WordFest greets the New Year with three local writers

WordFest kicks off its 2018 series on Tuesday, January 9, 6:00 pm, at the Cassava Coffeehouse, 1333 Broadway in Longview.

Fred Hudgins will read from his first young adult (YA) novel, Green Grass. He says, “I’m sure you’ve heard the cliché about the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence. It’s usually a little more complicated than that.”

Susannah and her friends open a portal to a magical Paradise. But Paradise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The young people drop into the middle of a civil war, with good people and bad people on both sides. Deciding who is who becomes a pretty important question to figure out. Once the Earthlings get cloned, things really become complicated. Imagine saying “Hi!” to yourself!

Fred has been writing poetry and short stories since he took a Creative Writing class at Purdue University in 1967. “Unfortunately, that was the only class I passed.” He spent the next three years in the army, including a tour in Vietnam, then earned a BS in Computer Science from Rutgers, with a career as a computer programmer.

His short stories and poems have been published in Biker MagazineThe Salal Review, The Scribbler, in the anthologies, That Holiday Feeling and Not Your Mother’s Book on Working for a Living, and on Poetry.Com.








Ryan O’Keefe will be reading an excerpt from his novel Shallow World: A Sunny-Thorned Seed for the Untold Stories, which he describes as “a New Adult romantic dramedy.” Set in the fictional city of Merson Valley, California, it follows the wonderful, messy, sometimes heartbreaking lives of best friends Jynnete and Katy, both 20, as they face the challenges and adventures of college, romance, new adulthood, and a school shooting.

Ryan is currently seeking ways to get his novel published.  Born in Washington, he has also lived in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California, and moved to Longview in September. He previously worked as a copywriter for a financial institution.




Joan Enders will read from Evidence is Lacking. Yet I Still Hope. Joshua Henry Bates was a young teacher in a country school when he signed up for service in the American Expeditionary Forces going to Europe in the “war to end all wars.” The book contains primary sources about Joshua and his life–about the young woman with whom he fell in love, about leaving his farm to  attend the University of Utah, and his self-doubts reflected in his journal. Joan will lead the audience in an “interactive reading” of these sources, including documents and photographs from his youth,  his journal and Camp Lewis diary, and a variety of other materials to learn about who he was and what happened to him. Joan promises it will be “very different from other readings, to be sure!”


Joan taught literature and research skills in middle and high school libraries for 28 years. She was a recipient of the American Library Association’s Frances Henne Award for library leadership. She now conducts training webinars for librarians and administers the local Family History Center for Family Search International. She enjoys “peeling the research onion” for students and adults. Joan speaks to professional organizations and at genealogy conferences.





There will be an open mic period following the presentations.


The monthly gathering of readers and writers meets the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 PM, at Cassava. The events are free and open to the public.

Cassava offers a dinner menu for those who wish to enjoy a meal with the readings, as well as local wines and brews.