Public Memoir & Narrative Nonfiction Events as Part of our Summer Workshops

August 1 – 6 , 2021 in the Virtual Valley

Join us for craft panels and readings which will take place as part of our workshop week.

Offerings includes craft discussions, panels on editing and publishing, and staff readings, and brief individual conferences.

Please see our schedule below.

These events are free; donations welcome.

All times Pacific.

Monday, August 2

1:00 PM: Panel: Structure and Other Essential Narrative Strategies in Memoir and Nonfiction, with Alex Espinoza, Debra Gwartney, Sands Hall, Julia Flynn Siler, moderated by Frances Dinkelspiel

Register

5:00 PM: Short Takes: Staff read work in progress and talk about issues of craft: Frances Dinkelspiel, Alex Espinoza, Julia Flynn Siler, Martin J. Smith

Register

Tuesday, August 3:

1:00 PM: Panel: Locating and Researching the Story You Need to Tell with Lauren Markham, Julia Flynn Siler, Martin J. Smith, Grace Talusan, moderated by Alex Espinoza

Register

5:00 PM: Short Takes: Staff read work in progress and talk about issues of craft: Sands Hall, Lauren Markham, Grace Talusan

Register

Thursday, August 5:

1:00 PM: Writing About Family and Other Difficult Topics, with Glen David Gold, Sands Hall, Gregory Pardlo, and Grace Talusan, moderated by Debra Gwartney

Register

5:00 PM: Short Takes: Staff read work in progress and talk about issues of craft: Glen David Gold, Debra Gwartney, Gregory Pardlo

Register

Friday, August 6:

1:00 PM: Panel: Short Forms, Hybrid Forms with Frances Dinkelspiel, Alex Espinoza, Debra Gwartney, Martin J. Smith, moderated by Sands Hall

Quarterly Roundup of Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni Poets and Writers in April – June, 2021.

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums who have published books during the second quarter of 2021! We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below. Support these writers and buy their books!

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

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP ALUMS

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOP ALUMS

Conversations from the Virtual Valley featuring David Ulin and Laura Cogan

We are pleased to present another Conversation from the Virtual Valley with ZYZZYVA‘s Laura Cogan and Air/Light‘s editor David Ulin.

The Community of Writers continues its series of literary conversations as part of our online literary journal, The OGQ: The Omnium Gatherum Quarterly.

With the release of its Los Angeles-themed issue, Bay Area-based ZYZZYVA provides our “Conversations from the Virtual Valley” video-cast series an opportunity to see how one Northern and one Southern California magazine consider and, at times, reconsider Los Angeles. ZYZZYVA editor Laura Cogan joins editor, author and anthologist David Ulin, whose new online magazine Air/Light is devoted to Southern California writing, to talk about, share, and critique the literary scene in Los Angeles. In this Conversation, these two experienced and engaged literary pals, and friends of the Community of Writers, talk about their projects, offer insights, celebrate writers, and encourage readers of, and possible contributors to, each of their magazines.  And, ultimately, invite you to become subscribers to both journals!  
View Conversation

The 50th Anniversary Poetry Anthology featured in the newest issue of Blue Door magazine

Read about the anthology in the Blue Door magazine:

“The poems tell a California story and the story of the American West and American poetry,” Alvarez says. “Contributors include some of the country’s most acclaimed poets, along with those just starting out, each with something to say about where and how we live together.”

From The Blue Door, Issue 14

“The poets in the (Poetry) program are being celebrated in a new anthology published by Heyday Books: Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers. The title comes from a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell, who directed the Poetry Program for 17 years: “Then why to these rocks/ Do I keep coming back why.”

Read More at Blue Door (pgs. 38-39)
More Details about the Anthology
Order the Book

Announcing the Inaugural Kimbilio [Fiction] Scholarship Recipients

The Community of Writers is delighted to announce our inaugural scholarships in partnership with Kimbilio [Fiction] Workshop! The remarkable writers who have been awarded these scholarships to attend the Community of Writers’ 2021 Fiction Workshop are:

Hayward Leach
Darlene Taylor

Darlene and Hayward are Kimbilio [Fiction] Fellows, and come to us through this partnership.

Kimbilio means “safe haven” in Swahili.  The Kimbilio conference is a fellow community of writers, who are committed to developing, empowering and sustaining fiction writers from the African diaspora and their stories. Their annual writers conference, for serious-minded, committed fiction writers, provides a solid grounding in the fundamentals of fiction.

Kimbilio [Fiction] Workshop is a project of Dedman College / Southern Methodist University’s English Department.

Thank you to Kimbilio’s Board Chair, David Haynes, and Community of Writers’ Board Member Dana Johnson, for making this partnership possible. We would also like to thank the donors who together created the funds to allow these talented writers to attend our summer workshops.

To learn about applying to join the next class of Fellows, Click Here
To learn how you can support Kimbilio, Click Here

Al Young, 1939 – 2021

For over 30 years, Al was a vital member of the Community of Writers, teaching across the programs and serving on the Board of Directors. Many Friday night Follies found Al onstage, often part of the three-man Granite Chief quartet or as a duo with his friend Jim Houston, serenading the audience with such classics as “Hey Good Lookin’” or “Mr. Bojangles.”

 Al, who served as California’s Poet Laureate for three years, wrote over 25 books of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.  A graduate of UC Berkeley, he also taught widely, as a Stegner fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford, as well as at universities and conferences across the country and the world. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them the Guggenheim, the Richard Wright Award for Excellence in Literature, a Fulbright, NEA Fellowships, PEN-USA awards, and Radio Pacifica’s KPFA Peace Prize.

While Al’s final publication credits include an appearance in The Best American Poetry 2016, edited by Edward Hirsch, as well as our recently published anthology Why to These Rocks: Fifty years of Poems from the Community of Writers, the most impressive credit is certainly the five poems which appear in the Library of America’s African American Poetry: 250 years of Struggle and Song, edited by Kevin Young.  One of those poems, “How Stars Start,” ends like this:

All roads lead back to starts, to where
I started out, to stars: the fiery
beginnings of our ends & means; our
meanness & our meanings. There never
was a night begun in darkness,
nor a single day begun in light.

View Slideshow of Al

Read Berkeleyside‘s Obituary of Al.

Read Andrew Tonkovich‘s 2013 piece on Al Young in the OCWeekly.

In 2018, Al had a debilitating stroke, and for the last two years, Al’s son Michael has managed his father’s affairs and significant health challenges. Amy Tan has observed, “As proof of how beloved Al was, friends donated over $100,000 to help with Al’s care. Michael, who had grown into an amazing son, writer and bookseller, helped us come to know Al as the father who inspired reciprocal devotion.” Folks who still wish to offer Michael support can do so here:

Donate to Al Young Fund

Al Young Memorial Scholarship Fund

We have established a scholarship in Al’s name to help black writers and poets attend our workshops.

Donate to the Al Young Memorial Scholarship

Please indicate “Al Young Memorial Scholarship” in the form. Or send a check to:

Community of Writers – Al Young Memorial Scholarship
PO Box 1416
Nevada City, CA 95959

We send our love and condolences to his son Michael, and to all who loved him.

The 50th Anniversary Poetry Anthology featured in The San Diego Union-Tribune

Read about the anthology in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

“The works featured in this rich new anthology are all the product of the Community of Writers, an annual gathering of poets who hunker down in the wooded beauty of [Olympic Valley] for a week of intensive workshops, writing marathons and readings in the most beautiful setting possible.”

From The San Diego Union-Tribune. Sunday, April 11, 2021

“The anthology celebrates the 50th anniversary of the program with poems from its staff poets, a powerhouse group that includes Lucille Clifton, Rita Dove, Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds and UC San Diego professor Kazim Ali. There are also poems from writers who have participated in the program, a stellar group that includes Cal State San Marcos professor Brandon Cesmat, SDSU professor Blas Falconer and Imperial Valley native Jennifer Givhan.”

Read More at the Union-Tribune
More Details about the Anthology
Order the Book

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Quarterly Roundup of Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni Poets and Writers in January – March, 2021.

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums and staff members who have published books during the first quarter of 2021!

We are thrilled 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 ALUMS

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOP ALUMS


New Upcoming Readings for our 50th Anniversary Poetry Anthology

We’re delighted to announce two new poetry readings to celebrate the publication of our 50th anniversary poetry anthology, Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers.
• April 11: At the Sierra Poetry Festival online. More details
• April 16: At Skylight Books reading series online. More details.

The Community of Writers celebrates fifty years of its annual poetry workshop with an extraordinary collection by some of the country’s most prominent contemporary poets. “Why To These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers” includes over 140 poems inspired by or written in High Sierra during the annual workshop week. Read more.

Order Book

At the Sierra Poetry Festival!

Sunday, April 11 | 11:30 AM (Pacific)

The Community of Writers will join the Sierra Poetry Festival online for a virtual poetry reading for Heyday’s release of Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers.

Introduced by: Lisa D. Alvarez, the anthology’s editor.

Both teaching staff poets and alumni poets of the storied annual summer Poetry Workshops of the Community of Writers will read from the first section of the anthology, “Poems about Place.” In addition to reading from their own work, each featured poet will also select another poem to read. Although the place where these poems were first written unifies these poems, they are as varied and distinctive in their lyricism, voice, and scope as the watershed of the Sierra itself.

Join Chris Davidson, Christina Hutchins, Patricia Spears Jones, Francisco Márquez, Sharon Olds, Maw Shein Win, and Matthew Zapruder for another celebration of the publication of this extraordinary anthology, as they read and discuss poems first written during the Community of Writers Poetry Workshop.

REGISTER TO ATTEND EVENT SIERRA POETRY FESTIVAL

At SkyLight Books!

Wednesday, April 21 | 6:30 PM (Pacific)

Virtual event on Crowdcast. Registrants will be sent a Crowdcast link upon registration.

The Community of Writers will join SkyLight Books online for a virtual poetry reading for Heyday’s release of Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers. The evening will celebrate fifty years of poetry written during the Poetry Workshop in the High Sierra.

Emcee: Lisa D. Alvarez, the project’s editor.

Join Francisco Aragón, Joan Baranow, Katie Ford, Jay A. Fernandez, Lester Graves Lennon, Michelle Brittan Rosado, Vickie Vértiz, Sholeh Wolpé, and Charles Harper Webb for another celebration of the publication of this extraordinary anthology, as they read and discuss poems first written during the Community of Writers Poetry Workshop.

REGISTER TO ATTEND SKYLIGHT READING
Order Book

Statement Against Anti-Asian Violence

We are horrified at the violence against Asian American and Pacific Islanders this country has recently witnessed, and our hearts are broken by the fear and pain this has created.
The Community of Writers is united with the AAPI communities in the fight against hate and racism. We need to all work together to stop it.

Please join us in condemning this violence and working against it in our own communities and beyond.

Learn More

Take action:

Celebrating 50 years: A Community of Writers feature in the SF Chronicle’s Datebook.

The Community of Writers turns 50 this year. A new book highlights how the Olympic Valley retreat steered California’s voice.

“In late 1969, California’s literary scene was in trouble.” Two couples founded the Community of Writers to save it. In this article from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Datebook, written by Scott Thomas Anderson, read about our 50-year history and our new poetry collection from Heyday Books celebrating this milestone called Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers. Read the article here.

The 2021 PEN Emerging Voices Scholarship

The Community of Writers is delighted to announce two scholarships for PEN Emerging Voices Fellows who require financial aid to attend the Community of Writers Summer Workshops this summer.

Dates:
Poetry: June 19 – 26, 2021
Fiction Workshop: July 11 – 17, 2021
Narrative Nonfiction and Memoir Workshop: August 1 – 6, 2021

Deadline to apply: March 28, 2021

Each scholarship will be for the full tuition cost of each workshop ($900 for Poetry, $880 for Fiction, and $850 for Narrative Nonfiction and Memoir).
Interested Emerging Voices Fellows will need to apply to the workshop by March 28, and request this scholarship in the application form. Fellows offered scholarships will need to submit a $100 deposit (which will be refunded on the first day of the workshop.) This is a scholarship for poets and writers who have not previously attended the Poetry Workshop.

More Details

The 2021 Cave Canem Poetry Scholarships to attend the Community of Writers

The Community of Writers is delighted to announce three scholarships for Cave Canem Fellows who require financial aid to attend the Community of Writers Poetry Workshop this summer.

Dates: June 19 – 26, 2021
Deadline to apply: March 28, 2021

Each scholarship will be for $900, which is the full tuition to the 2021 Poetry Program.
Interested Cave Canem Fellows will need to apply to the workshop by March 28, and request this scholarship in the application form. Fellows offered scholarships will need to submit a $100 deposit (which will be refunded on the first day of the workshop.) This is a scholarship for poets who have not previously attended the Poetry Workshop.

More Details

Announcing the KIMBILIO l Fiction Scholarships

The Community of Writers is delighted to announce scholarships for KIMBILIO Fiction Fellows who require financial aid to attend the Community of Writers Fiction Workshop this summer.

Dates: July 11 – 17, 2021
Deadline to apply: March 28, 2021

Each scholarship will cover: $880 Tuition to Fiction Program.
Interested Kimbilo Fiction Fellows will need to apply to the workshop by March 28, and request this scholarship in the application form.

More Details

Announcing our 2021 Summer Writing Workshops

The Community of Writers is pleased to announce the 51st Anniversary of our Summer Writing Workshops in Poetry and Fiction, Nonfiction and Memoir.
We are now accepting applications.

 THE POETRY WORKSHOP:

June 19 – 26, 2021

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. Although we can’t gather in person, nonetheless we will work together to create an atmosphere in which everyone might feel free to try anything. Director: Brenda Hillman.

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

Kazim Ali • Blas Falconer • Forrest Gander
Brenda Hillman • Sharon Olds • Evie Shockley

Visit the Poetry Workshop Page

THE FICTION WORKSHOPS
July 11 – 17, 2021

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. 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

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

Fiction Workshops Teaching Staff

Authors

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

Visit the Fiction Workshop Page

THE NONFICTION & MEMOIR WORKSHOP

August 1 – 6 , 2021

These workshops are designed to assist serious writers by exploring the art and craft as well as the business of writing. The week includes daily morning workshops, craft lectures, panel discussions on editing and publishing, staff readings, and brief individual conferences. The morning workshops, led by staff writer-teachers, comprise tracks devoted to both memoir and narrative nonfiction. In addition to having a manuscript addressed in workshop, participants may have the same manuscript read by a staff member, discussed in individual conference. This is not the conference for travel, self-help, how-to, or scholarly works.

Teaching Staff

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

Visit the NonFiction/Memoir Workshop Page

Quarterly Roundup of New Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni and Staff Authors in October – December, 2020.

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums and staff members who have published books during the fourth quarter of 2020!

We are thrilled 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 WORKSHOP ALUMNI


 

Announcing Issue 4 of the OGQ: The Omnium Gatherum Quarterly

andrew tonkovich
Welcome to our final installment of our first year of the online quarterly of the Community of Writers. In this issue, we celebrate our history of community, and engage its vigorous, diverse and transformative new manifestations in essays, poetry and fiction chosen to encourage and inspire. Longtime staffer Elizabeth Rosner meditates, generously and insightfully, on the enduring individual and community imperative to describe, explain, transform, complain, criticize, celebrate and, most of all, collaborate.  Elizabeth was meant to deliver this gorgeous essay as a talk in an anniversary event postponed due to the pandemic. Novelist and activist Jervey Tervalon, founder of LitFest Pasadena, tells the story of its origins and explores the political economy of creating community as an answer to cultural hegemony, racism, and Hollywood’s disappointing lack of imagination. Jonathan Cohen’s meditation on grief and loss considers the possibilities of incompleteness, with a vividness and empathy that offers so much beauty and, yes, completion. Poet and scholar Therí A. Pickens shares three beautiful poems of self-instruction, analysis and memory: “Linger at the lost spaces of not and undoing.” Finally, Caroline Kim, whose collection The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories won the 2020 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, gives us a short story of spooky or only everyday political and cultural alienation.

Please stay safe, and by all means share our journal.

Andrew Tonkovich
Editor, OGQ

Read the OGQ

Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review 2019

It’s here!

We are delighted to announce the publication of Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review 2019.  This annual anthology is made up of poems first written during the 2019 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. Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review 2019 is an impressive collection of all of the extraordinary poetry to come out of the 2019 Poetry Workshop. Once again, volunteer editors, alumni from the same annual workshop, sort through all of the participant submissions and select the poems that appear in the Review. The 2019 Poetry staff featured Forrest Gander, Brenda Hillman, David Tomas Martinez, Jane Miller, Sharon Olds, and Gregory Pardlo, with special guest Robert Hass. This edition of Written Here was edited by Veronica Corpuz, Jeanne Morel, Jon Riccio, Jennifer Sperry Steinorth, and Leah Xue. Many thanks to Cody Gates and Maureen Forys at Happenstance Type-O-Rama for the beautiful book design and production.

Poets included in the issue:

Threa Almontaser • Laura Atkinson • Kyce Bello • Ambriel Floyd Bostic • Robin Burrows • Brian Carey Chung • Nate Clute • Veronica Corpuz • Beth Ford • Kirk Glaser • Katy Gurin • Ken Haas • J.J. Hernandez • Ethan Heusser • Brenda Hillman • John Hines • Leslieann Hobayan • Lauren Howard • Danny Kraft • Deborah Krainin • Lester Graves Lennon • Helena Li • Sarah Maclay • Holaday Mason • Jane Miller • Matthew Moniz • Jeanne Morel • Julie Murphy • Sharon Olds • Emilie Osborn • Jessica Reed • Jon Riccio • Yiskah Rosenfeld • Gini Savage • Diane Schenker • Richard Sime • Arthur Solway • Benjamin Voigt • Lisa Wenzel • Roberta Werdinger • Amelia L. Williams • Mary Winegarden

Give the gift of poetry this holiday season!
The book is available through a print-on-demand site for $16.

Buy Now

We are delighted to tell you that the long-awaited Why to These Rocks: The 50th Anniversary Poetry Anthology will be published by Heyday Books in March, 2021. Stay tuned for more details in the months ahead. 

More Anthologies 


 

Quarterly Roundup of New Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni and Staff Authors in July – September, 2020.

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums and staff members who have published books during the third quarter of 2020!

We are thrilled 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 WORKSHOP ALUMNI


 

2020 Alumni Reading Series (Prose)

Each summer, recently published alumni are invited to return to the Valley to read from their books and talk about their journey from unpublished writers to published authors. This year we’ve decided to hold the reading online in the Virtual Valley! 

The Community of Writers is delighted to celebrate the success of these writers and to present them to the participants, staff, and the public.

Please join us! The event is free and will be presented on Zoom.

2020 Alumni Readers

Click on the portraits to learn about these authors and their work.  View as a List


Our Emcee for the evening is Jimin Han.

 

 

Buys books from these authors on Bookshop.org.

Reserve Ticket Now

(You will be eventually be asked to register for this event at Zoom.)

Alumni who have been part of this reading series include Anita Amirrezvani, Eddy Ancinas, Michael AndreasonRamona Ausubel, David Bajo, Aimee Bender, Mauro Cardenas, Jade ChangDavid Corbett, Charmaine Craig, Frances Dinkelspiel, Heather Donahue, Laurie Ann DoyleCai Emmons, Alex Espinoza, Carole Firstman,  Joshua Ferris, Amy Franklin-Willis, Jamie Ford, Vicki Forman, Alison Singh Gee, Tanya Egan Gibson, Alan Grostephan, Glen David Gold, Jimin HanJudith Hendricks, Susan Henderson, Sara J. Henry, Vanessa HuaRhoda Huffey, Michael Jaime-Becerra, Alma Katsu, Stephanie KeganMary KurylaKrys Lee, Paulette Livers, Regina Louise, Michael David Lukas, Peyton Marshall, Marisa Matarazzo, Mark Maynard, Christina Meldrum, Nayomi Munaweera, Janis Cooke Newman, Jessica O’Dwyer, Aline Ohanesian, Marian Palaia, Victoria Patterson, Ismet Prcic, Frederick Reiken, Andrew Roe, Robin Romm, Brian Rogers,  Elizabeth Rosner, Adrienne Sharp, Alice Sebold, Julia Flynn Siler, Jordan Fisher Smith, Scott Sparling, Ellen Sussman, Kimball TaylorLisa Tucker,  Juan Alvarado Valdivia, Brenda Rickman Vantrease, Mary Volmer, Dora Calott Wang, M.D., Heather Young, Andrew Winer, Alia Yunis, and Désirée Zamorano among others.

 


 

Literary Arts Emergency Fund Grant for the Community of Writers

We are delighted to announce the Literary Arts Emergency Fund has provided the Community of Writers a grant for $15,000 to help us weather these difficult times.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the organizers of the Fund: the directors of Academy of American Poets, the Community of Literary Magazine & Presses, and the National Book Foundation.

Read more details and a complete list of the other organizations who benefitted from these grants.


Fiction First Aid – Private Consultations

This Friday, join us for private consultations: Fiction First Aid
August 28, 2020, between 10 am and 3 p.m (Pacific)

Private 15-Minute Appointments     $25

First-come first-served: appointments are limited.

Quick fifteen-minute consultations will be offered on Zoom with some of our finest writer-teachers, including Leland Cheuk, Janet Fitch, Glen David Gold,  Vanessa Hua, Michael Jaime-Becerra and Victoria Patterson. Come with a question. Or come with a page! Having a thorny problem with a story? Worried about the end of your novel? Do you have issues about the writing life? This is the place to get fresh insight. The focus of your session is up to you.

Sign up for a consultation today. You will be paired with one of these generous and talented writer-teachers. (You may request your top two choices of staff member, subject to availability. ) If there is a time of day (between 10 AM – 3 PM Pacific) that doesn’t work for you, please let us know.

Come with a question: Issues about dialogue, prose style, characterization? Come to the session prepared with a question or more than one! The time is yours.

Or come with a page: Need help with dialogue or prose style? Submit one page, double spaced (limit 250 words), and a staff member will respond to what’s on the page and beyond.

To read a bio, click on the image below, or view them all as a list.

Sign Ups open close 6:00 PM on Thursday, August 27. (Pacific)

SIGN UP

Once you register, we will be in touch with your appointment details.

Please make sure you’ve downloaded and installed the most recent version of Zoom and have good audio and video available.

(Cancellations for full refunds, to be considered, must be requested before 6 pm on Thursday, July 27.)

*Thanks to Sharon Olds who originally coined this term for the Poetry Workshop’s “Poem First Aid.”


 

The Newest OGQ is Here!

The third issue of OGQ: Omnium Gatherum Quarterly, the new quarterly online magazine from the Community of Writers, is here.

In this issue, we present an essay from one of our Community’s legends, the much-esteemed late novelist and journalist Robert Stone. It’s an excerpt from a just-released collection of his nonfiction. Longtime member Molly Fisk shares two poems, one each from two anthologies she’s featured in, one of which she edited. Leland Cheuk makes us all smarter and less America-centric with a journal of his recent internationlist reading. And, finally, we feature two gorgeous fictions from recent participants on the way up. Lyndsey Ellis‘s short story is a musically-structured experiment in association and observation by a mortuary technician. Her novel arrives next year. Elison Alcovendaz offers a poignant story of quotidian loss and emotional discovery.  

We’re also pleased to announce the inaugural episode of Conversations from the Virtual Valley, our new series featuring author interviews, readings and panels.  Our first features Michelle Latiolais in conversation with Ryan Ridge

Conversations from the Virtual Valley is hosted by Andrew Tonkovich and produced by Laura Howard

OGQ Issue 3

To get the next issue sent directly to your inbox, subscribe today.


 

Quarterly Roundup of New Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni and Staff Authors in April – June, 2020

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums and staff members who have published books during the second quarter of 2020!

We are thrilled 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 WORKSHOP ALUMNI


 

Memoir Workshop Public Events in the Virtual Valley

Join Us for the Memoir Workshop Week with Virtual Panels and Readings!

Please join us for the Public Events at the Community of Writers
during Memoir Week in the Virtual Valley.

Events are on the Zoom platform.

Panels:

Monday, 8/3, 4:00 PM (Pacific): “Effective Strategies for Memoir & Nonfiction,” featuring:
Debra Gwartney • Elizabeth Rosner • Grace Talusan
moderated by Sands Hall

Tuesday, 8/4, 4:00 PM (Pacific): “Who Am I This Time? Revisioning Memoir,” featuring:
Alex Espinoza • Christine Hemp • Sands Hall • Amy Tan
moderated by Debra Gwartney

RESERVE TICKET

Ticket reservations will close one hour before the event. Reserve early.

Readings:

Our Memoir staff talk about and read from their memoirs:

Tuesday, 8/4, 5:30 PM (Pacific):
Debra Gwartney • Sands Hall •  Grace Talusan

Thursday 8/6, 5:30 PM (Pacific):
Alex Espinoza • Christine Hemp • Elizabeth Rosner

RESERVE TICKET

Ticket reservations will close one hour before the event. Reserve early.


 

Film Adaptation Seminar

Film Adaptation Seminar for Writers
August 17-21, 2020

Open to all!  $350 – Register by August 10

Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM – Noon (Pacific)

Led by screenwriter Laura Harrington, this film adaptation workshop will consist of five three-hour online seminars. The focus will be on story structure, character development, scene creation, and uses of dialogue; the crucial elements of screenwriting, which will help lay the groundwork for your future book, screenplay, or series adaptation.

Even if you don’t plan on adapting your novel into a dramatic work, learning the skills vital to a screenwriter—writing visually vivid and emotional scenes; creating structure that invisibly marries plot to character development; revealing character through action; advancing connected themes; creating organic twists; creating a sense of urgency; creating a sensory, memorable world with the kinds tensions that reveal character — are useful skills for every writer

No application necessary. Simply register. Please include a one-page synopsis of your story, novel, memoir or nonfiction manuscript.
Deadline to Register: August 8
Register Now

 

Fiction First Aid Private Consultations

This Friday, join us for private consultations: Fiction First Aid*
July 31, 2020, between 10 am and 5 p.m (Pacific)

View as a list

Private 15-Minute Appointments     $25

First-come first-served: appointments are limited.

Quick fifteen-minute consultations will be offered on Zoom with some of our finest writer-teachers, including Alex Espinoza, Janet Fitch, Sands Hall, Dylan Landis and Krys Lee. (We are sorry, but Glen David Gold is no longer participating.) Come with a question. Or come with a page! Having a thorny problem with a story? Worried about the end of your novel? Do you have issues about the writing life? This is the place to get fresh insight. The focus of your session is up to you.

Below are the Times When the Writers Are Scheduled
(Subject to availability)

10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
Alex Espinoza
Janet Fitch (sold out)

1:00 – 3:00 PM
Sands Hall

3:00 – 5:00 PM
Dylan Landis
Krys Lee

Come with a question: Issues about dialogue, prose style, characterization? Come to the session prepared with a question or more than one! The time is yours.

Or come with a page: Need help with dialogue or prose style? Submit one page, double spaced (limit 250 words), and a staff member will respond to what’s on the page and beyond.

Sign Ups open  12:00 Noon Monday, July 27,
and close 5:00 on Thursday, July 30. (Pacific)

SIGN UP

You may request your top three choices of staff member, subject to availability. Once you register, we will be in touch with your appointment details.

(Cancellations for full refunds, to be considered, must be requested before 5 pm on Thursday, July 30.)

*Thanks to Sharon Olds who originally coined this term for the Poetry Workshop’s “Poem First Aid.”


 

“Short Takes” Fiction Staff Readings in the Virtual Valley

The Community of Writers Fiction Workshop in the Virtual Valley is proud to present

“Short Takes” Fiction Readings

These readings are presented to the public as part of our first-ever Fiction workshop held entirely online.
These readings are free to attend. Donations needed and welcome.

Tuesday, July 21st • 5:30 PM Pacific

Tom BarbashDevi S. LaskarKrys Lee •  Kirstin Valdez QuadeGregory Spatz
Emcee: Tom Lutz

Thursday, July 23rd • 5:30 PM Pacific

Janet FitchMichael Jaime-Becerra • Dana JohnsonTom LutzMargaret Wilkerson Sexton
Emcee: Oscar Villalon

Register Now!

David Perlman (1918 – 2020)

David Perlman at the Community of Writers, 1974  .(Photo by Barbara E. Hall)

David Perlman, the last of the three founders of our conference, has died, at the age of 101, in San Francisco. Fifty years ago here, editor Blair Fuller and novelist Oakley Hall were regularly spending their summers in the Valley, and David Perlman had a house here, too. It was a small village at the time, and people met up. Oakley had made a great reputation as a novelist; Blair Fuller was an editor at The Paris Review, and the three of them decided to have some fun inventing a week-long summer writers conference. Anne Perlman – who preceded her husband in death by two decades – was a serious, accomplished poet, who had been very respectably published, and in the early days she worked on the Poetry program with Galway Kinnell and Phil Levine and Mark Strand.

Originally a New Yorker, graduate of Columbia, David fell in love with San Francisco early, and migrated early. His first job on the West Coast was as a copyboy at the Chronicle. That was 1940. After WW II military service, he spent some time in Paris and New York, writing for the New York Herald Tribune, but soon devised a way back to San Francisco, where he got hired at the San Francisco Chronicle as a reporter.

He retired from the paper only three years ago, at 98, having worked full-time all those years. He kept arduous regular hours even deep into his 90s, spoke until the end with sharp wit and a rich understanding of the world, and even walked with a spring in his step. On his last day at the Chronicle, he decided to allow himself the unprecedented luxury of leaving fifteen minutes ahead of time, and went to his editor’s office to say he was going to “slide early.” But he was of course noticed slipping out, and everybody in the newsroom got to their feet applauding.

David and Anne gave up their house in Olympic Valley at some point. After that they seldom came up to the workshop, but he always thought of this organization as one of his happiest achievements. The thing he loved most, which kept him at his desk in San Francisco, was explaining science to readers. Elucidating our tectonic jolts, AIDS, moonshots, climate change, he earned a reputation over the years as a “dean of science journalism,” having resolved in his twenties that science journalism was “the most glamorous thing in the world.”

The last story he filed for the Chronicle was a typically long piece (the Chronicle always gave him plenty of space, all he wanted), explaining the total eclipse of eclipse of the sun.

Daylight will turn to midnight. The summer air will turn chilly,
birds will chirp uneasily in the unexpected darkness and the
stars will emerge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the San Francisco Chronicle’s appreciation for David Perlman.


 

Black Lives Matter: A Time for Action, not Words

This summer as the Community of Writers comes together as we have done for 50 years, we do so at a time of urgently needed social and political change. We honor the scores of Americans who have taken to the streets to protest the systemic racism and injustice.

It has always been our goal to create, out of our summer meetings, a community that nourishes and supports a diversity of writers and poets at all stages of their development. We are a seasonal gathering, each member belonging to other home communities, aligned with other institutions. There, many of us are deeply engaged in the streets, classrooms, community centers, the halls of government and, of course, as we are writers, on the page.

Part of our mission has been to erase obstacles for emerging writers, especially Black writers and poets, to attend a workshop such as ours.
In light of recent national debates surrounding equity and systemic racism, we are even more committed in our efforts to build new, and sustain current essential partnerships which will help us reach deeper into underserved communities to find poets and writers with voices that contribute to the diversification of the country’s narrative.

We will continue to do what we have done that has worked – raise funds to support writers of color, especially Black writers, and work to further diversify our board and staff. We will also look at those policies and practices, formal and informal, that have weakened these efforts. We will examine the Community’s culture that allows for participants to experience exclusion, disrespect, and microagressions at all levels of our organization, including, but not limited to, the workshop itself.

As part of our ongoing evaluation, we changed the name of our conference, previously scheduled to have been announced this Spring at our anniversary celebrations. Just as protesters and social justice advocates have called for the dismantling of Confederate symbols and statues because of their racist connotations, we recognize the painful and derogatory legacy of the word “squaw” as a slur, a word that is disrespectful to the Native American Community. We acknowledge that this word is offensive, that it goes against everything we stand for and believe, thus, we will no longer be branding ourselves as such and will now be known as the Community of Writers.

We are grateful to the participants and staff who care enough about the integrity of the Community to have communicated their concerns with us.  We hear you.

We have always felt that what we were doing addressed the multicultural life of this country in deep ways and we have reason to be proud of the stories, poems, essays, films that have been produced over fifty years by the staff and participants in this community, including work by some of our most gifted Black, Latinx,  Asian American writers, disabled and LGBTQ+. This last painful month has made it clear that, whatever we have been doing, it hasn’t been enough. Just as it hasn’t been enough not to be racist or to practice modest and benign forms of affirmative action. New behaviors require new visions. Our mission is to support new visions and we have work to do.

-The Community of Writers

Summer Writing Workshops in Squaw Valley Cancelled (But New Opportunities Available!)

Dear Friends,

We are sorry to report that we have been forced to cancel our summer workshops in Squaw Valley due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was to be our 50th Anniversary session, and so we’re particularly sad that we won’t be able to get together.

Image of a tree - Omnium Gatherum PageOur participants and teaching staff come in from all over the country, and a dozen foreign countries as well. They live together in houses and condos during their stay, eat dinner together, meet for lectures and panels, and in smaller workshops where they sit close together. It was a hard decision to make but we feel it would be impossible to run the workshops and still keep everybody safe.

Please visit our program pages for more information.

 

POETRY:

The Community of Writers will offer the Poetry Workshop entirely online this year. June 20 – 27, 2020. It will be the very same intensive week of writing, craft talks and individual conferences.
More details can be found on the Poetry Workshop page.


WRITERS WORKSHOPS

The Writers Workshops week is entirely too complex and large to shift over to the online format as is, so we will be postponing the 50th Anniversary session to July 5 – 12, 2021.  Mark your calendars!  Our plan is also to put together some online offerings for 2020. More details can be found on the Writers Workshops page.
*  *  *  *  *  *
We don’t yet know how this pandemic will play out in 2021, but we hold out hope that we will be in a position to hold the workshops again then. We will miss workshops this summer in our beloved valley, we’ll miss getting acquainted with all of you, and we will miss the thin mountain air, those bluest of skies, and gathering under the stars together in the evening. Here’s hoping we can all be together next summer and that this worldwide nightmare will be behind us.

2007 – The Closing of the Follies. Pictured here too many to name, but there’s James D. Houston on the upright bass, and Al Young, and Alan Cheuse. In the foreground is Louis B. Jones, Greg Spatz, Caridwen Spatz, Sands Hall, Sue Miller. Some day we will sit together again and talk about poetry and prose. Some day soon we will stand together again and sing.


Quarterly Roundup of New Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni and Staff Authors in January – March, 2020

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums and staff members who have published books during the first quarter of 2020!

We are thrilled 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

And congratulations to Poetry Workshop alum Diannely Antigua, who was recently awarded the Whiting Award for Poetry!

 

 

 

 

 

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOPS ALUMNI

NEWS AND NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY AND WRITERS WORKSHOPS TEACHING STAFF

And a special congratulations to Poetry Program co-director, Brenda Hillman, who was recently awarded the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This award goes to a poet of progressive, original, and experimental tendencies.

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 2020 New Alumni Books Update here.

The Newest OGQ is Here!

The second issue of OGQ: Omnium Gatherum Quarterly, the new quarterly online magazine from the Community of Writers, is here.

In this issue, Robin Romm gives us her previously unpublished recent Community of Writers craft talk, to instruct and amuse. In three poems, Danusha Laméris esteems both beauty and pain, with simultaneous dignity, humor and wild enthusiasm.  Ted Fowler offers vulnerability and empathy in an elegantly precise chapter from a loving memoir of his late wife. (Watch for the small plane at its conclusion!) Finally, fiction fabulist Ryan Ridge leads a smart, darkly funny romp through real and unreal worlds of social, literary and political imagination.

Visit the OGQ to read the latest issue, and subscribe to get the next issue sent directly to your inbox!


Announcing our 2020 Summer Writing Workshops

The Community of Writers is pleased to announce the 50th Anniversary of our Summer Writing Workshops in Poetry and Fiction, Nonfiction and Memoir.
We are now accepting applications. 

 THE POETRY WORKSHOP:
June 20 – 27, 2020

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.

Camille Dungy  •  Robert Hass  •  Brenda Hillman
Major Jackson  •  Ada Limón  •  Matthew Zapruder

Financial Aid Available.
Application Deadline: March 28, 2020. 

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

Visit the Poetry Workshop Page

THE WRITERS WORKSHOPS
in Fiction, Nonfiction & Memoir
July 6 – 13, 2020

 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.

TEACHING STAFF

 Lisa Alvarez  •  Tom Barbash  •  Michael Carlisle  •  Jane Ciabattari  •  John Daniel  •  Leslie Daniels  •  Cai Emmons  •  Alex Espinoza  •  Joshua Ferris  •  Janet Fitch  •  Karen Joy Fowler  •  Lynn Freed  •  Molly Giles  •  Sands Hall  •  Michael Jaime-Becerra  •  Dana Johnson  •  Louis B. Jones  •  Dylan Landis  •  Krys Lee  •  Edie Meidav  •  Patricia K. Meyer  •  Kirstin Valdez Quade  •  Jason Roberts  •  Elizabeth Rosner  •  Margaret Wilkerson Sexton  •  Julia Flynn Siler  •  Martin J. Smith  •  Gregory Spatz  •  Elizabeth Tallent  •  Andrew Tonkovich  •  Oscar Villalon  

SPECIAL GUESTS

Max Byrd  •  Meg Waite Clayton  •  Selden Edwards  •  Richard Ford  •  Diana Fuller  •  Anne Lamott
Diane Johnson  •  Michelle Latiolais  •  Kem Nunn  •  Amy Tan

PLUS

Literary Agents – Book & Literary Magazine Editors and more

INTRODUCING PUBLISHED ALUMS

Robin Page  •  Shobha Rao  •  Marci Vogel  •  Alia Volz  •  Kate Wisel

Financial Aid available.
Application Deadline: March 28, 2020

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, 2019

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums who have published books during the fourth quarter of 2019!

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 2020 New Alumni Books Update here.


 

Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation Awards Grant!

We are pleased and honored to announce that the good folks at the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation have awarded the Community of Writers a $5,000 grant to support the work of our organization.

This remarkable organization is a tremendous community leader in so many ways. They really do make our area a better place to live and work by supporting a wide range of nonprofits and community-minded projects.

Thank you to Chief Impact Officer Phyllis McConn, the CFRE Stacy Caldwell, and the Board of Directors for all they do for the Community of Writers and the Tahoe Truckee region!


 

Quarterly Roundup of New Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni Authors published in July – September, 2019

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums who have published books during the third quarter of 2019!

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.


 

Images from the June 2019 Poetry Benefit Reading

After a long delay, we have finally uploaded images from the 2019 Benefit Poetry Reading. The Benefit was held in Grass Valley at the historic Saint Joseph’s Cultural Center on June 21 to an overflowing and enthusiastic crowd.

The 2019 Benefit Reading featured poets Forrest Gander, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, David Tomas Martinez, Jane Miller, Sharon Olds, and Gregory Pardlo, emcee Maxima Kahn, and were welcomed by Judy Crowe.
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 Eva Melas, as well as YubaLit’s Rachel Howard, and all the volunteers who made the event such as success.

Special thanks to Adrian Schneider for the photographs! You can view more of his work on his website: Adrian Schneider Photograhy.

View Photos