Literary Arts

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Boris Koodrin/ Director
Bardi Rosman Koodrin/ Literary Director
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What Exhibitors Need To Know



Bardi & Team History of the Literary Stage 2017 Anthology Literary Awards Volunteer Raffle Critique Lotteries Author Archive


Daily Schedules


2018 Literary Arts Schedules


Meet Bardi & Team

 Bardi Rosman Koodrin

View Bardi's Bio
 Boris Koodrin

View Boris's Bio
 Laurel Anne Hill Literary - Stage Manager

View Laurel's Bio
 Tory Hartmann - Publisher of Carry the Light Anthology

View Tory's Bio
 Sue Barizon Literary - Exhibit Coordinator

View Sue's Bio
Kim Schultz - Literary Assistant

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View Kim's Bio



History of the Literary Stage


Pigs AND Poetry at the San Mateo County Fair? You bet!

The Literary Stage offers writers from around the world an opportunity to enter literary contests and win cash prizes AS WELL AS free writing workshops and author presentations throughout the run of the fair. Not only that, we print all of the winning submissions in our annual Carry the Light Anthology.


The Literary Arts Contests

Boris and Bardi Koodrin took directorship of the fair’s Fine Arts Galleria in 2009, which has since grown into a premier 18,000 square foot art gallery and literary department. The art and literary contests award over $20,000 in prizes per year. We are proud to be partners with Notre Dame DeNur University, which offers through the fair an annual $5,000 Creative Writing Scholarship to full-time students who can earn up to $20,000 in four years. With no geographical boundaries, the contests are open to anyone, anywhere. Our first international literary entry, hailing from Australia, was submitted in 2016.

Bardi’s vision was to give writers a presence and a voice. First, she designed a hanging system so that submissions are displayed as works of art and fairgoers can easily detach them to sit down and read everyone’s stories.

To give writers a voice, she procured a stage with a professional sound system. Once that was in place, she contacted the San Francisco Peninsula Writers, the local branch of the CWC California Writers Club. Members enthusiastically volunteered their expertise and  The Literary Stage was officially launched in 2009. Since then, The Literary Stage has hosted over one hundred and fifty free “Events within the Event.” We’ve hosted local author book sales, open mic, writers’ panels and debates, author presentations, one act plays and monologues, community service events, dance performances, musical acts, children’s activities, and the Rejection Generator. Each year on Opening Day we host a Launch Party for our latest Carry the Light anthology; contestants love to autograph one another’s books, not to mention taking advantage of the opportunity to read their contest submissions to an avid audience of their peers.


A Unique Partnership between the Fair and the San Francisco Peninsula Writers

In 2017, the branch entered into a partnership to become an official “sanctioned” program, solidifying the nine-year collaboration between the CWC and the Fair. The purpose of sanctioning the Fair contests and the Literary Stage events through an organization like the California Writers Club is to create or expand community relationships. Sanctioning raises awareness of both organizations and increases the number of participants and entries. It calls attention to the literary contests held each year; sets a standard for more comprehensive contest guidelines by which entries are judged; and regulates the continuity of qualified judges, among other benefits. The rules for the division contests are determined by the CWC as the sanctioning body of the competition.

The fair continues to oversee the manner in which literary contests are judged fairly; all contests are judged blind, with no names attached to the submissions. The San Francisco Peninsula CWC has developed specific templates for judges to follow and to uphold the highest standards of impartiality and confidentially. What’s more, these templates can now be used by other CWC branches throughout the state of California to partner with their own local fairs. Who knows how far this concept could go?

Another unique aspect of the San Mateo County Fair literary department is Carry the Light, our annual anthology of contest winners’ work published by Sand Hill Review Press As far as we know, this is the only anthology of a county fair’s contest entries that is available during the run of the fair. This 300 plus page volume is a true effort of love, considering there is a brief five-week window of opportunity to get submissions judged and the books produced and distributed during the fair week in June. Contestants need not purchase a book to participate in the Literary Stage events.


2017 Carry The Light Anthology



This is the 6th volume of our annual Carry the Light Anthology. We offered a book cover art contest and Heather Theroff won the first prize; her artwork is featured on the front cover. She entitled her whimsical artwork Carry the Light. Donald Shernock won the 2nd prize backcover (which will include the winning contestants' names) for his submission, also entitled Carry the Light. 



Cover Artwork: Heather Theroff

Back Cover Artwork: Donald Shernock


They are definitely representing one of the many ways that we can all seek to Carry the Light in 2017!

Our anthology of the 2017 winning stories, essays and poems will be for sale at the Literary Stage for $12.00. This is made possible by the efforts of Tory Hartmann and her Sand Hill Review Press. How she manages to produce a 250-page volume from the time of the contest deadline in early April to having them ready for sale on Opening Day of the Fair on June 10th is beyond my comprehension. 

Although contestants are not required to purchase a book to join in the free stage workshops and other activities throughout the run of the fair, we will have our 6th annual Autograph Party on Opening Day from 12 noon to 1:50 pm. This meet and greet will enable contestants to bring their own books to promote as well as everyone exchanging copies of the anthology for others to autograph. 

Our annual autograph party is always a fun way to meet fellow contestants and begin the Literary Stage events! 

tory bardi


Literary Awards


Congratulations to all the 2018 Literary Award Winners

2018 Winners List


2017 Winners List


2016 Winner List








All you have to do is come to the fair and help out at the Literary Stage from Sat June 10 to Sat June 17th. Support your fellow contestants and/or branch members’ workshops and presentations; help sell the Carry the Light anthology; interact with fairgoers; promote the California Writers Club’s features and benefits; or join the audience and ask a question or two about our professional-level workshops.

This is an incredible prize: One year membership to the SF Peninsula Branch of the California Writers Club. The CWC is one of the oldest writing clubs in the country and we think the famed writer Jack London had a hand in its formation in 1909. Check out everything the club has to offer at

The club’s motto is Writers Helping Writers and it is abundantly evident with the utmost level of professional expertise and care given to our literary stage events. To be eligible to win this exciting raffle, you must join us for a minimum of a three-hour shift that is not related to your own presentation (such as a reading for Fault Zone).

You will receive a free parking pass and fair entry ticket and all you have to do in return is show up ready to support the Literary Stage. To increase your odds of winning you can enter your name into the hat for every three-hour shift you volunteer. The winner of our 2017 one-year CWC membership raffle will be announced on the Literary Stage on Sat June 17th at 2:00 pm.

Email Bardi Rosman Koodrin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info.


Literary Arts Volunteer Opportunities



Congratulations to Dave Strom: 2015 CWC Raffle Winner, who held the winning raffle ticket for our drawing of the 2015 Fair Literary Volunteer raffle. David wins a free one year membership to the San Francisco/Peninsula branch of the California Writers Club. Way to go Dave!"

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Lottery Critique


BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! Critique lotteries sponsored by writing and editing consultants Darlene Frank, Lisa Meltzer Penn, and Audrey Kalman

Darlene, Audrey, and Lisa are active board members of the San Francisco Peninsula Writers, a branch of the CWC California Writers Club

They are carrying on the club's 100 year old tradition of "Writers Helping Writers."

These professional editors and book coaches have provided their editorial feedback on works drawn at random via the contestants' entry numbers, whether the submissions won a prize or not.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or inquire at the literary stage on a first come first serve basis. Also on hand to offer private consults will be professional writers Nora Profit from the Writing Loft, award-winning writer Laurel Anne Hill, writing coach Teresa LeYung Ryan and Tory Hartmann, publisher of the Sand Hill Review Press.
Print out two poems, or one to two pages of a story or essay for review.

The lucky 2018 lottery winners are:

Short Stories critique with Audrey Kalman:
The Boy Wonder by Kevin Sugar - view critique
The Walk by Stacy Sorrells - view critique

Essay critique with Lisa Meltzer Penn:
Turning by Vivian Pisano - view critique

Memoir critiques with Darlene Frank:
Silence by Bruce Knoth - view critique
Trust the Driver by Connie Habash - view critique

In the spirit of creative collaboration, we'll post the feedback on each selected entry for the benefit of other writers. EXTRA: each winner will also be offered a no-charge phone consultation on his/her writing.

 Kalman-Audrey Audrey Kalman has been writing and editing professionally for more than 30 years. She has published short stories, poetry, and flash fiction, as well as the literary novel Dance of Souls. She served as assistant editor of the anthology Fault Zone: Stepping Up to the Edge and is currently editor of Fault Zone: Shift. She blogs at and is working on another novel.
 darlenefrank Darlene Frank is a writer, editor, and creativity coach who helps people write deeply personal stories and create their most powerful art. Her coaching program helps writers discover their innate gifts and transform their writing, self-image, and writing practice. Her memoir stories and creative nonfiction appear in eight anthologies. At the Fair she'll present a workshop, How to Create Your Most Powerful Writing, on Tuesday June 13 at 2pm.
 Penn-Lisa-Meltzer Lisa Meltzer Penn has a novel in progress, as well as work in several anthologies and literary magazines, including The Sand Hill Review Volume XII, Best of Sand Hill Review, Travelers Tales: Spain, Transfer Magazine, The Cupboard, The Stoneslide Corrective, and several Fault Zone anthologies. She’s on the board of the SF-Peninsula branch of the CWC, has edited children’s fiction for many NY publishers, and is the founding editor of the Fault Zone anthology series. Find more at: www.Lisa
  A Thank-You Note From 2015

Subject: Critique Winner

To: Bardi Rosman Koodrin

I want to thank you for this year's literary part of the San Mateo Fair, the lottery critique. I was one of the lucky winners with my literary essay entitled "Steinbeck and His Wives."

I received an extremely incisive and helpful written critique from Audrey Kalman. Her professional comments and editorial insights were extremely helpful to me, especially where she suggested that I be more specific. I tend to become too vague.

She and I had a wonderful telephone chat. She was also kind enough to give me some suggestions on how to market the piece. I want to thank you for this special gift to some of us lucky critique winners.

- Audry Lynch

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Author Archive

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Division Update

The Fair apologizes for the $100 cash prize error for the Div 331 Genre Novelist First Chapter Contest. Sponsor and Creativity Coach Beth Barany offers her popular writing services worth up to $450.00 but for 2017, the Fair will honor this mistake and pay the cash prize; Beth Barany will offer her personal services as usual.

Outstanding Leadership Award


The John Kyne Award was inaugurated in 1974 in memory of John Kyne. The recipient of this prestigious youth award is selected based on their quality and diversity of exhibits throughout the Fair; demonstrated assistance with other exhibitors and department supervisors in the form of teaching, sportsmanship, leadership, attitude and cooperation; and their efforts and assistance given to the fair.

Full details & application »