Creative Writing Celebration

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The date is set!

2018 Cochise Community Creative Writing Celebration

Friday, April 13 – Saturday, April 14, 2018
Stay tuned for more details!

The Cochise Community Creative Writing Celebration brings published writers in several genres, such as poetry, novels, creative nonfiction, juvenile fiction, and screenwriting, to present hands-on workshops to aspiring writers from the community.

Celebration participants are also invited to enter a writing contest in three categories: poetry, short story (fiction) and memoir (nonfiction). In addition to cash prizes, first-place winners of the writing contest have their work published in Cochise College’s Mirage Literary and Arts Magazine.

Writing Contest Deadline: April 2, 2018

Contact the celebration’s coordinators or email for more information or to be added to the mailing list.

Organizing Committee Chairperson | Beth Orozco
(520) 255-6060 |
Beth Orozco website

Additional Committee Support | Jay Treiber
(520) 417-4765 |
Jay Treiber website

These were some comments we received from participants at previous years’ Cochise Community Creative Writing Celebrations:

  • I liked everything about the Celebration: the speakers, the content, and the flow. Also the accessibility of the presenters. I always go home with enough new material to keep me busy for a while!
  • I liked the exposure to the work, ideas, and techniques of successful writers.
  • The quality and talent of the workshop presenters was great. I also liked that you could buy the presenters’ books.
  • The workshops were wonderful. They were insightful and offered the opportunity to get to know the authors.
  • The coming together to share the love of writing; no matter how good we are, we share the passion.
  • An excellent group of writers every year – well organized by the conference committee.
  • I love the accessibility that the presenters have, plus the workshops are of the best quality.
  • I like that the authors included writing exercises in their seminars.
  • Networking and challenging ideas, encouragement
  • As a new writer just getting started, I’m impressed with the whole thing.  The friendly atmosphere, open communication was a joy!
  • Down to earth practical information and great breadth of experience with all the authors.
  • I liked the presenters and the sharing of real experience.
  • I came last year and enjoyed myself so much I couldn’t wait to come again. I enjoy the sense of community and sharing something I care about with others. All of the presenters are unique and each has something different to say.
  • I thought everything I went to was great.  It started off with a fantastic keynote address–and every workshop was useful.
  • I enjoyed the workshops and the academic atmosphere.
  • Very pleasant, low key, yet professional. Appreciated supportive nurturing attitudes.
  • I loved the array of presenters; had something for everybody.
  • As always, for four years running, a fabulous, enlightening, life-changing experience.
  • This is a great conference. I like the open and friendly atmosphere. The interaction with the judges is also wonderful.
  • Lots of encouragement and excitement among people who really enjoy writing.
  • My first time – nice day! Will come again. Thanks!  Very comfortable. Very professional. Very nice!

2017 Celebration Authors

Keynote Speaker

Katherine Towler

Katherine Towler is author of The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship, and the novels Snow Island, Evening Ferry, and Island Light, a trilogy set on a fictional New England island. She is also co-editor with Ilya Kaminsky of A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith. She earned an M.A. in Writing at Johns Hopkins and an M.A. in English Literature at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. She teaches in the M.F.A. Program in Writing at Southern New Hampshire University.


J. L. Powers

J.L. (Jessica) Powers has worked in the small independent publishing world since 2002. Currently, she works as a publicist for Cinco Puntos Press, moonlights as an editor for Akashic Books, and runs her own small press, Catalyst Book Press, which is re-branding and re-launching in 2017. She runs and edits the website The Pirate Tree, a collective of writers who focus on children’s literature and social justice issues. Powers is the award-winning author of 7 books for children and young adults. Her 8th book, Broken Circle, which she co-wrote with her brother, is due out in 2017.

Poetry Presenter

Ken Waldman

Ken Waldman is a writer, musician, and educator. As a writer, he’s had published six full-length poetry collections, a memoir, and over 400 poems and stories in journals and anthologies. As a performer, he combines Appalachian-style string-band music, original poetry, and Alaska-set storytelling. As a workshop leader, he strives to live up to this quote by writer Naomi Shihab Nye: “I conducted classes in a number of communities (Ken Waldman) taught in, and heard good stories testifying to the mark he had made on the writers of those places. He gave enthusiastic encouragement. He spread the cheer of genuine work.”
Ken Waldman website

Fiction Presenter

Mary Sojourner

Mary Sojourner’s new short story collection, The Talker, comes out from Torrey House Press in March 2017. She is the author of three novels: Sisters of the Dream , Going Through Ghosts and 29; the short story collection Delicate, essay collections Bonelight: Ruin and Grace in the New Southwest, and Bonelight: Rituals of Loss and Desire; two memoirs, She Bets Her Life and Solace. She reviews books for KNAU’s Southwest Reviews. She’s the author of op eds and columns for High Country News, Yoga Journal, Writers on the Range, Matador Network and dozens of other publications. She was chosen as a Distinguished Writer in Residence in 2007 by the Virginia C. Piper Center for Creative Writing, ASU. She believes in both the limitations and possibilities of healing. Writing is the most powerful tool she has found for doing what is necessary to mend – oneself and the greater world. Through her website breakthrough writing, she provides free weekly writing tips, challenges, and craft exercises.

Support the Creative Writing Celebration

Charitable gifts are an important component in advancing the excellence of the Creative Writing Celebration. Your contribution helps cover the cost of event expenses, student registrations and prizes. Contributions are tax deductible. Make a secure online gift to the Freund Creative Writing Fund; mail a gift to the Cochise College Foundation, 4190 West Highway 80, Douglas, AZ 85607; or call (520) 417-4735 to discuss your donation.

The Cochise Community Creative Writing Celebration is co-sponsored by Cochise College, University South Foundation, Inc., Cochise College Foundation’s Diane E. Freund Memorial Writing Celebration Fund, and the City of Sierra Vista Leisure and Library Services, with support from other community businesses and organizations.