Ron Carlson To Present Keynote Address At Coronado Writers Workshop - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Island News

Ron Carlson To Present Keynote Address At Coronado Writers Workshop

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, September 18, 2015 3:34 pm

One of the most interesting byproducts of the founding of the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission was the discovery of the city’s latent literary talent. A year ago Cultural Arts Commissioner of Literary Arts Susan Enowitz led the drive to create the Coronado Writers Workshop (CWW), which was more than successful enough to beget Coronado Writers Workshop II, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, at Coronado High School.

The cost to attend the workshop is $100. Registration, including the serving of coffee, juices and fruit, runs from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. The keynote address from Author Ron Carlson, with questions following, will run from 9:15 to 10:15 am. There will be two morning sessions and attendees have their option of three different presentations to attend during both time blocks. Two additional sessions will be held in the afternoon, again with three different topics presented during both time periods. From 4:15 to 5 p.m. there will be a final panel discussion and a workshop summary. A wine reception follows at Bay Books from 5 to 7 p.m., with members of the public invited to attend. Bay Books, The Coronado Eagle & Journal, and Coronado High School are the event’s Community Partner Sponsors.

Enowitz sat for an interview recently and discussed her takeaway from CWW I. “My lasting impression was that it was very well received. One of the comments I received was, ‘I went home at night only wishing I could wake up the next morning and be there again.’ It was very comfortable, with a lack of commercialism and we had a very informative day. The quality of the presentations seemed to match what our audience was looking for. We had an audience of 100 people, which included authors who have never been published and want to be published as well as people who have published between one and 25 books. This year we wanted to create two tracks. One for people who have been published and want to improve their skills. The other track will be for people who are trying to get their first book published or self-published. That’s why we have more sessions (12) and a total of 21 speakers. That’s a 30 percent increase compared to last year. When we were initially planning this event, we sent out a survey and listed all of the topics people would be interested in learning about. The two topics on the top of the list were self-publishing and social media.”

To add to the impact of CWW II, Enowitz looked for presenters with a specific style. “The speakers selected this year are people who self-published or traditionally published, and had taught or been a speaker at other writers’ workshops. They have to have the ability to speak and impart information. We want the sessions to become interactive and engaging, rather than a lecture style. We are trying to get people to really have a chance to personalize the experience with their own writing. (Coronado Resident and National Book Review Finalist) Laura McNeal will be there to encourage the student and young adult writers. She is very serious about doing as much as she can. There is no longer a creative writing class taught at the high school. Our Literary Arts working team wants to do something to help student writers later in the year.”

This column is an example of what is generally referred to as ‘long-form journalism.’ CWW II’s keynote speaker Ron Carlson has almost all of the remaining writing genres covered. To date the Logan, Utah, native has written five novels; five books of short stories; two books of poetry; eight anthologies; and one instructional book entitled “Ron Carlson Writes a Story.” One of his books of short stories written in 1992 is entitled, “Plan B for the Middle Class,” one of the best book titles ever.

Carlson discussed the creation of his ‘how to’ book. “I wanted to write the book to cover what I was looking for when I was 20 years old. I took one story (The Governor’s Ball) and went step by step through every decision I made. I wanted to be frank and offer a writer honest instruction. I’m very happy it’s taught around the country. It’s a good book and no nonsense. I’m glad I wrote it.”

I purchased “Ron Carlson Writes a Story” and read it in preparation for the writing of this article. There are several good tips in the book, which covers 112 pages. It’s the type of book that you want to let sit after the initial reading, think about and re-visit later with a highlighter in hand, to mark the important points.

Carlson earned his undergraduate and Masters’ degrees from the University of Utah, both in English. He made the somewhat unusual geographic and personal leap from being a student in Salt Lake City to being a teacher and coach at the Toney Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut. “One thing leads to another,” Carlson said of the early stages of his career. “That was 40 years ago. I started writing in college and I wrote steadily as a teacher. You find your times; morning, nights and weekends. You write underneath your life. I was tending to two fires, my students and my work. I was very interested in stories as a boy. There were a lot of stories in our household. I loved old movies, especially monster movies. All during the 1950’s, stories were running alongside me.”

He also benefitted from the teaching of writer David Kranes while Carlson was a student at the University of Utah. “He was the one who encouraged me and I could tell he appreciated my work. He was a big influence and he has worked steadily as a writer. As an example for me, he couldn’t have been better.”

In addition to writing the impressive catalog of work noted above, Carlson also had a 20-year stint as the director of the Master of Fine Arts program at Arizona State University. Carlson still keeps his personal teaching/writing dual career going at the University of California, Irvine. “I have a small, intense program that I teach with another fiction writer. We have workshops with graduate students who are working on projects. It’s wonderful work with committed people. I always wanted to work with writers and I love to teach. We have three-hour discussions of stories that come before us. The conversation is steered toward the diagnostic, looking at what he or she has written, so they can consider amplifying the promise of the piece.”

As for the CWW II, Carlson said, “I haven’t been to Coronado for a while. It will be interesting and I am looking forward to offering what I can. Writers gathering in a conference is always a stimulating event. I just congratulate the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission for getting people together.”

For more information relating to Coronado Writers Workshop II, please contact the city of Coronado’s Contract Arts Administrator Kelly Purvis at 619-522-2633 or via E-mail at

The $100 registration fee for CWW II can be paid by check, cash or credit card.

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.