On Saturdays, January 30th and February 6th, the Santa Barbara Public Library will virtually host its fifth annual Local Author Day. This event supports the local writing community and increases community awareness of local author contributions in Santa Barbara. 

The 2021 Local Author Days: First Impressions Matter, offers two free virtual workshops open to all community members. These workshops were chosen from dozens of submissions from local Santa Barbara authors, publishers, and researchers. 

For those looking to hone their writing skills, UCSB’s College of Creative Studies’s Jervey Tervalon will be leading Writing the Compelling Opening. Participants will engage in developing and critiquing the opening sentences and paragraphs of narrative pieces they are working on.

Individuals who want support on the publishing side of things can join local authors Ellen O’Connell Whittet and Aaron Shulman in Writing the Query & Landing the Agent. This workshop will take attendees through the process of approaching literary agents, from developing a savvy pitch, to crafting a query letter that is both compelling and professional. Participants will study examples of query letters, listen to hard-won advice on mistakes to avoid, and receive feedback from fellow participants and the workshop leaders on a draft of a query letter.

“We’re fortunate to have a vibrant writing community in Santa Barbara full of talented professionals, and they have a wealth of knowledge and experiences to share. With this event, the Library seeks to provide a way for writers to connect with each other, enhance their skills, and also celebrate their work,” said Library Director Jessica Cadiente.

From January thru mid-February, community members are also encouraged to visit the Library’s Facebook page to view a breadth of local authors whose works will be highlighted. 

Registration for the two workshops is limited.

Writing the Compelling Opening with Jervey Tervalon
Saturdays, January 30th + February 6, 10:00am – 12:00pm

About the Workshop Leader:
Jervey Tervalon is the author of All the Trouble You NeedUnderstand This, and the Los Angeles Times bestseller Dead Above Ground. An award-winning poet, screenwriter, and dramatist, Jervey was born in New Orleans, raised in Los Angeles, came of age in Santa Barbara, and got his MFA in Creative Writing from UC Irvine. Jervey is currently on faculty for UCSB’s College of Creative Studies in Writing & Literature.

Writing the Query & Landing the Agent with Ellen O’Connell Whittet and Aaron Shulman
Saturdays, January 30th + February 6, 10:00am – 12:00pm

About the Workshop Leaders:
Ellen O’Connell Whittet is an essayist and lecturer who teaches in the Writing Program at UC Santa Barbara. Her memoir about coming of age in ballet, What You Become in Flight, was released in spring 2020. Ellen has written for Paris ReviewVultureThe AtlanticAllureTeen VogueThe RumpusBustleCatapultSalonPrairie Schooner, where she won the Virginia Faulkner Award, The Nashville Review, and on the Ploughshares Blog. She has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Aaron Shulman is the author of the non-fiction historical narrative The Age of Disenchantments: The Epic Story of Spain’s Most Notorious Literary Family and the Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War. A former Fulbright scholar, his work has appeared in The Believer, The New RepublicThe American ScholarThe Wall Street JournalEl País (Spain), Hazlitt, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among many other places. He is the co-owner of the book-coaching agency Splash Literary.

To learn more about the Local Author Collection at the Santa Barbara Public Library, visit the Library’s website.

Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library online at SBPLibrary.org for information about programs and services. All library programs are free and open to the public.


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