Though writing is mostly a solitary endeavor, writers and poets of all skill levels often gather to inspire and encourage each other at workshops, conferences and retreats, joined by literary-minded members of the public. In that spirit of mutual support, the fifth annual SummerWords Creative Writing Festival will be held at American River College, Thursday-Sunday, May 26-29, organized by ARC’s creative-writing staff.
The seminar will offer a menu of panel discussions and hands-on workshops in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenplay writing and memoir, conversations with authors and editors, readings by published writers and poets, expert advice and more.
The keynote reading will be by Luis Alberto Urrea, the acclaimed author of 16 books (“The Water Museum,” “The Devil’s Highway”) and a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
“SummerWords represents the creative-writing faculty’s desire to give back to the community beyond our usual course offerings and to promote creative writing in the region,” said creative-writing professor Michael Spurgeon, co-founder of the colloquium and author of “Let the Water Hold Me Down.”
Full-event admission to SummerWords is $95 at www.summerwords.com, where you can also fine a schedule of events and a map of the campus. Admission includes a package of three books by ARC faculty, published by ARC’s Ad Lumen press: “One Day Soon Time Will Have No Place Left to Hide” by Christian Kiefer (also the author of “The Animals” and “The Infinite Tides”), “Tina Goes To Heaven” by Lois Ann Abraham and “Salvation on Mission Street” by Cathy Arellano.
All SummerWords sessions will be held on campus in the Student Center, the Library Building and the ARC Theater, 4700 College Oak Drive, Sacramento. 916-484-8101.
In another event in the spirit of mutual support, seven local authors from the Sacramento branch of the California Writers Club will converge at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 15, to discuss networking. They’re Jo Chandler (“This Side of Forever”), Kathy Boyd Fellure (“The Blake Sisters Adventures”), David Hagerty (“They Tell Me You Are Wicked”), Steven Liddick (“All That Time”), Richard Steele (“The Money Run”), Nanci Lee Woody (“Tears and Trombones”) and Margie Yee Webb (“Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings”). At Face in a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills; 916-941-9401, www.getyourfaceinabook.com:
‘Let’s Talk About …’
The Sacramento Public Library’s provocative community-conversation series “Let’s Talk About …” is designed to “engage the community in a deeper discussion about difficult-to-talk-about subjects,” and provides resources for people to educate themselves on those topics. The series debuted in February with a conversation on race relations. Now the topic is death and dying.
Facilitating the discussion will be author Caitlin Doughty and local law enforcement volunteer chaplain Jenny Ebinger. In her memoir, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (W.W. Norton, $16, 272 pages), Doughty brings a sense of gallows humor and a dose of practicality as she recounts her experience working in a Bay Area crematorium. Now a mortician, she is the founder of the death-acceptance collective The Order of the Good Death, and hosts the “Ask a Mortician” YouTube series.
“We believe people aren’t talking enough about important issues, and that we’ve lost the art of conversation and tackling difficult subjects with one another,” said library executive director Rivkah Sass. “This particular topic is more personal for me now because my husband died suddenly a few months ago. I know from personal experience the importance of having those difficult conversations in advance, as well as being prepared.”
The conversation starts at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento. Register at www.letstalksacramento.org. A book- signing will follow. Information: 916-264-2920.
Meet the authors
One way for independent bookstores to get readers through their door is by sponsoring author appearaces, such as these:
▪ At the Avid Reader At Tower, 1600 Broadway, Sacramento; 916-441-4400, www.avidreaderattower.com:
Dorothy Rice for “The Reluctant Artist,” 2 p.m. Saturday, May 14.
Richard Davis for “Dissonance,” 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14.
Marcia Williams for “You’re Not Crazy! It’s Menopause,” 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21
Joe Genshlea for “N is for Knuckleheads,” 4 p.m. Saturday, May 21.
▪ At Face in a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills:
Karin Salvalaggio” for “Walleye Junction” and “Bone Dust White,” 11 a.m., Sunday, May 22.
Get a book deal
The Friends of the Orangevale Library is sponsoring a book sale, with thousands of gently used books in most genres, 50 cents to $5. Teachers can buy a bag of books for $5, or a box for $10.
Get a deal from 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, May 19; 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, May 20; and 8:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, May 21. Bodacious Bag Day is Saturday only, when books will be sold to everyone for $5 a bag. Divine Savior Parish Hall, 9079 Greenback Lane, Orangevale.