BLA sponsors two Memoir Writing Groups that each meet twice a month. Having a BLA membership is required to attend. To inquire about joining the Memoir Writing Group, please email

GOING THE DISTANCE—NOT THERE YET  brings together writings that offer strength, hope, and solidarity in this time of ongoing viral pandemic, embedded racism, economic hardship, climate crisis, and threats to democracy. This column of poetry and short prose is published weekly in the Benicia Herald and is posted at Going The Distance. Due to space limitations, prose pieces of fewer than 350 words, or poems of fewer than 30 lines, with a maximum of 30 characters per line work best. Send your writing to

Benicia Literary Arts is seeking volunteers

Benicia Literary Arts is now part of Amazon's Smile charities donation program.

Shop at and use this link to direct your donation  Benicia Literary Arts. Amazon will donate to us 0.5% of your eligible purchases with no fees or extra cost. Choose Benica Literary Arts as your charity. 

Benicia First Tuesday Poets’ Group

Who: Anyone who writes, reads, or is even a little intrigued by poetry.
What: Read your poetry for a supportive community; listen to others; take part in conversation.
(The first and third choices are optional.)
When: 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month from September through June

For more information see:

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Welcome! What we do:
Read, edit, and work with authors on their manuscripts
Publish works of literary merit
Hold events that inform and educate writers
Sponsor ongoing writing groups who help each other
Sponsor workshops on writing, publishing, social media
We started a blog! We invite you to join the conversation on the blog page. 

Screen writing Zoom workshop scheduled for August 29th.
We are very fortunate to have Ben Snyder with us for this special event.

Ben Snyder is a television producer, filmmaker, and playwright. He wrote for the Netflix series Grand Army and produced the HBO series Betty, where he served as creator Crystal Moselle’s co-showrunner. Ben has developed television for BET, Channel 4, Lionsgate Entertainment, and Warner Bros. His most recent feature film, Allswell, with Elizabeth Rodriguez, Liza Colon-Zayas, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Bobby Cannavale won Best Screenplay at Tribeca Film Festival, 2022. His previous film, 11:55, with Julia Stiles and John Leguizamo, premiered on Showtime. Ben was the story consultant and producer for the Sundance award-winning documentary The Wolfpack. His plays have been produced at P.S. 122, The Vineyard Theater, Crossroads Theatre, The Apollo Theater, New York Stage and Film, The New York City Hip Hop Theater Festival, and at HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. Ben's plays have been nominated for NAACP Image Awards and published in the anthology, “Say Word! Voices from Hip Hop Theater,” Michigan Press. He is a member of Labyrinth Theater Company and teaches at Brooklyn College.

Memoir Workshop Announced for June 3rd by Benicia Literary Arts
Deborah Weiss and Lois Requist, who’ve both written and taught memoir writing, will share their knowledge and experience at a workshop on Saturday, June 3rd at 2:30 pm, at the Parish Hall at St. Paul’s Church, 120 E. J Street in Benicia. The public is invited. More information can be found here.

We are thrilled to announce that Carolyn Plath’s memoir, Glenn’s Sister, published by Benicia Literary Arts, has been selected as a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards competition, the largest not-for-profit book awards for indie authors and publishers. Carolyn, who passed away in December 2022, was a member of one of BLA’s Memoir Groups. With vivid descriptions and wry wit, Plath, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, brings the 50s and 60s alive in this story of a family united by love but torn apart by an unspoken secret. At the book’s center lies the deep bond between Glenn and his sister Carolyn, who uses multiple points of view to tell the tragic story of her brother’s brief life with insight, understanding, and wry humor.

Send in your Benicia ZipOdes!

Whether you are a Benicia resident or connected to Benicia by another affiliation,
send ZipOdes by June 9 to subject line ZipOdes.

What’s a ZipOde?: A ZipOde is a poem about a town, based on that town’s zip code.
• Your ZipOde will have 5 lines, one for each digit in Benicia’s zip code.
• The number of words in each line is determined by the digits in the zip code.

ZipOde for zip code 94510, Benicia CA, would have this word distribution:
9 [9 words]
4 [4 words]
5 [5 words]
1 [1 word]
0 [no words—you can use a symbol or a sound or silence]

An example:
9 I will change into my painting pants and shirt
4 Benicia is a palette
5 Of limitless and gorgeous vistas
1 Yay!
0 [Ooooo]

Writing your ZipOdes:
• Write and submit as many as you like.
• Write about any aspect of Benicia: the beauty, the shortcomings,

your appreciation, your frustrations, whatever.

Submitted ZipOdes
• May be displayed at the Benicia Library,
• Or read aloud at the June 25th event “Benicia Our Home” (see flyer)
• Will be collected and posted on the Library website.
• Your ZipOde will be identified by your first name and last name initial—unless you request anonymity.

Benicia Literary Arts Hosts Picnic June 11th for Writers and Readers

Writers and readers are invited to a picnic on Sunday, June 11th at 4 pm in the City Park at the corner of First Street and Military. Light refreshments will be provided and attendees can also bring a dish to share. Authors may bring their books and offer them for sale. Other features include a literary trivia game, a drawing for four $25 gift certificates to Bookshop Benicia, and giveaways of record albums donated by Computer One Store.“Writing is a lonely process. Writers need opportunities to share, learn, and get acquainted with one another,” Lois Requist, president of Benicia Literary Arts said. “We hold workshops and readings, but this event is for socializing. ”Picnic tables will be available but those attending may wish to bring their own chairs. Those wishing to sell their books need to bring a table to display them on and should plan to handle the sale themselves. Books published by Benicia Literary Arts and by members will also be available for purchase. Questions: Lois Requist, email: