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15th Anniversary Literary Arts Festival

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Wednesday, April 13

as sweet by any other name


Find a special rose, win books to support the Literary Arts Festival! 


Monday, April 25

7:00 p.m., Room 220 (Bldg. 26)

screening and discussion of BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA

1996 film adapted from the novel by Dorothy Allison

Creative Writing instructor Rob Williams leads a private screening and discussion of the film adaptation of Bastard Out of Carolina, the award-winning novel by 2011 L.A.F. featured author Dorothy Allison.  A directorial debut for actress Angelica Huston, the film stars Jena Malone, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Christina Ricci, and was adapted to film by Anne Meredith.   The backdrop of novel begins in late 1950s rural South Carolina (Dorothy Allison's native state), where mother Anney (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) and daughter Bone (played by Jena Malone) suffer a difficult life of misfortunate, violence, and sexual abuse.  The controversy of the story also made difficulty for the film, itself:   although Bastard Out Of Carolina was originally made for television and scheduled to air in 1996 on  the Ted Turner television network (TNT), it was withdrawn at the last minute for inappropriate subject matter; the pay-cable channel Showtime broadcast the film instead, to widespread critical acclaim.  

Following the film, and in anticipation of Dorothy Allison's arrival to the 2011 Literary Arts Festival on Thursday, April 27, Rob Williams will moderate an audience discussion of the film's subject matter and author. 


Tuesday, April 26

2:00 p.m., Room 150 (Bldg. 34)

WRITE OUT LOUD: Literature in Performance: American Women Authors

 Write Out Loud returns to the Grossmont College Literary Arts Festival.  Write Out Loud, the brainchild of co-founders Walter Ritter and Veronica Murphy, is a dynamic and dramatic performance of short fiction and poetry staged by professional actors.  Past  "Write Out Loud" events have featured "Against the Odds"; “Leaves and Turns”; "Stories of Love and Passion"; "Science Squared"; and "Giving Season."   Last year's Write Out Loud program included James Joyce's "Araby"; Paul Vincent Carroll's "She Went by Gently"; Emile Barrios's hilarious and quirky "Onomatopoeia"; and an excerpt from Ball Don't Lie, by Matt de la Pena, our 2010 Festival keynote author.   This year's theme, American Women Authors, will showcase American literary works by celebrated women writers, including featured guest of the 2011 Literary Arts Festival, Dorothy Allison

Artistic Director, Co-Founder Veronica Murphy is a twenty year veteran of the San Diego stage and has acted with local companies including Cygnet Theatre Company, Lamb’s Players Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, and Tonic Productions.

Executive Director, Co-Founder Walter Ritter works with Ion Theatre and Lynx Performance and in the past has performed at Lamb’s Players Theatre, Sledgehammer, Moonlight Stage, Starlight and many others.  From the official Write Out Loud on the Internet:  "Write Out Loud is committed to inspire, challenge and entertain by reading short stories aloud for a live audience . . . . Many of us were read to as children – by mothers, grandfathers, teachers. But as adults, we rarely have the opportunity to sit back and listen to a story read to us aloud."


Wednesday, April 27

7:00 p.m., Room 220 (Bldg. 26)

Reading and Book Signing (open to the public


Join Grossmont College in welcoming featured author Dorothy Allison to the 2011 Literary Arts Festival.  Now living in Northern California with her partner Alix and her teenage son, Wolf Michael, South Carolina native Dorothy Allison is an award-winning editor for early feminist and LGBT journals Quest, Conditions, and Outlook.  She has authored a chapbook of poetry,The Women Who Hate Me (Long Haul Press, 1983), and Trash (Firebrand Books, 1988), winner of two Lambda Literary Awards and the American Library Association Prize for Lesbian and Gay Writing.  (The expanded edition of Trash, published by Plume in 2002, included her prize-winning story, "Compassion," selected for Best American Short Stories 2003 and for Best New Stories from the South 2003.)  Allison's best-selling novel, Bastard Out of Carolina (Plume, 1992) was a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award and won the Ferro-Grumley Literary Award for LGBT Fiction; in 1996, it was adapted by director Angelica Huston into an award-winning film starring Jennifer Jason Leigh.  In 1998, Cavedweller (Dutton, 1998) also became a national bestseller, a NY Times Notable book of the year, finalist for the Lillian Smith prize, and, once again, an ALA prize winner; in 2003, director Lisa Cholodenko adapted it to film, featuring actress Kyra Sedgwick.

Dorothy Allison received the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction in 2007.  Her new novel, She Who, to be published by Penguin Putnam, is currently in the works.


Thursday, April 28

7:00 p.m., Room 220 (Bldg. 26)


Join Adam Deutsch, editor and founder of Cooper Dillon Books, for an informative and entertaining discussion of the local scene and the many small press opportunities to publish in San Diego.  Accompanying Deutsch will be award winning poet Gary L. McDowell, whose chapbook, They Speak of Fruit, is among the many successful publications flourishing in the small press book market today.  Michigan poet McDowell will be reading from his latest chapbook.  Deutsch will also reading selections from his new chapbook as well as his latest book, New Amen (Dream Horse Press).


Saturday, April 30

10:00 a.m., Room 220 (Bldg. 26)

Literary Performance Workshop (by invite only)


Twenty-five hand-selected students from the Grossmont College Creative Writing Program will be the fortunate participants in this exclusive performance workshop for writers lead by Stacy Dyson, playwright, a cappella vocalist and distinguished poetry performance artist who has authored six chapbooks and four spoken word CDs.   Dyson is Poet Laureate for the Imagination Celebration in Colorado Springs, a 2009 Nominee for Poet Laureate for the State of Colorado, and winner of the 2000 Colorado Women's Playwriting Festival, for her drama, Fannie's Girls: A 4-1-1 in 5-Part Attitude.  

As part of her involvement in the innovative multi-cultural consortium of inter-disciplinary women artists, DragonsWing, Dyson regularly travels the country with her one-woman shows and workshops, teaching dramatic spoken-word performance technique, drama and literature. 

Now based in San Diego, Stacy Dyson is finishing her fifth spoken word CD, 13 Days in Purgatory


Monday, May 02

7:00 p.m., Room 220 (Bldg. 26)


New Voices: A Student Reading, features standout students from the Grossmont College Creative Writing Program's current semester of courses, reading their original short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, novel excerpts, drama, and mixed media literary works.  This popular event is often standing-room only and is well attended by students, faculty, family, friends, and the public of the greater Grossmont-Cuyamaca community.   Students are personally invited by their Creative Writing instructors to be included in the program, where they receive a well-earned opportunity to read their own work aloud, sometimes with remarkable performance ability.  Past New Voices readings have featured musical accompaniment, spoken word and hip hop performances, song, and video projects.


Tuesday, May 03

6:00 p.m., Room 220 (Bldg. 26) 

Please note earlier start time.


"AT RISE" is a set of directions written at the very start of a play, describing what the audience sees on the stage when the curtain rises.  For the works presented this year, At Rise! is a first foray into production, direction and practical stage craft that will lift the curtain on the future of these new dramatists.  Students from the Creative Writing Program's sequence of Drama Writing classes present an anthology of their new works in a staged reading that is written, directed, acted and produced by students for students.  The shows take the form of staged readings, rather than off-book performances:  actors will not be required to memorize their lines; blocking, set design and costuming will be minimized; and vocal performance will be emphasized.  The result is a "working draft" of a stage show permitting the playwrights a much needed learning opportunity to hear their own works-in-progress performed, giving audiences a rare glimpse into the writing process of drama and a valuable first look at how their work translates into its intended medium, whether on stage or on film and video. Past performances have included a range of genres and script categories, from screwball manners comedy to science fiction, and classical tragedy to experimental forms. At Rise! is student written, acted, produced, directed and organized by members of English 160:  Drama Writing.


Thursday, May 05

7:00 p.m., Room 220 (Bldg. 26)



We regret to announce poet Patricia Smith has needed to cancel her participation in the 15th Annual Literary Arts FestivalIn her stead, Trinidad and Tobago native now living in Chicago, Roger Bonair-Agard will present poems from Patricia Smith's Blood Dazzler, as well as from his own highly acclaimed books of poetry. Twice National Poetry Slam Champion, Bonair-Agard performs in a style that is at once dramatic, moving, and intense; he has been heralded by Patricia Smith as "his own revolution" and described by poet Thomas Lux as a writer and performer "of blue lightning and white hot passions."  Bonair-Agard is the author of Tarnish and Masquerade (Cypher Books, 2006) and, most recently, Gully (Cypher Books, Peepal Tree Press, 2010).  He is also co-founder of the louderARTS Project, "an arts organization committed to developing constructive and challenging spaces for artists to create, critique, present, and teach poetry." Roger Bonair-Agard's late addition to the program of the 15th Annual Literary Arts Festival is a tremendously fortuitous opportunity to experience a performance by one of today's preeminent spoken word artists.  

Last Updated: 04/21/2019
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
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