First Draft Writers’ Series
Third Thursday of each month, always FREE

Check out the list of esteemed writers who have headlined First Draft since 2013.
Become a Friend of First Draft HERE.


Ursula LeGuin reading at First Draft.

The First Draft Writers’ Series brings authors and poets of note to the Pendleton stage to share new work. On the third Thursday of each month people who love the written word gather at the PCA’s Pearson Auditorium to hear our featured authors as well as three to five minute open mic readings by local emerging writers.

“Truly, [First Draft] was one of the best adventures of my writing career, right up there with winning the PNBA awards and being interviewed by Studs Turkel.”   – Craig Lesley

The First Draft Writers’ Series is focused on encouraging discussion around issues within the community, the region and beyond. Notices about upcoming featured readers will be accompanied by a question or theme the audience and our Open Mic readers are asked to consider. Themes will be inspired by the featured writers’ work. Past featured writers have tackled a wide range of issues, including domestic violence, preservation of natural resources, poverty, and gardening. Look for themes or questions here and our social media posts. There’s a special Facebook page just for First Draft. 

Looking for some writing workshops this winter/spring? Our pals over at Fishtrap have a great selection of offerings. Check them out HERE. 

Open Mic

Open Mic has always been a prominent part of First Draft, and we aren’t going to let the pandemic keep us from helping you share your writing with us. To sign up for Open Mic, just put a note in the comments to the moderator before the end of the featured reading. We’ll turn over the Mic to you on Zoom and you can read your original 3-5 minute work. To receive a link to the Zoom session for First Draft, send an email request to director (at) pendletonarts (dot) org. 

Get the Zoom invitation right in your inbox the morning of each First Draft event!


Join us THURSDAY, June 17, 2021, 7:00 PM
for First Draft Writers’ Series via Zoom
Amelia Díaz Ettinger

Born in Mexico and raised in Puerto Rico, Amelia Díaz Ettinger has written poems that reflect the struggle with identity often found in immigrants. She began writing poetry at age three, dictating poems out loud to the adults in her life who wrote them down for her. Amelia continued writing poems and short stories throughout her life while working as a high school science teacher. In 2015, her first book of poetry, “Speaking at a Time”, was published by Redbat books. This bilingual book of poetry has been well received. Oregon poet laureate, Peter Sears said, “… These recollections pulse with energy and they echo the poetry of Lorca and Neruda,” A second book of poetry, Learning to Love a Western Sky, will be published by Airlie Press in 2020.

Her poems and short stories have appeared in Willawaw Journal, Windfall Journal, The Avocet, Speaking of Ourselves: Women of Color Anthology, Oregon East Magazine, Hair Of The Dog, Anthology, and Accentos Review.

Email and say, “Send me a link to First Draft!”


John C. Morrison
Thursday, July 15,2021

Morrison lives in Portland, Oregon, and teaches as an associate fellow for the Attic Institute. His first book, Heaven of the Moment, won the Rhea & Seymour Gorsline poetry competition and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in Poetry. His book, Monkey Island, was published this winter by redbat books as part of their Pacific Northwest Writers Series. He has published poems in numerous journals, including RHINOBeloit Poetry JournalPoetry Northwest, and the Cimarron Review. He is a poetry co-editor for Phantom Drift, the fabulist journal of literature.

Watch for August Author soon!

Watch for September Author soon!


    THANK YOU to Oregon Humanities for their support of the First Draft Writers’ Series.




We’re proud of the generous support we receive from the Red Lion of Pendleton. They host all the First Draft authors, and are ready to serve you too.