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. 







This month’s featured writer:

Past featured writers:




February            Ruby Hansen Murray

April                    Kirsten Rian



January               Open Mic Showcase

February            Scot Siegel and Kristen Berger

March                 Pamela Royes

April                    Tiffany Midge and Xavier Cavazos

May                    George Venn

June                   Joe Wilkins

July                    Joel Wayne

August                Amy MacLennan and Amy Miller

September         Round Up Break

October               Ki Russell and Matt Schumacher (Phantom Drift)

November          Penelope Scambly Schott




Left: Molly Gloss at the inaugural meeting of FDWS. Above: Ursula K. LeGuin and Richard Dorband discuss the writing life.

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The Arts Council of Pendleton is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization established in 1974

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First Draft Writers’ Series is made possible through the generous support from the Kinsman Foundation and the Oregon Cultural Trust, along with contributions from people like you. If you’d like to help us keep the literary arts alive and well, mail a check to  214 North Main, Pendleton, OR 97801, with the memo “First Draft.”

PLUS: Our world-famous Open Mic!




Listen to Bette Husted and Lynn Robertson talk about First Draft on the KUMA Coffee Hour.

(Skip to 12:30)

The event is free to the public thanks to generous support from Oregon Cultural Trust and the Kinsman Foundation as well as from local sponsors and regional foundations.

Text Box:

ALWAYS Free Admission


Hours: Tues - Fri 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Saturday Noon - 4:00 pm
214 North Main, Pendleton, OR  97801

(tele) 541-278-9201   email us

Clemens Starck considers Pendleton one of his old stomping grounds. He worked on the railroad between Pendleton and La Grande sixty years ago, riding the pusher locomotives down the grade on the weekends to drink at bars in Pendleton. On April 19th, Starck returns to town, this time to present his award-winning poetry at the Pendleton Center for the Arts’ First Draft Writers’ Series. He takes the stage at 7:00 PM, followed by a Q&A and Open Mic.

Clemens Starck's first book of poems, Journeyman’s Wages, received the 1996 Oregon Book Award as well as the William Stafford Memorial Poetry Award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. His next two books — Studying Russian on Company Time (1999) and China Basin (2002) — were also finalists for the Oregon Book Award. Traveling Incognito, a letterpress chapbook from Wood Works in Seattle, appeared in 2004. Rembrandt, Chainsaw, another letterpress chapbook, was published in the fall of 2011.

The late Jim Harrison, poet and author of
Legends of the Fall, said of Starck’s work, "[There are] some truly extraordinary poems here. Easily, gracefully, right up there with the best work being done today." 

His most recent book of poems, Old Dogs, New Tricks was published by Oblio Press in the spring of 2016. He lives on forty-some acres in the country outside of Dallas, Oregon, in the mid-Willamette Valley. 

First Draft Writers’ Series brings northwest authors of note to Pendleton on the third Thursday of each month. The event is free and open to the public.