with Kate Gray & Laura Stanfill

Join us for the 2023 Oregon Writers Colony Annual Spring Conference at the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon. Author Kate Gray will present on two of the subtlest, trickiest bits of writing: scene and voice. You’ll get to write and explore techniques in these generative sessions. Then she and publisher Laura Stanfill will explore the author-publisher connection in a final session on Sunday. Laura will be available on Saturday for optional one-on-one consultations on pitches, marketing and other aspects of getting your words out into the world.

Presenter bios

Author, poet, teacher

Kate Gray’s passion stems from writing, teaching, and volunteering. For Every Girl: New & Selected Poems was published by Widow & Orphan House in 2019. Her first full-length book of poems, Another Sunset We Survive (Cedar House Books, 2007) was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and followed chapbooks, Bone-Knowing (2006), winner of the Gertrude Press Poetry Prize and Where She Goes (2000), winner of the Blue Light Chapbook Prize. Kate’s first novel, Carry the Sky, (Forest Avenue, 2014) stares at bullying without blinking. Her poetry and essays have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. In her novel-in-progress, she narrates, in Sylvia Plath’s voice, what led to The Bell Jar and her suicide attempt in 1953. Over the years she’s been awarded residencies at Hedgebrook, Norcroft, Soapstone, and Storyknife, and a fellowship from the Oregon Literary Arts. After 25 years teaching English at a community college, she retired to coach writers. Kate and her partner live in a pine-and-oak forest in the mid-Columbia River Gorge with two impetuous dogs.

Laura Stanfill is the award-winning publisher of Forest Avenue Press, which she founded in 2012. Her debut novel, Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary (Lanternfish), was named a best book of 2022 by Powell’s Books and the Independent Book Review. She is a graduate of the Yale Publishing Course, a Publishers Weekly Star Watch honoree, and a two-time winner of the Oregon Literary Fellowship for publishing. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she wishes on independent bookstores like stars and demystifies publishing in her newsletter, laura stanfill.substack.com.

More detailed session descriptions from Kate:

In the theater, the stage offers the scene as soon as the curtain rises. Prose writers don’t have the option of physical sets and props. We have to build an entire framework for a story within the first paragraphs of any piece, but how? In this generative workshop, we will explore “description-in-action,” or how to build the context for the characters’ movement through time and space, not as stagnant observation, but as interaction between the characters and their environment.

Voice/Point of View
Every choice you make in your writing adds up to that elusive quality known as Voice, which offers the reader exactly what they want: your unique sensibility. This cumulative effect is bigger than point of view, which captures the speaker’s or speakers’ perspective. In this generative workshop, you’ll gain tools to identify what makes your writing uniquely yours and to inform your decision about what point of view to use when you tell the story.