Cartaya to present Writers in the Woods

Pablo Cartaya

Pablo Cartaya

Jax Mclaren, Editor

Sierra Nevada University’s annual Writers in the Woods author series is back, bringing visiting authors to virtually host readings and workshops for students and the public. The authors, many acclaimed and award-winning, are from across the country. Writers in the Woods attendees can meet the authors during a Zoom event and exchange ideas for their writing.
Author Pablo Cartaya is slated as the next Writers in the Woods presenter, with a planned reading the evening of Oct. 15, and a workshop Oct. 16. He will share his work and his journey of creativity.
“As I explored my own creative pursuits, I realized the journey of trying to understand more about my identity is where I want to place my art,” he said in an interview this week. “It happened to be that creative writing is where I found the most to say.”
He says he looks forward to the interaction with students and community members.
“I want us to go in there and chat, have a good time, ask good questions, dig deep, laugh, and enjoy our time together.”
Writers in the Woods has hosted many award-winning writers, poets, and educators in past years, such as Tim O’Brian, Denise Duhamel, Bob Hass, and Tobias Wolff, and many more.
The first of the three weekend literary events was held Sept. 24-25, with author Aimee Nezhukumatathil, a renowned author and poet who has received many awards for her works. Her book, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, was chosen as the 2021 Common Read for SNU.
Nezhukumatathil’s book is a New York Times best-selling illustrated collection of nature essays, a Kirkus Prize finalist, Barnes and Noble’s Book of the Year, and NPR Best Book of 2020.
“Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s reading was a wonder, just as her book World of Wonders is,” June Saraceno, former SNU English professor and current coordinator and head of Writers in the Woods, said. “We hosted 55 attendees for this Zoom event and the audience response was a glowing endorsement of her presentation.”
Jocylyn-Paige Sesepasara-Kotrys, freshman, found out about Writers in the Woods through the e-mails sent out regarding the event. She is a writer and wanted to improve her skills, plus, the extra credits don’t hurt.
Sesepasara-Kotrys found the event inspiring. She wants to have her own work published some day. “We got to hear about her journey publishing her work, and how she was rejected before it finally became published.” Sesepasara-Kotrys said.
Cartaya’s publications include The Epic Fall of Arturo Zamora, Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish, Each Tiny Spark, and Tiny Cocolina: Queen of Cupcakes.
His works are commonly on best books of the year and state award lists. They are also commonly reviewed by New York Times and Washington Post.
“He directs the Writing for Young Adults program in the SNU MFA program. He’s a gifted writer, entertaining speaker, and engaging professor. His books are popular for a reason!” Saraceno said. SNU offers an MFA program in creative writing through a low-residency program, bringing students together twice annually for intensive learning in a creative environment.
Saraceno is excited for Cartaya’s workshop. She is interested in learning about techniques for writing for middle grade and young adult readers. “Pablo is an expert on that readership.” Saraceno said.
Sesepasara-Kotrys is hoping to learn more about the publishing factor in writing. “It would be cool to have one of my works published.” Sesepasara-Kotrys said. “So, learning from different authors on how they got published and the processes they went through is something I’m looking forward to.”
The final installment for 2021 Writers in the Woods will be on Nov. 5-6. Kendra Atleework will be the guest writer. Her book Miracle Country was chosen for the 2021 statewide Nevada Reads program, as well as the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award winner, and was awarded the 2021 WILLA Award for Women Writing the West.
Sesepasara-Kotrys feels that her ability to describe people or situations in her writing has improved after listening to Nezhukumatathil’s reading.
“She describes things different than I’ve ever heard or read, she uses a lot of figurative language.” Sesepasara-Kotrys said.
“I sometimes worry that students will think attending a reading will be boring or similar to a lecture in a classroom, but that’s far from the case.” Saraceno said. “These readings are interesting and entertaining. The next reader, Pablo, is hilarious as well. He puts his characters in relatable