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5th Annual Sierra Writer's Conference

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Jan 31–Feb 1, 8:15 AM - 5:00 PM
Rocklin Campus W 110 (Weaver Hall)
5100 Sierra College Blvd., Rocklin, CA 95677
Lynette Vrooman, lvrooman@sierracollege.edu

Event Details

Roots and Branches: Getting to the Roots of Your Writing and Branching Out

Event at Sierra CollegeWriters and language and literature lovers, come to the 2020 Sierra Writers Conference to discover new ways to approach your craft and to pursue your dreams. Meet and ask questions of successful writers and entrepreneurs who will share their secrets about writing, publishing, and marketing their work. Join us for this special two-day event of learning, sharing, growing and being inspired to renew or begin your writing journey!

Mark your calendar now. Registration opens soon. To learn more, visit: https://sites.google.com/view/sierra-writers-conference-2020/


  • Sierra College students attend for free. 
  • Early bird 1 day pass (purchased by Jan. 26, 2020): $45 for either Rocklin or Nevada County Campus
  • Early bird 2 day pass (purchased by Jan. 26, 2020): $65 for either Rocklin or Nevada County Campus
  • After Jan. 26, fees charged at the door: $65 for 1 day pass and $85 for 2 day pass
  • Critique workshops at Nevada County Campus only, $30

Day 1: Friday, Jan. 31 - 9:15 AM to 5:00 PM at Sierra College in Rocklin

: Doors Open

10:00: Pam Houston, Keynote Address

11:00–12:20: Workshops with Gary Noy, Kim Culbertson and Ingrid Keriotis

12:30–1:40: Lunch

1:45–2:40: Panel Discussion

2:45–4:00: Workshops with Rachel Rosen, Rachel Dodge and Randy White

4:15–5:00: Grant Faulkner, Keynote Address


Day 2: Saturday, Feb. 1 - 8:15 AM to 5:00 PM at Sierra College in Nevada County

8:15: Doors Open

9:00: Grant Faulkner, Keynote Address

10:00–11:15: Workshops with Kim Culbertson, Dmitri Keriotis, and Sands Hall

11:30–12:45: Workshops with Kim Bateman, Erica Mailman, and Carolyn Crane

1:00–1:45: Lunch

2:00–3:00: Pam Houston, Keynote Address

3:15–5:00: Critique Workshops



Grant Faulkner

Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the co-founder of 100 Word Story. He has published two books on writing, Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo, and Brave the Page, a teen writing guide. He’s also published a collection of 100-word stories, Fissures, and Nothing Short of 100: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story. His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including Tin House, The Southwest Review, and The Gettysburg Review, and he has been anthologized in collections such as Norton’s New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction and Best Small Fictions. His essays on creativity have been published in The New York Times, Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer.

Pam Houston

Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country, as well as two novels, Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton.

Her stories have been selected for volumes of The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Short Stories of the Century among other anthologies. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA Award for contemporary fiction, the Evil Companions Literary Award and several teaching awards.

She teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and co-founder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, which puts on between seven and ten writers gatherings per year in places as diverse as Boulder, Colorado, Tomales Bay, California and Chamonix, France.

She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level on a 120-acre homestead near the headwaters of the Rio Grande where she raises horses, donkeys, Icelandic Sheep and Irish Wolfhounds. She learned everything she knows about being a teacher and much about what she knows about being a human being from her years at Denison, and from the professors in the English department in particular.

Her father always said, “Pam, one of these days you are going to realize you spend your whole life lying in the gutter with somebody’s foot on your neck.” And then she went to Dension and her professors said, “You can do anything you want with your life as long as you work hard and keep the greater good in mind.” Needless to say it was a turning point, and so far the foot on her neck has never materialized.

Workshop Speakers:

Kim Bateman

Kim Bateman, Ph.D. is a storyteller, Psychology Professor, and an award-winning author. Her research interests include bereavement, humor, and the effects of technology on relationships. She has delivered many notable keynote addresses, including: "There's a fox under my bed and pixie dust in my hair," at the Developmental Psychology Conference, "The Psychology of Humor" at the Women’s Wellness Conference, and “College Culture through the song lyrics of Bob Marley,” at the Community College League of CA conference. She presented a TEDx talk called Singing Over Bones and is the author of a book called Crossing the Owl's Bridge: A Guide for Grieving People who Still Love (Chiron Publications, 2016) which won a New Generation Indie book award for non-fiction. She also contributed a chapter, Symbolmaking in Bereavement, to a compilation entitled, And Death Shall Have Dominion (Interdisciplinary Press, 2017) and writes a Death Dialogues blog. Dr. Bateman also serves as the Executive Dean of the Tahoe-Truckee Campus of Sierra College.

Carolyn Crane

A founding planning committee member and producer of the Sierra College Writers’ Conference, Carolyn has taught English composition, literature, critical thinking, and creative writing at a variety of institutions, including UC Davis, University of Phoenix (where she won the Perfect Storm teaching award in 2016), Sierra College, Sacramento City College, and through California Poets in the Schools. Her poetry and prose have been published in a wide range of publications including The Nation, The Birth Gazette, Flumes, Inscape, Sierra Journal, Poetry Now, and Tree Rings.

Her award-winning play Honeymoon Near Lava Lands was produced by the Sacramento Theater Company. In 2012 she established Lightcap Farm on the west slope of the Sierra and turned her attention to project-based writing coaching as well as content and copy editing. Besides growing food and flowers, the farm is a retreat and refuge for writers who enjoy either a solo retreat or work with her when they visit. Carolyn lives on the farm with her two German Shepherds, Bonnie and Hayduke, and she continues to write. Please visit https://lightcapfarm.com.

Kim Culbertson   

Kim Culbertson is the author of the YA novels Songs for a Teenage Nomad (Sourcebooks 2010), Instructions for a Broken Heart (Sourcebooks 2011), which won the 2012 Northern California Book Award for YA Fiction, Catch a Falling Star (Scholastic 2014), The Possibility of Now (Scholastic 2016), which was named a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year (2017 edition), and The Wonder of Us (Scholastic 2017, Walker Books 2018). Much of her inspiration comes from her background teaching high school since 1997. In 2012, Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students, who, over the years, have taught her far more than she has taught them. Kim lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter. Please visit www.kimculbertson.com.

Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is a Jane Austen scholar and the author of Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. She teaches writing and literature classes at Sierra College and gives talks at local book clubs, libraries, and literary groups. Rachel is a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World blog, Write That Book, Regency World Magazine, and the award-winning Inspire Writers blog. She was the keynote speaker at the Sacramento Public Library’s “How Austentatious!” series, Notable Books series, and 2014 Jane Austen Birthday Tea.

Rachel is a graduate of the University of Southern California (B.A. in English and public relations) and California State University, Sacramento (M.A. in English literature). She wrote her Master’s Thesis on etiquette in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and won the 2005 Dominic J. Bazzanella Literary Award in non-fiction for Pictures of (Im)perfection: Jane Austen’s ‘Delightful’ Elizabeth Bennet. She is an active member of Inspire Writers, JASNA, JASNA Greater Sacramento, the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Write that Book, and a writing critique group.

Sands Hall

Sands Hall's memoir, Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology (Counterpoint), a Finalist for Creative Nonfiction, Northern California Book Awards, was named a Top Ten Book in Religion and Spirituality by Publishers Weekly. Other books include the novel, Catching Heaven (Ballantine), and a volume of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft. Her stories have been published in such places as New England Review, Green Mountains Review, and Iowa Review; and her produced plays include an adaptation of Alcott’s Little Women and the comic-drama Fair Use. Also a singer/songwriter, Sands's recent CD is called Rustler’s Moon. She teaches for such conferences as the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and the Community of Writers, Squaw Valley. Please visit https://sandshall.com.

Dmitri Keriotis

Dimitri Keriotis’s debut collection of short stories, The Quiet Time, was released by SFA Press. His stories have appeared in Beloit Fiction Journal, Flyway, Georgetown Review, Evening Street Review, BorderSenses, and elsewhere. Raised in Northern California, he was educated at UC Santa Cruz, University of Nevada, Reno, CSU Chico, and CSU Stanislaus and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire and Bolivia. Keriotis is a college counselor at Modesto Junior College. He and his family live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

Ingrid Keriotis

Ingrid grew up in the little town of Fairfax in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied creative writing in the MFA program at Eastern Washington University. Returning to California in 2000, she began her teaching career at Modesto Junior College and became an active member of the local community of writers. Her poems appeared in the anthology More Than Soil, More Than Sky. Her poems have also appeared in such literary magazines as Poetry Now Online, Blue Unicorn, Steam Ticket, Stanislaus Connections, and Sisyphus. Since 2013, Ingrid has lived and taught community college students in the Sierra Nevada foothills. She has also led workshops for local groups such as Sierra Writers.

Ingrid is inspired by the wild nature of California, her writing students, her children, and poets such as Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Ellen Bass, Tracy K. Smith, Indigo Moor, and Molly Fisk. When it comes to writing poetry, she believes in Richard Hugo’s advice: “You owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything.” Her philosophy about the creative process is that we must always be aware of its two-fold nature: first comes the expression itself, and that must be recognized as something quite fragile. Then, ideally, the sharing of that writing can follow. The value of critiques and support from a community of fellow writers cannot be underestimated, and Ingrid deeply values the inspiration and guidance she receives from other writers in Nevada County and beyond.

Erika Mailman

Erika Mailman is the author of The Witch's Trinity, a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book; Woman of Ill Fame, nominated for a Pushcart Press Editor's Book Award; and The Murderer's Maid: a Lizzie Borden Novel, which won an IPPY gold medal in historical fiction and was a National Indie Excellence winner. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Arizona, and has been a Yaddo fellow and Bram Stoker Award finalist. Under the pen name Lynn Carthage, her young adult trilogy includes Haunted, Betrayed and Avenged. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone, Wine Enthusiast, and more. She is a former community college English adjunct and mediabistro writing instructor; she currently teaches a 10-week novel writing class online through her Mailstrom Writing Clinic. Visit www.erikamailman.com.

Gary Noy

Gary Noy has taught history at Sierra Community College from 1987 to the present. The son and grandson of Cornish hardrock gold miners, Gary was born in Grass Valley. Gary is the founder and former director of the Sierra College Center for Sierra Nevada Studies and Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the Sierra College Press. In 2005, Gary was honored as the "Sierra College Instructor of the Year." In 2006, the Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA), a national historical society, selected Gary as “Educator of the Year.”

Gary is the author of Distant Horizon: Documents from the 19th Century American West (1999); co-editor, with Rick Heide, of The Illuminated Landscape: A Sierra Nevada Anthology (2010); author of Sierra Stories: Tales of Dreamers, Schemers, Bigots and Rogue (2014); Gold Rush Stories: 49 Tales of Seekers, Scoundrels, Loss and Luck (2017), and the upcoming Hellacious California! Tales of Rascality! Revelry! Dissipation! Depravity! and the Birth of the Golden State (release date June 2020). Sierra Stories was the 2016 winner of the Gold Medal for Best Regional Nonfiction from the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Rachel Rosen

Rachel Rosen Teferet graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Fine Arts and a penchant for photoshopping the world with her eyes. She is a writer and editor and works in content development and PR. Her work has been published by Subprimal Poetry Art, The Tishman Review, Page & Spine, Black Rabbit Quarterly, Slink Chunk Press, Manawaker Podcast, Sierra College Literary Magazine as the winner of the 2016 Flash Fiction Contest, and more. Her play The Necromancer’s Daughter has been performed at Synthetic Unlimited in Nevada City, California.

Since 2012, she has submitted over 200 pieces of poetry, short stories, and visual art to literary magazines around the world. And according to Duotrope, her acceptance ratio is higher than the average for members who have submitted to the same markets. She has over 3,000 followers on her blog lettersandfeathers.wordpress.com, over 5,000 followers on Twitter as @art4earthlings, and many writing tips and cute pictures of her dog on Instagram @rachelteferet.

Randy White

Randy White is the author of Blood Transparencies: An Autobiography in Verse which was nominated for both the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Autobiography / Biography and the 2017 Kirkus Prize. He is also the author of Motherlode/La Veta Madre. He has been awarded the Bazzanella Literary Award for both poetry and short fiction. His work has appeared in the Range of Light Anthology, From These Hills: Stories and Poems of The American West, Sulfur, Sierra Journal, Poetry Now, News From Native California and other magazines. A short story In the Mouth of Heaven was nominated to appear in the anthology: Best New Voices in American Fiction.

He serves on the Editorial Board of the Sierra College Press and gives readings of both poetry, fiction and biography. He has appeared at the University of Oklahoma, CSU Chico, The University of Arizona, Southern Oregon College and other venues as well as being sponsored to lecture on writing by Poets & Writers Inc.
Currently, he is completing a biography of the Native Californian known as Ishi, and a young adult novel River Sons and Daughters about a boy who uses the power of story to save a river and his community from destruction.



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