Workshop to be Held on April 15, 2017: Publishing Your Chapbook

The Manzanita Writers’ Series presents a workshop “Publishing Your Chapbook: for poetry chapbooks, books of short stories/essays” on April 15, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

We are currently enjoying a small press renaissance, with countless publishing options for emerging authors. From submitting to reputable chapbook publishers to creating handmade, locally printed, limited editions of your work, the world has never been more open to an author’s specific vision.

Join award-winning poet and literary agent John Sibley Williams for this hands-on workshop exploring the ins-and-outs of organizing and publishing your chapbook. For writers of both poetry and prose, “Publishing your Chapbook” will guide you all the way from inspiration to publication.

John Sibley Williams serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as both a literary agent and Marketing Director of Portland-based Inkwater Press. He is the editor of two Northwest literary anthologies and the author of nine poetry collections, including Disinheritance and Controlled Hallucinations. A five-time Pushcart nominee and winner of the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Vallum Award for Poetry, John has an MA in Creative Writing from Rivier College and an MA in Book Publishing from Portland State University.

The workshop will be held at the Hoffman Center for the Arts and tuition is $40.  Register using the button below.

Manzanita Writers’ Series Announces 2017 Schedule

Manzanita Writers’ Series announces the 2017 Schedule, entering its 9th year of programming.

We’ll kick off the year on February 18 with Arthur Bradford reading from Turtle Face and Beyond. Other authors include Laurie Frankel, This Is How It Always Is, Jonathan White, Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, Pauls Toutonghi, Dog Gone, Diana Abu-Jaber, Life Without a Recipe, and Ingrid Thoft, Duplicity.

All of the authors will teach writing workshops during the day. Topics range widely, from Mastering Murder, to Culinary Memoir, to What Writers Can Learn from South Park. Check back soon for workshop details, schedule and registration information .

Also, watch for information on another new workshop option. We’ll be running two online writing workshops during May that culminate in a weekend retreat at the coast to meet your teacher and fellow students, to further workshop and then read from the work created during the online course.

After the success and great response to last year’s weekend format for PoetryFest, we’ll again host a full weekend of events on April 1 and 2,  with Carl Adamshick and Emily Kendal Frey.

The Manzanita Writers’ Series will host a number of added special events for 2017.

On April 15, John Sibley Williams will conduct a workshop on Publishing Your Chapbook: for poetry chapbooks and books of short stories or essays.

On July 29, Liz Prato, Author of Baby’s On Fire, will conduct the workshop Writing Outside the Box, which had to be cancelled in 2016 due to inclement weather.

The admission price for author events will be $7. Workshop fees vary by workshop so check back soon for details and registration.

This year we continue to have a suggested theme for Open Mic for each event. Writers are welcome to write to theme for their 5-minute piece although it is not a requirement.  Themes will be announced in advance of each event.


Former Oregon Coast Reporter Presents First Novel

wander_imgThe Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita will host a book reading by Lori Tobias, author of “Wander” Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. Tobias is the former coastal reporter for The Oregonian. “Wander” is her first novel.

Set in the 1980s in the rural community of Bidarkee Bay, Alaska (a fictional area the size of a small state with a population of barely 20,000), “Wander” is the story of Patrice “Pete” Nash, a young broadcast reporter who finds herself facing the winter alone after her husband, Nate, accepts a job on “the slope.”

As Pete pursues the next big breaking news story, she strikes up a friendship with the new guy in town, the Ivy League-educated Ren, who recites poetry and lives in the family-owned, vacant inn. Their friendship offers a glimpse of a different kind of life — one that seems to Pete to offer everything marriage to the country-raised Nate does not.

But unbeknown to Pete, Ren has come to Alaska for his own dark reason—to end his life. By the time, Nate returns home, their lives have been irrevocably changed. One man is dead, two others missing and a third forever lost to them.

Lori Tobias is journalist and writer of more than 25 years, including time at the Rocky Mountain News as a columnist and features writer, and most recently as a staff writer for The Oregonian, for which she covered the Oregon Coast for more than a decade. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband Chan and rescue pup Mugsy.

Copies of “Wander” will be available for sale and autographing at the reading.


Launch Party for 5th Edition of the North Coast Squid on October 8

squid-5-coverManzanita Writers’ Series celebrates the launch of the 5th Edition of the North Coast Squid literary journal at 7 pm on Saturday, October 8. The event will be held at the Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita. Admission is free.

The fifth North Coast Squid literary magazine showcases work of writers and artists who live on the north coast or have a strong connection to the area. Seventy-seven writers submitted 160 pieces. Thirty-eight submissions were chosen by outside judges. Judith Barrington judged poetry, Cari Luna judged fiction and Brian Benson judged non-fiction.

The category for young writers was judged by the editors of Tattoo Magazine, a national award-winning high school literary and art publication based in Shoreline, WA, and previously advised by Andy Barker, a member of the North Coast Squid editorial team.

The Squid includes art and photography from local artists as well.

The expenses are covered through fundraising, in-kind donations of design time, and with Squid sales.

The release event will feature selected author readings from the North Coast Squid, as well as a gallery showing of some of the photography and art published in the magazine.  There will be refreshments—including cake!

The North Coast Squid will be available for purchase at the event, as well as at every Manzanita Writers’ Series event throughout 2016/2017.  A number of retail outlets along the coast will also carry it. Proceeds of the $7 cover price will go to produce future editions of the magazine.

For further information contact Kathie Hightower,








Writers’ Series Presents Special Event: Author Megan Kruse and Hawthorne Books Publisher Rhonda Hughes

Megan Kruse (left) and Rhonda Hughes celebrate publication of Call Me Home

Megan Kruse (left) and Rhonda Hughes celebrate publication of Call Me Home

The Manzanita Writers’ Series sponsors a special event : “Inside the Publisher/Author Relationship,” with an author reading and conversation between  Megan Kruse and Hawthorne Books publisher Rhonda Hughes , at 7pm at the Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita on Saturday, July 16, 2016. Kruse will also conduct a writing workshop during the day.

Call Me Home is Kruse’s debut novel, released from Hawthorne Books in March 2015, with an introduction by Elizabeth Gilbert. The book won the 2015 Rainbow Award for Gay Contemporary Fiction.

Kruse will read from her novel. Then she and Hughes will talk about how to get published and the editing process that follows, an inside view into the publisher/author relationship.

Kruse grew up in the Pacific Northwest and currently lives in Olympia. She studied creative writing at Oberlin College and earned her MFA at the University of Montana. Her work has appeared widely in journals and anthologies. She teaches fiction at Eastern Oregon University’s Low-Residency MFA program, Hugo House, and Gotham Writers Workshop. She was one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” for 2015.

Rhonda Hughes is the publisher at Hawthorne Books in Portland, Oregon. Now in its 14th year, Hawthorne has published literary fiction and nonfiction to consistent critical acclaim and numerous awards. Film options and publishing rights to Hawthorne’s works have been sold worldwide. “If we specialize in anything, it’s in finding superb writing which might be overlooked by larger houses, and giving it the attention it deserves.” The Manzanita Writers’ Series has hosted other Hawthorne authors including Lidia Yuknavitch, Ariel Gore and Karen Karbo.

Prior to founding Hawthorne, Ms. Hughes had an extensive career in book production and printing. She holds a Master of Arts in English Literature and completed the Yale Publishing Course.

There will be no Open Mic session for this special event.

Admission for the evening reading is $7.

Kruse will present a writing workshop during the day on “Crafting Emotion.”

Learn how to use object potential and transcendent details to create work that resonates deeply with the reader. Megan Kruse will help students understand the craft tools that really make pieces feel affecting, almost magic. Useful to all genres.

The workshop will be held from 1 to 3:30 pm on July 16. The fee is $30; register here.


Workshop: Crafting a Strong Book Proposal on Feb 20th

chip macgregorLongtime literary agent Chip MacGregor has represented nearly a thousand books, and each one was sold to the publisher based on a strong proposal. In this fun, information-packed workshop, we’ll explore the big picture of a proposal (What is the purpose of a proposal? What is the publisher looking for?), then we’ll get into the nitty-gritty details of what goes into a strong fiction or nonfiction proposal. Finally, we’ll explore what makes one proposal stand out from the crowd. Chip will also spend some time talking about how to pitch your work, and will leave time for you to ask your questions about the process.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, February 20th, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hoffman Center for the Arts.

Tuition is $30.  Click here to register.

Chip MacGregor is the president of MacGregor LIterary, Inc., a full-service literary agency that works with authors around the country. Chip has been working in the publishing industry for nearly four decades, and made his living as a freelance writer and editor for several years. He is the author of numerous books, including a couple of bestselling nonfiction titles, and formerly served as a publisher with Time-Warner Book Group. He began working as an agent eighteen years ago, and has represented nearly a thousand titles. The authors he represents have won numerous writing awards, and their books have been on all the bestseller lists — New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Amazon, etc. Ten years ago he began his own literary agency, and over the past several years he has consistently been one of the busiest literary agents in the United States. He works with both fiction and nonfiction titles. Chip has an undergraduate degree from Portland State University, a master’s from Biola University, did doctoral work at the University of Oregon, and post-doc work at Oxford University. A well-known speaker at writing conferences and via online writing sites, he lives on the Oregon coast.


Manzanita Writers’ Series announces the schedule and judges for the 5th Edition of the North Coast Squid Literary Journal

ink the squid button art v3Manzanita Writers’ Series announces the schedule and judges for the 5th Edition of the North Coast Squid, a Journal for Local Writing.

The fifth North Coast Squid literary magazine, which showcases work of writers and artists who live on the north Oregon coast or have a strong connection to the area, will be published in October 2016.

Submissions will be accepted from March 1 through May 31, 2016. Submissions are accepted for fiction, nonfiction (to include memoir), and poetry. We also have a Young Writers category. All submissions are selected in a blind judging by authors/poets outside the coastal area. Submissions of art and photos will also be solicited for cover art and inside art. Watch for coming detailed submission guidelines.

With submissions possible thru May 31, take advantage of all our upcoming writing workshops to help you submit your best work — workshops on humor, personal essay, poetry, and more!  Click here.  Also we have Writing Lounge every Tuesday from 10:30 to 1pm at the Hoffman Center, with a drop-in fee of $5, where you can get feedback on your writing from fellow writers.

Judith Barrington will judge poetry for the North Coast Squid. She is the award-winning author of four poetry collections, two poetry chapbooks, a prizewinning memoir, and a text on writing literary memoir. Her work has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. Her latest collection, The Conversation, resulted from one poem winning the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition in 2013, which resulted in an Irish publisher bringing out her work in a new book.

Brian Benson will judge nonfiction. He is author of Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America. Benson teaches writing at the Attic in Portland and is currently working on The River Signal, an original radio story written on a paddlewheel riverboat as it floats the Mississippi.

Cari Luna will judge fiction. The Oregonian named Luna’s debut novel, The Revolution of Every Day, a Top 10 Northwest Book of 2013. The book received great reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, BUST Magazine, and Portland Mercury and was chosen as Book of the Week by editors at Luna is a graduate of the MFA fiction program at Brooklyn College, and her writing has appeared in Salon, Jacobin, PANK, Avery Anthology, failbetter, Novembre Magazine, and elsewhere.

Our Young Writer category accepts submissions in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for young writers age 18 and under.  The three best submissions, regardless of category, are selected by the editors of Tattoo Magazine, a national award-winning high school literary and art publication based in Shoreline, WA.

Book Launch Set at Hoffman Center

Kessler Book Cover 4072Lauren Kessler will launch her latest book “Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, and My Midlife Quest to Dance the Nutcracker” Saturday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita.s

Kessler is an American author, and immersion journalist who specializes in narrative nonfiction. She is also a professor at the University of Oregon where she directs the Writing Initiative in the School of Journalism and Communication

When she was 12, Kessler’s instructor crushed not just her dreams of being a ballerina but also her youthful self-assurance. Many decades and three children later, Kessler embarked on a journey to join a professional company and perform in Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” ballet.

“My book is a story about shaking things up, taking risks and ignoring good sense, and forgetting how old you are and how you’re ‘supposed’ to act,” said Kessler. “It’s about testing limits and raising the bar(re) on your own life.”

Cloud and Leaf Bookstore in Manzanita is sponsoring the book launch.

Brian Benson will read from his book Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America – Saturday, September 19

brian bensonBrian Benson will read from his book Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America at the Hoffman Center for the Arts at 7pm on Saturday, September 19, 2015

Brian will also teach a writing workshop during the day on “The Elusive Art of Funny Ha-Ha.” Whether you want to use humor in fiction or nonfiction, join Brian to learn how to find the funny in your writing. We’ll read strong examples, discuss humor in writing and do a guided write. Bring a short (500-word max) piece for critique. The workshop fee is $30 and the workshop will run from 10-12:30 at the Hoffman Center for the Arts. Register here

Brian didn’t plan to write a book when he set out on his 2,500-mile bike trip across country with a new girlfriend. Later, inspired to write by teachers like Cheryl Strayed and Karen Karbo, he created a memoir that is as much about an internal journey and relationship journey as it is about a bike ride.

“Brian Benson’s new memoir about the journeys we take and how they shape the people we become is not to be missed.” — BookPage

“An utterly addictive read… You won’t be able to tear yourself away from this sharp-eyed, hilarious memoir.” — Powell’

Brian’s bio reveals a meandering journey to writing. “Over the years, I’ve built rock walls in northern Michigan and played jazz guitar in western Guatemala. I’ve edited a magazine for bohemian travelers and served egg rolls to Madisonian suburbanites. I’ve taught Spanish to five-year-olds and English to fifty-year-olds and helped people learn to fix tiny bikes for tiny children. And all of this, in its own way, has led me to writing. These days, I spend my mornings putting words to paper and my nights teaching writing workshops, most often at the Attic Institute.” Brian’s new project is The River Signal, an original radio story written on a paddlewheel riverboat as it floats the Mississippi.

Following Benson’s reading and Q&A, we’ll have our popular Open Mic where up to nine local writers will read 5 minutes of their original work. The suggested (not required) theme for the evening’s Open Mic is “Me and My Bike.”

Admission for the evening is $7.

Can Artists and Writers See Through Each Other’s Eyes?

birdsFifteen artists and writers are immersed in a unique creative experience this summer at the coast, trying to see through each other’s eyes in their own creative process.

They are taking part in a new program at the Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita.

Titled “Word & Image: A Dialog Between Writers and Artists,” the program paired artists and writers to create original pieces, each in response to the other’s work.

The Hoffman Center for the Arts is known for its variety of programming for all of the creative arts, with the Writers’ Series, Clay Studio, art workshops and shows, Friday Night Flicks, and musical events.

This summer, two women launched a program to combine two of those arts, spurring artists and writers to leave their comfort zones for this different kind of creative process.

Emily Ransdell is a poet with an MFA in Creative Writing. A past recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, she is currently a member of The Poet’s Studio at The Attic Institute in Portland. Deborah DeWit, a full-time painter and photographer for 35 years, has exhibited widely. Her work is included in many private and public collections throughout the Pacific Northwest.

“Writers have been writing in response to art for centuries,” said Ransdell. “We thought it would be interesting to try a modern take on the tradition by letting artists have their turn as well.”

Ransdell described the project as a spin-off of the Hoffman’s weekly Writing Lounge, where local writers create short pieces in response to various prompts, often resulting in works that surprise the authors themselves.
Whereas artists and writers usually generate works that reflect their own experience and vision of the world, this project compels them to respond to someone else’s vision of the world.

“This way of finding subject matter for an art piece is both similar and different than the way I usually work,” says artist Lori Dillon, “a lot of the time I do get inspired by an event, series of events, or my own poetry/writing in my head.  So the difference is that I’m being ‘led to create’ by someone else’s voice.”

“One key thing here,” adds Ransdell, “There are no rules. No set process. The artist and writer can choose to meet or not, discuss or not, share results ahead or not. The whole goal of this was for people to experiment.”

Everyone seems to be approaching it differently. Some have looked at other works by the artist and writer. Some met once to discuss, others not at all. Some pairs are exchanging process progress and results all along the way.

Artist Vera Wildauer and poet Phyllis Mannan were matched and chose not to meet or discuss their process.
“It might be good to see the original,” Mannan wrote Wildauer in an email, “but I don’t think I want to hear the background, at least not right away. I want to let my unconscious mind work a bit first.”

“I rarely work from a picture or photograph when I write,” Mannan added in an interview, “so this way of working was unfamiliar to me. I learned to closely study the nuances of a scene, to question the relationship between people and objects. I hope to use the process of careful questioning in future work.”

“I was immediately drawn to one of Phyllis’ three poems,” Wildauer describes working from the other direction, “since it included so many images and evoked so much meaning about the ‘real world’ versus faith — with some odd juxtapositions. I had a great time with it, finding mixed media to lend itself to the process perhaps more than other forms.”
Writer Aina Tonjes and artist Cathi Howell did choose to meet.

“I got two pieces to choose from,” says Tonjes, “and after meeting with Cathi in person one of them became much more relevant than the other. I did need to know what exactly moved her to put those shapes down, and without having talked about it I don’t think I would have been able to motivate myself to write.”

“I wasn’t sure how to best write about Deborah’s piece at first,” Ransdell said. The two coordinators are taking on the same challenge as all the participants. “I didn’t want to just describe. I wanted to evoke something.”
She remembered a technique that poet and teacher Andrea Hollander used during a PoetryFest workshop in Manzanita. Hollander had the participants choose six words and work from there.

“So I chose six words that Deborah’s piece made me think of and I’m working from those,” Ransdell adds, “It’s definitely a technique I’ll use again. I was surprised and pleased; it’s a different kind of poem for me.”

The thirty participants range in age from 15 to mid-80’s, and come from as far away as Long Beach Peninsula and Portland to those who live full or part time in Manzanita, Nehalem and Wheeler. At the evening event where participants were paired up,

Juleen Johnson attended via Facetime. Her husband held up an iPad so Juleen could see the audience and the event from her location attending the Iowa Writers Conference in Iowa City, Iowa.

The event has certainly paired up people who might never have interacted otherwise. 15-year-old writer Elizabeth Johnson brought her parents along from Long Beach, Washington, to meet with photographer Steve Jones, 61.

Artist Karen Gale said “the biggest surprise was to find how much my partner Deb Simmons and I had in common both in our styles and in our lives. We are the perfect partnership!”

Simmons responded in an email to the same interview question whether anything surprised her about the process with “the friendship that has formed with MY artist!”

“I think all of us feel like the bar is kind of high,” says Dewit, “I need to do something worthy. Plus it’s just one piece of art or writing, not one of many of your works in one place. And everyone feels a commitment to each other, to honor their work.”

“What a challenge this has been, what a stretch,” adds Simmons, “The bottom line is to come up with something ‘worthy’ of the artwork, which I admire and love.”

The results will be unveiled at an opening reception and reading at the Hoffman Center for the Arts on Saturday, August 29, open to the public. Each pairing will be printed as a frame-able art piece and offered for sale as a souvenir for people who come to the show.

The project might well become a recurring event. After all, it exemplifies the Hoffman Center for the Arts’ tagline and goal: Explore. Create. Connect.

And who knows, it might inspire other projects.  “This is such a unique event!” says Lori Dillon, “Now I’m thinking about the concept of pairing musicians and writers and visual artists.  Whoa, doesn’t that sound crazy and good?