Festival Day!

A day-long gathering of writers in the virtual valley featuring craft talks, panels, fiction and nonfiction readings, poetry, music, and more.

The event is over, but the recording of the day lives on!


This year’s 51st annual Community of Writers Fiction Workshop presented a free, day-long online Festival on Saturday, July 17. Co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB), the Festival featured craft talks, panels, readings, and much more.

We are delighted too present a special conversation between two internationally acclaimed alums, novelist Amy Tan, and dramatist-actress Anna Deavere Smith. Decades after attending the workshop as participants, the two reunited in support of our fifty year-old summer writing workshops.

Bestselling novelist Janet Fitch begins with her talk “Writing with the Senses.”  She is followed by a panel on how literary nonprofits overcame the challenges of this difficult year and worked together. Also featured are a celebration of the late screenwriter Gill Dennis’ legendary “Finding the Story” workshop, a talk by novelist Michelle Latiolais, panels examining fiction, nonfiction and screenwriting techniques, and staff readings from their own work. We will listen to several poets read their poem, including Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Gregory Pardlo. Tom Barbash will lead a “Deep Dive into a Short story” (to prepare, see details, below.*)  And a first for the Community of Writers: We will feature naturalist Will Richardson on a virtual nature walk in Paige Meadows. The festival will conclude with a special reading by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, and music by the CE Trio, as well as Louis B. Jones, Sands Hall, Caridwen Irvine-Spatz and Greg Spatz.

View / Download Detailed Schedule

Special Guests:

Click on a photo to view bio, or view as a list.

Craft Talks:

Click on a photo to view bio, or view as a list.


Click on a photo to view bio, or view as a list.


Click on a photo to view bio, or view as a list.


Click on a photo to view bio, or view as a list.

A full Festival Day schedule with links is coming soon and will be provided to all registrants.

Books will be available for purchase at Bookshop.org.

This free event is offered to the public, to our alums and friends.
Suggested donation: $35. (Any amount would be appreciated).

Reserve Your Ticket

Upon registering, will be sent a confirmation immediately with a link to the event. As it is a long day, feel free to come and go.
If you can’t make the live program, you can watch a replay of the event using that same “Official Event Link.”

*A Deep Dive into a Short Story: One of the events we’d also like to highlight is a panel led by writer Tom Barbash, “A Deep Dive into a Short Story.”  It will be a panel of short-story writers considering elements of a recent short story by way of craft, technique, and style: with Dana Johnson, Peter Orner, Krys Lee.  The short story is: Weike Wang’s “Omakase.”

If you are  interested in this panel, you are strongly encouraged to read Wang’s story in advance. It is available online at The New Yorker; in the print edition of the magazine June 2018 as well as on the New Yorker’s The Writer’s Voice, where Weike Wang reads the story.


For Festival Day, we’d like to thank all the good people who made it possible. Many thanks to Jared and Julia Drake and WildBound Media for producing this event and providing video for the event. To Ellen Moore who smoothed the way so generously for the “Approaching Character” Conversation, and to Andy Lawless who documented and edited the recording. To Beth Ford (Glib Communications) for graphic design. Special thanks to Irene Yoon and Boris Dralyuk at the Los Angeles Review of Books. Thanks also to Lisa Alvarez, Sands Hall, Laura HowardEva Melas for their advice, wisdom and attention to myriad  details. To Kazim Ali and Blas Falconer for their thoughtful interview. To Sands Hall, Louis B. Jones, Caridwin Irvine-Spatz and Gregory Spatz for spending the time to produce a lovely remote music video. To Will Richardson for taking us into the Sierras, virtually. And especially to Andrew Tonkovich for his enthusiasm, management and support of so many elements. To our Board of Directors for their deep care for this organization. We would also like to express our gratitude to all the others who are generously taking part in this day-long event.

The Community of Writers is made possible with grants from the Academy of American Poets’ Literary Arts Emergency Fund, the California Library Association, the California Center for the Book,  Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, InkWell Management Literary Agency, The Lojo Foundation, Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation; as well as numerous individual contributions from our friends, former participants, and faculty. We are grateful to all the organizations and individuals that make the Community of Writers possible.

Thank you!

Event Details