Guest Writers from Ireland highlight July WordFest

On Tuesday, July 3, WordFest will be meeting at the Backstage Cafe, 216 S. Pacific Avenue, in Kelso.

Orla Parkinson and Scott Coombs live in the wilds of county Leitrim in the northwest of Ireland with their three children. Leitrim is well known in Ireland for its arts community and Orla and Scott are both active in local writers groups. Orla, who works as a librarian in a local village on the border with Northern Ireland, will read from a selection of her poems, short stories, and from a play she is currently working on. Scott works in Dublin for an Information Technology consultancy and will read from a collection of short stories he is preparing. He also enjoys letterpress printing and runs the Barking Angels Press in his spare time.

In the second hour, Longview attorney David Rorden will read from a novel he is writing about a jury trial for an involuntary mental commitment case. Set in Longview and Stevenson in Skamania County, the story centers on a high profile case involving a bearded young man wearing a white robe  who sits in the lotus position on the I-5 freeway. His attorney soon learns that his client’s bizarre behavior was designed to put the state’s system of forced mental health treatment on trial. The novel draws on Rorden’s experiences as Cowlitz County’s contracted public defender in ITA (Involuntary Treatment Act) hearings.

In honor of Independence Day, WordFest regular Mary Lyons will read from her writings on patriotic themes, and people are invited to participate in the open mic period following Mary’s’ reading, sharing their own patriotic reflections in prose or verse (10 minute limit.)

1966 RA Long grad heads WordFest in June

On Tuesday, June 5, WordFest will be meeting at the Electric Bean coffee shop, 946 Washington Way (Washington Way and 10th Avenue) in Longview, 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Mike Strom will be reading several poems, excerpts from his book of short stories, Spice: American Adventures, and also a short segment from his novel Wildwood. Both books are available in Kindle format on Paperback copies of Spice will be available for purchase and signing at the reading.

Mike graduated from RA Long High School in 1966 and Western Washington University in 1994. Following the life of an artist, he picked apples, renovated houses, lived in hippie communes, served in the US Navy, was a commercial fisherman,  owned several art galleries and wrote  for a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Baltimore Sun, San Diego Union, Longview Daily News, Audubon Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Pacific Fishing, and Fisherman’s News. In 2011, he returned to Longview, where he transformed an old family rental into an “art house” and began producing Pacific NW Artist Series, a series of art interviews conducted by Erica Rodman, presently being aired on KLTV.

Dan Roberts will be reading from his medical thriller, VRSA SYNDROME (At 4:15 on a Friday morning in August, Rick Caldwell takes the phone call every physician dreads. His friend Lindsey Dawson is having a grand mal seizure. In searching for the cause, he learns that Lindsey holds a key he doesn’t want to discover.)

Dan is a retired physician, who moved to Kalama six years ago. He was on the editorial board of Western Journal of Medicine for 10 years, and for several years was on the publication committee for American Academy of Family Physicians, which publishes American Family Physician, a nationally distributed journal of Family Medicine. Over the years, he has had narrative nonfiction pieces published in Medical Economics, and in 2010, a short memoir of his was published in The Healing Muse, a health care related literary journal.

Robin Weitzen will read from a novel she is currently working on, titled My Mission: San Gabriel. Set in California, the story is about a young man torn between a promise to his dead mother and secrets from his family’s past.

Robin has been teaching writing and directing writing programs for more than 20 years at Tulane University, the Institute of Reading Development in Marin County, California, and at the University of Phoenix, where she is currently a faculty member in the colleges of Humanities and Communications. She is in a doctoral studies program at Tulane University, with an emphasis on literary history from 1485 to 1815.

Following the presentations, there will be an open mic period (10 minute limit.)