(Left to right) English teacher Jason Hinojosa, poet and flash fiction writer Susan Kelly-DeWitt and graphic novelist Jon Chad at the third annual Writers Night on March 2. (Photo by Arijit Trivedi)

Third annual Writers Night features panel of genre-, style-diverse authors

English teacher Jason Hinojosa stepped to a podium placed at the front of the Matthews Library alongside four authors: poet and flash fiction writer Susan Kelly DeWitt, graphic novelist Jon Chad, historical fiction author Shelley Blanton-Stroud and historical nonfiction writer William Burg.

Hinojosa moderated the third annual Writers Night, an event meant for aspiring writers but welcome to all. The event was from 6–8 p.m. on March 2.

The evening began with Hinojosa addressing the three objectives of the event: To build a community of writers in Sacramento, to support the panelists and to build publicity for the Sacramento Writers Workshop, a summer event Hinojosa hosts for advanced writers who want feedback on their work.

After Hinojosa introduced the panelists, each member read an excerpt from a published or soon-to-be-published work. Hinojosa then asked a series of questions such as how they’ve overcome challenges with the writing process, how forms of creative expressions — like music or visual art — influence their writing and what other works have influenced their writing.

The panel was then opened to live questions from the audience.

Lastly, Hinojosa asked the panelists what advice they have for less experienced writers. Responses included believing in yourself, avoiding starting with too large a project and realizing that improving your craft takes practice.

Following the panel, members of the audience had fifteen minutes to interact with panelists while enjoying the provided food and beverages.

Hinojosa found the panelists from librarian Joanne Melinson, who had a contact at Capital Books, a bookstore in Sacramento. That contact found the four panelists.

Hinojosa said the aspect he liked most about the panelists was the diversity in their genre and writing format, which ranged from graphic novels to historical nonfiction.

“They write such different stuff, but it ended up being a study in how these different art forms overlap and how similar they are,” he said. “It was really cool to see the kinship among these different formats.”

— By Ethan Monasa

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