The Surprise Valley Writers' Conference is a congenial four-day gathering held in early September each year for both beginning and advanced writers. The conference site is Cedarville, a small rural community on the edge of the Great Basin in northeastern California's Modoc County. The Surprise Valley Writers' Conference, now celebrating its fifth year, is devoted to the craft of writing and to bringing urban and rural people together for four days of sharing ideas and camaraderie.
The conference strives to perpetuate an appreciation of the natural and agricultural landscape of Modoc County, the Great Basin and the rural West through programs about rural living which can include a field trip to a local working ranch, exploration of natural features such as the dry lake playa, geology field trips and hikes into the Modoc National Forest.
Interaction with local authors adds to the experience of understanding and appreciating the way of life in a remote community like Cedarville. Regular presenters include conference founder Ray A. March who is a career journalist, National Book Award nominee and non-fiction author, and co-founder Barbara March who is a published poet and editor. In addition, the Surprise Valley Writers' Conference past keynote speakers have included William Kittredge and Philip Fradkin.
The conference has given local writers like Janet Hill the tools necessary for her to become a regular columnist for the Modoc Independent News newspaper. Her column, "Modoc Scrapbook" is a favorite of both local readers and subscribers out of the area.
Driving directions. Cedarville is 133 miles east of Redding on Hwy 229. From Reno Cedarville is 188 miles north on Nevada Hwy 447.