Writers' conference, Chuckanut Radio Hour keep weekend busy, literate


It's a big weekend for Whatcom Community College and Village Books, as the Chuckanut Radio Hour, which moved from its home at The Leopold Crystal Ballroom to WCC's Heiner Theater in March, hosts a special Chuckanut Radio Hour on Thursday, June 20, to kick off the Chuckanut Writers Conference.

Because the writers' conference will be held at the college, the Radio Hour will take place at Bellingham High School's Performing Arts Center.

This month's special radio guests are The Rejections (and Trailing Spouses), a band made up of authors and authors' spouses (which means they know a lot about rejection), including 2013 Chuckanut Writers Conference faculty members Garth Stein and Jennie Shortridge.

There also will be a conversation about "The Writing Life" with the authors in the band, moderated by poet Frances McCue. The Radio Hour will be followed by an author book signing.

Beside Stein and Shortridge, The Rejections feature Seattle's Stephanie Kallos; and the Trailing Spouses are Matt Gani, Paul Mariz, and, sometimes, Ben Bauermeister.

Tickets are $5, available at Village Books and Brown Paper Tickets. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; people must be seated by 6:45 because the show starts promptly at 7. For more on the band, see facebook.com/TheLettersOfRejection.

Now in its third year, the Chuckanut Writers Conference will be Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22, at the college. Registration will still be open on Friday, says chair Anna Wolff, who teaches English at Whatcom.

The conference is presented by Whatcom's Community and Continuing Education Program and by Village Books. The intensive, craft-focused, cross-genre symposium is designed to inspire writers of all experience levels by spotlighting talented authors who are distinguished writing teachers, and respected agents who will share industry insights and hear pitches.

Among the participants: Washington State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken, Western Washington University's Suzanne Paola and Bruce Beasley, author and journalist Naseem Rahka, publisher Gary Luke, and editor and publisher Waverly Fitzgerald.

Some of the authors and conference-goers will participate in free open mics from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Fairhaven. Venues are the Book Fare Café at Village Books, hosted by Ryler Dustin (poetry); The Fairhaven Village Inn, hosted by Ara Taylor (nonfiction) and by Andrew Shattuck McBride (mixed genre); Magdalena's Creperie, hosted by Nancy Lou Canyon (fiction); and Village Books Reading Gallery, hosted by Christina Claassen (fiction).

In conjunction with the conference, the Write On 2013: Teen Writing Conference is open to teens who want to explore writing, co-hosted by Whatcom Young Writers and Village Books. That event takes place 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Village Books.

Details on the Chuckanut Writers Conference are at chuckanutwritersconference.com; details on the Teen Writing Conference are at WhatcomYoungWriters.org.


Each year, The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle honors high school musical theatrical productions from around the state in 21 categories, and each year, Whatcom County high-schoolers are winners.

Taking home awards this year are: Nooksack Valley High School, first place for outstanding lighting design for "Into the Woods;" and Blaine High School's Margaret Page and Ferndale High School's Stennar Martinson, both receiving special honors for student achievement.

A full list of recipients is at 5thavenue.org.

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