County News

County News

The Update welcomes announcements of interest to the Sonoma County literary community. Send text only (no attachments or PDFs please) by noon on the last day of the month to: No workshops, classes or readings, please. (Those are posted on the calendar or workshops pages.) An archive of announcements may be found at:

Healdsburg Literary Guild Seeks New Literary Laureate

The Healdsburg Literary Guild invites applications for the position of Healdsburg Literary Laureate 2018-2020. The Healdsburg Literary Laureate is a writer honored for the quality and body of his or her work. The writer promotes Healdsburg as a center for the literary arts.

Healdsburg’s current Literary Laureate is Russ Messing who will serve until December 31, 2018. Past Laureates include, Doug Stout, 2000–2001, Armando Garcia-Dávila 2002–2003, Penelope La Montagne 2004–2005, Chip Wendt 2006–2007, Vilma Ginzberg 2008–2009, and Stefanie Freele 2010-2011, John Koetzner 2012-2013, and Gabriel Fraire 2014-2015.   Ted Calvert is currently president of the Healdsburg Literary Guild.

Interested writers from the Healdsburg, Cloverdale, Geyserville and Windsor zip codes are asked to submit the following material: writer’s resume/CV; five pages (samples) of his or her work; and a maximum of a 500-word statement of his/her vision of the Healdsburg Literary Laureate’s responsibilities and activities. In this statement, please describe what you would hope to accomplish in the years 2019–2020, share your thoughts about how the literary arts can be a tool to build a multicultural community, and tell us if you read/write/speak other languages. We want the writer to create the position in collaboration with the Guild.

Eligible candidates will be invited to read from their works on the evening of Wednesday, November 14, 2018, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Healdsburg Regional Library, 139 Piper Street, Healdsburg.

The 2019-2020 Healdsburg Literary Laureate will be selected on the basis of two elements: a review of all the applications by the Guild Board and participation in the Evening of Laureate Candidates’ Readings on November 14, 2018.

The position of Healdsburg Literary Laureate carries a $500 stipend, payable in two annual installments of $250 each.

Application guidelines can be found at the Healdsburg Literary Guild’s website,  Interested writers should send application materials by email to no later than October 4, 2018.

2018 Industry Poetry Prize

Elizabeth Carothers Herron was short-listed this summer for the 2018 Industry Poetry Prize from Frontier Poetry.

California Poets in the Schools Finds New Home & Executive Director in Sonoma County

California Poets in the Schools (CalPoets), a nationally renowned, 54-year-old nonprofit organization moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Santa Rosa, California in July, 2018 and named Meg Hamill, a Santa Rosa resident, as the new Executive Director. CalPoets serves 28,000 youth throughout California each year and is one of the nation’s largest, literary artist-in-residency programs.

The organization’s move to Sonoma County reflects the fact that local schools, parents and philanthropists place an incredibly high value upon arts education for kids. By the numbers, Sonoma County is one of CalPoets’ largest and most well-funded counties in the state, offering a top-notch literary arts education to nearly 4,000 Sonoma County students from 30 different schools each year – many from high priority neighborhoods as called out by the Portrait of Sonoma County.

In Sonoma County, CalPoets is generously supported by local funders such as Creative Sonoma, the Community Foundation of Sonoma County and the Sonoma County Vintner’s Foundation. In addition, CalPoets in Sonoma County was recently awarded $17,100 from the California Arts Council in order to fund long-term creative writing residencies in 11 Sonoma County schools for the 2018-19 school year.

CalPoets in Sonoma County provides meaningful opportunities for twelve Poet-Teachers to live and work in their local Sonoma County communities. Current and recent Poet-Teachers include Iris Jamahl Dunkle and Gwynn O’ Gara, past Poets Laureate of Sonoma County.

Newly appointed Executive Director Meg Hamill joined California Poets in the Schools as a Teaching Artist in 2007 and became the Area Coordinator for Sonoma County in 2013. Meg has over 20 years of leadership experience at national and regional educational nonprofits including Teach For America, LandPaths and Save the Bay. Hamill now has her eye on CalPoets’ future and its local and statewide presence:

“I believe deeply in the power of our work to change lives. We will continue to provide exemplary poetry lessons and activities that encourage young people to develop empathy and respect for one another. We will also seek to form partnerships and collaborate with other arts organizations and educators to meet the diverse needs of our children locally, regionally and across the state. We have our work set out for us — to ensure that our visionary organization remains at the cutting edge of our field, with deep roots and broad support.”

Meg looks forward to building relationships with the CalPoets’ Board, Poet-Teachers, partnering schools and its network of donors and friends who have helped support and encourage CalPoets’ mission for over five decades.

More information at:

Meeting Space!

The Sitting Room community library would like Book Groups to know that they would be welcome to hold their meetings here. There is comfortable seating for up to 10 people and parking too. We are open from 9 to 5 Mondays – Saturdays, but are happy to make arrangements for other time slots also. If interested in arranging a trial meeting, please call us at 707 795-9028 or email us at The atmosphere is right (and people wont have to straighten up their houses for the occasional occasion). We are right next to Sonoma State University at 2025 Curtis Drive, Penngrove, 94951. Check out our website: for directions and to get a feel for the place.

Also at the Sitting Room: Birds, Blooms and Butterflies:
Four Artists Celebrate Nature

Depictions of the natural world have inspired artists throughout time. We are pleased to have work by Krista Anandakuttan, Nina Antze, Joyce Libeu and Joanne Page currently on display at the Sitting Room. Stop by and take a moment to enjoy these beautiful drawings and learn more about the great tradition of botanical illustration. Visit 2025 Curtis in Penngrove.

how Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow

Indies Book of the Year Awards Finalist

Show Her a Flower, a Bird, a Shadow, a short story and hybrid prose collection by Peg Alford Pursell, has been selected as a 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist. Winners will be announced on June 15, 2018. The book was also honored by Poets & Writers magazine’s “Five over Fifty” annual feature in December 2017.


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  1. […] 24. To find out who’s reading and presenting at these events, click on each, or visit the County News page of the Literary Update (printed below in this email). This is the time for nominations for […]

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