David Mas Masumoto, an acclaimed author and rural Fresno County farmer, will be the keynote speaker at the 26h annual Young Writers Conference on Wednesday, April 5, at California State University, Fresno.

The conference, which is sponsored by the English Department and the Master of Fine Arts Program, will begin at 9 a.m. in the Satellite Student Union.

The Young Writers Conference provides a valuable opportunity for young writers to hear a professional writer read his or her work and answer questions about the creative writing process and the profession in general.

Masumoto is an organic peach and grape farmer and the author of several books, including “Letters to the Valley” and “Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm.” His book, “Harvest Son,” won a Commonwealth Club of California silver medal in 1999 and was a finalist for the Asian American Writers’ Workshop award in New York.

Four hundred high school students in the Valley are expected attend the conference. They will interact with their peers and get a taste of what a university-level writing workshop is like. Students also will have a chance to gain feedback on their own writing.

Students who attend are encouraged to submit their own original works of poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction to the Young Writers Conference Writing Competition.

For teachers, the conference also will offer an informal reading workshop in creative nonfiction from noon to 2 p.m. The workshop will feature Steven Church, author of “The Guinness Book of Me.” Church will join the creative writing faculty at Fresno State in fall 2006.

Books by Masumoto and Church will be available for sale in the Satellite Student Union lobby. For more information, contact English professor Connie Hales at 559.278.2553.

(Copy by University Communications student-intern Megan Jacobsen.)

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