Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Sign In
Navigate Up

NewsRoom

Local Poet to teach at nationally-renowned Napa Valley Writers' Conference

More than a dozen literary events open to the public July 29 – Aug. 3

In its 38-year history, the Napa Valley Writers' Conference has hosted visiting authors whose accolades include National Book Awards, MacArthur Foundation fellowships, and teaching posts at top writing programs around the country.

But this year for the first time, one of those featured authors will not only be widely acclaimed, but home grown.

Jane Mead is the author of five collections of poetry, the most recent of which, World of Made and Unmade, was a finalist for the Griffin Prize and the Los Angeles Times Poetry Prize.  She's been honored with a Whiting Writers Award, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, and has taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

She's also a Napa County resident, who for the past 15 years has managed her family's ranch and grape growing operation.

"We're lucky to have such a talented author in our midst and are proud to showcase her work and her teaching," said conference executive director Angela Pneuman.

Mead will give the week's opening reading at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, the conference's sponsor, on Sunday, July 29. The conference continues through Aug. 3.

Along with Mead, three other poets and four fiction writers will lead intensive workshops during the week and appear at a series of events open to the public.

Readers, book club members, and other supporters of the literary arts can attend daytime lectures at the Upper Valley Campus and evening readings at area wineries, as well as free pre-reading discussions slated for the St. Helena Public Library.

Evening readings will be held Sunday, July 29, through Wednesday, Aug. 1, and cost $20 per person, with free admission for students. The afternoon discussion sessions at the library will be led by Bay Area poet Caroline Goodwin Monday, July 30, through Wednesday, Aug. 1, and will focus on the authors slated to read at the wineries each evening.

Admission to the daytime lectures costs $25 apiece, or $15 for students. Two readings featuring the conference's student participants are open to the public for free.

Further details and author bios are available on the conference Web site, www.napawritersconference.org. The full lineup of public events:

Sunday, July 29
•    7 p.m.: Poet Jane Mead and fiction writer Mat Johnson will read at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena. A half-hour wine reception will open the event, with the evening's program beginning at 7:30.

Monday, July 30
•    9 a.m.: Brenda Hillman will give a talk about poetry titled "Finding a Form for 'Unacceptable' Emotions," at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena.
•    1:30 p.m.: Lan Samantha Chang will give a talk about writing fiction titled "Writing Large," at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena.
•    4:30 p.m.: Caroline Goodwin will discuss the works of Camille T. Dungy and Howard Norman at the St. Helena Public Library, 1492 Library Lane, St. Helena.
•    6 p.m.: Poet Camille T. Dungy and fiction writer Howard Norman will read at Merryvale Vineyards, 1000 Main St., St. Helena. A half-hour wine reception will open the event, with the evening's program beginning at 6:30.
•    4-10 p.m.: "Dine and Donate" at Gott's Roadside, 933 Main St., St. Helena, with a percentage of purchases at the burger stand benefiting the conference.
 
Tuesday, July 31
•    9 a.m.: Jane Mead will give a talk about poetry titled "Voice in Poetry" at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena.
•    1:30 p.m.: Mat Johnson will give a talk about writing fiction titled "Order vs. Chaos in Storytelling" at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena.
•    4:30 p.m.: Caroline Goodwin will discuss the works of Carl Phillips and Lauren Groff at the St. Helena Public Library, 1492 Library Lane, St. Helena.
•    6 p.m.: Poet Carl Phillips and fiction writer Lauren Groff will read at Pine Ridge Vineyards, 5901 Silverado Trail, Napa. A half-hour wine reception will open the event, with the evening's program beginning at 6:30.

Wednesday, Aug. 1
•    7 a.m. - 7 p.m.: "Caffeinate and Donate" at the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Co., 1400 Oak Ave. (at Adams St.), St. Helena, with a percentage of purchases at the café benefiting the conference.
•    9 a.m.: Camille T. Dungy will give a talk about poetry titled " The Writer Is the One Who: Some Practical Thoughts on Practice," at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena.
•    1:30 p.m.: Howard Norman will give a talk about writing fiction titled "Influence" at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena.
•    3 p.m.: Napa Valley Writers' Conference student participants will read from their work at the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, 1400 Oak Ave. (at Adams St.), St. Helena, with a percentage of purchases at the café benefiting the conference.
•    4:30 p.m.: Caroline Goodwin will discuss the works of Brenda Hillman and Lan Samantha Chang at the St. Helena Public Library, 1492 Library Lane, St. Helena.
•    6 p.m.: Poet Brenda Hillman and fiction writer Lan Samantha Chang will read at Robert Mondavi Winery, 7801 St. Helena Highway, Oakville. A half-hour wine reception will open the event, with the evening's program beginning at 6:30.

Thursday, Aug. 2
•    9 a.m.: Carl Phillips will give a talk about poetry titled "Poetry and Muscularity" at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena.
•    1:30 p.m.: Lauren Groff will give a talk about writing fiction titled "Breaking the Bones" at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena.
•    6:30 p.m.: Free participant reading at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena. Students at the conference will take the stage on the closing night to read their best works.

For more about the conference's visiting faculty writers, and full details about the event schedule, visit napawritersconference.org. To join the conference community online, "like" the conference at facebook.com/napawriters or follow twitter.com/napawriters.