Susan Stout, kindly sent along a press release, detailing the exciting lineup of writers for this year’s LitFest at Mendocino College, which I’ve reprinted below. It you love writing and reading, you’ll want to head to this free festival on May 2. You’ll find even more details at the LitFest
2009
site.

UKIAH – Writers Hal Zina Bennett, Marc Bojanowski, Molly Dwyer, Richard Schmidt, and Sheldon Siegel will be among the featured speakers during “LitFest 2009, A Celebration for Word Lovers,” on May 2 at Mendocino College.

Readings, talks, and writing workshops will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. at the Lowery Library Building at Mendocino College, 1000 Hensley Creek Road. Poets from Lake and Mendocino counties will give readings throughout the day. Admission to the festival is free.

LitFest is sponsored by the Mendocino College Foundation and the Friends of the Mendocino College Library along with a variety of community sponsors. Information about LitFest 2009 is available on the event website, www.mendocino.edu/litfest, or by phone from the Mendocino College Library, 707.468.3051.

Northern California resident Bojanowski will kick off the authors’ sessions for the event. Comparing the author to a young Ernest Hemingway, critics gave high marks to Bojanowski’s first novel, “The Dog Fighter.” The University of California, Berkeley, graduate recently completed his second novel, and his writing has appeared in “The Literary Review.” Bojanowski received his MFA in creative writing from The New School.

Bringing his writing and coaching experience to LitFest, Lake County resident Hal Zina Bennett will talk about and read from his many books. He has authored more than 30. They include “Writing Spiritual Books,” “Write from the Heart,” “Spirit Animals & The Wheel of Life,” “Zuni Fetishes,” “Spirit Circle,” “White Mountain Blues,” and “Follow Your Bliss.”

According to the author’s website, www.halzinabennett.com, his “interest in creativity, human consciousness, metaphysics, and the ancient wisdom traditions began as a teenager, following a coma and near-death experience that left him temporarily blind, during which time he was initiated into the reality of the inner world. Studies in ancient spiritual traditions over the next 20 years helped him to validate insights he’d had during his encounters with his own death and his visions of the world beyond.”

As a writing coach, Bennett has helped over 200 authors develop their own work, including several national bestsellers. A graduate of the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University, Bennett holds advanced degrees in psychology and holistic health science. He lives at Blue Lakes with his wife Susan J. Sparrow, two small dogs, and two cats.

Scheduled to appear with Bennett is award-winning artist and author R.V. Schmidt, a long-time resident of Lake County. Schmidt’s recent accomplishments include publishing “Single Tree: A Collection of Stories.” He has been involved in several local writing projects including “Reads,” an anthology of writing from the Lakeside Writers Guild and the play “Lakeside Stories.” He is a co-creator and former editor of “Creative Expressions,” a venue for local writers that appears in the Lake County Record-Bee. Excerpts and artwork by R.V. Schmidt can be found on his website, www.rvschmidt.net, where an introduction by Bennett is included.

Dwyer is a new addition to the list of distinguished authors appearing at LitFest this year. Her debut novel, “Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein,” is a 2009 Northern California Book Award in Fiction finalist and the winner of several other awards. Dwyer has been a transformational educator for 20 years. She earned a masters degree from Sonoma State University and a doctorate of philosophy from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She teaches creative writing, literature, and English composition. She also conducts historical fiction writing seminars and other workshops. See additional information about the author and her work on her website, www.mollydwyer.com.

Sheldon Siegel will round out the LitFest readings and talks by novelists. Siegel’s works are New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle best sellers. He has written six courtroom dramas featuring his characters Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez, San Francisco criminal defense lawyers. His books include “Special Circumstances,” “Criminal Intent,” “Final Verdict.”

The author, who lives in Marin with his family, is an attorney in private practice in San Francisco. He began writing his novels on a laptop computer during his daily commute on the Larkspur ferry. His seventh novel, due to be released this summer, is entitled “Perfect Alibi.” Additional information about Siegel and his books is available on his website, www.sheldonsiegel.com.