Karen Lewis set the bar high as Executive Director for the past two years. Her work led to MCWC 2016, what many agree was our most successful conference to date. Karen first attended MCWC back in 1992, when she was a recently widowed mom of two pre-schoolers, writing poetry and essays to make sense of the world. “For a few days each summer, the literary world comes to our beautiful coast for a world-class writing conference,” she says. She will be stepping down and handing over her position to Shirin Yim Bridges, but will remain on the MCWC advisory board.
Shirin is the author of Ruby’s Wish, a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book and winner of the Ezra Jack Keats Award; The Umbrella Queen, which made TIME magazine’s Top 10 lists; and Mary Wrightly So Politely, which launched to starred reviews in Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Shelf Awareness. She is also the Head Goose of Goosebottom Books, an award-winning independent children’s book publisher.
Another change in leadership: Nona Smith, our President for the past three years is moving to the position of Vice President. Nona has served on the board for six years and has made many contributions. MCWC was the first writers’ conference she ever attended, which she says makes it dear to her heart. She is thankful for the support of the community and local donors, as well as the letters she receives from past attendees, but will continue to enjoy and develop these relationships as Vice President.
Ginny’s long legacy knowledge of MCWC will be the perfect partner to Shirin’s fresh ideas. She says, “We’re going to be the dynamic duo. Watch this space.”
Good Bye to a Dear Friend
Our long-term friend and donor Tom Freund, 89, of Mendocino, California passed away peacefully in the early hours of September 22 in his Walnut Creek apartment, one week before his 90th birthday. Tom created a long-standing MCWC scholarship for older women writers of limited financial means in honor of his wife, Carmen Etchenberry Freund. He was a dear and dedicated friend of MCWC, and often hosted MCWC faculty. He will be very sorely missed.
Polymath, retired scientist and professor, Thomas Freund will be dearly missed by family and friends, who will remember him as a man of independent mind and unrelenting curiosity, a charming and challenging interlocutor, a Citroën connoisseur, a maker of oddly unique hors-d’oeuvres, and a long-time political progressive. He is survived by his devoted daughter Pam Freund-Striplen, his grandson Matthew Striplen, and his son-in-law Tony Striplen; and by his loving son Peter Freund, his grandson Arias Freund, and his daughter-in-law Linda Freund.
Photograph of Shirin by In Her Image Photography
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