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TWA WordFest to feature popular local writers

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WordFest, an all-day writing event presented by the Tennessee Writers Alliance, will once again be held at Cumberland University in Lebanon, this year on Saturday, June 19.WordFest ’10 will feature Lebanon author Michael Lee West as she leads a workshop entitled “Finding Time to Write a Novel.” West is the best-selling author of six books, including Mermaids in the Basement, Mad Girls in Love, American Pie, She Flew the Coop, Crazy Ladies and Consuming Passions – a memoir centered around food and family. “West’s ladies live in Tennessee, and some people see a lot of Lebanon and Wilson County in her settings,” remarked Tennessee Writers Alliance President Tomi L. Wiley. “Either way, her books are well-loved and well-read locally and around the world, and the TWA is pleased to have her at WordFest to present such a timely workshop.”West said Monday she understands the difficulties of a writer’s life and carving out time to hone your craft.“An editor once told me, ‘Writing books is hard work, Mlee.’ She was right. This business isn't for the faint-hearted. In the workshop, I'll be discussing the usual ways to find time to write, but it's a lot more complicated that getting up at 5 a.m. or taking the phone off the hook. It's not a simple matter of ‘just doing it.’ It's essential for today's writer to understand the psychology behind stalls and blocks.”Another well-known name is that of Darnell Arnoult, a poet-turned-novelist who has hosted workshops at Cumberland in the past. Arnoult is the prize-winning author of What Travels with Us: Poems (LSU Press) and the novel Sufficient Grace (Free Press). She holds an MFA from the University of Memphis, M.A. from North Carolina State, and BA from UNC-Chapel Hill. She teaches creative writing throughout the Southeast and lives in Smith County. Arnoult will lead a workshop on poetry writing.Joining West and Arnoult is another local writer who travels around the country talking about two of his favorite things: writing and religion. Rabbi Rami Shapiro has been written up in various publications, including recently in the Murfreesboro Pulse, and promotes writing as a spiritual practice. He is widely read in the social media world and will present a unique workshop titled “In the Beginning Was the Tweet: Exploring What Matters in 140 Characters or Less.”For all you aspiring songwriters out there, publisher Steve Bloch will present “So You Wanna Be a Songwriter.” Bloch has been critiquing and pitching songs in the music business for years and will share his tips and expertise with attendees.Non-fiction writing will get full coverage with authors Sally Lee and Louise Colln presenting “The Many Uses of Non-Fiction,” and Lebanon’s Nancy Rue leading a workshop entitled “Getting Some of It on You.” Rue travels the country speaking and teaching at schools, churches, home school groups, and for groups of ‘tween girls and their moms.“We have a stellar line up of writers this year representing a wide range of writing genres,” Wiley commented. “It’s an event writers shouldn’t miss, and when they register they automatically join the Tennessee Writers Alliance, which is an invaluable tool for writers who want to learn more about their craft, network with other writers and find opportunities to submit their work.”An evening reception for participants and presenters will be held on Cumberland’s campus, including food, music and an opportunity for participants to share and read their work.For more information or to register, visit, email Debbie Whitaker at or call 547-1217 for information.
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