Pamplin Media Group – CCC to host creative writing conference

Oregon Book Award winner Sierra Crane Murdoch will speak and 11 workshops will be offered.

Clackamas Community College is hosting its annual “Compose” Creative Writing Conference, which will help folks explore the practices and professions of creative writing and publishing.

The conference will be virtual again this year and will start at 10 am Saturday, May 21.

The cost for the event is $25.

“The English Department at CCC is thrilled to offer this opportunity to come together and share our creativity with each other as a community. We hope you will join us,” CCC English Department Chair Amanda Coffey said.

Author Sierra Crane Murdoch will give the welcome address. Crane Murdoch is the author of “Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, won an Oregon Book Award and was named a best book of 2020 by The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly and NPR.

Crane Murdoch’s talk will be followed by 11 workshops to choose from.

Workshops run from 10:45 am to noon and from 12:30 to 1:45 pm There will be a break for lunch.

This year’s writing sessions and facilitators, as described by the college, include:

• Nonfiction: Sierra Crane Murdoch – “All Writing is Political”

In this workshop, through prompts, participants will examine how the worlds they create and the words they select betray their identities as writers as well as the identities of intended and unintended audiences. Participants also will study how other writers choose to reveal their biases.

• Poetry: Catherine Kyle – “Poetry and the Fantastical”

In this workshop, participants will look at poems that approach superheroes and mythological characters from new angles. While poems will be used as sample texts, prompts can be tailored for any genre. Kyle is the author of “Shelter in Place,” which received an honorable mention for the Idaho Book of the Year Award, and other poetry collections.

• Translation: Allison deFreese – “Poets as Language Ambassadors & Translators.”

This session is for writers of all levels who are interested in translation, as well as translators working from any language into English. Participants will explore censorship, the ways translation can transcend borders, trauma-informed practice and translation as a path toward equity and inclusion on a global level. A National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation fellow, deFreese teaches at CCC and coordinates literary translation workshops for the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters.

• Documentary Short Film: Rose Madrone – “Exploring the Interconnections All Around Us”

In this workshop, participants will watch one of the 15-minute episodes from Madrone’s Connectivity Project, which examines the ripple effects of actions in an interconnected world. Then they will explore interconnectivity through writing. Working in education and living with sustainability and stewardship as a primary focus, Madrone has taught about the natural world for over 30 years through botany, herbal medicine and permaculture.

• Publishing: Brian Mosher – “DIY Publishing”

The Chemeketa Press offers opportunities for college faculty to publish affordable and effective textbooks for their classes and beyond. In this workshop, Chemeketa Press co-founder Brian Mosher will describe the DIY publishing methods used to grow a catalog of 40 titles in just six years, offer guidance on how publishers approach acquisitions in an academic and nonfiction environment and explain what services Chemeketa Press offers to its authors and editors to help them complete manuscripts.

• Hybrid Texts: Chelsea Biondolillo – “Worth a Thousand Words: Combining Words and Images to Create New Hybrid Texts”

From family photos, maps and diagrams, to drawings, erasures, collages and more, authors, artists and presses are finding new ways to present mixed-media texts that combine words and visual elements. In this discussion, participants will look at a range of examples in poetry and prose and talk through some considerations for writers or artists looking to add mixed media elements to their work. Biondolillo is a collage artist and the author of “The Skinned Bird: Essays,” and two hybrid chapbooks, “Ologies” and “#Lovesong.”

• Publishing: Curtis Chen – “Query Letters That Work”

Query letters are still the best way to get a literary agent, and the skills used to write a query will help with many aspects of book marketing and promotion. Bring a current project and take a crack at crafting a pitch that will hook agents, editors and potential readers. Chen is the author of the Kangaroo series of funny science fiction spy thrillers.

Visit clackamas.edu/compose for registration and more information. For questions, contact Amanda Coffey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-341-1596.


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