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Nonfiction writers at Terroir: Creative ways of seeing real life

March 22, 2018

Creative nonfiction takes real life and upends it through the power of perspective. It seeks to apply literary techniques to telling real stories or harnessing real truths through writing. Never static, never just one approach, it is a catch-all term that appears in any context where a writer is taking the stuff of life and finding a new way to capture it through the written word.

We are lucky to have three creative nonfiction experts at the festival this year, who will share stories from their work and, in the case of Barbara Drake, who will be speaking about Ursula Le Guin, others’ work as well.

Get ready for a deep dive into the process of creativity with these speakers!

Barbara Drake, Linfield College Professor Emeritus, lives with her husband on a small farm in Yamhill County, a landscape that inspired her OSU Press essay collections, Peace at Heart and Morning Light. Drake’s most recent poetry book is Driving One Hundred, from Windfall Press.  Her college textbook Writing Poetry has been in print since 1983.


TALK: What We Can Learn from Ursula Le Guin
Ursula Le Guin helped launch the Terroir Writing Festival nearly ten years ago. She was a prophetic voice in the Oregon literary community, and her example, encouragements, and exhortations continue to speak to us through her written words. Join Barbara Drake in exploring what we can learn from Ursula Le Guin.

Lisa Ohlen Harris is the author of the Middle East memoir, Through the Veil and of The Fifth Season: A Daughter-in-Law’s Memoir of Caregiving. She is a thesis advisor for the online MA in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University and an online instructor for Creative Nonfiction, working out of Newberg.


WORKSHOP: The Artifact as Axis
In our conversations and thought life we naturally remember the past, think about the future, and live in the present. But how can the nonfiction writer move around in time without disorienting the reader? Let’s see how a location or artifact can become a concrete axis point that allows timelines to layer and intersect in surprising and delightful ways. Yes, in nonfiction!

Marjorie Sandor is the author of four books of short fiction and personal essays, and the editor of the anthology, The Uncanny Reader: Stories from the Shadows (St. Martins 2015). Her awards include a National Jewish Book Award in fiction, and an Oregon Book Award in literary nonfiction. She teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Oregon State University.


WORKSHOP: Haunted Borders: Exploring the Uncanny through Creative Writing
Playful, productive, and slightly disturbing: the uncanny blurs the line between the real and the imagined, the familiar and the unknown. We’ll get acquainted with the concept and generate some new writing. Our exploration will begin in memories of the domestic interiors of childhood and adolescence. Fiction writers, essayists, and poets all welcome.

Terroir registration is open! Click on “Registration 2018” above to join us!


Publishing: Explore your path at Terroir

March 14, 2018

There is no one path to published book or printed project. Indeed, these days, anyone who wants to see their written work out there in a world can find a way to get it in the hands of an audience.

How to navigate this path, given the abundance of options?

We have two speakers this year who will give talks about specific paths you might consider taking with your next project. Both have great experience in marketing personal work and are known in the Oregon writing community for their creativity and innovative approaches to  getting books in the hands of readers.

Join them at Terroir for an inspiring way of looking at the work of publishing!

Emily Grosvenor is the editor of Oregon Home magazine and an essayist and feature writer based in McMinnville, Oregon. Her work has been published in The Atlantic, Good Housekeeping, Sunset, Marie Claire, and Emily is Terroir’s publicity director.

WORKSHOP: Writing in Real Time: How to Grow an Audience Before Your Project Sees the Light of Day
What if you could use public comments to shape a writing project as it is created? This workshop will look at several best practice examples of writers who have used feedback from the crowd to shape their books – while building an audience for that work in the process.

Laura Stanfill is the publisher of Forest Avenue Press, a novelist, and the founder of the Main Street Writers Movement. She serves on the PubWest board of directors and her creative work is represented by Laurie Fox of the Linda Chester Literary Agency.

WORKSHOP: From Manuscript to Shelf: The Magic of Small Press Publishing
Small presses often take a hands-on approach, especially when it comes to working with their authors and launching innovative marketing efforts. Laura Stanfill, publisher of Forest Avenue Press, will share how a book moves from the acquisitions phase onto bookstore shelves with an emphasis on building community, supporting other authors, and recruiting allies along the way.

Have you registered for Terroir yet? It’s happening April 14, 2018 in McMinnville! Registration details are in the task bar at the top of this page. Secure your spot today!

For the first time at Terroir: Food Writing

March 7, 2018

For the first time ever, the festival will host a food writer, Heather Arndt Anderson, who will offer an introduction to the art and fun of writing about what we eat, cook, and celebrate together.

Culinary writing can be as beautiful and witty as any literature. The esteemed writer, who has been blogging at Voodoo & Sauce since 2006, will examine successful applications of common literary devices to culinary writing, exploring the works of cookbook authors M.F.K. Fisher, Helen Evans Brown, and more.

Heather Arndt Anderson is a Portland-based food writer and culinary historian. She’s the author of four books on culinary history and has been quoted by the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic. Her fourth book, Berries: A Global History, comes out in April 2018.



Have you signed up for Terroir? We have two registration options: Links on the task bar above!

What can we learn from Ursula Le Guin? Barbara Drake to give talk at Terroir.

February 27, 2018

The world lost a picant, vital, and fantastic voice when Oregon writer Ursula Le Guin died on January 22, 2018.

We at Terroir have a special fondness for Le Guin and her works. After all, she has the distinction of being the festival’s first-ever keynote speaker when we began just nine years ago.

To celebrate the memory of Le Guin’s works and contribution to letters, festival founder and poet Barbara Drake will be holding a session on what we can learn from Ursula Le Guin.

Barbara Drake, Linfield College Professor Emeritus, lives with her husband on a small farm in Yamhill County, a landscape that inspired her OSU Press essay collections, Peace at Heart and Morning Light. Drake’s most recent poetry book is Driving One Hundred, from Windfall Press.  Her college textbook Writing Poetry has been in print since 1983.


Terroir is happening Saturday, April 14, 2018. Don’t miss out! Mark your calendar today.

Registration for Terroir 2018 is open!

February 26, 2018

Hooray! You can register! Simply click on the links below and you’ll be able to choose between online and mail-in registration.

Mail-in registration

Online registration

We’ll see you April 14, 2018 at the Yamhill Campus of Chemeketa Community College for this year’s festival!

Poetry at Terroir: New ways of looking at your work

February 20, 2018

Poetry allows us to see the world with new eyes. These poets, our guests at Terroir 2018, will help you look at your poems with a fresh perspective.

José Angel Araguz is a CantoMundo fellow and author of seven chapbooks as well as the collections Everything We Think We Hear, Small Fires, and Until We Are Level Again. His writing has appeared in Hunger Mountain and Prairie Schooner. He runs The Friday Influence and teaches at Linfield College.

WORKSHOP: Creating the Moon: Poetic Authority and Hybrid Forms
Through a series of exercises and readings of poetry and short prose, this workshop focuses on discussing and identifying ways we can discover what a piece of writing wants us to do through expansive reading and writing. Forms to be discussed include haibun, pillow books (zuihitsu), prose poems, and haiku.


Henry Hughes is the author of four collections of poetry, including the Oregon Book Award-winning Men Holding Eggs and the fishing memoir, Back Seat with Fish. An active curator of angling literature, Hughes edited two Everyman’s Library anthologies—The Art of Angling: Poems about Fishing and Fishing Stories. He teaches at Western Oregon University.

WORKSHOP: Writing Above the Crowd
In an age when it seems like there are as many poetry journals as poets, a sea of self- and industry-published books, and thousands of writing workshops, conferences, retreats, and programs, how do writers cultivate and keep faith in their own original work? Does this “crowd” of writers affect the way you write? Do you think your voice matters? Why does it matter?  

Sam Roxas-Chua Poet Joseph Stroud says, Every now and then a unique, distinctive voice will appear on the literary scene, as if from out of nowhere. Sam is a poet and visual artist from Eugene. He’s the author of Fawn Language, Saying Your Name Three Times Underwater, and Echolalia In Script—A Collection of Asemic Writing.

WORKSHOP: Illuminating the Invisible Poem Using Visual Art and Asemic Writing
Learn skills to deeply listen to a poem using visual art and asemic writing. Asemic writing is a unique and open form of script that can awaken and strengthen the relationship with your work. You will be guided in writing exercises with a companioning and contemplative approach.

Registration is coming soon! Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook.

Novel Approaches: The Fiction Writers Speaking at Terroir 2018

February 14, 2018

If fiction is your craft, you’ll find a lot to learn and take away from this year’s Terroir Creative Writing Festival. We have a number of talks and workshops aimed at writers of all levels of their careers. Wherever you turn, you’ll find novel inspiration. Here are a few talks by writers working in the novel form.

Debby Dodds is the author of the novel Amish Guys Don’t Call (June 2017). She has stories in many anthologies and magazines and won Portland’s Wizard World 2017 Fiction Contest. As an actress, she performed at Disneyland and Disney World, worked with Jerry Seinfeld, and screamed loudly in low-budget horror films.

WORKSHOP: Bringing the Funny to Your Writing
We’ll look at a variety of examples of funny writers with varying styles, from different genres. In-class exercises, including some from my background in Improv Comedy, will be taught. I’ll share strategies to magnify humor. Get ready to laugh, chortle, and sniggle and to make others giggle, cackle and guffaw!


Gina Ochsner  is the author of two short story collections, The Necessary Grace to Fall (selected for the Flannery O’Connor Award) and People I Wanted to Be. Both collections received the Oregon Book Award. Gina also has two novels: The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight and The Hidden Letters of Velta B. She teaches at Corban University in Salem.

WORKSHOP: Drawing From a Deep Well: Tapping into the Source of Your Stories, Essays, and Poems
Writing is an act of faith. But what can a writer do when the words don’t arrive? We will talk about where ideas come from, how to “jump-start” writing when ideas seem absent, and how to develop ideas. Don’t be surprised if you leave this session with several story, essay, or poem starts in hand.


Matthew Robinson, author of the novel The Horse Latitudes (an Oregon Book Award finalist), holds an MFA from Portland State University, is co-editor of the online literary journal The Gravity of the Thing, and is an Oregon Literary Fellowship recipient. He lives, writes, and teaches in Portland.

WORKSHOP: Resisting Defaults: Ways of Unsettling a Narrative
When we write, we naturally fall into familiar patterns of storytelling. The resulting work can become predictable and lacking in tension. In this workshop, we will discover new paths as we study non-linear narratives, practice defamiliarizing all-too-common story elements, and experiment with the physical forms within which we construct our narratives.

Have you marked your calendar yet? Terroir is happening on Saturday, April 14, 2018 from 9-5 at the Yamhill Campus of Chemeketa Community College in McMinnville, OR. Registration opens soon!