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Karen Joy Fowler presenting

The Gold Rush Writers Conference was founded in 2005 by a dedicated group of writers who rendezvoused regularly in Mokelumne Hill. All of us were charmed and stimulated by the tiny village said to have once been the "biggest, baddest town" in the Mother Lode. Argonauts had struck pay dirt here and soon it seemed that we were as well.

Our goal is to share the wealth. By bringing together writers and poets for workshops, specialty presentations, and open-mic readings, it is hoped that all will "strike it rich."

The conference is a nonprofit venture made possible by Mokelumne Hill Friends of the Library and Blue Mountain Community Renewal Council. Additional support has come from Calavaras Community Foundation, Mokelumne Hill Community Historical Trust, Poets & Writers, Inc., and Calaveras County Arts Council.

Our combined efforts enable writers on all levels to receive insight on their work from established professionals. Opportunities abound for networking and the establishment of working communities with other like-minded artists. It's a "golden" opportunity. Come see for yourself.





(Check back later - we’re trying to gather up all the names from the archives!)


Karen Joy Fowler, finalist for the Booker Prize

Kathleen Kent

Lucy Sanna

Joe Quirk

Ace Antonio Hall

Donna Levin

Christian Kiefer

Erika Mailman

Mark Wiederanders

Mary Mackey

James Ragan




IN THE NEWS - click on article to read it.


SACRAMENTO NEWS & REVIEWS covered us in 2019.


This great piece in the CALAVERAS ENTERPRISE talks about what it’s like to attend as a new writer.


Founder Antoinette May’s 2018 article about the conference in the SIERRA LODESTAR.


Co-director Erika Mailman’s 2014 and 2017 blog post roundups.


Follow us on Facebook.




EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - Sally Kaplan is a long-time member of Antoinette May’s writing critique group. With a background in film and television producing, she came to Gold Rush Writers in 2016, became co-director in 2017, and Executive Director in 2018.

In addition to writing/directing prize-winning short screenplays, her prose appears in Changing Course: Women's Inspiring Stories of Menopause, Midlife, and Moving Forward and Wine, Cheese & Chocolate.


Kaplan is a gifted teacher and has offered courses at NYU, UCLA, University of Colorado, and Naropa Institute. In association with Manzanita Writers Press, she serves as an editor as well as a team-member teaching writing to elders. Kaplan and her husband David Vassar own a documentary production company, Backcountry Pictures:

CO-DIRECTOR - Poet Laureate Emeritus of Sacramento, Indigo Moor’s fourth book of poetry Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something, took second place in the University of Nebraska Press’ Backwater Prize and will be published spring 2021. His second book, Through the Stonecutter’s Window, won Northwestern University Press’s Cave Canem prize. His first and third books, Tap-Root and In the Room of Thirsts & Hungers, were both part of Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Select Poetry Series.

In addition to poetry, Indigo has produced award-winning plays, short fiction, and essays. His stage-turned-screenplay Live! at the Excelsior was optioned as a full-length film. He is an established presenter and instructor at Gold Rush Writers Conference, a former teacher at the Stonecoast MFA Program, and a Cave Canem fellow. Indigo sits on the advisory board for both the Modesto Stanislaus Poetry Center and the Sacramento Poetry Center. A 10-year veteran of the US Navy and a twice-decorated Gulf War Veteran, Indigo divides his time between writing, teaching, and Integrated Circuit Layout Engineering for computer companies. 

Indigo joined the Gold Rush Writers team as co-director in June, 2020.

CO-DIRECTOR - Erika Mailman is the author of The Witch's Trinity, a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book; Woman of Ill Fame, nominated for a Pushcart Press Editor's Book Award; and The Murderer's Maid: a Lizzie Borden Novel, which won an IPPY gold medal in historical fiction and was a National Indie Excellence winner. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Arizona
and has been a Yaddo fellow and Bram Stoker Award finalist. Under the pen name Lynn Carthage, her young adult trilogy includes Haunted, Betrayed and Avenged.

FOUNDER - Antoinette May's third novel, The Determined Heart: the Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein was published by the Lake Union Publishing Division of Amazon Press. Her first novel, Pilate's Wife, published in 2007 by William Morrow, has been translated into 18 languages. The Sacred Well, her second William Morrow novel, was chosen Best of 2009 by the San Francisco Book Festival.


Antoinette's nonfiction includes Adventures of a Psychic, which spent 44 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She was the recipient of La Pluma de Plata, an award conferred by the Mexican Government for the best travel article on their country. She writes weekly columns for the San Francisco Chronicle and SF Gate and is a frequent contributor to the Sierra Lodestar. Antoinette's articles have appeared in Cosmopolitan, Self, Country Living, San Francisco and Sacramento magazines.
Visit Antoinette's website



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