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35th Oregon Writing Festival

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Portland State University



The Oregon Writing Festival takes place annually each spring, co-sponsored by Portland State University College of Education and OCTE.  Writers in grades 4-12  from across the state of Oregon gather in small groups, listen to published authors talk about their craft, share their work with peers from other schools, and compose new pieces in workshops run by local authors and teachers. Parents can also attend a workshop aimed at support budding writers at home.

The goals of the Writing Festival are

  • Cultivating a love of writing in students and teachers
  • Honoring the work outstanding student writers
  • Connecting student writers with Oregon authors and other student writers

Get Involved

You can be involved in this energizing event by serving as a Day Group Leader, which involves escorting a group of 10 students at the 4 - 5, 6 - 8, or 9 - 12 level throughout the day and facilitating the session where students read the writing sample they brought for critique by the group. Interested?  Contact Janice Bahns at grandmabahns@yahoo.com.

Or, you can also engage as a Workshop Leader. As a Workshop Leader, you prepare a writing activity for a group of 15 - 20 students that takes about 3 - 5 minutes to introduce; the students write for 30 - 35 minutes and then they share their work for 15 - 20 minutes (total session time: 1 hour). Workshop Leaders teach two one-hour workshops (sometimes spaced between morning and afternoon) to two different groups of students at one of these grade levels: 4 - 5, 6 - 8, or 9 - 12. As a Workshop Leader, you'll earn a $50 stipend, breakfast and lunch, the much-coveted holy grail of writing: the Oregon Writing Festival coffee mug, and the chance to hear wonderful keynote authors. You can access the Workshop Leader proposal form on the OCTE website  or contact Jay Rishel at rishelj@gmail.com.

Workshop Proposal Guidelines

Workshops are designed for students to write under the guidance of experienced teachers. Please prepare a writing activity, introduce it briefly (no more than 2 - 3 minutes), and allow maximum time for students to write; then share their work in a read-around, with brief comments by the Workshop Leader. The purpose of the workshop is to assist and encourage the students' writing. They benefit from active involvement in writing.

Workshop Proposals are due by mid-April.  Contact coordinator Jay Rishel at rishelj@gmail.com if you have questions.

Adult Workshop

An adult workshop will be offered for parents and teachers, conducted by Daphne Wood, Ainsworth Elementary School, Portland.

Student Writing Sample Guidelines

The general guideline for students' work is that it be a quality, finished product of their finest writing. They should bring writing that has been revised (based on some response from teachers, or parents, or other students), proofread, and put together in a polished final form The Festival is a celebration of the best work of our participants, and we expect them to bring work of the highest standards.

Students may write in any form or genre they choose, because the Festival is a celebration of all forms of quality writing--e.g., poetry, short stories, personal narratives, science reports. Writing should be school-appropriate to grade level--no gratuitous violence, language, or explicit sexual content.

Final drafts may be handwritten, typewritten, drawn, calligraphed, or word processed by their authors. The writing may be illustrated. Again, the main standard is quality.

Length: Up to 5 pages, but the reading aloud of it cannot exceed 4 minutes; longer pieces should summarize the rest.

Students should practice reading their pieces aloud with feedback from teachers or parents--so they will be prepared to give a stimulated, clear reading in their sharing groups.

Writing samples (bring 12 copies) should include the author's name, school and address, and grade.

Rick Hardt, Festival Chair

Student Registration Form available through School District contact only.

For additional information please contact:

Barbara Wiegele, OCTE


 Rick Hardt, Festival Chair


2019 Author Participants

Rosanne Parry for grades 4-5

Rosanne Parry is the author of the award-winning novels Heart of a Shepherd, Second Fiddle, Written in Stone, and The Turn of the Tide. Forthcoming in spring 2019 will be her newest books, Last of the Name, and A Wolf Called Wander. These are stories of 12-year-old Irish immigrant, Danny O’Carolan, in New York City at the height of the Civil War, and of Swift, a wild wolf in the mountains of Oregon, inspired by the real-life wolf, “OR-7.”

Graham Salisbury for grades 6 - 8

Graham Salisbury has won more Oregon Book Awards than any other author. He grew up in Hawaii and didn’t wear shoes until sixth grade, but this former rocker (The Millennium) and Montessori elementary school teacher enjoys writing about characters who might have been. His books explore themes, situations, and lives that will amaze readers.​

Kim Stafford for grades 9-12

Kim Stafford, Oregon Poet Laureate, is the director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College and the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose. Having Everything Right, a collection of essays, was the winner of the Western States Book Award. A much sought-after speaker, he travels the state and country giving workshops on writing and performing as storyteller. Stafford's appearance is supported by a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust.

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