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:

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. 

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.

Benicia Literary Arts would like to thank Linda Blair, the Principal and Founder of Rescom Properties, for graciously allowing us the use of the Rescom office to hold the Memoir Class led by Debbie Weiss. ResCom Properties is a boutique Residential and Commercial Real Estate Service located in the Treasury Commons Building on First Street. Debbie's weekly 2 hour memoir class, “Sharing Our Stories”, runs for 6 weeks. 

Story Stroll - Reading to Kids

BLA is supporting the Benicia school district’s upcoming event Story Stroll. This event will feature stories of diverse subjects read to children, and others, attending the event. It will be held Oct. 21, 2023, from 10am to 12 on the Old Capital Building lawn. Diverse and Multilingual stories will be read aloud at different stations (readers).

There will be a panel discussion, by published authors, on the process of writing at the Benicia Public Library on Monday, October 2nd at 6 pm in the Dona Benicia Room. Panelists will include Becky White, Karen Mercury (Layla Wolfe), Myles Knapp, Lee Eric Berry and Lois Requist. Moderated by Ann Berliner, the panelists will talk about their process and answer questions. The public is invited. Click here for more information about this event.

Submission Guidelines for the 2023 Poetry Anthology, "Unsettled" 

To date there have been eight anthologies produced by the seven Poets Laureate who preceded me in the glorious Benicia lineup. (If you’re wondering about the count, Joel Fallon served two terms and produced the first and second anthologies.) Customarily the anthologies were published in the second year of a PL’s two-year term. But then came COVID. Anthology #8, Nooks and Crannies, was anticipated for publication in 2020, but did not make its appearance until late 2022. My term as PL started late and was extended through June 2023, with leeway to call for poems for the anthology in September.

Poems and bio must be emailed before midnight Sunday, November 5. More information here.

You will receive email confirmation that your submission has been received. Poets with experience in and dedication to the preparation of the anthology will review and proof your poems. You will be notified of which of your poems will be published; you will be contacted regarding possible corrections. Benicia Literary Arts will publish the anthology.

Our poems, gathered together, will create an artwork of vibrant diversity. Your poems will be an irreplaceable part of that creation.

Looking forward to seeing your poems,

Mary Susan

On October 29, at 5:30 pm at Bookshop Benicia, several authors will read from and talk about their books, as well as answer questions. The public is invited.