Skip to content

Terroir at Terroir: How place seeps into your writing

March 5, 2019


For our 10th anniversary event, happening all-day April 20 in McMinnville, we are revisiting the idea behind Terroir. Whether or not you can pronounce this word, thrown around by wine aficionados and cheesemongers alike, terroir very much affects your writing.

We’ve got a program incorporating the wisdom of writers on the idea of terroir, or a the distinct character that emerges from a place. Here are some of the workshops and talks you can look forward to:

Morning Keynote: Kim Stafford
Reunion of the Rare: Gathering Testimony for Precious Place 

The terroir of your creative practice gives tone to your writing as earth gives particular notes to a fine wine. Writing for happiness, then—the mysterious “hap” of your story—is a matter of paying attention to your place, your moment, and your calling.

Workshop: Kim Stafford
Earth Verse: Writing for the Good Earth 

In the beginning, creatures said to writers, “Tell our story.” We do this by writing earth verse, for spells, charms, poems, psalms and songs have long provided solace, clarity, and a chance to make peace with ourselves, each other, and Earth. Through poems, trees teach, and rivers guide.

KimOREGON POET LAUREATE KIM STAFFORD is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, and editor of half a dozen others. His book Having Everything Right: Essays of Place won a citation for excellence from the Western States Book Awards in 1986. Stafford has received creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Governor’s Arts Award, and the Stewart Holbrook Award from Literary Arts for his contributions to Oregon’s literary culture.

Workshop:  Bette Lynch Husted
Writing the Stories of Home

What stories grow from the soil you live—and how can you discover them?  In this workshop we will follow the trail left by writers whose work has explored “a sense of place” in order to nurture the seeds of the your own stories.

lives in Pendleton; the characters in her novel All Coyote’s Children live on the nearby Umatilla Indian Reservation. A sense of place inspired her poetry collection At This Distance and two memoirs, Lessons from the Borderlands and Above the Clearwater: Living on Stolen Land (an Oregon Book Award finalist).






Registration for the 2019 festival is OPEN!

February 26, 2019


Ready to grow your writing? Our registration for the 2019 festival is now open!


Head on over to the AAYC website here to register online.


Print out this 2019_TCWF  REGISTRATION FORM.

and mail to:

P.O. BOX 898
McMinnville, OR 97128

See you at the festival!

How has the Terroir Creative Writing Festival grown your writing?

February 13, 2019

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the Terroir Creative Writing Festival, happening April 20th in McMinnville, Ore., we want to take stock of the growth of our literary community by checking in with you.

Whether you’ve attended once or you mark your calendar every year for the event, we want to know how Terroir has impacted your writing practice.

No stride in art is too small. Maybe you wrote one line of poetry poem after an inspiring lecture. Perhaps you completed and sold a novel. Whatever gain you’ve made in your creativity, we would love to hear about it!

We are gathering these wins for presentation at this year’s festival and would love to hear yours! Please post in the comments here or comment on the conversation on on our Facebook page.

See you at the festival!

Terroir 2019: Announcing our Keynote Speakers

January 29, 2019

We are thrilled to announce the keynote speakers for the 10th annual Terroir Creative Writing Festival: Courtenay Hameister and Kim Stafford.

Courtenay Hameister is an author, teacher, screenwriter and performer. She was the host and head writer for Live Wire Radio, Portland’s nationally-syndicated public radio variety show for nine years. You can find her work in McSweeney’sPortland Monthly, Bustle, and in her monthly column for the Portland Mercury, “Fun with Anxiety” Her first book, Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went From Being Afraid of Everything to Only Being Afraid of Most Things was released July 2018 from Little, Brown.

Kim Stafford is Oregon’s poet laureate.  He is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, and editor of half a dozen others. His book Having Everything Right: Essays of Place won a citation for excellence from the Western States Book Awards in 1986. Stafford has received creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Governor’s Arts Award, and the Stewart Holbrook Award from Literary Arts for his contributions to Oregon’s literary culture.

Have you marked your calendars yet? The all-day festival in McMinnville, Oregon is happening April 20, 2019.

Mark your calendar for the 10th annual Terroir Creative Writing Festival, April 20, 2019!

December 13, 2018

Save the date (1)

What’s next? Carry that Terroir feeling forward the whole year.

April 14, 2018

Well, it’s happened again. We had a great Terroir Creative Writing Festival and now we are sad it’s over.

You don’t have to feel this way!

You can keep that spirit of literary community and writerly exchange going all year round!

How, you ask?

Here are some ideas:

  1. Join the Terroir board. We are a small group of volunteers who meet once a month September through January and then once ever two weeks from February until the festival in April. By joining us, you’ll get to help decide what writers we bring to Terroir and you’ll be tapped into the area’s literary community. We need you! Just reply to this email and we’ll contact you when the Terroir season starts up again.
  2. Start an event. Want to host a reading event or open mic in your town? We can help you get there. If you have an idea for something literary you’d like to do in public, let us know. We are happy to share events on our FB and email lists when appropriate for our audience.
  3. Tell us how you are doing. Let us know how Terroir is impacting your work! It’s great that we get to chat, but in order for our rural writing community to stay active and alive, we need to share the benefits of events like these.
  4. Share your ideas. Want a particular regional writer to come to Terroir? Tell us! We have our favorites, but we are always open to suggestions.
  5. Alert us about books. Do you have any books, self-published or traditionally published, that have been impacted by Terroir? Let us know! We’d like to put together a page of all the books that have emerged in the area with help from our little writing festival.
  6. Support the writing community. Buy local authors’ books, attend literary events, make friends with our librarian, know every time that you are a part of this community.
  7. Buy local. Whenever possible shop at Third Street Books to support our local economy. Bookselling is a socially conscious endeavor.

Thanks for making Terroir 2018 one for the books!

Stop by the Self-Publishing Lounge at TCWF18

April 9, 2018


Curious about the self-publishing process? Maybe you’re overwhelmed by the number of paths to publication out there.

Authors and publishers with experience in self-publishing will be available for conversations in room #108, just past the elevator on the first floor. Please drop by to pick up business cards, ask questions, and learn more about options and opportunities.

 Ellen Summerfield has self-published four books of poetry and is pleased to share her experiences: using InDesign for formatting; working with an illustrator and a graphic designer; hiring and editor; and, for her most recent volume (Unruly, 2017), learning to use CreateSpace, which is the print-on-demand service offered by Amazon.

 Karen Berkey Huntsberger is the author of Waiting for Peace­: The Journals & Correspondence of a World War II Medic and I’ll Be Seeing You: Letters Home From a Navy Girl, both self-published and funded by Kickstarter campaigns. Karen has spoken extensively on her first book with the goal of promoting peace.  

Stephen Long was a dock worker, truck driver, inventor, and entrepreneur.  He fulfilled the dream of becoming an author when a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation led to his debut self-published novel There’s a Somebody. Stephen has since completed a follow-up novel All Hat, and is working on a third novel.

Patricia Marshall, owner of Luminare Press (a self-publishing service), enjoys sharing her knowledge, enthusiasm, and love of publishing and bookmaking with authors across the country. Patricia has a journalism degree from University of Oregon, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College in Baltimore.

Gail Watson designs, prints and binds softcover books in her Newberg studio. She has been working with local authors for over 10 years designing the pages and covers of their books and making them easily readable and interesting visually. She will bring examples of her work and is looking forward to answering questions.

 Stop by, ask questions, and see the possibilities for your next project from these enterprising and creative professionals!

Today is the last day to register for Terroir 2018!

April 7, 2018

Don’t wait another minute! Today is the last day to register online for Terroir 2018, and to mail in your paper registration. Please have your registration post-marked by today. Click on 2018 Registration above!

Missed it? You can still come to the festival on April 14, 2018, but be there at 8:30 a.m. to be sure you get in!

Drama at Terroir: New ways to ignite your ideas

April 4, 2018


One of the best parts of attending Terroir is the chance to learn across genres. Don’t identify as a playwright? You can still take away a lot of new approaches and get inspired by our resident dramatist this year, Lolly Ward.

Lolly Ward’s plays include Mate (The Actors’ Gang; California Institute of Technology), 72 Objects (semifinalist, O’Neill NPC), Black Press in the White House (Smith and Kraus, 105 Five-Minute Plays), and The Ethel Party (Silk Road Review). She co-founded LineStorm Playwrights and lives with her family and two chickens in Portland.

WORKSHOP: Discover your Play: 21 Questions to Ignite your Ideas
Put fresh eyes on a draft or writing concept with techniques that progress your theme toward your goal. A discussion of Aristotle’s 6 dramatic elements lays the groundwork for diving into your own piece. Answer 21 questions that will illuminate your story.

Are you ready for Terroir? Registration is now open, click on “2018 Registration” above.

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!