Writers Conference 


New Video! The Language of This Land - WCWF Writers' Conference - October, 2011 from Richard Ott on Vimeo.

Here's a 24-minute video of our fall writers' conference. Enjoy, send it out, spread the word. Post it on your site or Facebook. The Creative Commmons copyright allows everyone to share (but not alter) the video. A grand thanks to videographer Richard Ott and everyone who made it possible. 

Thanks to all for making our 2011 Writers Conference such a huge success!

Visit our Articles Etc. page for related articles, photos, interviews, etc.

And check back for updates regarding our next conference, slated for October, 2013.


Welcome to our first regional writing conference in Grand Junction, with eleven writers & speakers giving presentations, two days of intensive workshops, and three readings.
There's many options:  you can sign up to study with a choice of authors in workshops, and attend as many workshops as you like for a conference fee.
You can also choose to sign up for several free workshops with our authors, or for the Friday night reading, the free Sunday morning breakfast with all writers, or the Saturday banquet with Leslie Marmon Silko, Clifford Duncan  and Dave Mason.
We're also offering scholarships, a special teacher rate, a very inexpensive youth rate for our two CMU workshops, and the option of sending a deposit and paying the full amount later.  Youth can also join us as volunteers at events to gain community volunteer hours.

As of Oct. 1st, when full conference registration ends, you may register for individual workshops for $55 each on a space-available basis.
We hope you can join us.  Call us at 970.256-4662, and we'll work with you to make it possible.

Authors and Presenters 2011

Legendary author Leslie Marmon Silko writes “in the language of the spirit,” according to the L.A. Times review of her newest book, The Turquoise Ledge.   The memoir explores Silko’s Laguna Pueblo, Cherokee, Mexican and European family history, and the natural and sacred world of the Sonoran desert around her home near Tucson. Author of multiple novels, short stories, poems and essays, particularly Ceremony, a classic in American literature, Silko has received many awards for her work, including the MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship.


Maria Melendez lives in Pueblo and edits Pilgrimage (www.pilgrimagepress.org).  Her poetry collections (How Long She'll Last in This World and Flexible Bones) have been finalists for the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the Colorado Book Award.  Her essays appear in Sojourns, online at NPR’s American Democracy Project, and elsewhere.


Laura Hendrie has authored an award-winning book of stories, Stygo, set in Colorado, essays and nonfiction, and a novel based in New Mexico, Remember Me, currently under movie option in Hollywood.  She teaches at Pacific University’s MFA low-residency program in Oregon, and lives and writes in Salida, Colorado.





Janice Gould’s
four books of verse are Beneath My Heart, Earthquake Weather, Alphabet and, most recently, Doubters and Dreamers (2011).  She co-edited Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry.  She is an Assistant Professor in Women’s and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.


  Will Hobbs is the author of eighteen novels for upper elementary, middle school and young adult readers, as well as two picture book stories.  Seven of his novels (Bearstone, Downriver, The Big Wander, Beardance, and others) have been chosen by the American Library Association as Best Books for Young Adults.  





Ute Elder  Clifford Duncan, is a cultural consultant for the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation in Ft. Duchesne, UT. He formerly served on the Tribal Council and helped direct early development efforts of the Tribe’s Cultural Rights and Protection Department and Tribal Museum program. He has acted as a cultural ambassador for many decades and is widely known and respected throughout Ute Country, and beyond, for his knowledge and understanding of Ute history and spirituality.


y Videlock is a poet and artist living on the Western Slope.  Her poems have appeared widely, most notably in Poetry, Quadrant, Unsplendid,  Rattapallax, and Rattle.  Her book, Nevertheless, is available from Able Muse Press.  




David Mason is the Poet Laureate of Colorado. His books include The Country I Remember, Arrivals and Ludlow: A Verse Novel. His second collection of essays, Two Minds of a Western Poet, has recently appeared along with a memoir, News from the Village.









L. Luis Lopez
, professor of mythology, Latin, and ancient Greek, is the author of three books of poetry, Musings of a Barrio Sack Boy, A Painting of Sand, and Each Month I Sing (American Book Award 2008 and Colorado Independent Publishers First Place for Poetry 2008). 





Former editor of several Telluride newspapers, Art Goodtimes has been writing a weekly opinion column, "Up Bear Creek," since 1982. He was recently named Poet Laureate of Western Colorado, poetry editor of the Mountain Gazette, co-chair of the Colorado Green Party, and re-elected as a San Miguel County Commissioner.

Uche Ogbuji, born in Calabar, Nigeria, has lived in Egypt, England and presently near Boulder, with his wife and four children. He’s an engineer and entrepreneur whose passion is poetry.   His poems have appeared in sundry journals, and he is poetry editor at the online The Nervous Breakdown.





Manuscript Consultations


(Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry) $25
with Maria Melendez, Editorial Consultant and Editor/Publisher of Pilgrimage

Please mail check for $25 for manuscript consultation to WCWF, Box 3261, G.J., CO 81502.  Email Maria Melendez at editor@pilgrimagepress.org to set up consultation time.  Thank you!

Bring 3-5 pages of unpublished writing to discuss with Pilgrimage editor Maria Melendez.  You’ll receive feedback on your strengths and on next steps for manuscript development, revision or submission.  Take this opportunity to ask a pro your burning questions about your writing processes and products!  Explore whether ongoing editorial consultation could be right for you.  Insight and encouragement guaranteed!



Course Descriptions




I is FULL       Digging for Diamonds  (I  and II)  (Laura Hendrie)


Thinking up a great story is one thing; writing it is another. We'll study how great ideas in literature come from personal experience, and practice doing it ourselves. Participants of I & II  will acquire a specific set of techniques for growing the seed of a good idea into a vivid, living story.

Everything I Know in Two Hours  (Will Hobbs)

As dramatic photographs bring his novels to life, Will Hobbs will share what he’s learned about developing characters and plot. He’ll  demonstrate how to implement that oft-repeated dictum, “show not tell,” whether you’re writing a scene or a sentence. Will promises plenty of writing tips, with emphasis on revision strategies. This program, for writers writing for the young adult/teen market is also of particular interest to writers who are young adults/teens.

Entering and Departing the Poem   (David Mason)
What do first lines teach us about cracking open a poem? What makes a riveting opening line? Why do the best closures make us catch our breaths or slap our knees or moan with pleasure? Students will examine others’ poems, and in exercises, enter and depart from poems of their own.
The Land as Literal and as Metaphor  (David Mason)
Meeting with a Colorado National Monument naturalist, we will begin with lessons in this region’s flora, fauna and geology. We will then survey literal and metaphorical uses of such material by other poets, and in exercises build new poems of our own. Students should wear good walking shoes and bring water and writing materials.

Rhythms in Sports  (Luis Lopez)
This workshop is for those who would like to write sports poetry.  We will examine and then discuss the rhythms that flow through sports, such as baseball, football, basketball, skating, cheerleading and others, and then we will try to imitate those rhythms. We will have fun!  This program, for writers writing for the young adult/teen market is also of particular interest to writers who are young adults/teens.

Working with Memoir: Creative Forms of the Vignette  (Janice Gould)
This workshop will help writers access memory by finding strategies for locating the self in the past, and using revision to compress one's writing while working for clarity and vivid description.  We will examine examples of vignettes and prose poems to see how poets and memoirists use the turn (or trope) to add power and complexity to their writing.

Narrative Impulse in Poetry  (Janice Gould)
In this workshop, writers will explore narrative in poetry by investigating how poems (and poets) tell stories.  What conventions of fiction (character, setting, dialogue, structure, and theme) may be put to use in the narrative poem?  We'll read — and write — prose poems and free verse poems, striving to make use of lyric compression while following the narrative impulse.  

 Totem Poems and the Subconscious Muse  (Wendy Videlock)
Come explore the natural rhythms  which  move a poem  from the subconscious into unexpected territories.   We will discover how instinct, intuition, and music are among the primary poetic impulses.  All  levels welcome. Writing exercises and feedback within the course of the class.  Bring a curious mind, a pen and  paper.

Freelancing, Fee-writing, Blog-editing and Advocacy Journalism (Art Goodtimes)
We'll explore what it means to be a journalist in an increasingly web-based environment, where paper publications have a significant (if diminishing) place in our daily lives, and the cyberworld offers new and exciting opportunities for advocacy writing.

 Building an Audience:  The Hows, Whens and Whys of Submissions & Online Promotion (Maria Melendez & Uche Ogbuji)
Come learn how to engage with a variety of audiences and how to help your submission stand out in the print and cyber slush pile. We’ll cover rationale and tips/tricks for submitting work to literary magazines, writing query letters to agents, connecting with small presses and growing an online presence.