Inaugural Great Valley Books Writers Conference

MERCED - The Heyday Institute, the Merced County Arts Council, and the University of California, Merced, are proud to present the first Great Valley Books Writers Conference — a stimulating, interactive literary gathering that aims to cultivate audiences of writers and readers in this rapidly changing, creatively dynamic part of California.

The event will be held at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center in downtown Merced on April 15, 2006 (645 W. Main St, Merced, California (209) 388-1090. Complete details are available at

Organizers have split the conference into two sections: (1) a morning series featuring intimate 25-person creative writing workshops co-taught by two prominent valley writers and (2) a free, open to the public afternoon program featuring panel discussions of publishing and literary professionals, readings from high school students in the Valley Voices Poetry Program and a closing keynote by nationally acclaimed poet Juan Felipe Herrera. Registration for the morning series is $50. The afternoon sessions are free.

The Central Valley of California has long been fertile literary territory, producing spectacular poets and writers for generations. However, as rich and continuous as the tradition of Valley writers is, there have been very few ongoing venues where these writers could meet, expand their audiences, and share concerns of craft and regional issues with other writers, both established and novice.

The goal of the Great Valley Books Writers' Conference is to engage people from all parts of the Central Valley by allowing them to disseminate their work to a wider audience, develop their skills at readings and teaching, and increase the appreciation and value of Central Valley literature.
To register for the Great Valley Books Writers' conference, fax a registration form to (510) 549-1889 or mail to Attn: Great Valley Books Conference, P.O. Box 9145, Berkeley, California 9460. For more information, contact Patricia Wakida at patricia@heydaybooks.comor (510) 549-3564 x307.

About Great Valley Books
Great Valley Books is an imprint of Heyday Institute, created with the help of the James Irvine Foundation and the Great Valley Center to showcase art and literature from and about the Central Valley of California. With these books we strive to inform, promote, and develop a deeper appreciation of various aspects of the region's unique history and culture.

Conference Schedule

8:00-8:30 Registration
Merced Multicultural Arts Center, Gallery

8:30-9:00 Welcome remarks by Paul Buxman
Merced Multicultural Arts Center, Studio Theater

9:00-12:00 Creative Writing Workshops
(Each workshop is co-taught by two instructors. Registration required for workshops. $50 per workshop, including lunch. Each workshop is limited to 25 participants.)
* Workshop 1: Fiction - Gerald Haslam & Lucy Corin
* Workshop 2: Poetry - Tim Z. Hernandez & Lawson Fusao Inada
* Workshop 3: Nonfiction - Mark Arax & JoAnn Levy
Merced Multicultural Arts Center, Classroom, Multipurpose Room, Dance Music Rehearsal Studio, and Studio

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-1:30 Merced Union High School students from the Valley Voices Poetry Program will read original work from their Footsteps in Time project. Directed by Ocean Jones
Merced Multicultural Arts Center, Studio Theater ***FREE***

1:30-3:00 Writing from the Valley: Experiences by Valley Journalists - Panel Discussion
Moderated by David Hosley, KVIE public television
Featuring panelists: Steve Magagnini, Sacramento Bee; Franz Weinschenk, Valley Writers Read (VPR 89.3 Fresno, KPRX 89.1 Bakersfield); Eduardo Stanley, Pacific News Service and KFCF 88.1; Dr. Andy's Poetry Hour (KDVS 90.3 FM); Karen Tellalian, Refine magazine.
Merced Multicultural Arts Center, Studio Theater *** FREE***

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-5:00 Do Books Matter? Building a Literary Community - Panel Discussion
Moderated by Ray Tatar, California Arts Council
Featuring panelists: Cheryl Klein, Poets & Writers; Vicki Bailey, Merced Barnes & Noble; Cindy Wathen, Yosemite Writers Conference; Steve Mettee, Quill Driver Books; Howard Lachtman, Stockton Writers Group.
Merced Multicultural Arts Center, Studio Theater. ***FREE***

5:00-5:15 Break

5:15-6:00 Keynote speech by Juan Felipe Herrera
Merced Multicultural Arts Center, Studio Theater. ***FREE***

6:00-7:00 Closing Reception ***FREE***

8:30-10:00 Open mike reading
Merced Multicultural Arts Center, Studio Theater. ***FREE**

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