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September 2021
Sierra Writers Conference supports Nevada and Placer County writers of all genres and skill levels. 

FREE Online Community Event
October 1, 2021 

10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Zoom Link

Featured Speakers & Topics

Michelle Johnson, Sierra College, Professor of English - Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurisms – We Are Stories
Kim Bateman, Sierra College, Executive Dean of the Tahoe/Truckee Campus  - The Image that Came to Life
Jen Vernon, Sierra College, Professor of Communication Studies - Good Grief! Writing to Heal
Gary Noy, Sierra College, Professor of History - Hellacious California – Questions and Answers about Tales of Rascality, Revelry, Dissipation, and Depravity in the Golden State

Stories Change Brain Matter
& Influence the Future


Writers shape our understanding of history and outline possible tomorrows. Stories can inspire thoughtful inclusiveness and respect.

In the video below, learn how science is looking at brain mechanisms that change while we read. Listen to the Code Switch podcast to explore why (re)imagining the past is so important.

How stories shape our minds | The science of storytelling | BBC
video: How stories shape our minds
click image to view video

Code Switch NPR PODCAST - Investigating a Family Love Story Myth and Discovering What Really Happened - We Aren't Who We Think We Are - Leah Donnella

"Every family has a myth — in some cases, an entire mythology — about where they came from and who they are. And there are a lot of reasons people tell these stories."

Stories Matter
Lisa Redfern

The internal stories we tell – about our identity – are made up of personal experiences, our historical perspectives, and our family history. In today’s culture, we find that news, politics, and social media heavily influence community thinking and behavior.

Stories matter. The importance of storytelling  - of the past and future – is the focus of both upcoming Sierra Writers Conference (SWC) events.  On October 1st, we’ll investigate the past. The Sierra Writers Conference (February 10-12th, 2022) will be future-oriented, highlighting the sci-fi genre.

Discussions, workshops, and activities delve into the mechanics of storytelling and help writers of every skill level and genre continue to evolve their craft.

Join us for a FREE community day of learning, thinking, and developing your writing on October 1st, 2021.

If you're planning to attend, help spread the word.
Click here to grab social media sharable graphics. 


Behind-the-Scenes Conference Planning
 Lynette Vrooman

Believe it or not, conference planning starts relatively early in the year.  Now that we’ve produced several Sierra Writers Conferences, we really start about a month after the previous year’s event.  We gather to discuss improvements, what went well and what did not, and then we brainstorm about trends and themes for upcoming events.

Often this conversation begins with the theme: what is the focus?  Of course, this can be a robust and sometimes confusing discussion, but eventually we hone down our ideas and then begin the schedule.  Again, this can be difficult because we have so many good ideas.  

Once we have a schedule, we have to invite and book speakers.  The Sierra Writers Conference has been blessed with amazing writers, local and not-so-local. We were so lucky to have writers donate their time for our first conference, which then gave us the seed money to continue. Today, SWC is not only supported through the community via ticket sales, but it is also supported by Sierra College Press through the Foundation, Sierra College Friends of the Library, Sierra College’s President’s Office, as well as the Vice Presidents of Instruction and Student Services, and not least of all but perhaps most of, our fabulous students, the Associated Students of Sierra College.   

The rest of conference production requires a good deal of coordination between the planning committee members, Sierra College management, faculty, and staff, the Foundation, and our visiting writers. We ask for requisite material from our speakers.  Lisa Redfern builds our website for conference-attendees. I write and edit promotional materials and make a request  for Sierra College Marketing to get the word out to our community and students. Then comes the hard part; we work out all the logistics in advance: ticket sales on Eventbrite, room reservations, stage setting, custodial and technical support, food services (if provided), paying presenters, and organizing how to get attendees where they need to be from beginning to end. This often includes a lot of paperwork and requests of Sierra College employees.  Last year, logistics involved holding a conference completely online for the first time with writers presenting from the East Coast and attendees having to check into a virtual waiting room. Behind the screen, several of us were making sure all went according to plan.  We never would have been successful without April Cadran, Sierra College staff, who held everything together.  We were all exhausted by the end of the day.  It was a learning experience to say the least.   

Indeed, stories matter.  Every year we have a story to tell about our conference and that story shapes what we do in the future.  We always want to inform and inspire.  Just as writing is a process of imagination, creation, reflection, revision, and editing, so too is the Sierra Writers Conference.  We try to hone our craft and produce something better every time.  

For this next year’s event, we are planning a mixed format, which means we will have both online and on-ground activities. It takes our entire group and many Sierra College employees to make it all happen.  Regardless, the effort is worth it, and we anticipate an amazing conference, just like all the others.  I’m sure we will have some good stories to tell after it’s over.  

Please consider making a donation
to support community author development events.  Click here.
Under “I want to support” select “SC Press.”

Editor Recommended Read

Hope Matters by Elin Kelsey
But, there are bats
who catch fish
and slime molds that sing

and ancient Greenland sharks
who don't even reach sexual maturity
until they are 150 years old.

This is what I want to say 
to those who believe 
the Earth is already doomed:

Just look at the capacity
of this
gloriously complex planet.

"In a time when so much of the news on biodiversity is depressing, Kelsey reminds us that there are good reasons to be hopeful. This book is a tonic in hard times."  - Claudia Dreifus, author of Scientific Conversations: Interviews on Science from the New York Times


Please consider making a donation
to support community author development events.  Click here.
Under “I want to support” select “SC Press.”

Conference Sponsors
Make a tax-deductible donation to support
 community writing development events.
Directions: Click the "Donate Now" button,
then under "I want to support" select "SC Press."
Sierra Writers Conference Newsletter is compiled and edited by Lisa Redfern and Lynette Vrooman.
Copyright © 2021   Sierra Writers Conference, All rights reserved.

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Sierra Writers · P.O. Box 1595 · Grass Valley, CA 95945 · USA

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