Week of top-tier literary events on tap at Squaw Valley | SierraSun.com

Week of top-tier literary events on tap at Squaw Valley

Special to the Sun
Tom Barbash
Courtesy photo |

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley is a literary organization that holds several week-long gatherings of poets and writers every summer in Squaw Valley.

It is the oldest writers conference in the Western United States, and was founded in 1969 in order to foster a literary culture in the West that would be conversant with the publishing establishment of the East Coast.

This summer’s Writers Workshop, featuring fiction, nonfiction and memoir sessions, will take place July 25 to Aug. 1. While entry to the program is competitive, there are many afternoon and evening craft talks and readings that are free and open to the public.

There are two evening special events (July 27 and July 30) where reservations are recommended and admission is by suggested donation.

On July 27, Dana Johnson (“Elsewhere, California”), Anne Lamott (“Help, Thanks, Wow”), Héctor Tobar (“Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free”), and Matt Sumell (“Making Nice”) will read from their latest work.

The July 30 reading will feature Sarah Shun-lien Bynum (“Ms. Hemple Chronicles”), Michelle Latiolais (“She”), Kirstin Valdez Quade (“Night at the Fiestas”), and Elizabeth Tallent (“Mendocino Fire”).

Craft talks, which are free and open to the public, happen each day during the workshop from 1-5 p.m. and feature various staff members sharing their insights into the craft at business of writing.

An additional craft talk the evening of July 26 will be geared toward nonfiction writers, with a panel discussion titled “The Big Nonfiction Book,” which will explore the risks and rewards of writing a large, research-driven narrative.

The panel will feature nonfiction writer Jason Roberts, author of “A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler”; nature writer Jordan Fisher Smith, whose new book “Engineering Eden” was just published by WW Norton; internationally bestselling author Dava Sobel, author of “Longitude”; and Héctor Tobar, author of the book “Deep Dark Down” about the trapped Chilean miners.

Moderating will be Julia Flynn Siler, journalist and author of, most recently, “Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure.”

Alumni of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley include Pulitzer Prize-winners Michael Chabon and Richard Ford, bestselling novelists such as Anne Rice, Janet Fitch, Jamie Ford, Alice Sebold, and Amy Tan, and many other well-known literary artists.

This article was provided by the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. For a complete schedule of events, including the Published Alumni Reading Series and a Writers Tribute to the late Alan Cheuse, a long-time staff member, visit communityofwriters.org/publicevents.