Monday, June 06, 2016

Summerwords Creative Writing Festival 2016

I think this festival gets more fun each year. Our keynote speaker was Luis Alberto Urrea, who simply couldn't be a funnier, more witty, more poignant speaker and reader. I heard many "lightbulb ah" gasps from the crowd when his short story (which he had memorized and delivered as a performance) concluded.

I presented on writing series fiction and had a full room with lots of great energy and laughter--love it when group dynamics make this kind of thing an outright pleasure. Thank you all who attended my session!

A brief writing activity in my session on writing series fiction.

I also attended many presentations myself and of course the magnificent barbecue that crowns Saturday night at the festival. People may be amazed to realize that their ticket, very reasonably priced for a four-day conference, also includes a stellar barbecue with free-flowing beer and wine. Just saying, mark it on your calendar for 2017!

We've had amazing keynote speakers in the past: Carolyn Forche, T.C. Boyle and now Urrea (I've only attended the last three years), but the conference really revolves around the daily sessions, usually four to pick from each hour. American River College faculty teach these, as well as visiting writers. It's the kind of literary event you would imagine a major university pulling off, but American River College is a small community college in Sacramento with a passionate creative writing faculty that designs and implements this large-scale conference. ARC's literary magazine also consistently wins national awards, beating out schools like Harvard...

The video for this year's Summerwords somehow features me as the freezeframe, which I found preposterous and fun:

I wish I'd done more pre-Summerwords social media but a) we sold out anyway and b) I was in the throes of a move...yes, we moved house two days after the conference which took place May 26-29 . That was...let's see...less than a week ago. I'm still looking at boxes as I type this. May I mention for purposes of eliciting deep sympathy that it was 100 degrees the day of our move?

Next I'll have to blog about the wonderful Gold Rush Writers Conference. In the meantime, a writer friend is part of Barnes and Noble's new Teen Book event, B-Fest. Lynn Carthage (winkety wink) will be appearing at the Natomas B&N in support of Betrayed and Haunted this Friday, June 10, at 7 p.m.