26th Annual Writer's Symposium by the Sea

Writer's Symposium 2021 ad image

This year's Writer's Symposium by the Sea will feature excellent writers from Point Loma Nazarene University as we explore Writing that Illuminates. 


This year's guests include:

Linda Beail, Carol Blessing, Max Butterfield, David Cummings, Stephen Goforth, Brad Kelle, Alain Lescart, Michael Lodahl, Rebecca Laird, Kara Lyons-Pardue, Katie Manning, Stephanie Smith Matthews, Karl Martin, Dean Nelson, Margarita Pintado Burgos, Bettina Tate Pedersen, James Wicks, Montague Williams, and Hadley Wood.

Due to restrictions placed on large gatherings due to COVID-19, this year's event will be online and free for all to attend.

Join our mailing list to receive updates on this year's events, including event links as they go live.

Tuesday, March 23

Driftwood Student Short Film Festival (3PM PST)

Online film event that will include the top three short film winners from this year's Driftwood Short Film Contest, followed by an interview with the winning directors by Dr. James Wicks

Event hosted by Driftwood, Dept. of LJWL and Dept. of Communication Studies.

Event link will be sent to our mailing list and posted here on March 23 at 3PM PST.

Theology Writing Discussion (7PM PST)

Theology Writing Discussion with theologians Dr. Brad Kelle (Bio /Website), Dr. Michael Lodahl, & Dr. Montague Williams. Moderated by Dr. Rebecca Laird.

Event link will be sent to our mailing list and posted here on March 23 at 7PM PST.

Wednesday, March 24

(LIVE) Poetry Workshop with Katie Manning & Margarita Pintado Burgos (4:30PM PST)

Online poetry workshop hosted by Dr. Katie Manning (Bio / Website) & Dr. Margarita Pintado Burgos (Bio). 

Event will be live on Zoom. Register before the event to attend (link below).

Interview with Katie Manning & Margarita Pintado Burgos by Dean Nelson (7PM PST)

Interview with award winning poets Dr. Katie Manning (Bio / Website) & Dr. Margarita Pintado Burgos (Bio) by Dr. Dean Nelson (Bio / Website). 

Event link will be sent to our mailing list and posted here on March 24 at 7PM PST.

Thursday, March 25

Interdisciplinary Academic Writing Panels (3PM PST)

A discussion of academic writing by Dr. Kara Lyons-Pardue, Dr. Stephanie Smith Matthews, Dr. Max Butterfield, Dr. David Cummings, Dr. Bettina Tate Pedersen, Dr. Carol Blessing, Dr. Alain Lescart, Dr. Karl Martin, & Dr. Linda Beail. Moderated by Dr. Hadley Wood.

Event link will be sent to our mailing list and posted here on March 25 at 3PM PST.

Interview with Dean Nelson & Stephen Goforth (7PM PST)

Dean Nelson (Bio / Website), founder of the Writer's Symposium and the journalism program at PLNU, and author of Talk to Me: How to Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers, and Interview Anyone Like a Pro, will talk about his writing experience and his newest book in an interview with Stephen Goforth (Bio / Website).

Event link will be sent to our mailing list and posted here on March 25 at 7PM PST.


David Brooks headshot


David Brooks is an op-ed columnist for the New York Times. He is a commentator on The PBS NewshourNPR's "All Things Considered" and NBC's Meet the Press.

His books include Bobos in ParadiseThe Social Animal and The Road to Character (a #1 New York Times bestseller). His latest book is The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life (also a #1 NYT bestseller).

He has worked for The Wall Street JournalThe Weekly Standard, and is a contributing editor for The Atlantic and Newsweek.

Nadia Bolz-Weber photo


Nadia Bolz-Weber is an ordained Lutheran Pastor, founder of House for All Sinners & Saints in Denver, Co and  the author of three NYT bestselling memoirs: Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith Of A Sinner & Saint (2013), Accidental Saints: Finding God In All The Wrong People (2015) and SHAMELESS: A Sexual Reformation (2019).

 In 2017, she won the coveted Audience Award at the Nantucket Project. Bolz-Weber has been featured in The New YorkerThe Washington PostNPR’s Morning EditionFresh Air, More, and on CNN and the BBC World Service.

Her latest project is a podcast, The Confessional with Nadia Bolz-Weber, a partnership with PRX and The Moth, which released April 2020.


Film event to feature award-winning films, including interviews with their writers/directors.

Event also to include screening of PLNU Film Contest winners.

More details coming soon.

Cornel West headshot (color)


Cornel West is a prominent and provocative intellectual. He is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.

He has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at nineteenth and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies.

Use the links below to follow us on our social media accounts:

Writer's Symposium Video Archive

Click here to view Writer's Symposium by the Sea interviews from past years, recorded by UCSD-TV.


2020 Writer's Symposium Donors

Writer's Symposium by the Sea continues thanks to the support of our donors, who believe in this event and provide financial contributions.

Thank you to the following: 

PLNU Department of Literature, Journalism, Writing, & Languages
Center for Justice & Reconciliation
PLNU Office of Diversity & Black Student Union
Society of Professional Journalists
Oarsmen Foundation
The Rasak Family
Dr. John & Lori Dedic
Mery Olive Bangs Endowment
Larry & Merlene Ellison
Lawrence & Suzanne Hess
The Larry & Kathy Willette Family
Ronald Lauderbach & Kathleen Hurder
Dr. David & Elizabeth Ostrander
Phyllis Skidgel
Daniel K. O'Neill
John Wyman
David & Elinore Vandegrift

Donations are tax-deductible.