Saturday, July 24, 2010

30th Anniversary Reading & Lecture Series — July 25–30, 2010

The Napa Valley Writers’ Conference presents:

In honor of the conference’s 30th year, we’re planning a party! Join us Tuesday, July 27, at 6 pm, at the new Educational Center for the Performing Arts at Napa Valley College for a literary celebration.

Hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served, and the evening program will include reflections on the conference’s 30-year history. In addition, a tribute will be offered to the late Dr. Chris McCarthy, who was president of Napa Valley College and a major supporter of the conference. The evening will conclude with readings by 2010 conference faculty members Curtis Sittenfeld, best-selling author of Prep and American Wife, and poet C.D. Wright.

The full schedule of faculty lectures and readings for the 2010 Napa Valley Writers’ Conference is as follows:

Sunday, July 25

*   7:30 pm Wine reception and reading with poet Arthur Sze and fiction writer Michael Byers, Napa Valley College Upper Valley Campus, St. Helena

Monday, July 26

*   9 am: Poetry lecture by C.D. Wright, Upper Valley Campus
*   1:30 pm: Fiction lecture by Lan Samantha Chang, Upper Valley Campus
*   7:30 pm: Wine reception and reading with poet Major Jackson and fiction writer Ron Carlson, Robert Mondavi Winery, Oakville

Tuesday, July 27

*   9 am — Poetry lecture by Brenda Hillman, Upper Valley Campus
*   1:30 pm — Fiction lecture by Michael Byers, Upper Valley Campus
*   6 pm — 30th anniversary gala reception, Educational Center for the Performing Arts, Napa Valley College, Napa
*   7:30 pm — 30th anniversary program and reading by poet C.D. Wright and fiction writer Curtis Sittenfeld, Educational Center for the Performing Arts, Napa Valley College

Wednesday, July 28

*   9 am – Poetry lecture by Arthur Sze, Upper Valley Campus
*   1:30 pm – Fiction lecture by Ron Carlson, Upper Valley Campus

Thursday, July 29

*   9 am – Poetry lecture by Major Jackson
*   1:30 pm – Fiction lecture by Curtis Sittenfeld
*   7:30 pm – Wine reception and reading with poet Brenda Hillman and fiction writer Lan Samantha Chang, Beringer Vineyards, St. Helena


Admission to the July 27 gala costs $25 for the reception and reading; make reservations prior to July 20 by calling (707) 967-2900 x1611 or emailing<>. Tickets for the reading only will be sold at the door after 7 pm and cost $10.

Admission to all other evening readings costs $10, payable at the door. Admission to the daytime lectures may be purchased at the door and costs $25 apiece, $90 for the four-lecture series in either poetry or fiction, or $175 for all eight lectures. Students with valid student IDs will be admitted free of charge to all lectures and evening readings.

About the Faculty

Michael Byers is the author of the novels Long for this World and the forthcoming Percival’s Planet, as well as the story collection The Coast of Good Intentions. His books were named New York Times Notable Books, and his stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories and the O. Henry Awards. He has won a Whiting Award and the Sue Kauffman Prize. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford, he currently teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Ron Carlson is the author of ten books of fiction, most recently the novel, The Signal. Previous work includes Five Skies, At the Jim Bridger, and The Hotel Eden. His work is included in many anthologies, including the O. Henry Prize Stories and Best American Short Stories. In 2006, GQ Magazine called him “one of the great things about America.” Carlson is currently director of the graduate writing program at UC Irvine.

Lan Samantha Chang is the author of the novels Inheritance and the forthcoming All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost, as well as the story collection Hunger, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award. Her fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, The Atlantic and Best American Short Stories. She is currently director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Brenda Hillman’s eighth book of poems, Practical Water, won the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry. Named by Poets and Writers to a list of the 50 most inspiring authors in the world, she is the Olivia Filippi Professor of Poetry at Saint Mary’s College and an activist with Code Pink.

Major Jackson is the author of three collections of poetry: Holding Company, forthcoming in August; Leaving Saturn; and Hoops, which was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literature: Poetry. He is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at the University of Vermont and the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.

Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the bestselling novels American Wife, Prep and The Man of My Dreams. Prep was named one of the Ten Best Books of 2005 by the the New York Times, nominated for the UK’s Orange Prize, and optioned by Paramount Pictures. Her work has appeared in many publications including Salon, The Atlantic and on public radio’s “This American Life.”

Arthur Sze’s acclaimed collections of poetry include Quipu and The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998. He won the Western States Book Award in Translation for The Silk Dragon: Translations of Chinese Poetry. For over twenty years, he has taught as a professor of creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.

C.D. Wright’s poetry collections include Cooling Time: An American Poetry Vigil and Deepstep Come Shining. Her other works include One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana (2003), with photographer Deborah Luster. A poetry professor at Brown and co-editor of Lost Roads Press, she won the 2009 International Griffin Poetry Prize for her collection Rising, Falling, Hovering.

Napa Valley Writers’ Conference
Napa Valley College · 1088 College Avenue · St. Helena, CA 94574
Phone 707-967-2900 x1611 · Fax 707-967-2909 ·

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Napa Conference, go go!

I was in St Helena today for conference prep; very pleasant, in the mid - 80s, buffered by fog in the morning that didn't burn off until mid-morning. Forecast, for what it's worth, calls for more of the same, with Sunday the 25th, being the coolest, maybe not even 80. The nights will go down to the 50's!  So layers, folks, layers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hot Week, Full Moon.

A week to go til conference-time: yep! yep!

Pulled up the extended weather report for St Helena for conference week.
Looks like temps will run from the mid- to high 90's. Hot, but not too hot.

But hey, it cools down at night.
Unlike some places in the country.

Plus the full moon on Sunday, July 25th.
Perfect for the plein-air reading that first night on the lawn.

Looks to be a grand week.

Of course the forecast could be off by several degrees in either direction.
But the moon will still be full.

Will I still be talking in couplets on Sunday?
Bets are being taken.

Winner treats at Ana's Cantina.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Curtis Sittenfeld

I can't help myself, I'm addicted, I'm cruising all around the InterSchnitzels looking for tidbits about or by our NVWC crew of writers. But hey, research pays, check out this piece in the New York Magazine by Curtis Sittenfeld. A lively and sassy interview of two other authors, Meghan Daum and Emily Gould.

I was so completely impressed by "American Wife," Sittenfeld's latest novel. She has managed to create a book that is irrefutably fiction, yet offers insight into one of the most puzzling marriages in recent history, that of George and Laura Bush. It is a remarkable feat, this blend of imagining and inventing that brings understanding. There's plenty of discussion around and about it, too -  as you might imagine. See what they say, starting here.

This is for the poets and those who love them

...for those interested in a sneak preview to the NVWC, Brenda Hillman, one of our distinguished faculty at NVWC this summer, will be reading in SF this Friday, July 16th at a benefit for our friendly competitor, (cough, cough),The Squaw Valley Writers Conference.  Of course, you have to be pretty local to make this one, but still. The reading is in honor of the great Lucille Clifton, the money goes to benefit The Poets Scholarship Fund and she's in great company: Forrest Gander (previous faculty at NVWC, also!), Kazim Ali, Evie Shockley and Dean Young.

Busy, busy summer.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Byers Breakdown

Endless research on Michael Byers while avoiding actual productive work has gifted me with these two gems:

Hot Metal Bridge - an interview with Michael in this literary journal of University of Pittsburgh, where he taught for three years.  Solid interview, which I will quote from, I swear, in my introduction at the conference.  Also an awesome list of lit journals, ripe for the submitting. Go! - take your pick.

5Chapters - Holy Dickens, Batman....the daily serial is making a comeback. Check this out: one five chapter story per week, a chapter posted each week day. Brilliant! M. Byers has a story here, too, that involves a man plotting to kill his wife, one kangaroo and a pair of elderly lions. I know there are readers out there who have material to submit. So do it!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

One Ron Carlson, One Story

Don't know how many folks out there are One Story fans.... but I love 'em. It's like getting the New Yorker without all the ads or the extraneous non-fiction stuff. Just the story, ma'am, every three weeks. Check it out.

But wait, there's more.

For the 99th and100th issue (a few years back) they published one of Ron Carlson's stories, Beanball, as a deluxe, hand-press issue.  Yes, our Ron Carlson, who's on faculty with the Napa Valley Writers Conference.  Pretty darn cool, eh?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Napa Valley Writers Conference

The workshops for Napa Valley Writers Conference have been created, the manuscripts are being uploaded (for the most part); let the games begin!  Anyone who hasn't logged into their workshops's Google Group, time to get cracking--you've got reading to do!

And as a tidbit for all you workshoppers, here's a link to Kathy Stevenson's post about her first residency at Bennington. It's is just about too funny... and sooo true. Enjoy!

More constructing...

...going on. A new look for a new month. Not a terribly edgy, just a somewhat eggy, look.