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Astoria Visual Arts names first writer in new writer-in-residence program

Published on August 27, 2016 3:00PM

Heather Douglas is the first writer-in-residence in Astoria Visual Arts’ new North Coast Writer’s Retreat program.

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Heather Douglas is the first writer-in-residence in Astoria Visual Arts’ new North Coast Writer’s Retreat program.

ASTORIA — Astoria-born-and-raised freelance educator, writer and illustrator Heather Douglas has been invited to take advantage of Astoria Visual Art’s new North Coast Writer’s Retreat as the fall 2016 writer-in-residence. Douglas is well known locally for her writing — especially her popular blog about Astoria, astoriarain.com — and for her illustration work.

AVA’s North Coast Writer’s Retreat writer-in-residence program (AVA W-i-R) offers local and visiting writers a unique opportunity to launch new endeavors, revise works in progress or conclude longstanding projects. The program seeks to provide writers with writing time and space in an idyllic setting. AVA’s PierLoft Studio, at the base of 11th Street, features panoramic views of downtown Astoria and the Columbia River.

“Heather Douglas was invited to be a writer-in-residence based on the quality of her work and her dedication to community. We also considered Heather’s readiness to benefit from the uninterrupted quiet and creatively charged setting the writer’s retreat affords,” said Lisa Smith, chair of the AVA W-i-R Selection Committee.

Writing has been Douglas’s passion since she was in middle school and first attended The Oregon Writing Festival at Portland State University. She says she will never forget how inspiring it was sitting in a circle on the lawn of the PSU campus sharing her writing with other writers. In 2015 and 2016, she was a presenter at the same festival that inspired her over 30 years ago.

In 2014, Douglas made the tough decision to quit her teaching job to pursue her passion for writing, art and exploration. This journey has resulted in two coloring books — “That’s So Pacific Northwest Coloring Book” and “My Astoria East to West Coloring Book” — the formation of astoriarain.com, and many editing, proofreading and writing jobs for blogs and online publications.

“A great example of Heather’s wit and writing style is ‘The Astoria Column Diaries: Musings on Tourists,’ a hilarious account in astoriarain.com of working for a summer in the Astoria Column gift shop,” said Smith. “During her upcoming three-month residency, Heather plans to work on some narrative nonfiction, a book of poems, and a blog about the residency experience.

“We look forward to her sharing the fruits of her labors with us and the rest of the community.”

AVA North Coast Writer’s Retreat writer-in-residence program is designed to encourage the creative, intellectual and personal growth of both emerging and established writers. A public reading of a sample of their work by the selected writers before the end of their W-i-R session is a requirement of the residency.

Each residency term will be negotiated, dependent on the requirements of the writer and writing project. Short- (one week) and long-term (up to three months) stays are possible. Writers may be invited by the residency selection committee to participate or to apply to AVA for consideration. If applying, the application consists of a cover letter; a one-page description of the writing project, a short writing sample, and a resume, including two references.

All writers are eligible; however, the residency does not include overnight accommodations, and out-of-town writers must make arrangements on their own. If you’re a writer and interested in being considered, email astoriavisualarts@gmail.com with the subject heading: AVA Writers Retreat. 

For more information, visit astoriavisualarts.org/north-coast-writers-retreat.html

AVA was founded in 1989 as a nonprofit membership organization to enhance, strengthen and promote the arts in the greater Astoria area.


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