Women’s Writing Salon at the Open Book in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

Women’s Writing Salon at the Open Book in Grass Valley

Connie Hills poems have appeared in several magazines and she was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She now teaches Vipassana meditation in the Burmese forest tradition as well as writing poetry.
Submitted photo to Prospector |


WHAT: Women’s Writing Salon

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: The Open Book, 671 Maltman Drive in Grass Valley

INFO: womenswritingsalon.tumblr.com

The Open Book is set to host an energetic, literary afternoon of wine, author readings (and signings), and community at 3 p.m. Sunday.

A decade-long tradition, The Women’s Writing Salon will present featured writers Connie Hills, Julie Nicholson, Leslie Rivers, and Jean Varda. Producers are suggesting donations of $5–10, but no one will be turned away.

Connie Hills

Connie Hills is a native Californian. Her poems have appeared in the Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, Red Rock Review, Porter Gulch Review, and The Bark Magazine.

Her poem “Last Dance” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. This year Hills “reversed the tide” by closing her San Francisco-based Clinical Psychology practice to teach Vipassana meditation in the Burmese forest tradition, and write poems under tall fragrant trees.

Coincidence or prediction — Hills’ mother, who spoke both Norwegian and English, had originally wanted to name her daughter Nevada.

“Connie’s poems span the world of the familiar: a family wedding, the streets of her hometown, the view from her office — with a keen and clear eye. She gives us the ordinary infused with its attendant losses, its inevitable defeats. Hers is a voice that finds compassion for the imperfection of our lives.” — Danusha Laméris, author of “The Moons of August.”

Julie Nicholson

Julie Nicholson is a solo performance artist, poet, and clown. She has performed in San Francisco at The Marsh Theater: a breeding ground for new performance and Studio Shotwell.

She has journeyed through in-depth improvisation and storytelling workshops with Sheila Rubin, culminating in live performance.

In her work, Nicholson strives to weave the sweet and resilient threads of our tattered lives. On Sunday, guests will travel with her through the streets of New York and San Francisco, first on foot and then by taxi. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

“Julie is a born storyteller, a keen observer of human nature!…Her shows embrace themes from wildly funny to poignant and universal. Always a great performer!” — Audience member.

Leslie Rivers

Leslie Rivers is an actress, director, writer and teacher, and she thinks herself lucky to have made her life in the theatre.

“Fiery Star” is her first novel: she took her loves — the theatre, the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California, and the tales of the Gold Rush — and wove them into the story of a company of actors making their way by wagon through the gold camps, plying their art in the face of fire, highwaymen, treacherous trails and unexpected trials.

“Reading Fiery Star is like being lifted back in time. You quickly find yourself dashing through the streets of Nevada City with young Emma Lightfoot, hailing the colorful characters who lived there in the rugged days of the Gold Rush.” — Alaria Z Bliss, author of “The Young Centaur.”

Jean Varda

Jean Varda gave her first poetry reading at Stone Soup Gallery in Boston. This was followed by performances on street corners and prisons with her mentor, storyteller Brother Blue.

Varda’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her poetry has appeared in The California Quarterly, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Illya’s Honey, Daybreak, The Lucid Stone, Poetry Motel, The Santa Fe Sun, Rive Guache, Manzanita, Poetry & Prose of the Mother Lode & Sierra, Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poetry and Nurturing Paws by Whispering Angel Books.

She has published five chapbooks of poetry; “Carved from Light and Shadow” by Sacred Feather Press is her most recent collection.

“Jean Varda’s poetry starts out in the bone yard and scrap heap of the heart, with a streetwise no-nonsense sound…her poems will root you in the earth and blow your head open at the same time.” — Iven Lourie, author of “Return to Mykonos.”

Refreshment will be available during the event.

For more information, please visit womenswritingsalon.tumblr.com.

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