Whatcom Community College is a comprehensive two-year college serving over 12,000 students annually. Set on a 72-acre campus, considered by many to be the most picturesque in the state, WCC offers transfer degrees, professional technical training programs and Community & Continuing Education (lifelong learning) courses. The Community Education mission statement: We are sincerely dedicated to serving our community by offering quality lifelong learning experiences that are relevant, accessible, enjoyable, and enriching.
Founded in 1980 by Chuck and Dee Robinson and as of 2017 under new ownership and stewardship of Paul Hanson, Kelly Evert, and Sarah Hutton, Village Books is a community-based, independent bookstore with two locations: the flagship store is located in the historic Fairhaven district of Bellingham, Washington and its second location is in the historic Waples Mercantile Building in Lynden, Washington. Since 1980 it has been Whatcom County’s “Community Bookshop for Browsing.” Village Books has received many awards, including multiple Mayor's Arts Awards, the Tourism Business of the Year by the members of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and was recently named one of five finalists for the Publishers Weekly Bookstore of the Year. The store was also honored as the 2008 Outstanding Philanthropic Small Business in Washington State. Village Books’ mission is “building community, one book at a time,” which it does daily through a dedicated staff, by collaborating with numerous community organizations and through its Literature Live author event series, through which it hosts over 350 authors each year. Village Books is excited to co-present the Chuckanut Writers Conference, and eager to help it prosper for many years to come.
Giving back to the community is an important goal of our conference.
Every year, the conference selects a beneficiary—an organization that helps foster literacy and a love of reading and writing in Whatcom County and the region. Past beneficiaries include the Whatcom Literacy Council, Whatcom Community College’s Student Writing Center, Whatcom Young Writers, and the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. This year, we are proud to support Hedgebrook. Hedgebrook’s mission is to support visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. Recently through non-fiction writing works, plays, and screenplays, women at Hedgebrook have been a voice for helping raise awareness in a vast range of issues, including: women’s rights in the Middle East, the spread of AIDS in Africa, inner city violence in America, rights of incarcerated women prisoners, political strife in Cambodia, radioactive fallout in the Ukraine, highway construction dividing a Latino community, the ethical responsibilities of the pharmaceutical industry, and environmental stress on bees.
Jessica Lohafer, Conference Chair, Whatcom Community College
Jessica is thrilled to continue her work as the conference chair of the Chuckanut Writers Conference. Previously, she has served as Program Director and Teaching Artist for Poetry in Public Education, an educational outreach program through Poetrynight, a program of the Whatcom Poetry Series 501(c)3. A writer herself, Jessica received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Washington University in 2014.
Paul Hanson, Owner, Village Books
Paul is one of three co-owners of Village Books and programmer for the Chuckanut Writers Workshops and Classes. Before arriving in Bellingham in 2011, Paul was the long-time manager of Eagle Harbor Book Company on Bainbridge Island. He is a writer and publisher, former President of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, and past core team member of Fields End, a writers’ community on Bainbridge Island. Paul has been one of the Chuckanut Writers Conference Coordinators since 2012.
Shandeen Gemanis, Manager, WCC’s Community & Continuing Education Program
Shandeen has served WCC for over 20 years. Shandeen co-authored a book under a nom de plume as a teen and enjoys writing marketing copy in her current position. She has been one of the Chuckanut Writers Conference Coordinators since 2012 and oversaw attendee relations at the 2011 inaugural conference.