Meet the 2018 faculty: Brenda Hillman

A prolific and celebrated poet, Brenda Hillman is the author of ten collections of poetry, including Extra Hidden Life, among the Days (2018), Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire (2013), Practical Water (2011), Pieces of Air in the Epic (2005), and Cascadia (2001). Her works have netted numerous awards, including the Griffin International Poetry Prize […]

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 […]

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 […]

Publication and Prize for Valerie Fioravanti (2009)

We recently heard from Valerie Fioravanti, (participant in 2009), that her first book,Garbage Night at the Opera, won the 2011 Chandra Prize and is forthcoming from BkMk Press. Congratulations are in high order! Valerie seems to be the very center of a vibrant writing community in Sacramento, CA,where she teaches, coaches and encourages writers. She […]

NaNoWriMo: Significance Beyond the Purple Bar

It’s the first of November already, and across the land thousands of NaNoWrimo participants are feverishly writing their first 1,666-word installment — the magic number to attain daily if they’re to complete a 50,000-word novel by month’s end. The appeal of NaNoWriMo (short for National Novel Writing Month) is simple and potent: Participants pledge to […]

It’s book season!

Here in Wine Country, most associate autumn with the grape harvest. But we at the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference are celebrating a different bounty — the wealth of local literary festivals this month and next, often featuring Napa faculty, attendees and staff. The word harvest began with last weekend’s Petaluma Poetry Walk, which gave participants […]

Plein air writing for springtime

With the start of May, spring has finally arrived in Wine Country. The grapevines are unfurling delicate tendrils on the trellises; blooms are bursting forth between vineyard rows, in yards and on hillsides; and allergy sufferers are sniffling (condolences!). If the current trend is any indication, conference week July 24-29 is on track to be […]

Ideas for celebrating National Poetry Month

Shakespeare wrote, “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything” — and, thanks to National Poetry Month, April is also infused with language, rhythm, imagery and verse. The Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month in 1996, and offers [a complete guide to marking the occasion]( — including a [30-day Twitter marathon]( featuring […]

Community, in New Form (and Name)

Last year, the conference marked its 30th anniversary. Reflecting on this milestone, we were struck by the relationships and sense of community that have developed in our midst over the decades. Pulitzers and National Book Awards have been won by our faculty; established writers have mentored new, uncertain ones; alumni have published their own works, […]