Welcome to the Chuckanut Writers Conference. Five years ago, the conference launched with the theme Inspiration into Action. We’re pleased to return on Friday and Saturday June 24 and 25, 2016 to continue our mission—to profoundly inspire your writing life. In support of this mission, we’ve gathered a renowned faculty and developed a dynamic program with an unwavering commitment to excellence. We invite you to take part in this unique event, one we hope you’ll remember for years to come.

Whatcom Community College

Whatcom Community College is a comprehensive two-year college serving over 12,000 students annually. Set on a 63-acre campus, considered by many to be the most picturesque in the state, WCC offers transfer degrees, professional technical training programs and Community & Continuing Education (lifelong learning) courses. The Community Education mission statement: We are sincerely dedicated to serving our community by offering quality lifelong learning experiences that are relevant, accessible, enjoyable, and enriching.

Village Books

Founded in 1980 by Chuck and Dee Robinson, Village Books is a community-based, independent bookstore located in the historic Fairhaven district of Bellingham, Washington, where it has been awarded the Tourism Business of the Year by the members of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Since 1980 it has been Whatcom County, Washington’s “Community Bookshop for Browsing.” The store was also honored as the 2008 Outstanding Philanthropic Small Business in Washington State. Village Books’ mission is “building community, one book at a time,” which it does daily through a dedicated staff, by collaborating with numerous community organizations and through its Literature Live author event series, through which it hosts about 250 authors each year. Village Books is excited to co-present the Chuckanut Writers Conference, and eager to help it prosper for many years to come.



Giving back to the community is an important goal of our conference.

Every year, the conference selects a beneficiary—an organization that helps foster literacy and a love of reading and writing in Whatcom County. Past beneficiaries include the Whatcom Literacy Council, Whatcom Community College’s Student Writing Center, Whatcom Young Writers, and the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. This year, we are proud to support Whatcom WRITES, a program of Whatcom READS! Whatcom READS! is a community-wide reading and discussion program intended to encourage all Whatcom County residents to read the same book and create a county-wide book club experience. Whatcom READS! is modeled after the highly successful Seattle Reads program which began in 1998 and became a national phenomenon. Communities across the country, large and small, from New York to San Francisco to Spokane, have been hosting similar programs to wide acclaim. In 2008, Whatcom County Library System and Whatcom Community College were each awarded federal grants administered by the Washington State Library to help establish the Whatcom READS! program. These libraries quickly brought in other libraries as partners as well as local businesses and other community organizations.Together, these organizations share a vision of creating an annual literary happening that will have neighbors talking with neighbors about great literature. Learn more here.


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Conference Coordinators


staffHansonJessica Lohafer

Conference Chair, Whatcom Community College

Jessica is thrilled to continue her work as the conference chair of the Chuckanut Writers Conference. Previously, she has served as Program Director and Teaching Artist for Poetry in Public Education, an educational outreach program through Poetrynight, a program of the Whatcom Poetry Series 501(c)3. A writer herself, Jessica received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Washington University in 2014. Along with her work for the conference, she hosts a monthly poetry reading called the Write Riot Poetry Slam at the Honey Moon.


staffHansonPaul Hanson

General Manager, Village Books

Paul is the General Manager of Village Books and programmer for the Chuckanut Writers Workshops and Classes. Before arriving in Bellingham in 2011, Paul was the long-time manager of Eagle Harbor Book Company on Bainbridge Island. He is a writer and publisher, former President of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, and past core team member of Fields End, a writers’ community on Bainbridge Island. Paul has been one of the Chuckanut Writers Conference Coordinators since 2012.


ShandeenPhotoNewShandeen Gemanis

Manager, WCC’s Community & Continuing Education Program

Shandeen has served WCC for over 18 years. Shandeen co-authored a book under a nom de plume as a teen and enjoys writing marketing copy in her current position. She has been one of the Chuckanut Writers Conference Coordinators since 2012 and oversaw attendee relations at the 2011 inaugural conference.