Speakers Series

Speakers are the highlight of our monthly meetings. We showcase industry leaders: authors, editors, publishers, and teachers who may inform writers about topics related to the art and craft of writing, the publishing industry, and the business of writing.

The “Opening Act” features members sharing their good works. We recognize  published and emerging CWC members with a few minutes at the mic before each speaker. Contact us if you are a member and would like to read at a meeting!

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Interviews with Recent Speakers

More Speaker Interviews

Speaker Series Events

April 18th Join Emily Cotler on Author Websites that Really Work

April 18th Join Emily Cotler on Author Websites that Really Work

Your website is the only place online where YOU control the narrative. It’s the definitive word on your career, and this month’s speaker will help you make it the best it can be. Emily Cotler, founder and creative director of Waxcreative Designs, which boasts over 100 acclaimed author websites, shares best practices of a high-end…

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Grantwriting for Writers

Grantwriting for Writers

More and More Funders Are Giving Support to Individuals Experienced Grant Strategist Denise Pate Shares Insider Tips on Winning Funding March 21st at 1 p.m. Historically-most grant support was given to nonprofit organizations. Denise Pate manages the Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program, one of the few places where INDIVIDUALS can find support for their work. She…

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An Interview with Sage Cohen, Keynote Speaker

An Interview with Sage Cohen, Keynote Speaker

Meet Sage Cohen, Author of Fierce on the Page and The Productive Writer Sage Cohen is convinced that there are many ways to be productive in your writing. The key is to have fun experimenting with different methods until you find the one that inspires you. In her workshop with CWC-Berkeley this month, Sage Cohen…

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Focus and Finish the Writing that Matters with Sage Cohen

Focus and Finish the Writing that Matters with Sage Cohen

Join us on Sunday, February 21st, as Sage Cohen, author of The Productive Writer, shares her tips for writing When you don’t know what matters most in your writing life, it’s hard to focus—and finish. In this live 60-minute keynote address, you will identify your top priority writing project. Then, you’ll create a simple strategic…

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Deep Revision with Laurel Yourke

Deep Revision with Laurel Yourke

Join is January 17th when author and award-winning writing professor Dr. Laurel Yourke will show us her deep revision techniques. “’Vision’ is the heart of revision—it’s not just polishing or substituting one word for another.,” Yourke says. “Instead, look at revision as viewing at your own words in a completely new way: re-envisioning them.” Yourke…

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Get Known Everywhere for Authors featuring Jill Lublin: November 15th

Get Known Everywhere for Authors featuring Jill Lublin: November 15th

Many authors have a great message but haven’t learned how to use a book to leverage expertise and generate revenue. As an author, it is important to understand the real purpose of publicity – to boost credibility and amplify your visibility. If you want to be known as an author of influence, you’ve got to…

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The Amazing Life of Feisty Ina Coolbrith, America’s First Poet Laurate – October 18th

The Amazing Life of Feisty Ina Coolbrith, America’s First Poet Laurate – October 18th

Writers often need courage, whether it is to meet a national event, a personal challenge, or just to face a blank page. In these instances we can look to our own history to find the inner strength to face our most profound challenges. At the culmination of California Writer's Week, historical author Aleta George will…

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Finding & Working with an Agent with Literary Agent Andy Ross – September 20th

Our speaker series returns on Sunday, September 20th with Oakland literary agent Andy Ross. Ross will detail the steps you need to take before beginning work with a literary agent. Ross will help you determine whether your project is right for commercial publishers and he'll explain how to write effective query letters and book proposals.…

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May 17th SPEAKER—Paul Shirley—”Writing Like an Athlete to Build Creative Focus”

May 17th SPEAKER—Paul Shirley—”Writing Like an Athlete to Build Creative Focus”

Building an Athlete’s Discipline and Focus into Your Writing Practice In the midst of a global pandemic, when there’s so much time on our hands staying at home, writers are having trouble getting things done. Paul Shirley, a former professional basketball player, will speak about how he applied an athlete’s focus to his writing career,…

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3/15 – PANEL DISCUSSION with Bay Area Small Press Editors

3/15 – PANEL DISCUSSION with Bay Area Small Press Editors

What's the difference between working with a small press and a large mainstream publisher? Should I submit my work to a small press? Do local publishers want local authors? Why pitch to a small press if I can be a small press? Learn about it in our panel discussion with small press editors.

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2/29 – "Call of the Wild" History Walk & Reading with CWC Writers

2/29 – "Call of the Wild" History Walk & Reading with CWC Writers

See the new Jack London movie and learn about its history at the location where London became a writer.

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February 16th SPEAKER—Jan Steckel on Poetry and Activism

On February 16th the California Writers Club – Berkeley branch welcomes award-winning poet and activist Jan Steckel as a featured guest of the club. Steckel will speak on how poets and writers can effect change through their writing. She will speak on advocacy, representation, and documenting social conditions. Steckel has experience to share on using…

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"We're All in Freefall" — Interview with 11/17 featured author Lily Iona MacKenzie

In Freefall: A Divine Comedy, Lily Iona MacKenzie zeroes in on a fundamental truth: We’re all in freefall, and that’s the real divine comedy. No matter how old we are, we’re still trying to “find ourselves” and discover what we want out of life. Meet Lily Iona MacKenzie, a new member this season, at the…

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11/17 SPEAKER – "You Can Be a Winning Writer" with Joan Gelfland

In this participatory workshop, author Joan Gelfand will discuss her 4 C’s approach to becoming a successful author. Joan will discuss how to incorporate craft, commitment, community, and confidence into a writing practice. Joan and her clients have produced significant results by incorporating this approach into their own writing practices. Accompanied by a thirty-minute Power Point,…

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10/20 SPEAKER – "How Writers Can Avoid Legal Trouble" with Nicholas Jollymore, esq

Writers can get into legal trouble without knowing it. Learn best practices and get the basics about libel, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, subpoenas, confidential sources, and the California Shield Law from Literary Lawyer Nicholas J. Jollymore.  About Nick Jollymore Nick Jollymore has run a legal practice out of a home office since he moved…

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Interview with Featured Member Gark Mavigan

Get to know he first featured member of our 2019-2020 speaker series: poet and hip-hop artist Gark Mavigan. Originally from Stockton, he was a founding member of the city's first slam team to compete the world's largest youth poetry slam. He has performed at The White House and the National Poetry Slam, sharing stages with…

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9/15/19 – SPEAKER: "Causes Cross Genres" with September Williams

Causes Cross Genres: Infusing Facts into Fiction with September Williams is the first event in our annual speaker series. Some people find understanding through technical language and academic conveyance. But almost all people can learn through well-constructed Aristotelian Plot Curves.  Using accurate scientific, medical or other precise technical information to inform fictional narratives is not for the faint of heart. It does not mean…

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5/19 PANEL: "The Working Writer"

Meet the panelists who will be featured in our final event before the summer hiatus: "The Working Writer" The panel explores work life balance issues for professional writers. Our panel will feature three writers with different relationships to work. Thaddeus Howze makes a living with his writing. Paul Corman-Roberts makes a living doing something related…

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April 21st— "Plan Your Novel Like a Pro" with Beth Barany

April 21st— "Plan Your Novel Like a Pro" with Beth Barany

At our April meeting Beth Barany will help you brainstorm the steps to create your novel—from character development to plot structure to story themes and world building—so you can start writing your novel with clarity and confidence.We’ll do bite-sized exercises step-by-step to help you stretch your imagination and get excited about the writing process.If you…

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SPEAKER 3/17/19— "From Print to Performance: Adapting Books to Film and Theater" with Victoria Zackheim

SPEAKER 3/17/19— "From Print to Performance: Adapting Books to Film and Theater" with Victoria Zackheim

March 17th acclaimed writer of The Bone Weaver and other bestsellers will share her substantial knowledge on how to get your works adapted to film and theater. We will also have a reading from featured member Leena Prasad.

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A concise list of previous CWC Berkeley Speakers

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Do you have a suggestion for a speaker?  We are always on the lookout for lively presenters, people with unique perspectives.  Send us your suggestions!