About Us

Sierra Writers Conference is an annual event providing inspiration and craft progression activities for area writers and Sierra College students through lectures, panels, Q &A, workshops, and networking opportunities. The first Sierra Writers Conference was held in January 2016.

Sierra College – Located in the Sierra Foothills community of Grass Valley, the Sierra College-Nevada County Campus serves the citizens of Western Nevada County. The beautiful 105-acre campus was built overlooking the city of Grass Valley atop what was formerly Litton Hill.

Sierra College Press is one of the very few academic presses operated by a community college in the United States.  It publishes books and two eJournals, Snowy Range Reflections and the Journal of the Sierra College Natural History Museum.

Planning Committee


Lynette Vrooman earned her BA and MA in English at California State University Sacramento and her MA in Humanities at CSU Dominguez Hills. She teaches composition, literature, humanities, and creative writing full time at Sierra College. When she is not hiking, gardening, and working on her old house in Dutch Flat, she plans writing conferences, reads, and writes fiction and essays.

Carolyn Crane is a published playwright, poet, and essayist. For fifteen years she was a radio personality and news reporter for KVMR-FM in Nevada City, California. Carolyn began her teaching career with California Poets in the Schools and now teaches English at both Sierra College in Rocklin, California, and University of Phoenix, online.

Iven Lourie worked as Poetry Editor at Chicago Review in the 1960’s, and he has pursued editing, writing performance art since. He participated in demonstrations and readings against the Vietnam war during the ’60’s and ’70’s. After completing his MFA at U. of Arizona (1978), where he studied with poets Richard Shelton and Peter Wild, he moved to Northern California where he works as Editor for Gateways Books and Artemis Books, teaches composition and literature at Sierra Community College, and leads the Cafe Writers critique group.

Ingrid Keriotis’s first book of poetry, It Started with the Wild Horses, was published in 2019. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University and currently lives in Grass Valley where she teaches English and works in the Writing Center at Sierra College’s Nevada County Campus. When it comes to writing poetry, she believes in Richard Hugo’s advice: “You owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything.”

Lisa Redfern is a historical fiction and dark fantasy author, a web designer, and filmmaker. In 2020, she completed a four-year story-based watershed study project and film – Aerial Views and History of the Deer Creek Watershed. During the pandemic, she took a hiatus from working on her Donner Summit Chinese Railroad worker book to develop DNA detective skills. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing at CSU, Sacramento.

Catharine Bramkamp is a professional writing coach, bringing her clients from idea to published book to promotion. She produced 200 episodes of the writing podcast, Newbie Writers Podcast. She has written 17 novels and 3 books on writing. Her poetry has been included in over a dozen anthologies including the chapbook Ammonia Sunrise by Finishing Line Press. She served as the editor for Redwood Writer’s first poetry anthology, And the Beats Go On. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from SSU and a BA in English from UCSB and a professional certificate from SSU specifically for Social Media. She currently teaches for OLLI at Sierra College.

Kim Bateman Ph.D. is a storyteller, Psychology Professor, an award-winning author and the Executive Dean of the Tahoe/Truckee Sierra College Campus.  Her research interests include bereavement, humor, and the effects of technology on relationships.

Chris Hall is a Sierra College English professor. Much of his recent work as a creative writer, teacher, and activist centers around giving voice to the voiceless and allying with those too often silenced by the dominant culture.
His writing has appeared in EcoNews (2008), The Pacific Crest Trailside Reader (2011), Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities (2016), the Ancients drabble anthology from Black Hare Press, (2020), and the We Who Are About to Die swords and sorcery anthology from Rogue Blades Entertainment (forthcoming).

Jen Vernon is a performance poet and professor at Sierra College. Her book, Rock Candy, West End press is a recipient of a Tillie Olsen award for its representation of working-class voices, Working-Class Studies Association (WCSA), SUNY. In fall 2019, she was a featured poet at the WCSA conference at Kent University, England. Two of her poems have been featured on Garisson Keillor’s Writers Almanac podcast. At Sierra College, she advises an online student journalism site tied to curriculum called Roundhouse News and Review. It includes a section for creative expression and documentary poetry. In her workshop, she will teach the latter and invite participants to create their own spoken poems that talk back to the news and share them with others as podcasts.

Karen McCoy is a writer, librarian, and content creator. She has an MLIS (Master’s of Librarian and Information Studies) degree from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and has worked in academic libraries since 2010. Most days, she can be found answering reference questions or conducting information literacy sessions in the Sierra College Library. Outside of her librarian career, she maintains a blog where she interviews up-and-coming authors. She was accepted to Northern Arizona University’s Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program and helped edit their literary magazine Thin Air back in 2014. She has reviewed books for Library Journal and Children’s Literature, and she sold a feature article to School Library Journal entitled, “What Teens are Really Reading.” She also contributed a chapter to Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. She currently writes speculative novels for children and young adults.