2017 Spring & Summer Regional Conferences & Etc.

Welcome to the spring installment of my annual regional conferences and workshops list! The permanent (date-less) list lives over at my Resources page, so feel free to bookmark that! I will update with additional events as later-summer and fall dates become available.

I’d also like to note my own new contribution to these options: My first Weekend Retreat! Happening May 6-7 in Sacramento, the retreat offers a local escape into bodily rejuvenation and generation of new work, as we spend time at Asha Urban Baths as well as the workshop table. The theme for this retreat is Body: Presence and Memory. Full details are over on my Workshops page. Enroll today!

See you at one or more of these delightful events!



Sierra Poetry Festival

April 1

Nevada County Arts Council presents the Sierra Poetry Festival, bringing together an array of local, national and international poets and performers to kick off National Poetry Month. With a keynote address by California’s Poet Laureate Dana Gioia, the day will be filled with readings, open mics, workshops, discussions, parties and youth voices. Featured poets and presenters include:

Al Young  •  Molly Fisk  •  Kazim Ali  • Genny Lim

Charles Entrekin • Gail Rudd Entrekin •  Kirsten Casey  • Mel Pryor

Jahan Khalighi  •  MK Chavez  •  Eve Bradford  •  Gayle Brandeis


Gene Berson  • Pablo Frasconi  • Sands Hall

Poetry Out Loud Performances & Youth Slam

Cost: $25-$40, free for students with valid ID


Our Life Stories Conference (Alternate website here)

April 22, 1:00-5:00 pm.

The excellent long-standing cross-generational writers conference sponsored by Hart Senior Center and Cosumnes River College.

Cosumnes River College
8401 Center Parkway, Sacramento, CA

Please note special schedule for 10 year anniversary and view speaker info here
Space is limited


The Great Capitol Crimes Writing Workshop

April 22

Rancho Cordova, CA

Best-selling thriller author Catherine Coulter will be the keynote speaker at the 2017 Writers’ Workshop presented by Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento-area chapter of Sisters in Crime in Rancho Cordova on Saturday, April 22, 2017.

In addition to her keynote address, Coulter will also present a session on “Clean Writing.” Other presenters are Catriona McPherson (“What Would Paige Turner Do?”), Susan Spann (“Doing Business When You’re a Self-Publisher”), Joy Viray (“DNA – Fact vs. Fiction”), Ace Antonio Hall (“Get the Best Bang for Your Book Blast”), and Gwen Hernandez (Writing Your Way With Scrivener”).

Registration, including a box lunch, is $60 for Capitol Crimes members, $70 for non-members, and $80 for both workshop registration and chapter membership. The registration deadline is Monday, April 17; space is limited.

To register, visit the Capitol Crimes website at www.capitolcrimes.org


Sacramento Poetry Center Annual Spring Conference

April 29

See the fabulous workshop leader lineup and registration info soonish at sacramentopoetrycenter.org.

Sacramento Poetry Center at 1719 25th Street
Registration Fee includes access to all three sessions for talks, all readings and lunch
Pay at the door or send check to: SPC 1719 25th Street Sacramento, CA 95816


WordSpring at Butte College

April 28 & 29

WordSpring is a creative writing conference put on by a small team of teachers and students who are passionate about writing. The mission is to invigorate the local community of writers, both new and experienced, by allowing everyone to come together while also bringing in professional writers from near and far to share their expertise. This conference is an inspiring experience that leaves attendees refreshed, excited, and newly equipped to write.

Each year the conference features a unique and engaging contest special to that conference–check out the website for more information.

The conference includes a light breakfast and buffet lunch in registration costs. WordSpring is sponsored by the English Department at Butte College and is in part supported by donations from the community and state equity grants. For more information on registration and our sonnet-writing contest email us at wordspring@butte.edu or call Professor Molly Emmons at (530) 895-2935.


Gold Rush Writers Conference

May 5-7

View program information and register here.

Come join the Gold Rush Writers Conference at the historic Leger Hotel in picturesque Mokelumne Hill where writing professionals will guide you to a publishing bonanza through a series of panels, specialty talks, workshops and celebrity lectures. Go one-on-one with successful poets, novelists, biographers, memoirists and short story writers. The conference includes a picnic supper in a Victorian garden Friday evening, as well as Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch.


SummerWords: The American River College Creative Writing Colloquium

May 25-28, Memorial Day Weekend

View program presenter bios and schedule, and buy your tickets (soonish) here!

Join American River College’s vibrant and accomplished creative writing faculty and local and regional writers and teachers for three days and nights of workshops, panels, and readings featuring a keynote reading by nationally acclaimed writer.  Click the links at the left for more information or click below to purchase tickets. Sponsored by The Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation and the American River College Foundation.


Sacramento Black Book Fair

June 2-3

At the Historic Center of Oak Park

Endorsed and co-sponsored by a huge number of Sacramento individuals and organizations, this 3-day book fair and celebration will include a panel discussion among four featured authors, book signings, talks by each of the featured writers, cultural & food vendors, book discussions with each writer listed in the program (80+), children’s activities, poetry readings, art displays, and much more.


Annual Conference on Creative Writing at University of the Pacific

June 23-25

An information packed three-day conference at the University of the Pacific’s beautiful main campus. Details and registration here. Various pricing options available. Literary agents and publishers are available for pitch sessions and help with book manuscripts is available.

Interactive workshops and presentations will cover all aspects and genres of creative writing, from brainstorming techniques to submitting work for publication, writing creative nonfiction articles for publication to writing children’s books, murder mysteries, science fiction, and westerns.


Surprise Valley Writers Conference

June 2-6

2017’s program features keynote speaker Pam Houston and writers Ana Maria Spagna, Josh Mohr, Julia Connor and John Shoptaw.

Each day is composed of three-hour writers’ workshops in the morning, ample time for lunch, craft lectures on Thursday and Friday afternoons, a field trip on Saturday. Evening events include a Welcome Reception, Staff Readings, Keynote Speech, Campfire Open Mic, shared meals and community building. We also encourage attendees to write and discover Surprise Valley on your own. Our staff is available to offer suggestions on local sights, drives and adventures.

All workshops and lectures are held in downtown Cedarville.


Squaw Valley Community of Writers

Two different sessions, by genre, throughout June, July and August

Portions of the program are open to the public.

The Community of Writers was established in 1969 by novelists Blair Fuller and Oakley Hall, who were both residents of the valley. It was originally staffed by a band of San Francisco writers including David Perlman, Walter Ballenger, Barnaby Conrad and John Leggett, the latter two of whom went on to found, respectively, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and the Napa Valley Writers Conference. The Community of Writers continues to be directed by Brett Jones.

Over the years the community has mounted workshops in Fiction, Nonfiction, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Poetry, and Nature Writing (the Art of the Wild, co-produced by Jack Hicks and University of California at Davis), and Writing the Medical Experience directed by David Watts. Lisa Alvarez and Louis B. Jones now co-direct the Fiction Program and Michael Carlisle directs the nonfiction Program of the Writers Workshop, which were for twenty years directed by Carolyn Doty. Galway Kinnell directed the Poetry Program for 17 years and Robert Hass has directed it since 2004. Diana Fuller directs the Screenwriters Workshop, founded in 1974 by screenwriters Tom Rickman and Gill Dennis.


Amherst Writers and Artists Festival of Writing at Pacific School of Religion

One day in July each summer
Pacific School of Religion
1798 Scenic Avenue, Berkeley

More information here.

presented by Amherst Writers & Artists West, and Pacific School of Religion

Come write with other writers in a supportive environment. The all-day event will feature writing workshops, a reception, and a key note (speaker TBD). With the insight that “everyone is born with creative genius,” Pat Schneider created the AWA method more than thirty years ago to provide a safe, encouraging environment for writing.  The method continues to help people from all walks of life find and appreciate their unique voice.

The Festival is open to all – no experience necessary. Morning and afternoon writing workshops will be led by experienced AWA method-trained workshop facilitators.  Take advantage of many nearby options during the lunch hour, or bring your own lunch and eat on the beautiful PSR campus. A late afternoon reception will offer an opportunity for participants to meet and talk. The Festival will culminate in a keynote speech in Pacific School of Religion’s Bade Museum.


Napa Valley Writers’ Conference

July 23-28

2017 Faculty:

  • In poetry – Eavan Boland, Jane Hirshfield, Ada Limón, and Matthew Zapruder
  • In fiction – Lan Samantha Chang, Peter Ho Davies, Daniel Orozco, and ZZ Packer

Since 1981, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference has provided an opportunity for fellowship and serious work with a focus on craft amidst the hills and vineyards that have made the region famous. The conference is a project of Napa Valley College.


Mendocino Coast Writers Conference

August 3-5

Features nationally-recognized authors and publishing professionals who are outstanding teachers. The conference is limited to 100 participants who will discover: how to develop their literary craft in a supportive community, surrounded by the spectacular scenery and temperate climate of California’s North Coast; a place to exchange ideas with authors, editors, literary agents, and other writers of many talents, ages and backgrounds. Learning happens in workshops, seminars, panels, and during informal social gatherings; inspiration to explore how writing can shape the world. Whatever the genre, whether fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, words are a powerful instrument of change; a place where you can take creative risks, whether on the page or on the stage, and where you will be inspired to explore new ways to shape your writing. An opportunity for teachers to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through Dominican University.

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