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The Terroir Creative Writing Festival is happening tomorrow!

April 28, 2023

Just a quick note that we are looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow at the Terroir Creative Writing Festival:


415 E Sheridan St,

Newberg, OR 97132



All of your Terroir questions, ANSWERED

April 26, 2023

It’s just a couple of days until the Terroir Creative Writing Festival! We put together this list of the most-asked questions about Terroir. If you didn’t find yours here, feel free to comment or ask us on our Facebook page.

Where is the event happening?

This year’s Terroir is at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg. Please note that this is a change of venue since our last festival.

Where is that?

The CCC is located just west of George Fox University (marked with the red location marker, above).

Where do I park?

There is ample parking behind the building on E. Sherman Street.

What should I bring?

At a minimum, a notebook and a writing utensil. If you’d like, also bring your business cards (if you have them), a re-usable water bottle, and extra cash or cards for purchasing books by authors you meet at the event.

Am I signed up for the workshops I want?

Your pre-registration form lists the workshops and sessions available during the festival. We cannot promise that there will be room in your number one choice, so plan to stay flexible throughout the day.

What if I need extra help getting around?

Some of our workshops are upstairs and might require use of an elevator. If you need help from a staff member to get around, please let us know ahead of time by messaging us through our FB page.

Will there be a virtual option or are you recording the festival?

Since our mission is to connect people in person, we currently do not offer a virtual option.

Where can I get lunch if I didn’t buy a bagged lunch through the festival?

Since there is limited time for lunch, we recommend the following local lunch spots where you can grab a bite quickly:

Where do I show up the day of the event?

Please enter the building through the entrance on E. Sherman Street. The largest parking lot is also located there. We will have a registration desk set up to greet you there, as well as coffee and tea before our first keynote address.

Anything else? Please message us on FB.

How to prepare for the Terroir Creative Writing Festival

April 19, 2023

In this re-post, we share local author Lisa Ohlen Harris’s tips for how to get the most out of your attendance at Terroir (or any writing conference, for that matter): 

I attended my first writing conference in Houston back in 2005. I prepared carefully (though in retrospect, foolishly) by printing out three or four copies of an essay I hoped to publish. I might meet an editor, I thought. That editor might ask me what I write. Surely the editor would want to publish me. And this might happen multiple times.

Oh, brother.

Long-story-short, I brought every manuscript page back home with me from that conference, too wrinkled for anything but the recycling bin. In fact, I really hadn’t prepared for the conference at all. I had prepared to promote myself. That’s it.

I hadn’t read the speaker bios, and I embarrassed myself badly by coming up to American Book Award winner Thomas Lynch and asking him what he wrote and how long he’d been writing. I bought a book by keynote speaker Kathleen Norris but didn’t ask her to sign it because I felt too shy. I learned later that Ms. Norris asked my friend why I hadn’t said hello when I saw her at her signing table one evening. “Is your friend unhappy with the conference,” she asked.

Oh, me. I should have prepared differently. I should have gotten over myself. I should have been thinking about how I could encourage others, not about what I could get for myself.

So here’s my advice on how to prepare for a writing festival or conference:


  • Read the speakers’ bios and highlight those writing in your genre.
  • Find your highlighted speakers’ books in your local library or use the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon to flip through and get a feel for the work.
  • Slide some of your grocery money into a side pocket to spend at the event (save $1 or $2 a day or more in the month before the conference).
  • As you select your workshops, don’t use a Sharpie to mark them—use pencil. And circle at least one option that’s outside your normal interests (you can always sit in the back and slip out early if it’s not a good fit).
  • If you’re the sort of person who has anxiety when facing new situations and the conference is local, drop by the venue and scope it out. Knowing the lay of the land in advance will decrease your anxiety as the event date draws near.


  • Laptop or iPad or pen and paper
  • Money to buy (and have the author sign!) at least one or two books. I typically bring a set amount of “book money” and I freely take chances on books I discover at the event
  • Business cards if you have them (but leave your manuscript at home). Use those cards as an easy way to keep in touch with fellow writers you meet at the event.
  • An attitude of generosity. Bring a cup of coffee to the speaker of your morning workshop. Buy books and bless the bookstore and authors (and yourself). If you do meet an agent or publisher or author in the hallway, just chat. Don’t pitch your book (that can come later, via email).


On the day of the event, ask not what the writing community can do for you but what you can do for the writing community!

  • Chat with fellow writers about their work. Offer feedback and encouragement. Find out how what other writers are doing for support and ask how you can help.
  • Jot down names, events, book titles, and ideas.
  • The fruit of any literary event is only partly made up of the stuff listed in the program. Making new literary friends and hearing what’s going on in the community is a huge benefit that will only come your way as you reach out and shake hands and listen. The fledgling writer who sits beside you at the morning keynote may publish before you do and help you make connections to their agent or publishing house years in the future.
  • But don’t think about that now. Think about how you can put someone else at ease.

Come to literary gatherings with the goal of giving. Whether you feel like it or not, you’re a member of a literary community. Be generous and do your homework. The blessings will come back to you. You’ll see.

Lisa Ohlen Harris lives in Newberg and is the author of The Fifth Season: A Daughter-in-Law’s Memoir of Caregiving and the Middle East memoir, Through the Veil.

Our new venue: The Chehalem Cultural Center

April 12, 2023

We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg to host this year’s Terroir Creative Writing Festival on Saturday, April 29, 2023.

The CCC strives to celebrates the arts, community, education, heritage, and inclusion—and these are all values we at Terroir share with the organization.

Curious to learn more? The Chehalem Cultural Center offers a variety of programming year-round exploring the arts through events, exhibitions and hands-on courses. Learn more:

Adult Education


Art exhibitions


The festival will be using the ballroom and two classrooms in a multi-use building, and visitors are free to also visit the on-site gallery and other public spaces during the festival. If the weather is good, attendees should be sure to check out, or even have lunch on the outdoor patio. There is an elevator available for participants to reach the second floor, in addition to the stairs.


Early Registration Pricing is Ending (Sign up today!)

April 10, 2023

Time is running out to get the early bird discount for the Terroir Creative Writing Festival, happening Saturday, April 29, at Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, Ore. Prices go up $10 for each category at the end of tomorrow, April 11, 2023.

Right now, the cost to attend the all-day festival is:

Adults: $60

Veterans, Seniors (65+) and students): $50



Nonfiction at the Terroir Creative Writing Festival

April 5, 2023

Real people, real stories, real conflicts, real engagement with our world: We are so excited to connect nonfiction writers at the Terroir Creative Writing Festival, whether they are writing journalism, creative nonfiction, or working a nonfiction approach into other types of creativity. Meet the following nonfiction writers at Terroir this year:

Liz Prato

Liz Prato has a geeky love for research, and used it extensively in her two most recent essay collections: Kids in America: A Gen X Reckoning, and Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawai‘i, a New York Times Top Summer Read and finalist for the Oregon Book Award. 

Workshop:  Beyond Wikipedia: Researching Your Creative Nonfiction Essays

Sure, you know how to use Google, but how do you find the information that will enrich your narrative? Research helps you uncover not just the facts that strengthen your essay or story, but also the nuggets that add texture, quirk, and soul. We’ll explore the research methods available to writers, including primary sources, immersion, and interviews.

Katie Kulla

Author and illustrator Katie Kulla focuses on farming, nature, and family. She has two books forthcoming and publishes regularly in Taproot, Growing for Market, Geez, and Farmer-ish. During the pandemic, she and co-presenter Rebecca Minifie collaborated on a seasonal zine they shared for free with the community.

Rebecca Minifie

Rebecca Minifie, LMT writes seasonal, experiential meditations as part of her work as an herbalist, artist, and teacher. She loves connecting people with local plants! Rebecca collaborated with Katie Kulla to create nature based mini-zines, helping the community to notice and celebrate the seasons.

Workshop: Zine as Creative Process

Come learn about “zines” as a unique genre and how making zines can be a creative practice for opening doors to new ideas. We will set aside perfection and make fun, fresh connections. Participants will make a mini zine. Supplies provided.

Emily Grosvenor

Emily Grosvenor is the author of the home lifestyle guide Find Yourself at Home: A Conscious Approach to Shaping Your Space and Your Life, as well as editor of Oregon Home magazine and Willamette Week’s Nester design publication. She is the longtime publicist for the Terroir Creative Writing Festival.

Publishing Panel: Finding Your Audience

No matter what stage you are at in the publishing process, if you want to have readers, you have to find ways to connect with them. Join independent publisher and novelist Laura Stanfill (see bio above), fiction writer Michelle Ruiz Keil, and nonfiction writer Emily Grosvenor for a discussion on how to do just that.


Fiction at the Terroir Creative Writing Festival

March 29, 2023

The imagination is the source of some of our most profound stories. Connect with other writers exploring fiction and meet our established pros at the festival this year!

Joe Wilkins

Joe Wilkins is the author of a novel, Fall Back Down When I Die, praised as “remarkable and unforgettable” in a starred review at Booklist; a memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers; and four collections of poetry, including Thieve and When We Were Birds, winner of the Oregon Book Award.

Melissa Hart

Eugene journalist Melissa Hart is the author of two middle-grade novels—Daisy Woodworm Changes the World and Avenging the Owl which was an Oregon Battle of the Books selection in 2019, as well as Better with Books: 500 Diverse Books to Ignite Empathy and Inspire Self-Acceptance in Tweens and Teens.

Michelle Ruiz Keil

Michelle Ruiz Keil is a playwright and author of the novels All of Us With Wings and Summer In The City of Roses, a finalist for the Ursula K. Le Guin prize for fiction. She lives with her family in Portland, Ore., in a cottage where the forest meets the city.

Have you signed up for Terroir yet? Register today!

Poetry at Terroir

March 22, 2023

Yamhill County has a rich history of creating poets. Join fellow writers working on verse, rhyme, and every approach to the form at this year’s festival and enjoy the hands-on workshops with these masters of the craft.

Barbara Drake

Barbara Drake’s newest poetry collection is The Road to Lilac Hill, from Windfall Press. She has also published nonfiction including Oregon Book Award finalists Morning Light and Peace at Heart, from OSU Press. A retired Linfield College Professor, Drake lives with her husband on a small farm in Yamhill County.

Workshop: Chapbooks: Why, How, and What Next?

Chapbooks are short books of poetry or prose, usually published in limited editions by individuals or small presses. This session will cover methods for publishing chapbooks in small editions, either by using easy modern software or by creating handmade books.

Ellen Summerfield

Ellen Summerfield’s latest poetry books are Unruly (2017) and Still Light (2020). She recently edited an annotated anthology called Bite-sized Poems (2021) that features 32 poets, and she is currently working on a second volume titled Motherwise: A Complicated Anthology.

Workshop: What makes a great poem?

In this interactive workshop, we’ll look closely at a selection of indisputably great poems to analyze what defines their excellence. Gain confidence in your ability to decide what poems you think are “great” and why.  In preparation (optional), please be ready to add a favorite poet and/or poem to a group list.

Cindy Williams Gutiérrez

Poet-dramatist Cindy Williams Gutiérrez was awarded a 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship for Inlay with Nacre: The Names of Forgotten Women. She was selected by Poets & Writers Magazine as a 2014 Notable Debut Poet for the small claim of bones, which placed second in the 2015 International Latino Book Awards.

Workshop: Insisting on Joy: Poems of Gratitude and of Loving the World

Journalist Krista Tippett of On Being counsels us to “insist on joy” and to “make the muscular choices of love and hope.” In this generative workshop, we will study poems that express love and hope and inspire us to do the same in our own poetry.


Meet the Terroir Keynote Speakers: Laura Stanfill and Leah Sottile

March 15, 2023

Our morning and afternoon keynote addresses are a highlight of the Terroir Creative Writing Festival. This year, we welcome author and publisher Laura Stanfill and journalist Leah Sottile.

Laura Stanfill

Laura is the publisher of Forest Avenue Press and the author of Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary (Lanternfish). She lives in Portland, Oregon, and shares publishing insights in her newsletter at


Laura’s Keynote: Try, Trying Again: Rejections, Perseverance, and the Writing Life

Writers are great at imagining stories. When we get rejected, though, we often lean into a negative, internal narrative that slows us down. Maybe the work isn’t good enough, we wonder. I’ve been wasting my time writing, we worry. That pressure—not to mention all the hype about platforms and audience and seeing friends get book deals—can freeze our creative output. Laura Stanfill, founder and publisher of Forest Avenue Press, has been rejected many times, including shelving two novels before her debut found a home. She’ll talk about believing in your work, how rejections are part of the process (and often they’re not even personal), and how to keep going despite creative obstacles, fallow periods, and life challenges.

Leah Sottile

Leah Sottile is the author of When the Moon Turns to Blood. A freelance investigative journalist, her work appears in High Country News, the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone and others. She is the host of the podcasts Bundyville, Two Minutes Past Nine and Burn Wild


Leah’s Keynote: Writing the Weird West

For years, Leah Sottile has written about the fringe characters of the western United States: from Elvis impersonators to backyard wrestlers, bikini baristas to nuns. In 2016, that specialty took a turn, and her expertise on covering the fringe became vital in understanding America’s deep divides. She has come to specialize on reporting on the religious and political fringe of the region: from armed standoffs to ideologically-motivated violence and conspiracy theories. She’ll discuss her unlikely writing career, where it started, where it has taken her and where she might go next.

Have you registered for the festival yet? Click here to register online today!

Online registration is open for the Terroir Creative Writing Festival 2023!

March 10, 2023

We have opened registration for the 2023 Terroir Creative Writing Festival, Yamhill County’s literary event happening April 29, 2023 at the Chehalem Cultural Center.


We are looking forward to welcoming you to a full day of keynotes, workshops, a panel discussion, and community building across genres.

Want to get a preview of who’s coming? You can check out our speakers and their programs here. And you can see the entire day’s schedule HERE.

Ready to register? You can sign up online at the AAYC website. If you received a paper mailing, you can mail it here:


P.O. Box 898

McMinnville, OR 97128