MOORPARK COLLEGE Hosts Second Annual Writers Festival

Moorpark College will host its second Writers Festival Friday, April 5, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This celebration of writers and their work is open to all Ventura County students, faculty, staff, and high school juniors and seniors. The Festival will prepare budding writers to generate and develop new work to share at the day’s open mic.

Nationally acclaimed performers and writers Meliza Bañales, Liska Jacobs, Christiana Morgenroth, Mark Sarvas, David Rocklin, and Crystal Salas will run lively and engaging workshops in fiction, poetry, zines and stand-up comedy. Additionally, each speaker will provide feedback for up to five manuscripts on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Last year’s festival was well organized, with so many pieces attended to in the organization: scholarships for deserving students, free lunch for attendees, open mic session for volunteers, skillful and highly regarded presenters, and well-organized feedback process,” says Gail Field of Conejo Writers Group. “There was an atmosphere of camaraderie as well as enthusiasm for writing and learning. I can’t wait for this year’s event!”

The Festival will start with registration and breakfast snacks, a welcome and introduction from Festival Director, Sandra Hunter, and Ventura Youth Poet Laureate Unique Shehee. Participants are welcome to join morning workshops in poetry, fiction, stand-up comedy and intro to zines. After a Corner Bakery lunch, the teachers will provide readings and Q&A sessions. Participants can also attend a performance workshop. The day ends with an open mic hosted by poets Crystal Salas and Meliza Bañales.

The Writers Festival will be hosted at Moorpark College (7075 Campus Road Moorpark, California). Early bird reservations are $40 from March 1 – April 5 or $20 per attendee for groups of 10 or more students. Admission includes parking, workshops, morning refreshments, a boxed lunch, admission to the afternoon open mic, and an optional manuscript review.

For more information, please visit For group reservations, please contact Tracy Stewart at [email protected] or (805) 553-4761.

Author Bios:

  • MELIZA BAÑALES (Missy Fuego) is an award-winning writer, slam poet, educator, literary critic and performer. She is the author of SAY IT WITH YOUR WHOLE MOUTH and LIFE IS WONDERFUL, PEOPLE ARE TERRIFIC, a finalist for the 2016 Lambda Literary Awards.
  • LISKA JACOBS’ debut novel, CATALINA was voted one of the Best New Books of 2017 by the Chicago Review of Books, 28 Must-Read Fall Books by the HuffPost, and 12 Must-Read Books of November by Pop Sugar. Jacobs was the co-editor of DUM DUM, a literary zine. She is a Moorpark College alumnus.
  • CHRISTIANA MORGENROTH is a writer and comedienne, and the host of PERSONALLY SPEAKING, a popular stand-up comedy show in Los Angeles. She graduated from USC with a degree in Cinematic Arts. Morgenroth is a Moorpark College alumnus:
  • DAVID ROCKLIN’s second novel, THE NIGHT LANGUAGE, won the 2017 Foreword Indies Award. His debut novel THE LUMINIST (2011) was called “an absolute spellbinder”(Kirkus). He is the host of Roar Shack, a Los Angeles-based fiction reading series held each month in Echo Park in partnership with 826LA.
  • CRYSTAL SALAS is a 2016 Fellow for the Kenyon Review’s Young Writers Workshop and was named as one of “40 Poets To Watch Under 40” by the Ventura County Arts Council. She co-founded POETRY SOLVES PROBLEMS, and coaches at Get Lit. She is studying for her MFA at UC Irvine. Salas is a Moorpark College alumnus.
  • MARK SARVAS is a literary critic and a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books. His second novel, MEMENTO PARK, has been highly acclaimed since its release in June 2018. It was called “a gripping mystery novel about art” by author Salman Rushdie, and a “thrilling, ceaselessly intelligent investigation into the crime known as history” by novelist Joseph O’Neill. Sarvas teaches novel writing in the UCLA Writers Program.



MOORPARK COLLEGE, one of three colleges in the Ventura County Community College District, was founded in 1967. It is set on 150 beautiful acres, nestled in the foothills on the southeastern flank of Ventura County, about 40 miles from UCLA, and approximately 75 miles from UC Santa Barbara. It is also a short drive from CSU Northridge, CSU Channel Islands, and California Lutheran University. Moorpark College was recognized in the Huffington Post in March of 2015 as the fourth-best community college in the nation. It has an excellent reputation for university transfer preparation, and its signature career/technical programs include nursing, radiation technology, biotechnology, and exotic animal training, which incorporates the world-renowned America’s Teaching Zoo. The college also offers a dynamic range of classes and programs in the visual and performing arts, and its pristine athletic fields and mild climate provide an excellent home for student athletes.

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