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by Hedgebrook Staff

It’s not only our only source of chocolate. Earth is also the only place most of us have to live, work, and write. On July 21, 2016, Hedgebrook is spending an evening at Pepperwood Preserve in Sonoma County, California, to give equal voice to our planet. We’ll also focus on bringing Hedgebrook’s radical hospitality to Sonoma.

Pepperwood Preserve in Sonoma County, California

Sustainable, women-owned wineries will pour their Sonoma-grown nectar of the gods. Copperfields Books will run the evening’s bookstore featuring titles by the evening’s readers and Hedgebrook alumnae. Information about programs at both Hedgebrook and Pepperwood will be available on site.

An environmentally themed reading will precede a panel on how storytelling influences our relationship with the natural world. Poet Farnaz Fatemi (“The Color of the Bricks”), science and culture writer Mary Ellen Hannibal (The Spine of the Continent), novelist Lillian Howan (The Charm Buyers), and Hedgebrook alumna Rebecca Lawton (Steelies and Other Endangered Species) will read short passages from their place-based writing. The panel discussion moderated by Pepperwood’s President Lisa Micheli will follow.


We asked Hedgebrook collaborator Rebecca Lawton a few questions about the event.


Q: How did you connect Hedgebrook, Pepperwood, Copperfields, and the featured readers for a Collaboration on the environment?

A: Hedgebrook is critical to writers who need a break from the rush and noise of the world so they can create their deepest, best work. The natural world is a huge part of what we find healing there. I thought of Pepperwood Preserve and the dynamic woman who runs it, Lisa Micheli and then Vicki DeArmon and Copperfields Books agreed to bring their literary prowess to the event. Pepperwood and Copperfields helped find the readers, who are generously donating their time and travel.


Q: What do you expect of the evening?

A: It will be a rich night. We’ll be at a gorgeous venue in one of the most interesting and dynamic landscapes in northern California. We’ll no doubt feel the excitement of Pepperwood, which is right at the heart of some of nation’s leading climate research. It’s an exciting place to be.

Already I can feel the pleasure of being among Hedgebrook enthusiasts, who will be on hand to share their excitement about the very special place that it is—a spiritual home to anyone who’s been there.

The wineries pouring that night are generously donating the night’s wines, of which there will be a variety, so that will be a pleasure as well. We’ll have nearly a full moon, so the oak woods and hills will glow.


Q: And what about the readers—who are they?

A: I’m thrilled at the wide range of voices we’ll be hearing. Farnaz is a poet with a passion for observing nature and connecting her readers to the non-human world through unique metaphor and perspective. Mary Ellen’s nonfiction on those working in conservation for climate resilience is a must—it’s so rich and multi layered, full of field observations that put a reader right beside her as she works. Lillian writes lush fiction that gives insight into her native Tahiti and the threats to that vulnerable place both when she was growing up and today. I’ll be reading fiction as well, probably new work on either my field research here in Sonoma or in Alberta, where I studied megadrought and the humanities.


Q: Anything else you’d like people to know about the evening?

A: Anyone who’s been curious about Hedgebrook and/or Pepperwood, or who already loves and supports either of these amazing places, won’t want to miss this evening. It’s rare that we put together a night of all women reading all environmental work. Storytelling at this time in the history of the earth is a powerful tool to help nurture it, and the night will have its own chemistry. So come on out—we want to meet you, share a little time together, and hear your voice, too.


The Details:


Thursday, July 21, 2016

6:30 pm – Wine and mingling

7:30 pm – Reading



Pepperwood Preserve

2130 Pepperwood Preserve Road

Santa Rosa, CA 95404


Donation: $20, proceeds benefit Hedgebrook


Reserve your spot today!


Questions: please email becca@beccalawton.com



Support Equal Voice and Women Authoring Change by donating to Hedgebrook today!

Hedgebrook supports visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Hedgebrook, its staff or board members.


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