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Writers in the Woods features Kelle Groom

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The night was filled with emotion. The audience composed of students, faculty and community members cried tears of joy to tears of sorrow, as Kelle Groom read from her memoir “I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl.”

As the hectic first week of classes came to a close, Sierra Nevada College’s English program kicked off the spring semester with Groom, the first speaker in the Writers in the Woods series. Groom, who is currently serving as SNC’s distinguished writer in residence, read from her memoir, “I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl,” at 7 p.m. on Friday Jan. 25 in SNC’s Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences building.

“SNC’s English program brings well known poets and writers from all over the country for readings and book signings in intimate settings where audience members are able to meet and exchange ideas with guest writers as part of the Writers in the Woods series,” according to the SNC website.


Kelle Groom speaks to an audience about her books

Though Groom was originally scheduled to speak during the fall semester, due to weather, Groom’s reading was rescheduled, and the distinguished writer in residence kicked off the new year and the spring semester line-up of the Writers in the Woods series.

Though Groom proclaimed she was feeling under the weather, the audience seemed unaffected. Groom drew in the audience as she read, and every eye in the room was focused on her as her words came to life.

“There was really intense imagery,” said Senior Molly Allen. “I appreciated how raw and truthful she was.”

From laughter and smiles, to sadness and tears, Groom sent the audience on an emotional rollercoaster, provoking an array of reactions from the audience.

“Her writing really struck me in both her style and content,” said Senior Caitlin Khoury. “I wish I would have read the
memoir and learned about her sooner, seeing as she is my teacher.”

In becoming the 2012-2013 writer in residence, Groom explained that she heard about the position from the Director of the MFA in Creative Writing, Brian Turner. As things fell into place, Groom was offered the position and started her journey at SNC in the Fall 2012 semester. As SNC’s distinguished writer in residence, Groom uses her knowledge and experience to teach students at SNC.

“Reading is important,” said Groom. “You have to read as much as you write.”

As a writer who has received critical acclaim, from her own experience, Groom is able to give aspiring student writers advice.

“Join a group of writers,” said Groom. “By joining a group of writers, you are able to receive feedback and make a connection with other writers.”

Many students are taking full advantage of having an accomplished and distinguished writer as their teacher at SNC.

“It is such a treat to have so many accomplished teachers involved at SNC,” said Khoury. “It needs to be a more popular trend to take advantage of them.”

Not only are the students learning from Groom, but Groom is learning from the students.

“The students are my favorite part of teaching,” said Groom. “There is such a variety of different writers. I teach Intro to Advanced English classes at the Undergraduate level and also teach in the Low Residency MFA program. It has been exciting to encounter such strong work.”

Students will have the opportunity to learn from other distinguished writers, who will be speaking on campus this semester as part of the Writers in the Woods series.


Writer Kelle Groom signs a book for a fan, as she hosted the Jan. 25 Writers In the Woods workshop at
Sierra Nevada College.

The visiting writers will be reading from their latest work, followed by a workshop that is free to students that can be taken for credit, said the SNC website.

Tracy Ross, an award winning journalist and editor of Backpacker Magazine is the next visiting writer coming to SNC as part of the Writers in the Woods series. Unlike past speakers, Ross will be teaching the workshop, from 2-5 p.m. on Friday Feb. 8, and speaking later that evening from 7-9 p.m.

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The student news site of Sierra Nevada College
Writers in the Woods features Kelle Groom