Schedule of Events

Stories have transformative power to change lives and thus to change the world.

WELCOME to the 6th annual Ojai WordFest

Wordfest is a celebration of words, ideas, and stories unfolding in the unhurried and majestic valley of Ojai. We’re home to an incredible diversity of creative individuals and groups, many of whom consider themselves “lovers of words.” Ojai WordFest was designed to introduce these creatives to each other, to the Ojai community, and to the world at large. In addition, we aim to nurture aspiring writers as well as inspire seasoned authors to further develop their craft and to showcase Ojai as a literary destination. Each day of our festival is full of opportunities for literary exploration and expansion. Whether you’re interested in writing, reading or merely appreciate quality events and performances, WordFest has something for you! Thank you for your interest in literary arts. We look forward to seeing you. – Mary Sequoia Hamilton, Co-Founder and 2016 Director



2016 Schedule: Friday, April 29 – Sunday, May 1

FRIDAY – 2016 WordFest kicks off with FREE Writing Classes, run by five esteemed writing instructors/organizers of writers’ events at the Ojai Public Library from noon till 5 PM. A different writing class every hour, on the hour.| FREE | Ojai Library, 111 E Ojai Avenue, (805) 646-1639

  • 12PM – Sequoia Hamilton, Penguin-Random House published author and Director of Wordfest, presents “Speak your Book.” After a hit-and-run accident leaving her unable to type or handwrite without difficulty, Sequoia mastered the audio features on her iPad and cell phone to finish her newest work.
  • 1PM – Writers Guild Award, Neil Simon Award, and Image Award winning writer Ken Rotcop teaches Nonfiction writing using his latest book “Folks I’ve Met Along The Way: from Marilyn to Regis.” http://www.pitchmart.com
  • 2PM – 805 Writers Conference producer, Kathleen Kaiser, teaches “Marketing Your Book.” http://www.kathleenkaiserandassociates.com/
  • 3PM – Ojai-based writing teacher Stephanie Westphal presents “Laughing at Tragedy, Discomfort, and Awkwardness: Blending Humor and Pathos in Your Writing”
  • 4PM – David Rasch presents “Overcoming Writing Blocks and Procrastination,” taught through Stanford’s Continuing Studies program and at national conferences. https://davidraschphd.wordpress.com/

In the evening, enjoy:

  • 5-7PM – Tequila Mockingbird – Happy Hour Cocktails with a Literary Twist at The Vine, No Host Bar | The Vine, 308 E. Ojai Avenue, Downtown ArcadeBack for ‘another round,’ it’s our 6th year of Happy Hour Books hosted by Ojai writer Lisa Snider. Belly up with your favorite fiction book (not one you wrote) and enjoy a “One Flew Over the Cosmos Nest,” “Love in the Time of Kahlúa” or another cleverly titled literary libation.
  • 7PM – Author Reading | FREE | Book Ends Bookstore, 110 S. Pueblo Street (corner of El Roblar), Meiners Oaks 805-640-9441


1:40-3:15PM – Inquiry & Writing at the Krishnamurti Foundation | FREE | Krishnamurti Pavilion, 1070 McAndrew Rd., 805-646-2726. Join us for “Where People are Writing Uninhibitedly” in the hilltop pavilion of the Krishnamurti Foundation in Ojai’s beautiful east end. We will read selected excerpts from J. Krishnamurti’s many written works, which will inspire brief writing exercises as a basis for inquiry and dialogue. For those unfamiliar with J. Krishnamurti, he is a 20th century philosopher who lived in Ojai between periods of traveling the world, speaking to the central issues of human existence: what is sacred in life; how can one live holistically and not fragmented; and what is the meaning of life? | Bring journal & pen.

Also in the afternoon, enjoy Book and Magazine Authors & Open Mic at the Ojai Public Library from Noon till 5PM.| FREE | Ojai Library, 111 E Ojai Avenue, (805) 646-1639

  • Noon – Veda Ramsay reads from Flexible Wings, a contemporary middle-grade novel exploring the lives of military children
  • 1PM- Freud’s Oracle with award-winning author Catherine Ann Jones http://www.wayofstory.com
  • 2PM – Sharon Maharry reads “Fire Breathing Yellow Jackets” an excerpt from her memoir, Crazy Mama + Genia Rose Powell reads “Lulu Falls” a short story from her book The Great Amnesia and “I am Hill” & “Lunch with Annie” excerpts from her book 200 Hours.
  • 3-5PM – Open Mic & “Remembering The Ojai Bubble” – story authors Sean Daly and Therese Duncan along with poets Jeff Kustal and Nancy Gross will read their work, followed by an open mic.

SUNDAY – The following events hosted by the Ojai Center for Spiritual Living  | $20, Sugggested donation for part or all of events | Ojai Valley Women’s Club, 441 E. Ojai Avenue, Downtown Ojai

  • 10AM – Kirtan meditation with Bhakti Bendis Band offering Sanskrit chanting call and response. 
  • 10:30AM – “The Power of Your Words” by Rev. Marilyn Miller
  • 1PM – “Painless Ways to Finish & Produce Your Non-Fiction Book” with Panel of Published Authors: Richard Hart, Russell Sydney, Marilyn Miller
  • 2:30PM – “Getting Your Film Script Funded” led by Richard Hart and Karin Klemm from Spirit Film Funding

Also in the afternoon, enjoy Author Readings at the Ojai Public Library from noon till 5 PM. | FREE | Ojai Library, 111 E Ojai Avenue, (805) 646-1639

  • Noon – Kristi Ling reads from “Operation Happiness” – part memoir/part inspirational how-to book on creating a happy life
  • 1PM – Readings by Ventura County College Faculty including Robert Porter, Professor in Political Science and Gwendolyn Alley, Adjunct Professor in English at vccc and Sandra Hunter Adjunct Professor in English at Moorpark College
  • 2PM- Sofia Diana Gobel “Gracie, Dead or Alive,” a paranormal humorous romance
  • 3PM – Writing Teacher Stephanie Westphal reads two CNF (Creative Nonfiction) pieces: “Downsizing My Downsize” and “In Praise of Finishing”
  • 4PM – Leslie Hall reads from the novel “Her Splendid Failure to do the Impossible


Ojai WordFest is a festival of words, ideas and stories unfolding in one of the most beautiful settings in California: the majestic Ojai Valley. The literary nexus encourages readers and writers of all genres, skill level, and ages to partake in an extravaganza of events in and around Ojai Valley.

Our Mission

To introduce Ojai to the world as a literary destination; To nurture aspiring writers as well as inspire seasoned authors to further develop their craft; and To celebrate the wealth of literary talent in the Ojai area.

Special Thanks to…

2016 Ojai WordFest is made possible by the generous support of numerous Ojai community businesses, organizations and individuals. | Special thanks to Ojai WordFest founders: Bret Bradigan, Roberta Raye and Mary Sequoia Hamilton; Krishnamurti Foundation of America, BookEnds Bookstore, Boehmia, The Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai Community Bank, Sakura Sushi, Suzanne’s Cuisine, Azu, Bart’s Books and The Ojai Public Library. | Program printed by Ojai Business Center Inc.


FESTIVAL HUBS – Quiet Places for Reading, Writing and Daydreaming. Read. Write. Doodle. Daydream. Uber hip meet-up & hang-out spots.

Bart’s BooksDowntown Ojai | 11am – sunset | 302 W. Matilija St. | Home to the largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore in the U.S.A filled with nearly one million books ranging from the .35 cent specials which line the outside walls (for sale on an honor system: take a book, leave some coins), to rare, out of print first editions, and art books valued in the thousands of dollars. | Bart’s Books is a recipient of the 2014 Ojai WordFest “Literary Legend” award.

Book Ends BookstoreMeiners Oaks | 10am-6pm. Closed Wednesdays | 110 S. Pueblo St., 805-640-9441| Come and meet Marcia and Celeste and share their love of books! Finely selected books across a wide range of subjects – from rare spiritual tomes to perfect condition hardcovers – showcased in a beautifully restored former church. BookEnds takes its name from the rare estate-quality glass and metal bookend collections for sale. Come by to peruse the shelves, sit on the couch and write, and explore the book that calls to you the minute you set eyes on it!

Ojai Retreat360 Panoramic View | 10am­-5pm | 160 Besant Rd. in Meiners Oaks | With a panoramic view, this hilltop retreat is one of the most beautiful escapes in the Ojai Valley. The views are gorgeous, such as the Shangri-La Terrace where you can gaze upon Ojai’s famous Pink Moment at sunset; there are gentle trails to hike and a waterfall garden perfect for a calming recharge. This tranquil getaway is quiet and secluded.


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