where the writers are
Oct. 12-16: Literary Kern Festival and the Mystery Box!

It's called "Literary Kern: Celebrating The Art Of Writing" and takes place just 110 miles north of Hollywood in the Central Valley city of Bakersfield. And, I will be revealing what's in the box!

What's in the box? Mystery to be revealed... on Twitpic

I'm also stoked for other reasons. Why?

I've been helping brainstorm on this city-wide literary festival for months and I'm happy to be a part of it. On Oct. 12-16 Literary Kern is being held by the Kern County Library in conjunction with various Bakersfield entities including Bakersfield College, Bakersfield Community Theatre, Viva Editions, Russo’s Books and my own Random Writers Workshop.

During Literary Kern, events such as Poetry and Place, Cartoon Mania, the Poetry Slam Jam and a free Random Writers Workshop will be held at venues including the Beale Memorial Library, Bakersfield College Norman Levan Center, Russo’s Books and Bakersfield Community Theatre.

A week-long event, Literary Kern spawned out of the 2009 Local Authors’ Book Fair held by the Kern County Library. Special Collections Librarian Christopher Livingston of the Beale Memorial Library sought to expand and re-brand the Local Authors’ Book Fair into a multiple venue event filled with workshops, panels, readings and more.

“There seems to be a growing energy in Bakersfield culture,” Livingston said about local art culture. “The purpose of Literary Kern is to feed this energy and shine a light on Kern County’s literary scene. This is event is more than ‘celebrating the art of writing.’ It also celebrates the spirit of creativity.”

Business Development Representative Thomas G. Robinson of Russo’s Books, who organized the Poetry Slam at Bakersfield Community Theatre as well as a book discussion at Russo’s Books, said about being a part of organizing the event: “I got to see from the very beginning how Literary Kern has evolved into incredible events that will be held around town over five days. This includes my involvement in a great discussion about Burro Genius by Victor Villaseñor at Russo’s Books with myself and Chris Livingston, and an original production of an actual poetry slam on stage by amateur and professional poets, all presenting their original works in a way they hadn’t been able to do before.”

of course I think Literary Kern is just another step in the direction of putting Bakersfield on the literary map. With partners like the Kern County Library, Bakersfield College, Russo’s Books and Bakersfield Community Theatre involved in this multiday effort, it’s going to grow into a cultural staple for not just Bakersfield and Kern County, but the Central Valley.

Event Listing

Oct. 12: Poetry and Place - 7 p.m. at Bakersfield College’s Norman Levan Center for the Humanities. Poets Nancy Edwards, Jack Hernandez and Don Thompson read and discuss poems about Bakersfield and Kern County.

Oct. 13: Cartoon Mania - 3:30 p.m. at the Beale Memorial Library Tejon Room. Local cartoonist Ray Friesen hosts a comics writing and drawing seminar for children and adults of all ages. You may have attended one of his smaller drawing sessions. This workshop will be much more epic in scope. Students are walked through the art of creating characters and placing them in adventure stories.

Oct. 13: Poetry Slam Jam - 7 p.m. at the Bakersfield Community Theater; Thomas G. Robinson, Moderator. Poetry Slam Jam showcases poets and their works at the Bakersfield Community Theatre. Feature local poets, some beginners, some advanced and some professionals, all reading their works on stage and in a format that allows them to fully express themselves.

Oct. 14: Discussion - 3:30 p.m. at The Beale Memorial Library Tejon Room. Young Adult Program: “Beat Poetry? You Can’t Beat Poetry!”

Oct. 15: Pre-School Children’s Story Time - 10:30 a.m. Beale Memorial Library Story Pit.

Oct. 15: The Art and Craft of Cover Design - 3:30 p.m. Beale Memorial Library Tejon Room. Graphic Artist Gene Stirm talks dazzling book covers for those who self-publish.

Oct. 15: Burro Genius Discussion - 3:30 p.m. at Russo’s Bookstore at the Marketplace. A discussion of Burro Genius by Victor Villaseñor. Hosted by Thomas G. Robinson of Russo’s Books and Christopher Livingston of the Beale Library.

Oct. 16: Women’s Lives Through Women’s Eyes - 11 a.m. Beale Memorial Library Tejon Room. Author Sarah Chloe Burns hosts a panel of women authors whose works of fiction focus on the historic roles of multicultural women. We invite you to listen and participate in this insightful panel discussion.

About the Panel:

Sarah Chloe Burns: Historian Sarah Chloe Burns has gained an international reputation as a noted research academic in the area of gender and race relations, cross-culturally, from the ancient period to the present. Her historic research for her novel Matilda of Argyll highlights the experiences of 17th Century women, from the brothels of London, the Scottish Highlands and the plantations of Virginia.

Linda Ballou: Alaska native Linda Ballou received a degree in English Literature from California State University Northridge. She notes that her experience in writing gave her a “doctorate in urban savvy.” A noted travel writer, she will share her stories from 18th Century Hawaii (Wai-nani; High Chiefess of Hawai’i).

Mary Ruth Hughes: A freelance writer for magazines such as Westways, Listen Magazine, and Highlander, Mary Ruth’s writing style was influenced by Louis L’Amour. A renowned children’s author, she will share her “insider” knowledge of the 19th Century Oklahoma Chickasaw Nation (Tishomingo).

Oct. 16: Stories Yet to be Told - 2 p.m. Beale Memorial Library Tejon Room. Don’t miss this exciting local history panel includes tips for both fiction and nonfiction writers on mining the rich lore of Kern County's past and recent history. You’ll hear how you can find resources both online and in the library that will spark your imagination as a writer to tell the untold stories of Kern County. Panel includes of Camille Gavin, Gilbert Gia, Chris Livingston, and Carola Rupert.

Oct. 16: Writing the Novel: Basics in Publishing and Writing - 3:30 p.m. at Russo’s Bookstore at the Marketplace. Hosted by author/illustrator Nick Belardes of the Random Writers Workshop (RWW). Learn about the publishing industry, the art of novelwriting, how to tap into your creativity, and how to write narrative and great dialogue. Bring a pen, paper and an open mind for some creative writing fun. And you get to find out what's in the box!

PRIZES! Viva Editions out of San Francisco/Berkeley has donated books! Russo's Books has donated gift certificates and "Eat Sleep Read" T-shirts for lucky winners, and discount coupons for all attendees! Also, Attendees can win fine art greeting card sets by artist and writer, Diana Campbell-Rice.