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Writer's Symposium 2015 Workshops

Writer's Symposium by the Sea 2015 
Celebrating 20 Years of
Great Conversations about Writing!

JCO_FB_blue_scarf_small.jpgJoyce Carol Oates
Special Guest

Thursday Evening, February 26

For 50 years, Joyce Carol Oates has maintained a creative dialogue with contemporary American culture, writing unflinchingly about our obsessions and oddities, our villains and heroes, our hidden and troubled past. She has filled our shelves with literary, Gothic, mystery, and romance fiction (not to mention poetry, memoir, criticism, and memorable essays on boxing), and earned nearly every literary award but the Nobel. (San Francisco Chronicle, March 3, 2013) Read more HERE.

"Oates is at her best depicting characters who seem perplexed by their own needs, desires, and obligations, and readers seeking tidy resolutions and clear endings won't find them in these tales."  —Publishers Weekly

"The most common misperception about me is that I write fast," said Oates, 74, in an interview in her hilltop garden overlooking UC Berkeley, where she is teaching this year (2013), on paid leave from her longtime position at Princeton.  "I just write often. Every hour that I can." (The Daily Beast, March 19, 2013)

“A writer of extraordinary strengths...she has dealt consistently with what is probably the great American theme - the quest for the creation of self...
Her great subject, naturally, is love.”—Guardian                                                                                                                                                                                

Purchase Tickets Here

Destin Daniel Cretton 
Wednesday Evening, February 25

Writer, Director

Destin Daniel Cretton’s short film, "Short Term 12", won the Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. The feature, “Short Term 12", from the same subject matter, was awarded an Academy Nicholl Fellowship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The film premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. Destin's feature film debut, “I Am Not a Hipster”, premiered at Sundance in 2012. Along with his personal projects, he is currently working with Lionsgate on the film adaptation of the NY Times best-selling memoir, The Glass Castle.


He has written and directed 4 award-winning short films: Longbranch: A Suburban Parable (Premiered at the 2002 Tribeca Film Festival), Bartholomew’s Song (2006 Student Academy Finalist), Deacon’s Mondays (2007 Student Academy Finalist, 2007 Angelus Winner, HBO Films Best Student Film Award), and Short Term 12, which won the U.S. Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, followed by top awards at Seattle International, Aspen Shorts Fest, Independent Film Festival Boston, CineVegas, GenArt, and was short-listed for the 2010 Academy Awards.

 Along with his narrative work, Destin has also directed two feature-length documentaries. Drakmar: A Vassal’s Journey premiered on HBO Family in 2007 and won the Best Documentary Award at the 2006 Comic Con. Born Without Arms premiered on TLC/Discovery in 2009.

Purchase Tickets Here

lysley-tenorio_and_book.jpgLysley Tenorio, "One-Book,
One-San Diego"             

Tuesday Evening, February 24

 Author of the short story collection Monstress.

Read more about Tenorio here.

Article: “The Duality of Immigrant Life” Read more.

“..refreshingly off-kilter…his stories are impeccably constructed, leading us calmly but insistently through the characters’ external and internal landscapes.”

–The New York Times Book Review

“Tenorio’s stories, set amid mingling nationalities and generations, prompt comparisons to the works of Junot Díaz and Jhumpa Lahiri, who mine similar questions of how a life set apart (via immigration, nerdiness or other myriad reasons) seeps into a person’s sense of self. But the refreshingly wry stories in “Monstress” are rangier and less concerned with documenting the specific experience of emigrating. Instead they’re focused on uncanny moments when a character realizes that something essential to his or her life might be as false and frightening as that bucket of blood.” –The Los Angeles Times

“Tenorio…has taken a uniquely Filipino-American perspective, polyglot and glittering with cinema dreams, and used it to make a bold collection of stories of the rejected, the helpless and the lost. Montress is the debut of a singular talent.” 

Purchase Tickets Here


Writer's Symposium 2015 Workshops

Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015

1:00 to 2:30 p.m. – WHAT TOLKIEN CAN TEACH US ABOUT WRITING - Tickets

Larry Krikorian has studied the J.R.R. Tolkien manuscripts held at Marquette University in Milwaukee, for nine years. Recently he published an article entitled "Realism in Fantasy: The Lord of the Rings" in Mallorn, the Journal of the British Tolkien Society.

Krikorian will demonstrate that studying certain portions of the 10,000 sheets of handwritten manuscripts reveals much about Tolkien's process of composition. Krikorian will discuss the writing of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Graduating from Point Loma College in 1982 as a Literature and Languages major, Krikorian worked in the Trade Department at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, then located in San Diego. He won a University Fellowship to UCLA in 1984, earning an M.A. in English there and teaching composition in the UCLA Freshman Writing Programs.

Now he teaches many levels of composition at Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California. This is his 28th year at Pierce, one of the nine Los Angeles Community Colleges. At Pierce Krikorian has revived English 270, Science Fiction-Fantasy class. 

 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK 

Sandra Millers Younger and Doug Brunk - Tickets



Two local authors show how it’s done, from concept to proposal to contract to final product and all the work that follows!
Sandra Millers Younger wrote “The Fire Outside My Window: A Survivor Tells the True Story of California’s Epic Cedar Fire,” an account of her personal loss, along with the story of who set the fire and the agencies that worked to put the fire out. It’s a story about a fire, but it’s so much more than that.With degrees from both the University of North Carolina and Syracuse University, Younger studies storytelling -- what makes the great ones great, how to find them, and how to share them in powerful ways that make a difference in the world. She is also the founder and chief story strategist at Strategic Story Solutions, which helps speakers and business leaders communicate their message and grow their business by unlocking the power of their own stories. 


Doug Brunk is the author of “Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories from Kentucky Basketball Greats,” published by the University Press of Kentucky in September of 2014, which documents the legendary people and moments in the University of Kentucky’s historic basketball program. Brunk will show how a writer can turn a passion into a published book. Brunk has degrees from both Point Loma Nazarene University (he’s one of the first journalism graduates in the school’s history) and Syracuse University, and he is currently an award-winning journalist covering health care for Frontline Medical News.The workshop will cover topics such as reading groups, perseverance, literary agents, contracts, book proposals, marketing, branding, and many others. 



Wednesday, February 25, 2015
1:00 to 2:30 p.m. WRITING FOR THE BIG AND SMALL SCREEN - Tickets

Sam Jean started out as an intellectual property lawyer, then became a sports agent. One day a client asked him to read a script for an upcoming project. Sam found the script in his words, “terrible” and called the agent asking her why she would submit such a terrible script to a client. The agent said, “Writing is not easy. Getting good scripts is even harder. If you think you can do better, maybe you should write.” Sam took the challenge. He found out that writing and developing stories wasn’t as easy as he thought but was incredibly rewarding and liberating. After one of his scripts, The Debt, was optioned, Sam moved to LA to pursue a career in writing. In between creating, developing and writing television as well as feature films, Sam supports himself as a Communications consultant. This workshop will focus on writing scripts for television and film.


3:00 to 4:30 p.m. – NUTS AND BOLTS OF SCREENWRITING - Tickets

What does it take to get a film from idea to screen? Award-winning filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton will show the steps it took to get his film Short Term 12 made, as well as the process for his upcoming major Hollywood film, based on the Jeannette Walls memoir The Glass Castle. He will also give practical advice on what makes some screenplays better than others, how to tell a story for screen, and the discipline necessary for any good screenwriter.

New to the Writer's Symposium by the Sea?

Writer’s Symposium by the Sea is an annual event that brings interviews with cutting edge creators, life stories, examples of great writing, and evocative conversation that will inspire the reader and writer alike. The evening interviews, conducted by symposium founder Dean Nelson, feature lively conversations about the stories behind the author’s stories. The audience gets to eavesdrop on these exchanges and even interact with the writer during a Q&A session that follows. Specialized afternoon workshops, conducted by published writers, provide tips and insight into the writing process. You are invited to join us and listen in on what some of today’s cutting edge writers have to say! Past guests have included Ray Bradbury, Anne Lamott, Philip Yancey, Dave Eggers, Amy Tan, Bill McKibben, Donald Miller, George Plimpton, and many more.

Become a Friend of the Writer's Symposium!
To keep the symposium viable at its current high quality of programming, we need your help to meet our yearly goal of $10,000 in donations. Please consider partnering with Writer's Symposium by the Sea by giving a tax-deductible donation. Every gift counts, no matter the size. Friends may give a one-time donation or an ongoing monthly gift.  By doing so, you will be partnering with like-minded people dedicated to keeping the Writer's Symposium dream alive!

For more information and to make a donation, please go to YES, I want to be a Friend of the Symposium!

Thank you for your support.

Videos of Past Events

Videos of past Writer's Symposium interviews are available online, including conversations with Anne Lamott, Eugene Peterson, Anchee Min, Bill McKibben, and many more.

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San Diego Lodging for Writer's Symposium

PLNU and Bartell Hotels offer a unique opportunity for friends and family to get reduced rates at some of the finest hotels in San Diego and at the same time contribute to student scholarships at PLNU. All seven Bartell Hotels are conveniently located near Point Loma Nazarene University. Most of the Bartell Hotels provide courtesy airport transportation and free parking. For more information, visit our website  or call (800) 345-9995.