of the graduate creative writing program at New York University. For many years he enriched the life of American culture, not only through the printed word but also through his teaching, his devotion to the tribe of poets, and his indelibly powerful public readings.

We hope you will go to your local or online bookseller and purchase a copy ($35.) Or, for the next 10 donors of $250 or more, we will send you a copy as a thank you gift.

Donate Today

 

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

Donate

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.

More Details

 

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

Bestselling Author Janet Fitch Comes to Sacramento to Benefit the Community of Writers

The Community of Writers in collaboration with
Stories on Stage Sacramento,
is proud to present New York Times bestselling author of White Oleander Janet Fitch

 

Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm

The Auditorium at CLARA
1425 24th St., Sacramento

The Russian Revolution will be center stage for this evening of literature, conversation, and music. Made doubly relevant by today’s headlines, and the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, this interview and exploration of Janet Fitch’s new novel, The Revolution of Marina M.  will be interspersed with dynamic readings from the book by a professional actor.

Set in the turbulent period before and after the overthrow of the Tsar, this historical novel presents a sweeping account of a young poet carried by the tide of revolution into a life greater than anything she ever imagined.

  • Reception with Russian sweets and vodka (wine and beer). Souvenir shot glass included with ticket price.
  • Copies of The Revolution of Maria M. will be available for sale
  • Janet Fitch will sign copies during the reception.
  • Beaucoup Chapeaux will perform Eastern European and Baltic traditional folk songs. (See video below.)

Proceeds will support the Community of Writers.

MORE INFORMATION & TICKETS

 

New Alumni Summer Books Update

Books written by Alumni Authors published in July-September, 2017

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums who have published books this Summer quarter, 2017.

We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below.

 

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP ALUMNI

  • Alice Anderson
  • Judy Bebelaar
  • Conor Bracken
  • Melissa Fondakowski
  • Chuck Joy
  • Jeanine Stevens
  • Sally Van Doren

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOPS ALUMNI

  • Laurie Ann Doyle
  • Jamie Ford
  • Christine Granados
  • Janine Kovac
  • Nick Mann
  • Barbara McDonald
  • Justin McFarr
  • Kim O'Neil
  • Brian Rogers
  • Elizabeth Rosner
  • Jeff Solomon

Do you have a forthcoming publication? Send us your news, and and we will post it in our Omnium Gatherum: Alumni News.  And if your news is a book publication, we’ll include it in our next quarterly 2017 New Alumni Book Update here!

Thank You For A Remarkable Summer!

Thank You To All Who Helped Make the 2017 Summer of Workshops Happen

Elves Julia Hass, Livia Keene, Jesse Bedayn, Hunter Jones, Lindsey Gordon, Eva Melas, and Audrey Rawson

So many friends and colleagues helped make it happen.

In May we said goodbye to the wonderful Amy Rutten, our director of Alumni Relations. She was offered a terrific full-time job in the local library. We will miss her.  Eva Melas has since joined us in that same position and we are delighted to have her. She came to us after seven years as a Poetry Elf, with a BA from UC Davis in English and an internship with Soho Press under her belt.

As they have done for 47 years, the Summer Workshops came together with the energetic participation of many friends and colleagues. We are grateful to and astounded by our brilliant, warm and generous teaching staff members in Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction who make the summer workshops an unforgettable and productive experience. And in particular I want to thank our program directors: Lisa Alvarez, Michael Carlisle, Robert Hass, Diana FullerLouis B. Jones, and guest Poetry director, Brenda Hillman.

Andrew Tonkovich sings at the Follies while Felix surveys the scene.

Heaps of gratitude again to Andrew Tonkovich who was essentially essential: from the management of all the manuscripts during registration, to moderating panels, to his very fine Closing Talk, he was central to it all. Many thanks to Kaitlin Klaussen, who ran our popup bookstore, and to Marlo Eckert who helped Kaitlin coordinate the housing. Thanks also to Tracy Hall for documenting the goings-on with her camera (she took the photos included here). And thanks to Tracy and Jim Chumbley for creating a bit of home in our humble snack bar. Our Elves (and all-around helpers) were Jesse Bedayn, Lindsey Gordon, Julia Hass, Dashiell Jones, Hunter JonesEva Melas, Jack NormanLivia Keene, Audrey Rawson, and Louis Tonkovich.  Dashiell and Hunter helped us record events and later on will put them on our website. With high energy and good spirits, they all made things happen seamlessly. We are also grateful to Rob and Meg Gordon who helped out in a dozen different ways including baking muffins each morning. Eva Melas organized the Poetry Picnic this year at Meeks Bay along with the help of Heather Altfeld and Troy Jollimore. Indispensable also at the Poetry Picnic were Aaron Dylan Graham and Henry Rappaport who barbecued with confidence unlike most writers. And thanks to Sands Hall for the inimitable Follies and for hosting Poetry’s final dinner. Thanks to co-founder, Barbara Hall, for opening her home to the writers and poets. Liz Thiem and Storey Rafter graced our Poetry party with delicious food and good humor. Huge thank to Ben & Elissa Prescott who helped out where needed while juggling the attentions and needs of twins: the bookstore, moving out, and the sound during the Follies.

Robert Radin, Sharon Olds, Brenda Hillman, Robert Hass, Forrest Gander, Francisco Aragón, and Gregory Pardlo with a photo of Paul Radin

The Paul Radin Memorial Writers Lodge (The Tiny House Project): On Thursday, during the Poetry week, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley memorialized one of its longtime friends, the late Paul Radin, whose family then honored his memory with a significant and defining gift to the work of our non-profit. The remembrance ceremony in honor of Paul Radin preceded the Community’s annual poetry reading, with remarks by editor and writer Andrew Tonkovich, and novelist Louis B. Jones, who knew Radin and helped care for him as he struggled with illness, as well as founding Board Member Burnett MillerRobert Radin represented the family. Radin’s family, including brothers Robert Radin and David Radin, donated seed money to the Community dedicated to the purchase of a portable “tiny house” on wheels to be used as a portable office and bookstore onsite during the conference weeks in Squaw Valley. With gratitude to the Radins for this major gift, the Community of Writers will still need to raise an additional $25,000 or more to bring make it a reality.

We would like to acknowledge our friends who have been tremendously generous with their time and local support over the years: Eddy & Osvaldo Ancinas, Mimi & Burnett Miller and Amy Tan & Lou Demattei.

Gregory Pardlo delivery Poetry Craft Talk

Thanks also to Christopher Monger who joined us in the valley to teach his special class on the Art of Adaptation. And to Diana who helped put that together. Thanks to Christopher Upham and Christopher Beaver as well, for technical help.

The Benefit Poetry Reading took place in Nevada City in June and many thanks are in order, especially to Molly Fisk who emceed the event, as well as the six participating poets: Francisco Aragón, Forrest Gander, Brenda Hillman, RobertHass, Sharon Olds, Gregory Pardlo. Special thanks to the Event Coordinator Elizabeth Kelley Gillogly who, with the able help of Rachel Howard, YubaLit and Sands Hall, made this one of the best-attended  Benefit events we’ve done. Thanks so much to our sponsors: Deborah Dashow Ruth, The Entrekin Foundation, YubaLit, and Nevada County Arts Council. Thanks to Copper Canyon Press, Counterpoint Press, University of Arizona Press, and Wesleyan University Press for donating books, and to Lisa Rappoport at Littoral Press for the broadsides.Thanks to our enthusiastic volunteers: Heather Altfeld, Chuck and Jo Baker who took wonderful photos, Fiona and Shawn Gillogly, Troy Jollimore, Eva Melas, Michael & Emily Malsam, Lydia & Jim Seely, David Tallitsch, and Tom Taylor.

Many thanks to the Board of Directors: a person in my position couldn’t ask for a more responsive, generous and wise Board, especially president Jim Naify.  I am grateful to our Events Committee (Carlin Naify, Nancy Teichert & Ruth Blank) who made great things happen during the programs. Special thanks this year to my comrades Michael Carlisle, Chris Sindt, and Michelle Latiolais who are always there with sage advice, support and friendship.

Barbara Hall & Amy Tan

Our Friends: Thank you to all our individual and institutional donors. What a community this is! Your support is essential to this thing we do.

It always strikes me as a minor miracle when the workshops all come together. But of course it is the enmeshing of hundreds of kindred spirits, learning about and from each other and their work, that makes it so. Without all of you it just wouldn’t be possible.

With love and gratitude,

 

 

 

 

Brett Hall Jones
Executive Director

Brett Hall Jones along with Fiction co-director, Lisa D. Alvarez at the back of Plaza Bar with Felix the dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Community of Writers’ Screenwriting Program Director Diana Fuller Launches New Documentary Project

Diana Fuller is producing the film, Where Once Was Water, directed by Christopher Beaver.

Where Once Was Water is a lively solutions-oriented documentary that tells the story of how the driest city in America, in the middle of the Mojave desert, leads the way in sustainable water conservation.  

Las Vegas, Nevada, better known for its bright lights and extravagance is certainly the most unlikely city to lead the nation in this effort. The development of the innovative techniques that enabled this constantly expanding city to emerge today, as a leader in water conservation, is primarily due to the efforts of Patricia Mulroy, known to some as the Water Tsar of Las Vegas.

Join in this exploration of a vital frontier of water sustainability, by supporting this film.  The efforts of Las Vegas, in its search for sustainability, have produced important solutions, technological, political, and financial that have on-going global importance.  www.wherethereoncewaswater.com

Here is a link to the trailer. 

https://vimeo.com/229357749

 

Great Notice in the Sacramento Bee

An article written for the Sacramento Bee by alum and friend Stephanie Taylor. Link to the full article below.

Over the decades, these writers have become a community at Squaw Valley

BY STEPHANIE TAYLOR AUGUST 09, 2017

The peaks overlooking the Squaw Valley writers’ workshop. Pen on paper by Stephanie Taylor

Sacramento Bee, August 9, 2017

There’s something infectious about 150 or so creative people, all chattering at once. This is a weeklong annual conference of writers, established and aspiring, who come from all over to this valley near the north shore of Lake Tahoe, some every summer, year after year. If ideas and genius are tangible molecules floating in the air, I can only hope they’ll land on me.

The operative word is “community,” chosen on purpose by the founders in 1969, when the novelists Oakley Hall and Blair Fuller gathered to build an institution that’s thrived ever since. Some of the writers have passed — sort of. I say “sort of” because their spirits linger. Some are declining gently into old age. Their children carry on, and their children’s children. It’s an honor to be here, to be included in what has evolved as a family.

It’s also difficult not to be intimidated by those who have been here before, studying and discussing the craft of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and screenwriting: Peter Matthiessen, Richard Ford, Michael Chabon, Robert Hass and Anne Rice, to name a few. In 1985, Amy Tan arrived with stories that became The Joy Luck Club. This year, Janet Fitch’s novel Paint It Black is her second movie. Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is every writer’s classic.  Read the full article at the Sacramento Bee.


 

July Events During The Writers Workshops

You are Invited to Our 2017 Public Events

Are you a Tahoe Area local or visitor? Are you an alum who wants to come and visit? Every year, the Community of Writers puts on a number of readings and events as part of our Summer Writing Workshops that are open to the public, and most are free of charge.

 Get Updates!

July Events During The Writers Workshops

Print July Events Schedule

Panels & Craft Talks

Don’t miss the chance to hear our staff share insights into the craft and business of writing. Topics are new each year, with the exception of our popular publishing panels, which feature agents, editors, and publishers providing insights and answering questions on this shifting landscape. Most panels and craft talks take place during the afternoon. Admission is free to the public and no reservations are required.

Most Craft Talks and Panels will take place in Bar One in the Olympic House between 1 and 4 pm.

Craft talks this year will be given by: Mark Childress and Josh Weil.


Late Afternoon Short Takes Readings

On many afternoons during the Writers Workshops, we invite staff members to read brief works of  fiction and nonfiction, published and unpublished.  Admission is free to the public and no reservations are required.

Most afternoon readings will take place in Plaza Bar in the Olympic House between at 5:30 pm.


Special Events

Reservations and/or ticket purchase recommended: Suggested donation $20/$8 student.

The Community of Writers also invites you to attend our remarkable evening events. This year we offer Special Events on two separate evenings, Monday 10 and Thursday July 13 with readings by authors with new publications. $20 adult/$8 Student. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Books will be available for purchase.

Most evening events will take place in Plaza Bar in the Olympic House between at 7:30 pm. However, if that venue is too warm, we may move it outside, under the stars, so please dress in layer.

On Monday, July 10 we present:

  • Natalie Baszile
  • John Daniel
  • Lynn Freed
  • Martin J. Smith

Natalie Baszile, John Daniel, Lynn Freed, and Martin J. Smith.   

Tickets

Please note: This event may be outside, so please dress in layers.

 ♦ ♦ ♦

On Tuesday, July 11 we present:

An evening panel discussion about the risks and rewards of writing a book-length memoir.

  • Belle Boggs
  • Sands Hall
  • Rachel Howard
  • Tom Lutz
  • Frances Stroh

With Belle Boggs, Rachel Howard, Tom Lutz, Frances Stroh

Moderated by Sands Hall

Admission is free to the public and no reservations are required.

Please note: This event may be outside, so please dress in layers.


Special Afternoon Event: Meet our Published Alumni!

On Wednesday, July 12 at 1:00 pm we present:

The Published Alumni Reading Series.  The Community of Writers is 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

Please join us to hear brief readings from Mauro Javier Cardenas, Jade ChangCarole Firstman, Vanessa Hua, Kimball Taylor.

Introduced by

Natalie Baszile.

 ♦ ♦ ♦

On Thursday, July 13 we present:

  • Paul Harding
  • Dylan Landis
  • Krys Lee
  • Josh Weil

Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Harding, Dylan Landis, Krys Lee, and Josh Weil

Tickets

Please note: This event may be outside, so please dress in layers.

  ♦ ♦ ♦
 PRINT SCHEDULE OF JULY EVENTS

Paul Radin remembered with a major gift to the Community of Writers

Robin Radin, Sharon Olds, Brenda Hillman, Robert Hass, Forrest Gander, Francisco Aragón and Gregory Pardlo with image of Paul Radin.

On Thursday, June 19, 2017, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley memorialized one of its longtime friends, the late Paul Radin, whose family then honored his memory with a significant and defining gift to the work of our non-profit.

Mr. Radin’s family, including brothers Robert Radin of Florida, and David Radin of New York, donated funds to the Community dedicated to the purchase of a portable “tiny house” on wheels to be used as a portable office and bookstore onsite during the conference weeks in Squaw Valley.

We are so pleased at the poetry expressed in this gift.  A house on wheels is wonderfully emblematic of the ethos and spirit of our enduring of this transient, yet half-century enduring community.  This gift is just perfect, and responds to a long-standing need for an office, archives, bookstore space.  In addition, the tiny house will have a charming, whimsical aspect to remind us of Paul, who brought curiosity, poetry and goodwill to our summers.

Although the Tiny House has yet to be built, it will be dedicated The Paul Radin Memorial Writers’ Lodge.

The remembrance ceremony in honor of Paul Radin preceded the Community’s annual poetry reading, with remarks by director Jones, editor and writer Andrew Tonkovich, and novelist Louis B. Jones, who knew Radin and helped care for him as he struggled with illness, as well as former Board President Burnett Miller.  Robin Radin represented the family.

Paul Radin was born in Boston, was a singularly recognizable character in the neighborhood whose commitment to the study of philosophy, Judaica, Native American culture and ecological wisdom defined the way he lived, as close to Nature as possible, on property owned by his family on the Truckee River.  He was an early guest at the Community of Writers’ summer poetry and fiction workshops. He would attend the annual gathering and would attend the readings and events, befriending writers and occasionally sharing his own writing.  His scholarly interests included research on Native American culture, in which he immersed himself, often attending pow-wows.

Legendary was Radin’s arrival one summer on horseback, wearing his trademark flat-brimmed hat and western boots.  We all remember his dramatic entrance with white horse and enjoyed his recollections of the seminal years of the Conference

Paul  was a part of this community. We are so grateful to his family for permanently including his place in it through this timeless gift.  Paul had a home with us.  Now he has given us a small home.

2017 New Alumni Books Update-Quarter 2

Books written by Alumni Authors published in April-June, 2017

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums who have published books this Spring quarter, 2017.

We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below.

 

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP ALUMNI

  • Kazim Ali Quartet
    Kazim Ali
  • KB Ballentine
  • Dan Bellm
  • Eric Howard
  • Christina Hutchins
  • Jami Macarty
  • Dawn McGuire
  • Ann Tweedy
  • David Watts

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOPS ALUMNI

Do you have a forthcoming publication? Send us your news, and and we will post it in our Omnium Gatherum: Alumni News.  And if your news is a book publication, we’ll include it in our next quarterly 2017 New Alumni Book Update here!

Six Extraordinary Poets Together On One Night in Nevada City!

Nationally Known Poets Read in Nevada City to benefit the Community of Writers

This year we are pleased to welcome three Pulitzer-Prize winners to the stage in addition to an International Griffin Prize-Winner, and so much more!

FRIDAY JUNE 23, 2017, 7:00pm


Buy Tickets Online Now

  • Francisco Aragón
  • Forrest Gander
  • Robert Hass
  • Brenda Hillman
  • Sharon Olds
  • Gregory Pardlo

Francisco Aragón • Forrest Gander • Robert Hass

Brenda Hillman • Sharon Olds • Gregory Pardlo

PLUS: Community of Writers alum and the new Poet Laureate of Nevada County, Molly Fisk, will serve as our evening’s Emcee.

  • Fisk, Molly
    Molly Fisk
 

View Poet Bios 

NOTE: We have a limited number of premium seats available in the first two rows–get yours today! 

This gathering of the tribe—all staff poets from this year’s Community of Writers’ Summer Poetry Workshop in Squaw Valley—will raise money for the Poetry Program’s financial aid and scholarships. Join us for a reading, signing, and reception with the poet teachers. Books by the poets will be available for purchase before and after the reading.

Tickets are $25 advance/$30 at the door for general admission and $12 advance/$15 at the door for students (with current student ID).

Premium seating, first 2 rows, $45.

Group price, 10 or more tickets purchased at the same time: $20/ticket.

If you would like to purchase tickets over the phone, call 530-470-8440.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Deborah Dashow Ruth  •  The Entrekin Foundation •  Nevada County Arts  •  YubaLit

Buy Tickets Online Now!

 

The Continuum: Gifts To Our Scholarship Fund Sustain Poetry & Prose

One of our principle goals, always, is to keep the Summer Workshops affordable for our participants.

In the early days, our workshops shared the Valley with few other visitors, (cheerleaders! wrestlers! endurance runners!) but as the ski resort has prospered, the Valley has become an attractive year-round destination and the local costs of participant and teaching staff accommodations and food for the workshop week have risen dramatically.

With rising costs, financial aid has become essential for many of our participants. Offering scholarships and waivers ensures that talented writers from all backgrounds and means are able to attend, and that new and diverse writers continue to benefit from this opportunity.

The Continuum: Many of you reading this now were once recipients of some kind of financial aid. Some of you may still be strapped financially; nevertheless we hope you can send something. You may no longer be a student, or may have a better job, or you may have even seen your book published. Did your time at in the Valley help your writing life?  If it did, I hope you will consider sending us a larger donation to help another talented writer have that experience.

The application manuscripts have arrived for the 2017 Summer Workshops. We are delighted and astonished with the work, and we are all looking forward to another productive summer with these writers and poets. 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.

Visit our Financial Aid & Scholarships page for more information on how you can donate to our scholarship fund, or to a specific scholarship. Donations to the Community of Writers are 100% tax-deductible.

Please give Today. All gifts received on or before May 1 will go directly to our 2017 Scholarship Fund. If you would like to help, but cannot donate before May 1, please email us and pledge the amount you would like to give.

If you are interested in creating an honorary scholarship, email brett@communityofwriters.org

Or you can donate online today or send a check to:

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


2016 Summer Writing Workshops Podcasts Now Available

Listen to your favorite craft talks again!

Tom Barbash gives a craft talk during the 2016 Writers Workshop.

The Community of Writers is pleased to offer the best of the 2016 Writers Workshops to the public as podcasts. We have seventeen of the most popular panels, craft talks, and lectures available for download on our website, including Tom Barbash‘s talk, “The Germs (of stories, that is): From Where Do Stories Emerge?” and Dava Sobel‘s craft talk on “The Construction of a Nonfiction Narrative.”

You can browse our selection of podcasts on our website, and download and listen to any talk on your computer or device.

You may also visit our Podcast Archives for previous years’ podcasts.

 


 

Spotlight On Tom Lutz

The Community of Writers welcomes Tom Lutz to teach this summer at our Writers Workshops July 9 – 15. He is the author of And the Monkey Learned Nothing: Dispatches from a Life in Transit; Drinking Mare’s Milk on the Roof of the World: Wandering the Globe from Azerbaijan to Zanzibar; the American Book Award-winning Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers and Bums; and other books, as well as many pieces in literary, general interest, and academic venues. He has taught at the University of Iowa, University of Copenhagen, Stanford, and CalArts, and is now at University of California, Riverside. He is the founding editor-in-chief and publisher of Los Angeles Review of Books. Read about Tom’s newest book, And the Monkey Learned Nothing, in SFGate.com.

Explore the Writers Workshops program, and learn more about the other authors, editors, and agents on our teaching staff. Deadline to Apply: March 28.

In the next few weeks, we will feature authors on our teaching staff.


 

Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Gregory Pardlo comes to the Community of Writers This June!

The Community of Writers is delighted and honored to announce that Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gregory Pardlo will join our teaching staff June 24 – July 1.

Gregory Pardlo‘s collection Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Digest was also shortlisted for the 2015 NAACP Image Award and was a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His other honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection Totem was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is also the author of Air Traffic, a memoir in essays forthcoming from Knopf. Pardlo joins the faculty of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at Rutgers University-Camden in the fall of 2016. He lives with his family in Brooklyn.

View video profile of Pardlo on PBS’s NewsHour with Jeffrey Brown.

Explore the Community of Writers Poetry Workshop, and learn more about the other poets on our teaching staff. Deadline to Apply: March 28.

In the next few weeks, we will feature authors who, in 2017, are new to our teaching staff.

Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Spotlight on Krys Lee

The Community of Writers is delighted to announce that Krys Lee will join the teaching staff this summer all the way from South Korea. She is the author of Drifting House and How I Became a North Korean, both published by Penguin Random House. She is a recipient of the Rome Prize and the Story Prize Spotlight Award, the Honor Title in Adult Fiction Literature from the Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association, and a finalist for the BBC International Story Prize, the Center for Fiction First Novel Award, and the Andrew Carnegie Mellon Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Medal. Her fiction, journalism, and literary translations have appeared in Granta, The Kenyon Review, Narrative, San Francisco Chronicle, Corriere della Sera, and The Guardian, among others. She is an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at Yonsei University, Underwood International College, in South Korea. Read the 2016 interview with her in the Guardian.com.

Explore the Writers Workshops program, and learn more about the other authors, editors, and agents on our teaching staff. Deadline to Apply: March 28.

In the next few weeks, we will feature authors who, in 2017, are new to our teaching staff.


 

It’s Time To Apply for This Summer’s Workshops

The deadline approaches to apply to our workshops in Poetry, Fiction, Memoir, and Narrative Nonfiction. We’re very excited about the teaching staff we’ve assembled for this summer’s writing workshops! Take a look at the writers and poets who are joining us this summer. The deadline to Apply is March 28, 2017.

Apply Now!

The Poetry Workshop

June 24 – July 1, 2017

  • Francisco Aragón
  • Forrest Gander
  • Robert Hass
  • Brenda Hillman
  • Sharon Olds
  • Gregory Pardlo

The Poetry Program at the Community of Writers is founded on the belief that when poets gather in a community to write new poems, each poet may well break through old habits and write something stronger and truer than before. To help this happen we work together to create an atmosphere in which everyone might feel free to try anything. In the mornings we meet in workshops to read to each other the work of the previous twenty-four hours; each participant also has an opportunity to work with each staff poet. Financial Aid available. More Details.

The Writers Workshops

July 9 – July 15, 2017

Staff Writers

  • Lisa Alvarez
  • Natalie Baszile
  • Belle Boggs
  • Mark Childress
  • John Daniel
  • Alex Espinoza
  • Janet Fitch
  • Lynn Freed
  • Sands Hall
  • Paul Harding
  • Rachel Howard
  • Michael Jaime-Becerra
  • Louis B. Jones
  • Dylan Landis
  • Krys Lee
  • Tom Lutz
  • Christopher Monger
  • Martin J. Smith
  • Gregory Spatz
  • Andrew Tonkovich
  • Josh Weil
  • Al Young
    Al Young

Special Guests

  • Michelle Latiolais
  • Michael Lavigne
  • Frances Stroh
  • Amy Tan

These workshops assist serious writers by exploring the art and craft as well as the business of writing. The week offers daily morning workshops, craft lectures, panel discussions on editing and publishing, staff readings, and brief individual conferences. The morning workshops are led by staff writer-teachers, editors, or agents. Financial Aid available. More Details.


 

2017 New Alumni Books Update: First Quarter

Books written by Alumni Authors published in January – March, 2017

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums who have published books in the first three months of 2017.

We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below.

 

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP ALUMNI

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOPS ALUMNI

  • Lisa Alvarez & Andrew Tonkovich
  • Marcia Butler
  • Lindsey Lee Johnson
  • Terry Shames

Do you have a forthcoming publication? Send us your news, and and we will post it in our Omnium Gatherum: Alumni News.  And if your news is a book publication, we’ll include it in our next quarterly 2017 New Alumni Book Update here!


Spotlight on Dylan Landis

The Community of Writers is honored to announce that Dylan Landis will join us on the teaching staff this summer. She is the author of Rainey Royal, a novel set in Greenwich Village in the 1970s, and Normal People Don’t Live Like This, a collection of linked stories. Her fiction and essays have appeared in the 2014 O. Henry Prize Stories, The New York Times Book Review, Harper’s Magazine, Tin House, and Bomb, and she received a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in fiction. She lives in New York City. Learn more about her in this 2014 interview in The Sunday Rumpus Interview.

Explore the Writers Workshops program, and learn more about the other authors, editors, and agents on our teaching staff. Deadline to Apply: March 28.

In the next few weeks, we will feature authors who, in 2017, are new to our teaching staff.

Photo credit:Lauren Shay Lavin

The Community of Writers is pleased to announce our Veteran Scholarships

Our Veteran Scholarships will cover both tuition and shared housing for a writer and a poet who has served in the armed forces, and who would not be able to attend without financial assistance.

Those who are interested should learn more about the program and apply before the deadline. Applicants should also indicate interest in this scholarship in the financial aid section of the application form, and should describe their military service in the “Special Scholarship Notes” field there.

Deadline to Apply: March 28.


 

Spotlight on Rachel Howard

This summer we are delighted to welcome Rachel Howard to the Writers Workshops teaching staff, July 9 – 15, 2017. She is the author of The Lost Night, a memoir about her father’s unsolved murder. Her essays and short stories have appeared in ZYZZYVAGulf Coast, the Arroyo Literary Review, the Hudson Review, and OZY, among other publications. Her essay for Oprah Magazine, “The Love Fast,” was recently included in the collection O’s Little Guide to Starting Over. She teaches memoir and personal essay writing at Stanford Continuing Studies and the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, and was an associate editor at Shebooks. She has also served as Interim Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing at Warren Wilson College, and as Distinguished Visiting Writer for the Saint Mary’s College MFA program. She joins us from the other side of Donner Summit where she produces a popular reading series called YubaLit. Listen to Ira Glass interview Rachel for the prologue of the radio program This American Life.

Explore the Writers Workshops program, and learn more about the other authors, editors, and agents on our teaching staff. Deadline to Apply: March 28.

In the next few weeks, we will feature authors who, in 2017, are new to our teaching staff.

Photo credit: Pat Mazzera

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Harding comes to the Community of Writers July 9 – 15

Photo credit: Ekko von Schwichow

The Community of Writers is delighted and honored to announce that Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Harding will join our teaching staff July 9 -15. He is the author of two novels about multiple generations of a New England family: the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tinkers, and Enon. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, he was a drummer for the band Cold Water Flat before earning his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Harvard University, and Grinnell College. Check out this video of Paul in conversation at the Neiman Foundation at Harvard University.

Explore the Writers Workshops program, and learn more about the other authors, editors, and agents on our teaching staff. Deadline to Apply: March 28.

In the next few weeks, we will feature authors who, in 2017, are new to our teaching staff.


 

“Meet the Authors” Event Showcased Alumni Authors

Wednesday evening, Sacramento was offered a literary treat as Alumni authors of the Community of Writers were featured with readings, a reception, and book-signings.

Emcee Julia Flynn Siler shaped the evening with warmth and skill as she highlighted each author’s literary accomplishments. Featured authors were Jade Chang, who flew from Los Angeles, Michael Lavigne, who drove up from Glen Ellen, and Frances Stroh, who traveled from the Bay Area. They were joined by regional authors, Nevada City’s Jordan Fisher Smith, and Davis local Naomi Williams. The evening offered a mix of Fiction, Memoir, and Narrative Nonfiction, with subject matters ranging from an 18th century naturalist’s obsessions with parasites while encountering his first woman in two years (Williams’s novel Landfalls); a husband’s wandering mind drifting to particle physics in the shower (Lavigne/Harding’s The Heart of Henry Quantum); a civil trial involving a deadly grizzly attack in Yellowstone Park (Fisher Smith’s Engineering Eden); growing up in a wealthy beer-brewing family to discover your brother is a drug dealer (Stroh’s Beer Money); and a young Chinese-American’s onstage comedy act which becomes an exercise in understanding himself and all that he has lost.

We send our thanks to the participating authors!

Many thanks to our event sponsors: Ruth Blank & Chris Spanos, Carlin & Jim Naify, Fred & Nancy Teichert, Beers Books, Nevada County Arts Council, The Sacramento Library Foundation, Stories on Stage-Sacramento, Verge Center for the Arts. Thanks also to the Sacramento Poetry Center.


 

Spotlight on Francisco Aragón

We are delighted to announce that Francisco Aragón will be teaching at the Poetry Workshop this summer!

Francisco is the author of Puerta del Sol (Bilingual Press) and Glow of Our Sweat (Scapegoat Press) as well as editor of, The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (University of Arizona Press), these latter two titles winners of International Latino Book Awards, respectively. His poems and translations from the Spanish have appeared in various print and web publications, as well as numerous anthologies. In 2003 he joined the faculty of the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) at the University of Notre Dame, where he established Letras Latinas—the ILS’ literary initiative. In 2010 he was awarded the Outstanding Latino/a Cultural Arts, Literary Arts and Publications Award by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. In 2015 he received a VIDO Award by VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts. A native of San Francisco and resident of Arlington, Virginia, he divides his year between the Notre Dame campus in Indiana and the ILS office in Washington, D.C. www.franciscoaragon.net

Explore the Community of Writers Poetry Workshop, and learn more about the other poets on our teaching staff. Deadline to Apply: March 28.

Photo credit: Mike Cook

Spotlight on Belle Boggs

We are excited to announce that Belle Boggs will join us this summer.

Belle Boggs will travel all the way from Raleigh, North Carolina, to be a member of our Writers Workshops teaching staff, July 9 – 15, 2017.  Mattaponi Queen, her collection of linked stories, is set along Virginia’s Mattaponi River, and won the Bakeless Prize, the Library of Virginia Literary Award, and was a finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. We have just learned that her new book, The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood, in addition to being named a Publishers Weekly and O the Oprah Magazine best book of the year, has been nominated for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Learn more about her in this November interview with her in The Rumpus.

Explore the Writers Workshops program, and learn more about the other authors, editors, and agents on our teaching staff. Deadline to Apply: March 28.

In the next few weeks, we will feature authors who, in 2017, are new to our teaching staff.

 

Writer/Director Christopher Monger to Lead Special Adaption Class

Adaptation: A special afternoon class, taught by Christopher Monger

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We are delighted and honored to announce that Writer/Director Christopher Monger will teach a special class on film and television adaptation during the Writers Workshops this July.

Christopher Monger is a writer/director in film and television who has directed eight feature films and written over thirty screenplays. He was born in Wales but has lived in Los Angeles since the mid 80’s. He is best known for his film The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down a Mountain and his screenplay for the Emmy Award-winning HBO film, Temple Grandin, which was also nominated for an Academy Award. For writing and directing, his many awards include, the Christopher Award for the film Seeing Red and the Hollywood Film Festival Award for the Girl From Rio. Currently, he is writing a miniseries for HBO and a feature film for Amazon Films.

This Adaption Class will be made up of five 90-minute afternoon sessions, and will be a practical approach to adapting a novel into a screenplay or miniseries. There will be an overview of the fundamentals of screenwriting as well as an analysis of the specific skills for a successful adaptation. We will explore the crucial differences between the mediums, their respective strengths and weaknesses, and examine a handful of adaptations, comparing and contrasting the films with the original material. Addition enrollment fee: $250.

This class is only open to those enrolled in the Writers Workshops July 9 – 15, 2017. 


Spotlight on Natalie Baszile

We are delighted that Natalie Baszile will be joining our teaching staff this July.

Natalie Baszile  is the author of the novel Queen Sugar, named one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Best Books of 2014, long-listed for the Crooks Corner Southern Book Prize, and nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Queen Sugar has been adapted for TV by writer/director, Ava DuVernay of “Selma” fame, and co-produced by Oprah Winfrey for OWN, Winfrey’s cable network. Read this September Huffington Post Interview with Natalie.

Explore the Writers Workshops program, and learn more about the other authors, editors, and agents on our teaching staff. Deadline to Apply: March 28.

In the next few weeks, we will feature authors who, in 2017, are new to our teaching staff.


The Annual Campaign a Success!

Thank You!

KnightNow that 2016 has come to a close, we want to express our gratitude to all of those who have participated in this community or supported us financially. We hope that this Community will sustain and invigorate your writing life in 2017, as your participation sustains us.

We are so grateful for the financial support we have received in the past few months from so many of you. Thank you for making our Annual Fund Campaign such a success. You can find a list of supporters here.

All of us at the Community of Writers wish you a happy and productive 2017!


 

Meet the Authors: A Benefit Reading in Sacramento

Join us in Sacramento on Wednesday, February 15, for an extraordinary evening of readings by Community of Writers’ alumni, emceed by journalist and author Julia Flynn Siler. The authors will be reading from their most recents works, followed by a reception and book signing.

Jade Chang • Michael Lavigne • Jordan Fisher Smith
Frances Stroh • Naomi Williams

More information about the authors below.


7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017

Sierra 2 Center for the Arts & Community
2791 24th St., Sacramento
Doors open at 6:30

$20 Advance/$25 at the Door

PURCHASE TICKETS

 

Jade Chang is the author of The Wangs vs. The World, an outrageously funny tale about a wealthy Chinese-American family that “loses it all, then takes a healing, uproarious road trip across the United States” (Entertainment Weekly). Their spectacular fall from riches to rags brings the Wangs together in a way money never could. Sharply observed and full of charm, this debut novel is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America.

 

  • New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • An NPR 2016 Great Reads
  • One of Amazon’s Best Books of 2016
  • A Fall 2016 Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
  • An October Indie Next Pick
  • A The Millions Most Anticipated Book
  • A BuzzFeed Best Books Of 2016
  • An Elle.com Best Books of 2016
  • Recommended on The Today Show for Great Last-Minute Gift Ideas
  • Long-listed for the PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction

Michael Lavigne (writing as Pepper Harding) is the author of The Heart of Henry Quantum.

Henry Quantum has several thoughts going through his head at any given time, so it’s no surprise when he forgets something very important—specifically, a Christmas gift for his wife, which he realizes on the morning of December 23. Henry sets off that day in search of the perfect present for her: a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume.

“[Harding/Lavigne] has skillfully created a set of interesting, well-developed characters whose lives readers can relate to and care about… with quick, witty dialogue and an expertly crafted stream-of-consciousness style, […] a highly entertaining read that will remind readers of the power of one day to change a life.” —Booklist, Starred Review

“Michael Lavigne wites like an angel. And like a devil. Indeed he writes so well that it isn’t always possible to tell which is which. His ability to give wild imaginings a concrete immediacy, a human warmth and plausibility, is the rarest of writerly gifts.” — Jonathan Rosen

  • Winner of the coveted Sami Rohr Choice Award.
    Winner of the American Library Association Sophie Brodie Honor Book

Jordan Fisher Smith is the author of the recent nonfiction book Engineering Eden: T