Writers in the Woods: Natalie Baszile

Author Natalie Baszile is a featured speaker in Sierra Nevada College's Writers in the Woods series.

Author Natalie Baszile is a featured speaker in Sierra Nevada College's Writers in the Woods series.

Clayton Coates, Reporter

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Whether painting words with poetry, cultivating the next Nobel Prize winning novel or simply perfecting your long-lost personal memoirs, this iteration of Writers in the Woods will be sure to alleviate any creative confines you may have encountered.

April 5-6, Writers in the Woods will host Natalie Baszile to share readings from her book “Queen Sugar,” as well as share some of the joys and triumphs she has experienced along the way. Baszile will also lead a workshop to creatively collaborate on the attendee’s writing. The event will be hosted in SNC’s Tahoe Center for Environmental Studies, room 139/141. The reading will be held Friday evening from 7-9 p.m. and the workshop will be held Saturday 10 a.m.-noon.  While both events are free to students, the cost for community members to attend is $50 for the workshop.

Baszile says she draws inspiration from the authors she read in college, such as Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Gloria Naylor, who became the vanguard of the African-American literary world.

“I started to wonder if there was a place for me in this literary tradition of African-American writers, specifically African-American women writers,” Baszile said.

In 2014, Baszile published her debut novel “Queen Sugar.” Later that year, the Oprah Winfrey Network negotiated a deal to portray the novel in a television series which aired its third season in May of 2018. Queen Sugar was initially a short story which involved characters inspired by Baszile’s family. As time went on, the characters and story continued to develop until Baszile realized she had the makings of a complete novel.

“A lot of times people are in a rush to get their stories out there in the world to begin to build an audience, and while that’s fine, but it sometimes means they’re not putting out their best work. I think they’re taking a risk,” Baszile said. “Maybe it’s worth spending some time revising, polishing and making it the best thing you can do.”

SNC English program chair and director of the Writers in the Woods series, June Saraceno is the primary force responsible for bringing accomplished authors such as Baszile to SNC so that students and community members can collaborate with esteemed authors in the industry.

“I love the vibrant, intellectually stimulating environment of these events,” Saraceno said. “I think that is something that must be experienced to be understood.”

“Find the people who understand what you are trying to say; often people have your best interest at heart but might not be the best people to give you advice,” Baszile said. “Figure out who you are as a writer, musician, or any other kind of artist, be grateful or appreciative of people who are willing to give you feedback, but also recognize what feedback is going to move you forward.”

The format for SNC’s Writers in the Woods events include a Friday evening reading, coupled with a Saturday workshop. For information visit https://www.sierranevada.edu/event/writers-in-the-woods-natalie-baszile/.

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