August 20, 2009

Writers on the Edge Elects Cindy Hanson as New Director

Exciting news for Writers On The Edge, the umbrella organization of the award-winning Nye Beach Writers' Series. Cindy Hanson, a member of the nonprofit's board since February 2007, has been elected its new director. She replaces Matt Love, WOE director from May 2008 through July 2009.

Cindy Hanson, whose day job is public relations manager and photographer for the Oregon Coast Aquarium, has also been a professional female voice talent in television and radio for over 25 years, working for KINK-FM, in Portland for 14 years. In 2001, Hanson took a leap of faith and found herself living on a bluff where the forest meets the ocean just north of Newport. Re-assembling a coast career led to television and media sales, public relations, and as a television reporter/producer for the Oregon Coast Show. In 2005, she was hired by the Oregon Coast Aquarium to manage the Aquarium's media relations and publicity. Hanson continues to do voice over work and professional photography. She is also a poet and can often be found reading her works of wit and compassion at the Nye Beach Writers' Series open mic. Writers On The Edge is honored to have such an accomplished individual at its helm.

"I am privileged to be serving in this capacity for an extraordinary literary arts organization," said Hanson. "I have long admired Carla Perry and her tireless work in bringing so many diverse writers here, and exposing Lincoln County youth to the joys of writing. I'll do my best to support the existing efforts of Writers On The Edge and look forward to whatever comes next. I'd also like to invite everyone to come and join us at the Writers' Series events - we really have a lot of fun!"

Writers On The Edge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that oversees the Nye Beach Writers' Series, in-school mini-workshops, after-school writing clubs, adult workshops, open mics, and special literary events. Writers' Series programs have been held the third Thursday of every month, year-round, since 1997. The organization is entirely volunteer run. Carla Perry, the organization’s founder, received the Governor's Art Award and the Stewart Holbrook Special Award for her outstanding contributions to Oregon’s literary arts.

To receive notification of upcoming events, go the Writers On The Edge website and click on the "subscribe" button, or call 541-574-7708. We never lend or sell our mailing list.

Cindy Hanson ~ Photo Credit Carla Perry

May 5, 2009

Sometimes a Great Party—the Lincoln County Filming of a Ken Kesey Novel

By Matt Love
Along the western slopes of the Oregon Coastal Range...come look...
Thus opens Ken Kesey's sprawling, drenched, riffing, old growth dense, beautifully flawed, LSD flavored, masterpiece of a novel, Sometimes a Great Notion, set on the Oregon Coast, about a gyppo logging family, published in 1964, and undeniably the greatest Oregon work of fiction of all time. If you live on the Northwest Coast and haven’t read it, you have no business living on the Northwest Coast.

Not long after the Great Day-Glo man died in 2001, I found myself drinking beer in the Bayhaven, an ancient tavern on Newport’s Bayfront. There I noticed hanging on a wall a framed poster of promotional stills from Sometimes a Great Notion the movie. It was filmed in and around Lincoln County in 1970 and includes scenes shot in the Bayhaven, which stood in for The Snag saloon from the novel.

On sheer journalistic whim, I asked the Bayhaven’s bartender if she had seen the movie. I asked a few other patrons the same question. They all had. In fact, several had also read the novel, which bulges over 600 pages in the most recent paperback edition. We talked about that book, about Kesey’s first novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and the movie adaptations of each, one a classic, the other not.

At the age of 46 Paul Newman, then arguably Hollywood’s biggest star, produced, directed and starred as the logger Hank Stamper in Sometimes a Great Notion, one of the first high profile, independent American films. In addition to Newman in the lead role, the film featured Henry Fonda, Lee Remick, Michael Sarrazin, and Richard Jaeckel, respectively as Hank’s domineering father, unhappy wife, estranged brother and cousin.

Despite Newman’s huge world-wide celebrity, the picture tanked upon its December 1971 release. Later it was retitled Never Give an Inch for television where in my youth in Oregon City I discovered it on the late show. Nineteen eighty-six marked the movie’s video cassette release, but it has inexplicably never been released officially on DVD (although I own bootlegged DVDS and give them away at my literary events).

The Oregon press offered uniformly positive reviews when Sometimes a Great Notion came out, but to me, it is a mediocre movie, unimaginatively adapted. Newman and screenwriter John Gay obviously read the novel and tried to conjure a coherent theme from a biblical work of fiction punctuated with manic stretches of stream-of-consciousness and multiple narrators (including a dog). But they failed. The movie is also marred by a terribly dubbed audio track and murky cinematography. If any scene remains memorable, it’s the harrowing sequence where Jaeckel’s character is pinned under a log as a rising estuarine tide drowns him while Newman tries to cut him free.

The film’s most glaring fault however, is that despite being filmed where the novel is set, it utterly fails to evoke the sense of special unhinged Oregon place that characterizes the genius of Kesey’s novel. He nailed what rain does to us here on the Northwest Coast better than any writer before or since, including Lewis and Clark at Ft. Clatsop.
You must go through a winter to understand, Kesey wrote.

Amen to that.

Today the movie is worth watching mainly to see how the Central Oregon Coast looked in 1970 and how the Oregon Department of Forestry regulated logging in the pre-Oregon Forest Practices Act era (and probably fantasizes about doing so today). There was no regulation. In one shocking scene, loggers drop 300-year old conifers right into a pristine estuary.

As I drank in the Bayhaven, asking patrons their opinions on Sometimes a Great Notion, the novel and movie, a thickly bearded man wearing a baseball cap emerged from an alcove sheltering the video poker machines and moved toward me holding a Hamm’s can. He sat next to me at the bar and said he had a story about the movie. A story about Paul Newman. Would I like to hear it? Yes, I would. I ordered him another Hamm’s. He appeared anywhere from 40-70 years old, or what I call OTA, Oregon tavern age.

One night in 1970, the man was drinking in a tavern in Toledo, eight miles east of Newport. In walked an unaccompanied Paul Newman carrying a chainsaw. “He was wearing a fake chest,” said the man. The man explained that Newman wore some kind of padding under his shirt, evidently to appear bulkier. That Newman still wore the padding and carried the chainsaw meant he must have come right off location in the woods near Toledo where some of the timber falling scenes were shot.

Newman didn’t say anything. The patrons recognized him but didn’t say anything. He fired up the chainsaw, sawed the legs off a pool table and sent the slate crashing to the floor. Newman left without saying a word. Perhaps later he sent a check to cover the damage. Perhaps not. The whole incident unfolded in less than three minutes.
C’mon, you're bullshitting me? I said. I then reminded him of a scene from the movie where Newman’s character enters an office with a chainsaw and cuts up the place.
I know that scene, he said. That was acting in Newport. I was in a bar in Toledo. Newman was there. He was drunk out of his mind. I have no reason to lie. I don’t even know you.
A few minutes later, the man disappeared and I never got his name.

Three days after hearing this fantastic story, I set out to corroborate its veracity. First I made a day trip to the Toledo area, hit every bar and tavern and asked around about Sometimes a Great Notion, the movie, and the alleged Newman madness. No one had heard of it, but they all thought it could be true.

Next, I attempted to contact Newman directly via emails to several of his high profile business ventures. I never received a reply. I then perused three Newman biographies and learned that he once drank to binge and blackout excess. The biographies also reported that the independent production of Sometimes a Great Notion experienced major problems.

For starters, Newman fired director Richard Colla early on over “creative differences” and assumed the responsibility himself. If that unforeseen duty didn’t complicate matters enough, Newman broke his ankle in a motorcycle crash during filming and the accident shut down production for several months.

Perhaps an additional demand exasperated Paul Newman: local and state politicians who insisted on having their photograph taken with him. On August 28, 1970, Oregon Governor Tom McCall, then facing a tough reelection bid, paid a call on Newman when McCall’s risky state-sponsored rock festival for peace called Vortex 1 was unfolding in a state park near Estacada. I have seen the Associated Press photograph of a giddy McCall looking through a camera while a tense Newman looks on. What a free publicity coup for McCall! What a pain in the ass for Newman!

And finally, perhaps filming (and financing) such a complex novel in an alien landscape without major studio support was too much for Newman and he lost it in a Toledo tavern.

I left the story alone for a couple of years and then it resurfaced in 2006 in the unlikeliest of ways. I was teaching English at Taft High School in Lincoln City and casually dropped to some of the staff and students that I’d poked around the Newman tale and was interested in writing about the filming of the movie.

Within days, I received about a dozen leads connecting me to friends, parents, and relatives who had some role in the film’s production or servicing the Hollywood people. And frankly, the stories were incredible—better yet, totally unreported.

Then in the spring of 2007, I found myself in the tiny Toledo Historical Museum on a teaching errand completely unrelated to the Sometimes a Great Notion story. On a lark, I asked the museum’s director if the archives held any material about the movie shoot. Yes, the archives did. Would I like to see them? Yes, I would. A few minutes later I held an approximately 100-page file containing newspaper and magazine clippings of local, state and national stories about the film’s production. There were even articles from the Los Angeles Times and a trade publication called Chain Saw Age, which featured Newman on the cover wielding a McCulloch beast with what looked like a 60-inch bar! The museum director told me that someone had compiled this file back in 1970-71 and turned it over to the museum years ago. To her knowledge, no one had ever looked at it. I paid her $50 on the spot to copy the entire file for me. I read it all later that night.

Some highlights:
  • In his spare time, Henry Fonda sketched watercolors and collected agates. He bought himself a tumbler to polish his rocks. He also worried about the “sensibilities” of old trees cut down for the film.
  • Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward stayed at the Salishan Lodge and brought seven kids and ten pets with them. He was reading Iris Murdock’s novel An Honorable Defeat during his Oregon stay and regularly had a special caramel corn made in Depoe Bay delivered to the set.
  • The Toledo office of the state unemployment division interviewed loggers to work as extras.
  • The entire production was plagued by lack of rain. It was too sunny that summer.
  • Taft High School hosted an open casting call and it was jammed with locals dreaming for roles.
  • One Taft High School junior girl met Michael Sarrazin in the elevator at the Inn at Spanish Head where she worked. The next day she had a part in the movie.
  • Ken Kesey showed up unannounced on the set a couple of times.
By that time I had become acquainted with Ken Babbs, Ken Kesey’s second in command and fellow Merry Prankster. I told Babbs I’d read an article that reported Kesey visited the set driving a psychedelic car. Babbs wrote me:

The sports car was George Walker's day-glo painted Lotus. We were up on a landing where they were filming logging shots. When done, Newman challenged George to a race down the mountain. He tricked George by asking him a question about something and when George looked around to find the answer to the question, Newman sprinted to his Corvette and took off. George was behind him and never could find a place to pass on the winding mountain road. Kesey also went to the set when they were filming the scene of Joe Ben caught under the log as the tide was raising the river level. They filmed in a big tank and Kesey said during the whole night it took, they went through a case of scotch and no one was even slightly drunk.

All of this and I haven’t yet even started my real research: tracking down every Lincoln County name mentioned in all the articles, determining if Jaeckel and Sarrazin still live, and hosting events in Newport and Toledo where I’ll screen the film and invite people to share their “brush with Hollywood stories.” (Or better yet, “who I got drunk with and/or slept with stories.”)

I have, of course, read the file, heard the Newman drinking tale, read up on Newman, and interviewed a couple dozen people so far. Thus, I feel confident claiming that: in 1970 Lincoln County met up with a hard drinking cast and crew led by Newman, who was trying to film the greatest Oregon novel of all time, and they all breathed in the wild Oregon spirit of Ken Kesey—and everyone lost their minds.

And I am also here to claim that I will write the book that captures all the madness. It will be called Sometimes a Great Party and hope to find enough of the home movie footage I know the locals shot to make a documentary to include as a DVD with the book.

One final note. I recently learned that circa 1970, Toledo had a tavern on Main Street named the Hardhat. To enter you had to pull on an ax stuck randomly in the front door. I’ll bet everything I own that Paul Newman once stepped foot in there.

I’ve got a lead on the Hardhat’s last owner.

If you have a story connected to the filming of Sometimes a Great Notion, please contact Matt Love at All photographs accompanying this article are courtesy of photographer Gerry Lewin. Lewin was a staff photographer for the Salem Statesman in 1970 and covered the event for the paper. During the movie shoot, he picked up a bewildered Henry Fonda in costume walking down a road. Lewin gave him a ride to the set.

March 9, 2009

Northwest Coast Magazine - Spring 2009

Writers on the Edge by Carla Perry

That’s the name of the organization: Writers On The Edge.

I like the name. It implies desperate writers about to dive off cliffs into the pounding surf of the Pacific below. It implies writers on the edge of a major breakthrough – an exploration past previous boundaries into dangerous waters of luminosity. It reflects our Pacific Northwest Coast geography with its ragged coastline and ferocious weather. The name even correctly identifies the locale where the organization’s writerly events take place – the Visual Arts Center in the Nye Beach area of Newport where the second floor community room has a 200-degree view of setting suns and open ocean.

Writers On The Edge was the name we made up when the writers’ series I reluctantly started in Yachats in 1997, and moved to the Performing Arts Center in Newport in 1999, had become so successful that it needed to be transformed into an independent nonprofit.

I like the organization’s mission: To expose the coastal communities to the fantastic minds of writers from the Pacific Northwest, from across the country, and even occasionally from other countries.

Through the years, programming expanded and the Nye Beach Writers’ Series continued to flourish. These are its stats: 139 events, 311 featured authors, 11.5 years – so far. Events take place the third Saturday year round (except December). Some of our finest living writers have taken the stage, read their work, and answered questions from the crowd. Locals, coast-range folk, Willamette Valley people, tourists, refugees escaping from somewhere else holing up at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, friends, family, and vagabonds drift in the door just before 7 p.m.

Who are these people that show up for a poetry reading by someone they’ve never heard of? What are they doing here, listening to a young man whose only published book is the one he printed and sewed himself? I used to look around the room packed with middle-aged hipsters, teenagers looking for extra credit, retired academics seeking brain stimulus, a few fishermen, sometimes even an ex-logger or two. It’s always been a diverse crowd.

I used to ask myself, why do they keep coming back? Who ventures out on a cold, wet night in early spring, willing to pay $5 to hear Lauren Kessler read from Dancing With Rose, a book about her experience working in an Alzheimers residence facility? But the room filled up, and the beauty of Kessler’s language and the tenderness with which she described the resident interactions touched our hearts and buoyed our spirits. I don’t quite know how it happened, but we left that reading hopeful about our descent into old age. Such is the power of the written word.

My goal has always been to present the best writers, no matter what format their writing takes. People who have something to talk about, and the language skills to permeate and caress our hardened skulls. I approach literary readings as live entertainment. After all, we’re competing with television, jammies, and comfortable couches.

Featured authors might write poetry, or Oregon history, or be novelists, investigative journalists, performance artists, playwrights, filmmakers, or solo singer/songwriters like June Rushing (June 2001, April 2004), or full bands like The Dolly Ranchers (April 2002), or Billy Joe Shaver, the country western song-writing icon whose caravan of mammoth buses made a quick stop in Newport on their west coast tour (April 2003). Surprisingly successful are the Oregon Coast Haiku Slam Classics, held at Café Mundo every April in celebration of Poetry Month.

Eleanor Roosevelt: Across A Barrier of Fear, was written and performed by Jane Van Boskirk (March 2001). “How To Make A Hardcover Book At Home In Your Spare Time” was demonstrated by Lorrie Height of Astoria (April 2004). “Haiku Inferno” (June 2004) starred Kevin Sampsel, Elizabeth Miller, and Frayn Masters creating improvised, politically satiric haiku on the spot. Storyteller Jeff DeMark, from Blue Lake, California, has performed four separate solo shows (two in 2003, 2004, 2008).

Sometimes the Nye Beach Writers’ Series presents choreographed, original shows with large casts, like Vaudvillainous Poets (June 1998) and The Memory Place (June 1999). In three Julys (2003, 2004, 2007) the full cast of Hot Flashes! and Flashbacks: The Musical performed in the Silverman Auditorium at the Newport Performing Arts Center. And each time the show raised enough money to keep the Writers On The Edge afloat for an entire year.

What big names would you recognize from our lineup? Perhaps actor/author Peter Coyote; Montana novelist William Kittredge; Pam Houston; Mark Doty (who received the 2008 National Book Award in poetry); Ursula K. Le Guin; Derrick Jensen; Sam Hamill who started Poets Against the War; former poet laureate of New York, Sharon Olds; former poet laureate of Utah, David Lee; former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts, all reading from their books. Alone, on stage, in Newport. Standing room only and so quiet you could hear the bookbinding creak as they turned the page.

Some writers performed in Newport not knowing they were perched on a springboard to stardom, such as Chuck Palahniuk who read in March 1999 when Fight Club, the movie, hadn’t yet been released. That same year, Diana Abu-Jaber read from Arabian Jazz, an Oregon Book Award winner. Since then her books have been designated one of the twenty best novels in 2003 and she won the 2004 PEN Center USA Award for Literary Fiction, the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship, a Fulbright Research Award to travel to Amman, Jordan, an International Writers NEA Fellowship in Fiction, and her most recent book, Origin, was named one of the top five Booksense Picks.

Lawson Inada was here twice, long before he was named Poet Laureate of the State of Oregon, and he spent the day before his reading holding a writing workshop at Waldport High.
I wish I was from Newport. If I was from Newport, I would have never left. All I’m saying is I’m really pleased to be here. In Ashland we tend to believe we’re the center of the world, but being here in Newport I realize we don’t have Carla and we don’t have a Writers’ Series, so I’m thinking, we’re kind of behind the times.
Lawson Fusao Inada (reading September 16, 2000).

And then there were the hundred or so Oregon Book Award winners and finalists who graced us with their presence, before or after they received their awards. Their names alone evoke a lyric litany. In the Poetry category: Dorianne Laux, Paulann Petersen, Vern Rutsala, Floyd Skloot, Judith Barrington, Robert McDowell, Rita Ott Ramstad, Clemens Starck, Joseph Millar, Willa Schneberg, Karen Braucher, Jeff Meyers, Diane Averill, Sandra Stone, Barbara LaMorticella, Carlos Reyes, Jane Glazer, Doug Marx, Sharon Doubiago, Maxine Scates, John Daniel, Brian Doyle.

In Fiction: Molly Gloss, Alison Clement, Monica Drake, Tracy Daugherty, Gina Ochsner, Geronimo Tagatac, Kassten Alonso, Kris Nelscott, Marjorie Sandor, Cai Emmons, Alan Siporin, Kathleen Tyau, Sandra Scofield, Gregg Kleiner, Diana Abu-Jaber, Whitney Otto, David James Duncan, Karen Karbo, Tom Spanbauer, Rodger Larson.
You run a fantastic program. Loved the open mic, the sense of camaraderie and community of the entire evening. How did Molly Gloss mesmerize us so thoroughly with that story? That’s the kind of magic that keeps me going back to the lonely old desk. By way of thanks, I’m sending some copies of “Insects of South Corvallis” for you to give to anyone who would enjoy it – high school kids, prospective donors, open mic contest winners.
– Charles Goodrich (reading with Molly Gloss, March 20, 2004)

In Creative Nonfiction: Rene Denfeld, Kathleen Dean Moore, Elinor Langer, Ariel Gore, Bette Lynch Husted, Karen Karbo, Jennifer Lauck, Larry Colton, Chanrithy Him, Judith Barrington, Barbara Drake, Jeff Taylor, John Daniel, Robert Leo Heilman, Garrett Hongo, Robin Cody, Sallie Tisdale.

In Drama: Dori Appel, Molly Best Tinsley, Jan Baross, Sharon Whitney.

I wish I had the space to mention them all.

Some of our featured authors have made their final leap off the edge. Science fiction writer Robert Sheckley (1928-2005) read on August 15, 1997. He started writing stories in the 1940’s, and created, along with his friend Roger Zelazney, what became the genre of science fiction. In 2001, he received the designation of ‘Author Emeritus’ by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, a lifetime achievement award.

I had the extraordinary experience of interviewing Ken Kesey in Springfield to prepare publicity for his Writers’ Series appearance on April 21, 2000. I asked him questions about his philosophy of benevolence, paying attention, especially to children, and about the concept of love. I asked him about writing as drama, novels as performance, books as money, and videos of the future. We spoke of magic, synchronicity, and his role in acid test musical extravaganzas. The interview turned out to be the final interview of this great man and was published in the United States and Romania.

The organization’s mission is to nourish not only the artistic development of individual writers, but to cultivate a writing community as well.

Talent and personal inclination are helpful, but technique can be taught to anyone, and practice makes you better. The Nye Beach Writers’ Series includes an open mic that closes almost every show. Up to 10 audience members can sign up to read their original work for five minutes maximum. I figure around seven thousand people have shown up as audience. Of these, more than a thousand have bravely faced their peers and expressed their truths.
Thank you for providing a place for writers to get our writing out in the public, and thank you for the Clyde Rice books I received as the open mic winner last Saturday night. He certainly is inspirational as far as being an older writer who once he got started couldn't be stopped! See you at the next show.
– Patsy Brookshire, open mic regular and author of Threads (2006)

Hundreds of those open mic readers have been high school students, partly because Writers On The Edge provides free admission to them. The organization believes youth involvement is so absolutely vital that one seat on the board of directors is reserved for a high school student. If teachers bring students with them, they can get in free as well.

In fact, no one is turned away at the door due to lack of funds. We’ve been known to invite in grizzled wanderers stooped under the weight of backpacks when they pull out poetic scribbling on scraps of paper or perform their poems from memory.

It turns out the open mic has far-reaching tendrils. Over the years, I’ve received calls from teachers telling me of the profound changes in their students after a particular author read in their classroom. I see parents at the grocery store who thank me again for offering those summer workshops. Sometimes I receive a letter from someone who read at an open mic years ago, when he was in high school.
It's me, Devin Whitaker. I am writing to you in regards to an idea I had last night. Since being back from Iraq, I've noticed that creative outlets in Southern California are fleeting, or at least in Orange County. My idea, of course, is to start a "Writers Series" down here in San Clemente. This idea was so incredibly motivating to me because it is something that I loved and enjoyed so much back home. Really, I'd like to duplicate the same ambiance and crowd energy like you had in Nye Beach, not the loud hysterics of poetry slams I had attended in Eugene and Portland. Although they have their relevance and beauty, your writers’ series promoted creation in a way that I'd never seen or have since. The thought of gathering writers together to share and listen, like a sophisticated night on the town, makes my stomach lift. I'm just getting started with this and would be ever grateful if you could share with me your wisdom and knowledge. Thank you so much, I hope to hear from you soon.
Grateful and sincerely,
– Devin J. Whitaker (by email December 19, 2007)

So what about kids below high school age? They’re too young to attend non-censored live literary entertainment, so it works out best when we hold in-school readings, or early evening writing workshops for kids and their parents, or week-long and month-long writing and performance workshops during the summer. And it works out best of all when we raise sufficient grant funds beforehand to cover full scholarships (and a free lunch) for all kids who apply.
I clipped the article from the News-Times about the POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP!!!!!! I am so excited I can barely keep my lips from falling off. Do you have any details about the times, dates, costs?? I am going to plan my summer around it, since I am so eager to attend.
– Jessica Jackson, aged 14 (by email January 13, 2003).

Performance has always been a part of the youth writing workshops. Tuition is never charged.

Over the years, numerous grants and collaborations have allowed Writers On The Edge to expand our reach. We’ve worked with the Cultural Tourism Partnership of Lincoln County, Ernest Bloch Festival, Lincoln County School District, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport Public Library, the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts, and Café Mundo. Plus, Mountain Writers Series, Community of Writers, KBOO radio in Portland, the University of Oregon, Oregon Writers Colony, Oregon Council for the Humanities, the Lannan Foundation, and Rattapallax Press in NYC.

Writers On The Edge has no paid staff. It’s our director, Matt Love, and the board that works hard to make everything we do seem effortless. We’re writers, walking literary billboards, written word appreciators, crazy people who like to listen to writers read.

So, how many people have been impacted by Writers On The Edge? Twenty thousand? Thirty? More? No matter how you tally, it’s a lot of people take the plunge off the literary cliff and finding out they can fly.

Why not join us? Schedule details are posted on our website:

click here to download pdf of this article

Carla Perry is the founder of Writers On The Edge. She received the Stewart Holbrook Special Award at the Oregon Book Awards, and the Oregon Governor’s Art Award acknowledging her efforts regarding Writers On The Edge. Information: 541-574-77708; Photos attached; all photos © Carla Perry

March 2, 2009

History of Writers On The Edge, Inc.

The Yachats Writers' Series began in Yachats in June 1997. Carla Perry, with the sponsorship of Friends of the Yachats Commons, obtained a grant to pay featured authors $25 each, with lodging and meals provided in Perry's home. During that first year and a half, fifty-one authors read their work to room-capacity audiences. Due to the program’s success, the Writers Series moved thirty miles north to Newport in 1999 in response to an offer by the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts to hold events at the Performing Arts Center. In honor of that site's historic bohemian location, the series was renamed the Nye Beach Writers' Series. By 2002 it was necessary to create a separate nonprofit so the program could apply for grants and expand programming to include in-school and after-school youth workshops, adult workshops, and special events.

Perry received the Stewart Holbrook Special Award at the 2002 Oregon Book Awards, and the 2003 Governor's Art Award, for her extraordinary efforts regarding Nye Beach Writers' Series programming and support of Oregon's writing community. The Writers’ Series has now been in existence for almost 12 years and has hosted more than 315 authors at 141 events.

The Nye Beach Writers’ Series has become an infamous and unique literary program of readings held monthly, year-round, in Newport, a city of under 10,000 on the Central Oregon Coast. The Series presents a diversity of writers and writing forms to a community hungry for access to live literary culture. Featured authors represent journalism, science fiction, literary non-fiction, Oregon history, poetry, nature writing, memoir, songwriting, and playwriting. Featured authors are selected based on quality of writing, not their fame. Events feature a mix of writers from those beginning their literary careers as well as famous authors.

Event format with open mic. Literary events are considered entertainment. Most events are held at the Newport Visual Arts Center the third Saturday of each month. Special events are held at various locations depending on anticipated audience size.

At 7 p.m., the emcee greets the audience, thanks the local sponsors, and thanks the community for leaving the comfort of their armchairs and TVs to attend live culture. An original and personal introduction of the night’s guest is presented, and the featured author reads for thirty minutes followed by a fifteen minute Q&A. After intermission, during which the audience can purchase books, imbibe and socialize, the open mic takes place. The open mic is limited to the first ten people who sign up; each can read original work for up to five minutes. The open mic atmosphere is exciting, experimental and motivating, especially for youth who test their public voices. People who write lyrics are invited to bring instruments; all participants are encouraged to promote and sell their books and CDs. Authors, both featured and open mike, receive 100 percent of their book sales dollars. Admission is kept deliberately low to cultivate attendance. Students in all area high schools and colleges always receive free admission to all public events.

Audience size varies from 45 to more than 150 depending on name recognition of the featured author, competing Newport events, and winter storms. The object is not only to present quality writing, but also to encourage the audience to go home and do their own writing.

Workshops and Special Events. Workshops for youth are held in-school, after-school, and summers. In most cases, an anthology of student work is published and books are available for sale at a reading where the public is invited. All participants always receive full scholarships to attend. Free, nutritious lunches or dinners are also included because we believe it is difficult to be creative on an empty stomach. Adult workshops and special events are held as opportunities arrive, usually in conjunction with the presenter’s reading at the Saturday night Writers’ Series.

Collaborations have taken place with support from the University of Oregon in Eugene, KBOO radio, Mountain Writers Series, Community of Writers, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Newport Public Library, Lincoln County School District, Oregon Coast Council for the Arts, City of Newport, Oregon Council for the Humanities, Bob’s Beach Books in Lincoln City, Nye Beach Books in Newport, Rattapallax Press of New York City, Ernest Bloch Music Festival, and Carried Voices, a federal program. The local hotel and motel industry graciously provides donated rooms for all our featured authors each month.

February 27, 2009

Welcome to Writers On The Edge, Inc.

Writers On the Edge, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to literary arts education and performance in Lincoln County. Writers on the Edge is supported by admission dollars, grants, and the generosity of individuals like you to fulfill its mission.

Click here to visit our main website

The Nye Beach Writers' Series is pure literary entertainment and showcases authors of diverse types of writing including fiction, nonfiction, plays, songs, Oregon history, memoir, poetry, essays, and investigative journalism.

Click here to visit our presenters archive
Where you'll find more information on each of our presenting authors

February 26, 2009

Presenters Archive Index

Listed here are the Nye Beach Writers' Series presenters:

Abu-Jaber, Diana
Alonso, Kassten
Amen, John
Anderson, Marisa
Appel, Dori
Arcana, Judith
Averill, Diane
Bakken, Dick
Banyas, Susan
Barrington, Judith
Baross, Jan
Bartow, Rick
Beasley, Bruce
Bell, Cassandra Sagan
Berger-Kiss, Andrés
Bielemeier, Gregg
Bodeen, Jim
Bollen, Patricia
Bornstein, Jonah
Braucher, Karen
Brooks, Larry
Burgess, Michael
Burkle, Steve
Buxrude, Jason
Callan, Annie
Champ, Travis
Chasman, Paul
Cirino, Leonard
Clausen, Jan
Clement, Alison
Cody, Robin
Cohen, Diana
Cohen, Rebecca
Colburn, Don
Colton, Larry
Coyote, Peter
Curtis, Walt
Daniel, John
Daugherty, Tracy
Davis, Todd
DeMark, Jeff
Denfeld, Rene
Derry, Alice
Dodge, Jim
The Dolly Ranchers
Donnelly, Margarita
Dooley, John
Doty, Mark
Doubiago, Sharon
Doyle, Brian
Drake, Barbara
Drake, Monica
Duncan, David James
Elliott, Adam
Emmons, Cai
Evans, Sheila
Favorite, Phil
Feng, Anita
Finn, Kate
Gans, David
Gaulke, Bob
Gibson, Dobby
Gies, Martha
Glazer, Jane
Gloss, Molly
Goodrich, Charles
Gore, Ariel
Gould, Janice
Grabel, Leanne
Hagen, Cecelia
Haight, Lorrie
Hamill, Sam
Handler, Claudia
Hanni, Carl
Harrison, Ruth
Hart, Jack
Hauser, Susan
Healey, Steve
Heilman, Bob
Henderson, Donna
Hercey, Robyn
Him, Chanrithy
Hochman, Anndee
Hogan, Linda
Hongo, Garret Kaoru
Hot Flashes
House, Freeman
Houston, Pam
Hoyt, Richard
Husted, Betty Lynch
Inada, Lawson Fusao
Jefferson, Jemiah
Jensen, Derrick
Johnston, Marilyn
Karbo, Karen
Kesey, Jim
Kesey, Ken
Kessler, Lauren
Kittredge, William
Kleiner, Gregg
Knapp, Alexander
Knorr, Sharon
Krieg, Pam
LaMorticella, Barbara
Langor, Elinor
Larson, Rodger
Lauck, Jennifer
Laux, Dorianne
Lavender, Bee
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Lee, Barbara Coombs
Lee, David
Lefcowitz, Barbara
Lisicky, Paul
Longo Eder, Michele
Love, Matt
Luckett, Mitch
Lummis, Suzanne
Lynch, Jim
Maroney, Sharon
Martien, Jerry
Marx, Doug
Masters, Frayn
McCormack, Win
McDowell, Robert
McLagan, Elizabeth
McPartland, Marvella
Meyers, Jeff
Millar, Joseph
Miller, Elizabeth
Miller, Margaret Gish
Minty, Judith
Moore, Kathleen Dean
Myers, Carolyn
Nattell, Tom
Nelson, Blake
Ochsner, Gina
Olds, Sharon
Orr, Verlena
Osborn, Howard
Otto, Whitney
Palahniuk, Chuck
Paola, Suzanne
Parrish, Ritah
Parvin, Roy
Perry, Carla
Peterson, Brenda
Peterson, Paulann
Portland Critique Group
Potts, Charles
Price, Ron
Pyle, Robert Michael
Ramstad, Rita Ott
Raphael, Dan
Remaily, Robin
Reyes, Carlos
Roberts, Barbara
Roberts, Dmae
Robinson, Cole
Rogers, Bruce Holland
Rosin, Scott
Rossiter, Charlie
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Rushing, Joren
Rushing, June
Rutsala, Vern
Sagan, Cassandra
Sampsell, Kevin
Sander, Steve
Sandor, Marjorie
Scates, Maxine
Schneberg, Willa
Schneider, Bart
Scofield, Sandra
Sears, Peter
Sharenov, Evelyn
Shaver, Billy Joe
Sheckley, Robert
Shepard, Lucius
Shortridge, Jennie
Siporin, Alan
Skloot, Floyd
Smario, Tom
Smith, Dean Wesley
Smith, Zoa
Spanbauer, Tom
Spangle, Doug
Sproul, Tim
Starck, Clemens
Stevens, Sally Ann
Stiffler, Bill
Stone, Sandra
Sullivan, Anita
Tagatac, Geronimo
Taylor, Jeff
Terrill, Ceiridwen
The Memory Place
Thomas, Lynn
Thompson, Doug
Thompson, Sydney
Tinsley, Molly Best
Trope, Zoe
Tschakaerm Elizabeth
Turco, Ronald
Tyau, Kathleen
Vachss, Andrew
Van Boskirk, Jane
Vaudevillainous Poets
Vlautin, Willy
Walker, Spike
Wallach, Jeff
Walth, Brent
Waterman, Margareta
Weinbender, Miriam Mathews
Weiss, Rick
Westerwelle, Wendy
Wilcox, Dan
Wortman, Sharon Wood
Wren, M.K.
Yates, Ken
Young, Michael T.
Zehr, Mark