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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


Save the date for the 2023 Terroir Creative Writing Festival

February 7, 2023
The Terroir Creative Writing Festival Board is excited to welcome you back!

Mark your calendars! The Terroir Creative Writing Festival is back in Yamhill County after a four-year, pandemic-related hiatus.

When: Saturday April 29, 2023

Where: Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg

We will be sharing more about programming and registration as that information becomes available. But for now, it’s time to reserve the date for our annual celebration of writing, writers, books, and the literary life. Please also note that this year’s festival will be happening at a different location than our previous festivals.

We can’t wait to see you again!

The 2020 Terroir Creative Writing Festival is being postponed

March 13, 2020

Dear Writer,

The health and safety of our festival attendees, speakers and workshop leaders is our top priority. In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the Terroir Creative Writing Festival Board  today made the decision to postpone our April event.

We believe the board’s decision is in the best interests of the safety and well-being of the public and our community. We are actively looking at other dates and will continue to work with community leaders to make the best decisions to protect public health and safety.

We are closing festival registration effective immediately, and if you have already registered, we will be in touch about refunding any fees you have already paid.

Given how rapidly the situation is changing, we appreciate your continued support and patience as we work diligently to provide a safe environment for our festival and community.

The Terroir Creative Writing Festival Board

Meet the #Terroir2020 Keynote speakers

March 10, 2020


We couldn’t be more thrilled to share with you the bios for our two keynote speakers. Both will also be giving workshops during the festival.


Rene Denfeld is the bestselling author of The Butterfly Girl, The Child Finder and The Enchanted. Her novels have won numerous awards, including a prestigious French Prix. She lives in Portland, where she is the mother to several kids from foster care.

Rene Denfeld’s KEYNOTE: Writing from the Margins

It’s easy to assume you need to have a fancy degree to become a writer. But writing is for everyone, and the world needs all our voices. Rene Denfeld went from being a homeless child to a bestselling, award-winning author. She talks about using your past as your best asset as a writer.

Rene’s Workshop: The publishing industry can be confusing, capricious and just plain strange. Rene will discuss how to get published even if you lack degrees or connections. She will share tricks and tips and answer questions.

Rene’s Website:


Charles Tonderai Mudede’s KEYNOTE: A Writer’s Philosophy of Time

This talk will concern the ideas writers can learn from current thinking about the nature and source of time by major (and sometimes unknown) physicists. As scientists learn more about the universe, the stranger ordinary things, like the flow of time, become. This increasing strangeness should be a source of inspiration for writers.

Charles’s Workshop: Writing Images for Film

Cinema is an art that synthesizes theater, photography, music, and writing. The writing part is, oddly enough, still fundamental to the art of cinema. A film begins with writing. And from this literary base, the other arts enter and participate. This workshop will be about how to write not for readers but for a director—the one who brings theater, photography, music into play with what a screenwriter has written.

About Charles:

Charles Tonderai Mudede is a Zimbabwean-born cultural critic, urbanist, filmmaker, college lecturer, and writer. He is the film editor of the Stranger, a lecturer at Cornish College, and has collaborated with the director Robinson Devor on three films, two of which Police Beat and Zoo, premiered at Sundance, and one of which, Zoo, screened at Cannes.

To read work by Charles Tonderai Mudede at The Stranger, visit this website.

Are you registered yet? We are currently accepting mail-in registrations. 2020 TCWF Early Registration Form and send in today to reserve your spot!

Registration for Terroir 2020 is open!

March 4, 2020


Our paper registration process is open!

To register for the 2020 festival happening April 18 in McMinnville, please download the 2020 TCWF Early Registration Form  [click on link], fill out, and mail with your check made out to AAYC to:

P.O. Box 898
McMinnville, OR 97128

If you are on our paper mail list you will be receiving your registration form in the next couple of days. Our online registration will be open soon and we’ll post here when that happens. Don’t wait, our festival sold out last year before registration closed!

Save the date! The Terroir Creative Writing Festival is happening April 18, 2020.

December 4, 2019

We are thrilled to announce the date for the Terroir Creative Writing Festival, happening Saturday, April 18, 2020 in McMinnville.

Stay tuned here for more information on the speakers, workshop leaders, and readings we have planned, or follow along on Facebook here.

Mark your calendars!

Happy Terroir Day 2019: Follow along on Twitter at #TCWF19

April 20, 2019