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Annual festival to celebrate literature, art at Rio Hondo College

Whittier – Nationally syndicated columnist and best-selling author Gustavo Arellano will headline this year’s “Writes of Spring” festival at Rio Hondo College, an event that celebrates the written word while allowing students to interact with professional writers and entertainers.

“Writes of Spring,” scheduled for Wednesday, April 23 and Thursday, April 24 at the Rio Hondo College Wray Theatre, will feature student and staff work that range from poetry and short stories to monologues and one-act plays.

“ ‘Writes of Spring’ gives our students the opportunity to showcase their talent while at the same time exposing them to professionals who can serve as an inspiration,” said Rio Hondo College Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss.

Arellano, editor of the OC Weekly whose famous “¡Ask a Mexican!” column spurred a successful literary career that includes three books and several writing awards, will give his presentation at 9:40 a.m. on April 23.

Other writers and artists scheduled for the festival include:

  • Poet Brendan Constantine, whose first book, “Letters to Guns,” is now taught extensively in schools across the nation – April 23 at 8:05 a.m.;
  • Humanitarian Deo Niyizonkia, founder and CEO of Village Health Works – April 23 at 11:15 a.m.;
  • Conceptual artist Yanira Cartagena – April 24 at 8:05 a.m.;
  • Award-winning writer, director, producer and acting coach Anthony Meindl – April 24 at 9:40 a.m.;
  • Zohreh Ghahremani, author of “Sky of Red Poppies,” “The Moon Daughter” and “The Commiserator” – April 24 at 11:15 a.m.

“Each year the ‘Writes of Spring’ committee endeavors to bring to our stage talented professional authors for the purpose of promoting the value of writing to our campus community,” said English Professor Dana Vazquez. “The festival also provides students with an entertaining event containing interesting college-level content that they will review, discuss, and/or analyze in their reading, composition and/or speech courses.”

The work featured at “Writes of Spring” will be published in the River’s Voice journal, which consists of art by Rio Hondo College students, faculty and staff.

“Each year the ‘Writes of Spring’ festival attracts many writers, artists and entertainers from a wide range of success and genres,” said Rio Hondo College Dean of Communications and Languages Dr. Robert Holcomb. “But most importantly, our speakers always seem to spark within our students a desire to read.”