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Pulitzer-winning journalist to host writers workshop

By Lillian Cox
OCEANSIDE — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jonathan Freedman will lead a writers workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 23. The event is sponsored by A Word with You Press and will take place at its headquarters located at 802 South Tremont in Oceanside. A fee of $50 includes a light lunch.
Freedman is the author of several nonfiction books, most notably: “Jonathan Freedman: Collected Editorials including the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Series on Illegal Immigration;” “From Cradle to Grave: the Human Face of Poverty in America;” and “Wall of Fame: One Teacher, One Class; and the Power Change Schools and Transform Lives.” His fiction works include “The Man Who’d Bounce the World” and “Stanley Scuka Bounces a Dream: The Further Adventures of The Man Who’d Bounce the World.”
Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the process that led to Freedman’s 1987 Pulitizer Prize for a series of editorials published in the San Diego Tribune urging passage of the first major immigration reform act in 34 years. He will describe the influence of his mentor and editor, the late Ralph Bennett, who urged him to get up from behind his editorial desk and do firsthand research, which he says took him from the Mexican border to the agricultural fields of North County.
Freedman asks workshop participants to bring their journals, stories, poetry and fiction and nonfiction works to be read aloud.
“What I want to do is to lead people through the process that when you write you want to be heard,” he said. “You write about experience, you are transformed by experience, then you get reactions. When you are heard in an open and deep way you are replenished.”
Freedman will put students through an exercise that culminates in the creation of a “writing hat” to take home.
He will also discuss how his career has evolved from writing books and newspaper editorials to blogs and now children’s books. His most recent work, “Stanley Scuka Bounces a Bean,” was influenced by his first book published in 1979 titled, “The Man Who’d Bounce the World,” which told the story of a man who gave away his life savings.
“My character, Stanley Scuka, is a guy who wants to change the world,” Freeman said. “My whole thing is that I’m writing now for young people and what they can do to change the world. This is what I’ve been about since I met Ralph Bennett and became an editorial writer.”
Participants are invited for a complimentary barbecue at 4 p.m. Later Freedman will read and sign copies of “Stanley Scuka Bounces a Bean,” which, he adds, is a numbered, limited edition.
The event will be held in a new writers annex located in the headquarters of A Word With You Press.
“Any writer can come in and use our quiet space to read or even write a book, and be guaranteed computer access and a cup of coffee,” said founder Thorn Sully. “We are making our annex look like a ‘50s diner, with a faux leather booth and Formica table top, cafe tables and chairs.”
Sully adds that Freedman is the first of what will be many guest writers who will lead workshops at the facility.
“How many new ventures for writers get the support of a Pulitzer Prize winner?” he said. “Jonathan is bringing us that oxymoron — incredible credibility. We have many other fine and talented instructors who will be conducting workshops for writers here, but few who have performed on the world stage with such success.”
For reservations, e-mail Thorn Sully at [email protected]. Space is limited.