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Sierra Writers Conference - Critique Fest

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Jan 20, 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM
NCC Campus N12 (Multipurpose Center)
250 Sierra College Dr., Grass Valley, CA 95945
Early Registration: $15 students with ID and $65 General Admission. Late registration, after December 31, $85 General Admission at the door
Lynette Vrooman,, (530) 274-5282
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Event Details

Sierra Writers Conference

On Friday, January 20 and Saturday, January 21, the Nevada County Campus in Grass Valley will be hosting the second annual Sierra Writers Conference. 

Friday: January 20, 2017 from 2:30pm - 5:00pm – Critique Fest- $55 separate from the conference fee.

The spots for this session are limited. So if you're interested in this opportunity, we suggest you register early.

Critique Fest will be led by Sands Hall, author of a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft. A popular teacher, she leads workshops and lectures for such conferences as the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, She is currently an adjunct assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster, PA, where she is also the editor of the F&M Alumni Arts Review.

Joining Sands are five incredible authors and an agent. 

  • Catharine Bramkamp: Author of 15 books, co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast that focuses on newer writers and their concerns, dynamic writing coach and Chief Storytelling Officer for Winesecrets.
  • Kim Culbertson: Award-winning author of five YA novels. Much of her inspiration for her novels comes from the work she’s done as a high school teacher for the last eighteen years.
  • Dimitri Keriotis: Author of short fiction, writing instructor and co-founder of High Sierra Institute.
  • Chris Olander: Poet/Teacher with California Poets in the Schools (CPITS) since 1984.
  • Jordan Fisher Smith: Nonfiction author of Nature Noir and Engineering Eden, freelancer for, New Yorker, and Discover, narrator of the Oscar-shortlisted film “Under Our Skin.”
  • Jennifer Chen Tran - associate literary agent, Fuse Literary Agency.

How this session will work:

Attendees bring a piece of their writing and 9 copies.
Sands offers these thoughts: The piece is limited to 250 words. Can be the opening of a story or novel. Can be a bit of a scene. An exchange of dialogue. Can introduce a character. Can be a transition between the end of one scene and the beginning of another. An important description: setting up a scene. If there is any introductory material, it is part of the 250 words. (EG: Jane's mom died and she's moved to Greece and is now raising hogs.) But readers will usually get things from context.

Mini-workshop on "Workshopping" to help everyone understand the purpose and "rules" of critiquing. Led by Sands, this is will be about 15-20 minutes.

Small groups of eight will form with an instructor who facilitate introductions and make sure everyone understands the process. (You will draw numbers as you enter the room to determine which group and instructor you will be with.)

Peer and instructor critique. After introductions, group members will read their piece and receive critique from the group and the instructor. Group members will write notes on each piece of writing, express their thoughts and suggestions during the critique period, and give the annotated writings to the writer. Therefore, each writer will receive oral and written critique, as well as practice giving the same.

Limited time. The instructors will act as time-keepers to ensure that everyone gets critiqued.

Sponsored by: Sierra College English Department and Sierra Writers

Sponsored by: Sierra College English Department and Sierra Writers

For more information:

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