David Levine Will Judge the Fiction First Chapter Contest

David D. LevineDavid D. Levine, author of science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories, will judge the Fiction First Chapter category of the Oregon Writers Colony writing contest.

Levine is the author of Arabella of Mars (Tor 2016) and over fifty SF and fantasy stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. His stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF, multiple Year’s Best anthologies, and his award-winning collection Space Magic.


David Oates to Be Final Judge on Short Story, Narrative Nonfiction Contest

David Oates, poet, nonfiction author, and teacher, will be the judge for the Short Story, Narrative Nonfiction, category of the 2015 Oregon Writers Colony writing contest.

David Oates writes about the wildness of nature, culture, and creative process. His poetry has appeared in many journals and in Peace in Exile: Poems (Oyster River Press). He won the Badonnah Award (Bitterroot Poetry, NY) and was finalist for the Pablo Neruda Award for the long poem (Nimrod International).

He is also author of four books of nonfiction, including Paradise Wild: Reimagining American Nature (OSU Press). His poetry and prose are currently being featured in the German journal Wortschau (Düsseldorf).

In Portland he teaches the Wild Writers Seminars and he offers workshops around the United States and occasionally in Europe.


Nancy Slavin will judge the Short Stories, Fiction, contest

Nancy SlavinNancy Slavin, teacher, poet, and prose writer will judge the Short Stories, Fiction, entries in the 2015 Oregon Writers Colony writing contest.

Nancy Slavin is a long-time English literature and writing instructor at a small rural community college in Oregon as well as an educator for a non-profit working to end oppression and violence against women. Her novel, Moorings, was published in 2013 by Feather Mountain Press, and more of her work can be found in Rain Magazine, Barrelhouse, hip mama, Literary Mama, Oregon Humanities Magazine, and Chicago Literati. Nancy lived on the north Oregon coast for over 20 years and has recently relocated to the Portland area.


C.B. Bernard is the final judge for the Nonfiction First Chapter Category

Chris Bernard, author of Chasing AlaskaC.B. Bernard, author of Chasing Alaska: A Portrait of the Last Frontier Then and Now (Lyons Press), will be the final judge for the 2015 Oregon Writers Colony writing contest, in the Nonfiction First Chapter Category.

Chasing Alaska was a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Travel Pick, National Geographic top book choice, and a finalist for a 2014 Oregon Book Award.

He has worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist, among other writing-related jobs. His work has appeared on Gray’s Sporting Journal and the Utne Reader.

Born and raised in New England, he lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and a temperamental bird dog named Shakespeare.


Rachelle Ramirez Becomes Executive Director of OWC

Rachelle RamirezThe Board of Directors of Oregon Writers Colony has chosen Rachelle Ramirez as the new executive director of OWC.

Rachelle is a renewing member of OWC and committed to supporting writers in their craft. She believes in the power of community involvement, education, and a sense of place to help generate, nourish, and produce creative works. One of her greatest pleasures is working with writers in navigating the writing process to help them bring their projects to completion.

Before working with OWC, Rachelle earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Goddard College in psychology and counseling. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Graduate Writing Program on merit scholarship. She received post-graduate certificates in advanced grant writing and community development.

Rachelle brings us her successful experience in not-for-profit management, development, fund-raising, board leadership, and critique group development. Her goals for OWC are to increase the value of our services to our community, increase membership and diversity within the organization, and to increase financial donations in support of writers. Overall, she hopes to strengthen writers’ support for one another through their activities and experiences with OWC.

Rachelle writes novel-length memoir and fiction and is interested in how genres can stretch, like taffy, to mix and be cut into their final form. Her current work, White Girl, Black Sheep, is a young adult novel.


Day Passes Available for 2015 Annual Conference

OWC has opened some spaces for people to attend the Annual Conference at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, including workshops and some meals. Sleeping space at the classic hotel filled soon after registration opened.

There is some table and conference space for a few people who can stay offsite for the night.

Best-selling author Cara Black will teach about making setting come alive. Literary Agent Stephanie Cabot will listen to participants’ pitches.

Day passes to the “full” conference are $250. That fee includes —

  • Friday night: meet-and-greet and dinner, along with speaker and agent introductions
  • Saturday full day: breakfast, morning session, and lunch
  • Sunday full event breakfast, morning session, and lunch

For Saturday only, full day, the cost is $200

There are a number of nearby hotels and motels, some within a short block or two of the Sylvia Beach Hotel, and the Sylvia Beach Hotel facilities (lobby and upstairs oceanfront lobby and lounge) will be available to conference participants at all times. The hotel is in the Nye Beach area of Newport.

For information or to take advantage of this option, email Carol Cole.


OWC Seeks New Executive Director click to view application

Oregon Writers Colony
Executive Director Application


We are pleased to announce we are now accepting applications for the position of Executive Director of the Oregon Writers Colony. The Executive Director works 20 hours a week from home. In close collaboration with the volunteer Board of Directors, the position is responsible for the operational management of the organization, including six annual Literary Lounge gatherings, the Colonyhouse in Rockaway Beach, an annual retreat, and other events and duties. The Executive Director must have strong management, planning and visioning skills. The Executive Director is expected to attend monthly Board of Director meetings and executive committee meetings.

Our mission statement expresses our core values: Oregon Writers Colony offers support to writers in all stages of their writing careers, from novices to published authors. Members benefit from classes, inspiration from teachers and colleagues, and access to Colonyhouse, a lovely writing retreat on the Oregon Coast.

The ideal candidate will help us continue to thrive and grow into the future.

Questions about compensation should be directed to Board President Becky Kjelstrom at

All applicants must submit a resume, a detailed response to the following four questions and current contact information.
1. Describe your experience or knowledge of program development and long-term strategic planning.
2. Cite two or more instances of successful fundraising in which you have participated as a leader. These may be large or small projects.
3. Describe your supervisory and management experience. The ability to work successfully with volunteers is desirable.
4. Explain why the Oregon Writers Colony should hire you as Executive Director.

Please reply to: In the email subject line, type OWC ED. In the email, please include your name and contact information. Please attach to the email your resume and the answers to the above four questions. You may also submit your resume and answers to Oregon Writers Colony, Executive Director Application, PO Box 15200, Portland, OR 97293-5200.

Thank you for your interest in Oregon Writers Colony!


Literary Agent Stephanie Cabot to Hear Pitches at 2015 Annual Conference

Stephanie CabotStephanie Cabot, literary agent with the Gernert Company, will listen to your pitch at OWC’s Annual Conference, May 1-3, 2015.

Stephanie is selectively adding writers from a variety of genres, including commercial and literary fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, historical fiction, thrillers, fantasy, new adult, and nonfiction. She is especially interested in writers who tell original stories with strong narratives and create distinctive characters. Her literary mantra: “Character, character, character!”

Here are some recent author publications that she has represented:

  • The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, by Christopher Scotton
  • Vanessa and Her Sister, by Priya Parmar
  • We Are Called to Rise, by Laura McBride
  • The Unexpected Waltz, by Kim Wright
  • The Cairo Affair, by Olen Steinhauer
  • The Resistance Man, by Martin Walker
  • Small Move Big Change, by Caroline Arnold
  • Hild, by Nicola Griffith
  • Babayaga, by Toby Barlow
  • The Demonologist and The Damned, by Andrew Pyper

She has worked with the Gernert Company since 2005. She began her career as an agent in London, where she spent nine years at William Morris—London, building a list of international best-selling and prize-winning authors. The last five years of her tenure with William Morris in London, she was managing director.

Half French, half American, Stephanie was educated in Europe and in the United States. She majored in history at Harvard.

She now spends her weekends working on a family dairy farm, Boggy Meadow, with her husband and four children.

To reserve your opportunity to pitch to Stephanie, sign up with your conference registration: $15.


Winning Nonfiction Entry from 2014 OWC Writing Contest

This is an excerpt from the winning nonfiction entry in the 2014 Oregon Writers Colony writing contest.

The Hope He Had

By Ryan Chin

Sometimes a walk with your dog is not always just a walk with your dog…

That’s what the detective told me when the case was closed.

It started when I took my dog to a river. Gnarled tree stumps carried from headwater streams shared the shoreline with plastic bottles, candy wrappers, and the occasional hypodermic needle. Cranes dotted the Willamette River’s banks, perched over the water like herons waiting for prey. The metal reverb of shipping containers echoed across the water. Ospreys and gulls traded calls. Vessels of all sizes sliced the surface of the river. Cormorants bobbed in their wakes, diving for long minutes in search of food. Cars raced east and west on the bridges, salmon charged upstream, and century-old sturgeon sifted through silt in the depths.

I roamed the river’s edge, pocketed pebbles, and wrestled large pieces of driftwood back to my van for my garden. My footprints were crisscrossed with the drag marks of my latest finds. Big Head, my yellow lab, pawed and chewed at the logs as we moved along, steady but unhurried, like the currents at our side.

I noticed the black briefcase first. Zippers open, sand sticking to the cloth areas. With warning thoughts about heroin needles, I searched the main compartment and pockets, never plunging my hand in blindly. No identification. Empty. Then I noticed the shoes, the shirts, and the pants nearby. I wondered if the contents had spilled out naturally, or if someone had dumped them looking for bounty. I knelt, reached for the nearest pants pocket and felt the unmistakable shape of a wad of money, rolled and bending slightly with each squeeze of my hand.

My gaze shot up and down the bank. Was there a body? Was someone watching me? Was I getting involved in something I should avoid? Not wanting to stand up with the wad of bills, I pretended to tie my shoes, slipped the money into my socks, and scurried away. Back in my van, I counted the money—ten one-hundred-dollar bills, cold and damp from the river.