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Participant Spotlight: Javier Zamora

Javier Zamora’s first full-length collection, Unaccompanied, debuted in September of 2017 with the kind of fanfare most poets only dream of. But he remembers when, just seven years earlier, he attended the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference as a novice. “I was 20 years old, a sophomore in college, and someone there  believed in me enough […]

Participant Spotlight: Vanessa Hua

Vanessa Hua’s debut collection of short stories, Deceit and Other Possibilities, was published late last month — just over a decade after Hua workshopped one of the volume’s stories at the conference. Deceit and Other Possibilities won the Grand Prize for Prose in the Willow Books Literature Awards competition. O, The Oprah Magazine calls the […]

Participant Spotlight: Catherine Abbey Hodges

We were delighted to learn Catherine Abbey Hodges accorded us the honor of an acknowledgement in her collection, Instead of Sadness, which was published last year by Gunpowder Press as the inaugural winner of the Barry Spacks Poetry Prize. Why the conference mention in her book? In the four times Hodges attended the conference since […]

Participant spotlight: Daphne Larkin

If you’ve attended the conference any time in the last decade, Daphne Larkin‘s face is likely familiar to you. Not only has she been a fiction participant several times, but she’s a supporter, community housing host, and frequent attendee of evening readings during conference week. Larkin’s life in writing was featured in the 5-MINUTE MEMOIR […]

John Leggett / November 11, 1917 – January 25, 2015

Program Director Anne Evans authored this tribute.  Jack Leggett at the 2014 conference. (Photo by Mary Shea) John Leggett, or Jack as we all knew him, was co-founder and Program Director of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference from 1987 until his passing last Sunday at age 97. Jack loved to tell the story of meeting […]

Meet the 2014 Faculty: Welcome Back, Ayana Mathis

Assistant Fiction Director Patrick Vogelpohl penned this profile of Ayana Mathis. Before Ayana Mathis earned praise for her debut novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, she was a standout student at the 2011 Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. “She was clearly a gifted and exciting writer who came to us as she was finishing up her […]

Fall 2013 alumni update: renown from near and far

Conference alumni have been as busy as ever since our last alumni update in January — earning plaudits and publication around the world. Beverly Bie Brahic (2009, 2010, 2011) wrote to let us know her second collection, White Sheets, was a finalist for the 2012 Forward Prize, the United Kingdom’s top poetry prize. Eavan Boland, […]

Winter 2012-2013 alumni update: an Oprah pick, a Pushcart nomination & more

Oprah announces conference alumna Ayana Mathis’ debut as the second pick for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 Our alumni have hardly been hibernating during the autumn and winter months. Since our last update we’ve received word of publications and accolades galore — rewards for long seasons of toil. On the fiction side, 2011 participant Ayana Mathis‘ […]

September alumni news: publication success & a new local workshop

We continue to hear good publishing news from alumni — including the latest crop of participants from 2012. Fiction writer Kirstin Chen, who was in Lan Samantha Chang’s workshop this year, learned while at the conference that her debut novel will be published in the fall of 2013 by Amazon Publishing. A 2011-2012 Steinbeck Fellow […]

We’re hearing good news from alumni !

Unbeknownst to each other, Kathleen Rowell (2010) and Thomas Linville (2010, 2011) both entered  the Mighty River Short Story Contest in 2010 ~ and won prizes. Peterson received First Prize for her story “Resolution,” and Linville  Second Prize for his story “Portland ”  This is almost like a Trifecta, isn’t it? Okay, a Bi-fecta. The Mighty […]