Ordinarily I recommend only children’s books on my blog, but in view of the fires which are burning hundreds of square miles of my home state, including some of my very favorite places in the wide world, I’d like to recommend a book by my friend Gary Ferguson. He has written dozens of books about the wilderness and its role in our lives. His book just out this summer is called Land on Fire. Its a well-researched look at how we got into our current cycle of catastrophic fires year after year, through decades of fire suppression and record draughts. It would be a great book group read and a worthwhile text for high school and even middle school science classes.
Thank you to the hundreds of firefighters, national guards, sheriffs, state patrolmen. coast guards, red cross personnel and volunteers, who have worked round the clock in brutal conditions to bring these fires under control and protect the people, land and wildlife we all treasure.
I’ve gone to the Willamette Writer’s Conference both as a participant and as a presenter for many years. More than a dozen years ago, before I had my first book contract I won a Kay Snow Award. At that conference I met the amazing and generous Kirby Larson, who had only one published book at that point and was a decade away from her Newbery Honor win for Hattie Big Sky.
Well all these years later I decided to enter the Kay Snow contest again with a story called The Last of the Name. It’s a tale dear to my heart about Irish immigration during the Civil War era. What a thrill to once again receive a 3rd place honor. I’m very much looking forward to once again spending time August 4th and 5th with my wonderful Portland writing community. I think there is still time to sign up workshops and pitching sessions with agents, film agents, and editors. Hope to see you there!
I have wrapped up the last of the meetings of the League of Exceptional Writers with a brilliant presentation by Kate Berube. Heartfelt thanks to this year’s League Mentors, Janet Sumner Johnson, Kate Ristau, Susan Hill Long, Laura Stanfil, Fonda Lee, Elizabeth Rusch, and Dan Gemeinhart.
The League of Exceptional Writers is a free mentoring program sponsored by the Oregon SCBWI and Powells. Our goal is to help avid young writers and illustrators find their fellow book people and learn about the business and craft of making books. Our past mentors have included authors, illustrators, poets, comic book and graphic novel artists, editors and literary agents. They’ve presented League meetings on everything from how book cover art is chosen to how to write a hilarious scene or a drop dead scary one.
As the Youth Outreach Coordinator I am now looking for next years League Mentors. Every participating mentor will appear on a flyer sent out to schools and libraries all over the region. They will be put on Powells on line calendar and Powells will order in a copy of your book to feature during the presentation. For this reason mentors need to have a book in print in a format that Powells is able to sell. The exception would be editors, agents and art directors who would speak to the book-making profession. The Oregon SCBWI offers a modest honorarium for each mentor. Our league members especially love it when 2 writers present together so you are very welcome to propose a team presentation. Please email me with a proposed session topic and information about you and your books. email@example.com
When: Second Saturdays from October to May from 2-3pm
Where: The Cedar Hills Crossing Powells 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. Beaverton, Oregon
Who: Young avid writers between the ages of 8 and 18 are invited. In practice most of them are between the ages of 10 and 16.
The calendar for the 2017-18 school year will be
Oct 14 Feb 10
Nov 11 Mar 10
Dec 9 Apr 14
Jan 13 May 12
Thank you for considering serving our young readers.
A lot of the work of being an author is the dull and dry sitting at a desk (even when that desk is in a tree) and writing day after day. But every now and then an event comes along that you know you’ll remember forever. The American Indian Cultural Festival in The Dalles last week was just such a moment. It was a celebration of literature and poetry and music and dance. It involved a group of books that I admire and authors I feel honored to share the stage with: Elizabeth Woody, Oregon’s Poet Laureate, Craig Lesley, acclaimed author of contemporary western literature, and National Book Award winning writer Sherman Alexie.
I was lucky enough to spend time with an adult book club and share a poetry reading with some truly outstanding young poets. I got to hear the culture club from Lyle school in Washington give their very first performance in the Sahaptian language with traditional dancing. They were simply amazing. I’m so proud of all they’ve accomplished in a year. I meet with some avid writers in the North Oregon Juvenal Detention Facility, and best of all I got to dance with the Taholah drum group from the Quinault Reservation. My favorite part of the whole thing was the series of classrooms who came to hear me and the Taholah drum group speak. They had all kinds of great questions about the culture and art of the Quinault and Makah and the practice of tribal whaling. It was the sort of mind-opening conversation that cultural festivals are made for. I am very grateful to Julian Peterson and Marko Black and all the tribal dancers from Taholah who shared their songs and prayers and dances so generously, and who invited the students to dance and drum along so whole-heartedly. I know those are memories the students will always cherish.
Thank you to Jim Tindale the librarian at The Dalles School District who made this all happen in conjunction with the great booksellers at Oregon’s oldest bookstore Klindt’s who sold all the books and hosted many of the events. Tina Ontiveros is the manager at Klindt’s and Joaquin Perez is the owner. The fundraising for this event was truly a community affair with donations coming from area schools and libraries, educational foundations, local congregations, Oregon’s poet laureate program, the Wasco County Cultural Trust, the Ford Foundation, the Meyer Memorial Trust, and the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde. It’s inspiring to see so many community members come together in support of literacy and the cultural understanding of our local American Indian communities. Thank you!
Have you got a young person in your life who loves to read and write? Maybe a teenager who is wondering about pursing a career in the book world? Come to the Cedar Hills Powells this Saturday and hear what Laura Stanfil has to say about the publishing process. Laura is our own local publisher of Forest Avenue Press, and she is going to take our League members step by step through the process of how pages on a writers screen become books that find their way into bookshops like Powells. It’s going to be a great conversation. Come join us Saturday January 14th at 2pm. The Cedar Hills Powells is at 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd
Did I mention that Laura is the ultra-cool publisher of City of Weird? A book about strange, and spooky happenings in Portland? Did I further mention that the Cat in the Hat has nothing on Laura Stanfil! I bet she can even juggle fish! Come join us. It will be a blast.