One November night in 2011, I drove three towns south on 99W to McMinnville, Oregon, to attend a committee meeting for a local writing festival. The meeting was nuts. So noisy and disorganized. Someone passed around wine glasses and a bottle of pinot noir, everyone talking over and under each other. I couldn't get a word in edgewise. This is ridiculous, I thought to myself. I am definitely not coming back.
You can guess where this story leads. I went back for just one more meeting in 2011 and then another in 2012, until I started to have fun. Nearly four years (and many bottles of wine) later, I adore these strong, noisy, creative writers and artists. And every spring we put on a slamming creative writing festival right here in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country.
The Terroir Creative Writing Festival takes its strange name from the French vinicultural word for all the environmental factors that go into producing a particular wine's flavor—the soil, topography, and climate. The Festival exists to cultivate writing formed of Yamhill County's terroir, though we welcome writers from all over.
Our keynote speakers this year are Shawn Levy and David Mason. Brian Tibbets from MacGregor Literary will be joining us, and we have a special workshop led by Oregon Shakespearean Festival actor JP Phillips for those who want to learn from an actor how to read their work aloud like a professional at the end-of-day open mic reading. I'll be teaching a two-hour memoir workshop in the afternoon. If you're in the area, please join us!