Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference 2016

Travel Writers Conference Shareable Image

We’re always so excited when we can report a special offer to our Wanderland Writers. Left Coast Writers will receive 10% off on the Intensive Writing Weekend for Y/A and Middle Grade Readers (7/16-7/17/16), the Mystery Writers Conference (7/28-7/31/16) and the Travel Writers Conference (8/11-8/14/16)!

Sign up and receive the discount, or tell your literary pals they can join Left Coast Writer to receive this and so many other benefits.

You’ll find all of the conferences listed on the Book Passage website, but here’s more info on one of our favorites:

The Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference has an extraordinary, international reputation among publishers, editors, and writers. This conference will be held August 11-14, and among the many talented and varied people on the faculty at this conference will be  Wanderland Writers editor, Linda Watanabe McFerrin.

Now in its 25th year, this four-day Conference offers an array of writing and photography workshops in the morning, a full afternoon of panels and discussions, and evening faculty presentations. The faculty includes publishers, magazine editors, photographers, travel essayists, and more. There are hours of informal interaction between faculty and participants during lunch and in discussions that often last late into the evening.

Take a look at this year’s astounding faculty:

Jim Benning
Tim Cahill
Donald George Continue reading

Wandering in Cornwall reading at A Great Good Place for Books

Reading with Wanderland Writers at A Great Good Place for Books, Authors of Wandering in Cornwall: Mystery, Mirth, and Transformation in the Land of the Ancient Celts

Wandering in Cornwall CoverWednesday, January 20th, 2016 || 7pm
A Great Good Place for Books|| 6120 LaSalle Avenue Oakland, CA 94611 ||
http://www.ggpbooks.com/

It’s another Wanderland Writers celebration. Wine, snacks, readings, and a brand new book in the Wandering series.

This time Wanderland Writers venture deep into Cornwall, exploring its castles, its contrast. They find, of course, its legacy of Camelot, the lingering shadows of Arthurian legend, tragic love, magic, and Merlin. They also find its sorrows, buried deep in its history like the now closed mines, where the windswept moors and jagged coasts made everyday events of shipwrecks, isolation, and cave-ins. Yet, as workshop leaders Joanna Biggar and Linda Watanabe McFerrin and their fellow travelers discover, that is not the whole story. They also encounter the wonderful and hospitable Cornish, with their enchanting accents, their delightful yarns, their humor, their endurance. They wander, bicycle, hike and kayak to explore hills, waterways, villages and moors in search of the spirit of artists and writers who have come before them to leave an imprint on this untamed land.

“Wandering in Cornwall is a beguiling collection of stories and poems about the extreme west of England. Everything that makes Cornwall so special is here: pasties, clotted cream artists, smugglers, the South West Coast Path and even the thieving seagulls. Readers who know Cornwall will be inspired to return and newcomers to this land of mythand legend will vow to see it for themselves.”
—Hilary Bradt MBE, Co-founder of Bradt Travel Guides

“Careful, reader. This book is a delight, no doubt about it. But now I have to go to Cornwall.”
—Tim Cahill, Author of Jaguars Ripped My Flesh and Hold the Enlightenment Continue reading

Workshop: Making a Scene with Linda Watanabe McFerrin

Linda Watanabe McFerrin

Linda Watanabe McFerrin

Making a Scene Workshop
with Linda Watanabe McFerrin
Saturday, December 12th, 2015, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Boulevard, Corte Madera, CA 94925
$120

Register here

In this one-day workshop, you’ll learn to balance setting, character, and dialogue to create stellar scenes. Some of the exercises have given birth to award-winning work by past participants. Bring your laptop and/or paper and pen and discover how a good writer takes center stage on the page and holds it.

Poet, travel writer, and novelist Linda Watanabe McFerrin (www.lwmcferrin.com) is a contributor to numerous newspapers,magazines and anthologies. She is the author of two poetry collections, past editor of a popular Northern Californiaguidebook and a winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. Her novel, Namako:  Sea Cucumber, was named Best Book for the Teen-Age by the New York Public Library. In addition to authoring an award-winning short story collection, The Hand of Buddha, she Continue reading

Wandering in Cornwall reading at the Novato Public Library

CornwallSaturday, Decmber 5th, 2015 || 11am
Novato Public Library || Novato
1720 Novato Blvd, Novato CA 94947

It’s another Wanderland Writers celebration. Please help us welcome a brand new book into the series at the Novato Public Library.

This time Wanderland Writers venture deep into Cornwall, exploring it’s castles, its contrast. They find, of course, its legacy of Camelot, the lingering shadows of Arthurian legend, tragic love, magic, and Merlin. They also find its sorrows, buried deep in its history like the now closed mines, where the windswept moors and jagged coasts made everyday events of shipwrecks, isolation, cave-ins. Yet, as workshop leaders Joanna Biggar and Linda Watanabe McFerrin and their fellow travelers discover, that is not the whole story. They also encounter the wonderful and hospitable Cornish, with their enchanting accents, their delightful yarns, their humor, their endurance. They wander, bicycle, hike and kayak to explore hills, waterways, villages and moors in search of the spirit of artists and writers who have come before them to leave an imprint on this untamed land.

Wandering in Cornwall is a beguiling collection of stories and poems about the extreme west of England. Everything that makes Cornwall so special is here: pasties, clotted cream artists, smugglers, the South West Coast Path and even the thieving seagulls. Readers who know Cornwall will be inspired to return and newcomers to this land ofmyth and legend will vow to see it for Continue reading

Southern Sampler Artists Colony 2016!

Southern Sampler Artists Colony RoomSouthern Sampler Artists Colony presents:

The Heart in Art, 2016
Charleston, South Carolina

April 20 – 27, 2016

Words . . . Images . . . Music

Inspiring ties and friendly tides of the South Carolina Lowcountry

Want to experience the real Charleston, celebrate belonging with new and old friends, discover the Gullah culture, bask in creative renewal, and feel the sand between your toes? Join us!

Heartfelt Workshop Experiences:

Writers Workshops
Workshops are taught by award-winning author, Linda Watanabe McFerrin, as well as individual consults on your literary and creative projects.

McLeod Plantation
Gain a fresh historical perspective of the Lowcountry, from the cultivation of indigo to sea island cotton and lives of freed slaves. We’ll also tie-dye with indigo, plantation style, and invent our own fifty shades of blue!

Threads that Bind
Create a SSAC indigo quilt with Sharon Cooper-Murray, aka The Gullah Lady. Yes, we’ll use the fabric dyed at McLeod Plantation! The quilt will be dedicated to the spirit of the twelve people who gathered at Emanuel AME Church to study the scripture and whose congregation led the world in forgiveness.

Music Café Evening
We’ll clap; sway and feel the spirit moving. Praise Be to a celebration of music, food, wine, and most of all company, in the historic home of Charleston friends.

SSAC Anthology Launch Gala
Raise a glass to Charleston & the South, A Sampler of Stories . . . Poetry . . . Recipes & Art, and get ready to dance. In addition to classic swing tunes, Mary Edna Continue reading

Fun with Flamenco

CasteroRomero Flamenco

CasteroRomero Flamenco

“Three Siblings, Two Dynasties, One Passion.”
CastroRomero Flamenco

Recently Linda, my husband Doug, and I helped celebrate a friend’s birthday by seeing a performance of this extraordinary group at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. Now, before these Living Cultural Treasures (so designated by Spain) go off to Russia to perform sold-out events at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater, I am resolved to learn more about this deeply Spanish art form—and to seeing more of it in Seville.

Flamenco Facts so Far:
1. Although the word flamenco came into use in the 18th century, the music itself—song, instruments and dance—developed in Andalusia from the 8th to the 15th centuries, when Spain was under Arab domination. Jews, Christians and Gypsies all adapted it to their own traditions.
2. Originally it was only vocal music, accompanied by “toque de palmes”—handclapping.
3. Flamenco schools began between 1765 and 1860 in three locations: Cadiz, Jérez de la Frontera and Triana, or Seville, and created a formal ballroom style.
4. During the Golden Age, 1869-1910, flamenco flourished in cafés, and it became normal for performers to express deep feelings.
5. From 1910 t0 1955, Flamenco singing was marked by “opéra flamenca” and an easier-going kind of music, such as fandango, that showed marked South American influence.

Questions So Far:
1. Which influenced which, stylized flamenco dancing or stylized bullfighters doing the same moves?
2. How do they DO that anyway? (Meaning vocals, footwork and arm/hand gestures in a league with Balinese dancers).

Wandering in Andalusia Writing Workshop

From Wanderland Writers Workshops:
Wandering in Andalusia:  Seville and The Alhambra—March 11-March 18, 2016

“Near the walls of Seville/ At my friend’s house, Lillas Pastia/ I will dance the Séguedille/
And drink Manzanilla.” From Carmen, by Georges Bizet.

Well-known writers and instructors Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Joanna Biggar are off on another adventure and invite you to join them in Andalusia. In this legendary region of Southern Spain many worlds meet: classical (Hercules was the supposed founder of Seville) and medieval; Jewish, Christian and Moorish; colonial, imperial, and modern. From our hotel in central Seville, with its graceful Moorish-style tiled decor, its fountains and secluded courtyards, we will explore them all through art (Murillo and Velásquez were native sons), architecture, music and food.

Adapting our curriculum to the locale—and our schedule to the land of the siesta—we will give several workshops and private consultations while offering many ways to discover the city, including: a walking tour; visits to the Cathedral, with its splendid altar, its tomb of Columbus, and its towering minaret, the Giralda, next door, and the royal palace of the Alcázar; a trip to the Flamenco Museum and a night of flamenco; an afternoon of soaking and tea at the Baños Arabes; an evening across the river in the Tirana District, once  famous for the factories which attracted gypsies like Carmen, now famous for bars and clubbing. We will savor tapas and sherry, wine and guitar music.

There will also be time to write and discover on one’s own, from high-end shopping, to cycling, to a choice of museums, to bullfighting. And, of course, there is Seville’s literary history to explore: from Cervantes, to Nobel-Prize winning poet Vincente Aleixandra, to beloved native sons Antonio Machado and Luis Cernuda.

Fees include accommodations, all breakfasts, four dinners and four lunches, workshops, entrance  fees to all excursions AND a trip to the magnificent World Heritage Site, The Alhambra. Of course, work produced on this trip may be included in our next splendid Wanderland anthology.

Cost and Registration: $2375 payable to Wanderland Writers with a $1200 deposit made by October 20, 2015; $2600 for registrations made after that date; full payments due December 20. Please note: There is very limited space, and admission will be granted to those whose checks are received first. For more information, please contact: Linda Watanabe McFerrin lindawatanabemcferrin@gmail.com or Joanna Biggar jobiggar@gmail.com.
More details and a full itinerary will be available upon registration.

About the Instructors:
Joanna Biggar is a teacher, writer and traveler whose special places of the heart include the California coast and the South of France.  She has degrees in Chinese and French and, as a professional writer for twenty-five years, has written poetry, fiction, personal essays, features, news and travel articles for hundreds of publications including The Washington Post MagazinePsychology TodayThe International Herald Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal.  Her book Travels and Other Poems was published in 1996, and her most recent travel essays have appeared in the Venturing series, whose anthologies include books on France, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Costa Rica. A novel, That Paris Year, was published by Alan Squire Publishing in 2010. She has taught journalism, creative writing, personal essay and travel writing since 1984 in many venues.  She has also taught reading and writing at St. Martin de Porres Middle School and Emiliano Zapata Street Academy in Oakland, California, where she makes her home. For the last year she has been writing and doing research for upcoming work in Aix-en-Provence, France. Contact her through email (jobiggar@gmail.com), Facebook at That Paris Year, or her blog,www.joannabiggar.org.

Linda Watanabe McFerrin (www.lwmcferrin.com) is a poet, travel writer, novelist and contributor to numerous newspapers, magazines and anthologies. She is the author of two poetry collections, past editor of a popular Northern California guidebook and a winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. Her novel, Namako:  Sea Cucumber, was named Best Book for the Teen-Age by the New York Public Library. In addition to authoring an award-winning short story collection, The Hand of Buddha, she has co-edited twelve anthologies, including the Hot Flashes: sexy little stories & poems series. Her latest novel, Dead Love (Stone Bridge Press, 2009), was a Bram Stoker Award Finalist for Superior Achievement in a Novel.

Linda has judged the San Francisco Literary Awards, the Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence and the Kiriyama Prize, served as a visiting mentor for the Loft Mentor Series and been guest faculty at the Oklahoma Arts Institute. A past NEA Panelist and juror for the Marin Literary Arts Council and the founder of Left Coast Writers®, she has led workshops in Greece, France, Italy, England, Ireland, Central America, Indonesia, Spain and the United States and has mentored a long list of accomplished writers and best-selling authors toward publication.

Workshop: The Plot Thickens with Linda Watanabe McFerrin

Linda Watanabe McFerrinThe Plot Thickens Workshop

with Linda Watanabe McFerrin
Saturday, October 10th, 2015, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Boulevard, Corte Madera, CA 94925
$120

Register here

Aristotle called plot “the most important element of storytelling.” But to plot properly, you must have a plan, and the plan must give rise to emotion. Does the plot always seem to elude you? Spend a day planning and plotting and find out what you’re missing. Bring your flat-lining fiction and nonfiction and fix it.

Poet, travel writer, and novelist Linda Watanabe McFerrin (www.lwmcferrin.com) is a contributor to numerous newspapers, magazines and anthologies. She is the author of two poetry collections, past editor of a popular Northern California guidebook and a winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. Her novel, Namako:  Sea Cucumber, was named Best Book for the Teen-Age by the New York Public Library. In addition to authoring an award-winning short story collection, The Hand of Buddha, she has co-edited several anthologies, including the Hot Flashes: sexy little stories & poems series. Her latest novel, Dead Love (Stone Bridge Press, 2009), was short-listed as a finalist in the 2007 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Competition and was a Bram Stoker Award Finalist for Superior Achievement in a Novel in 2009.

Linda has judged the San Francisco Literary Awards, the Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence and the Kiriyama Prize, served as a visiting mentor for the LoftMentor Series and been guest faculty at the Oklahoma Arts Institute. A past NEA Panelist and juror for the Marin Literary Arts Council and the founder of Left Coast Writers®, she has led workshops in Greece, France, Italy, Ireland, Central America, Indonesia and the United States and has mentored a long list of accomplished writers and best-selling authors toward publication.

Writers Return from Japan

FansKyoto3We’re back! After wandering all over Japan, the writers have returned with some amazing stories. I’ve heard bits and pieces and can’t wait to read, edit, help publish and celebrate many of those fantastic tales. You’ll find some of them here on our Wanderland Writers website. For others you’ll need to go to additional publications, but we’ll try to shout out where and when right here on the blog.

What’s always amazing to me are the ways in which our experiences of a place differ and the ways in which they connect. For example, some of us were alone in our passion for pickles, but I don’t think there was a soul among us who didn’t appreciate the magic of Henjosonin and our temple stay in Koyasan. Still, even in that unity, the reasoning was unique. Some loved the place because of the Otsutome (Buddhist ceremonies); some for the spectacular Shojin Ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine); some for the beauty and profound spirituality of Okunoin, a celebrated cemetery and sacred area filled with towering centuries-old cedars, over 200,000 gravestones and the great buddhist monk Kobo Daishi Kukai’s mausoleum. Others were enamored most by the Asahi beer and sake vending machines in one of the corridors of our shukubo, or temple lodging, and visited these with frequency.

What astounds me, always, is the manner in which we can see something and not see it, be there and not be there, not be there and still be there. There are no real boundaries, and what we really discover on our wanderings is that travel is a state of mind—or more profoundly, a dimension of being that transcends space and time.

Our next Wanderland Adventure will take us to Andalusia. More about that later. For now, we are enjoying Japan!

—Linda Watanabe McFerrin

ps: To keep abreast of all of our wanderings and to share your own, just check the box below and new posts will arrive in your mailbox.