Speeches & Workshops

Upcoming Talks, Speeches and Appearances

My newest book, 111 PLACES IN COLUMBUS THAT YOU MUST NOT MISS (Emons) has been unleashed! Programs are in place for that as well as on the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam student protests culminating in the Kent and Jackson State incidents of May 1970. If you’d like me to do a program, please schedule before June 30, 2020 to ensure availability. If you’d like me to speak to your book club, please email sjgurvis@gmail.com.

author Sandra Gurvis


Gramercy Books (with 111 Places photographer Mitch Geiser), Tuesday, March 10, 7 pm, 2424 E. Main Street Bexley. Conversation and presentation. More information.

Miami University, Tuesday, March 31, 5-7 p.m. Armstrong Student Center (ASC), room 1086, Oxford.  Participation in a panel of former protesters and professors on the 50th anniversary of  the student takeover of Rowan Hall at Miami.  After discussion, repair to Shade Family Reading Room (formerly Rowan Hall) to try out an augmented reality app.  Far out! (Is there a dispensary near Oxford?) More information, email Andy Rice at riceda@miamioh.edu.

Ohioana Book Festival, Saturday, April 25, 10:30 am – 5 pm, Main Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library, 96 S. Grant Ave. Join yours truly and approximately 149 other authors at the annual “running of the mouths” at this book selling, signing and schmoozing convo. A good time will be had by all!  More information, click on the “Book Festival” link on the Ohioana website.

Licking County Library, Saturday, May 2, 2-4 pm, 101 West Main Street Newark, OH 43055.   It’s been 50 years since the May 4 Kent State tragedy (and subsequent shootings at Jackson State) and what have we learned?  Join in this look back at the Vietnam protests and reflect on how they relate to the events of today. The photos and discussion of Ohio campuses will revisit what has definitely been a long, strange trip! More information, call 740 -349-5500 or email info@lickingcountylibrary.org.

Westerville Public Library author series, Wednesday, June 10, 7 – 8 pm. 126 S State St, Westerville, OH 43081. Discussion and presentation of 111 Places in Columbus that You Must Not MissMore information  (Click on “June 10” for more information).

Pickerington Public Library, Thursday, June 11, 6:30-7:30 pm. 201 Opportunity Way, Pickerington, OH  43147. Discussion and presentation of 111 Places in Columbus that You Must Not MissMore information.  (Click on day of event for more information or call 614-837-4383.)

Upper Arlington Adult Center – Current Events Group, Tuesday, June 16, 2-4 p.m., 1945 Ridgeview Rd, 43221, Building #1. Discussion of 111 Places in Columbus that You Must Not Miss and other Ohio books. Email Ed Sweeney, esweeney3@columbus.rr.com  for more information or in March check the online activity guide.

Please contact me if you have questions or want me to participate in your book fair, library event or other literary happening!

Workshop Topics and Venues

An accomplished speaker, Sandra has given presentations on writing and her book topics at libraries, colleges, writers’ conferences, and other groups. Click here for a partial list of venues. Below are brief descriptions of some of her more recent presentations:

111 Places in Columbus that You Must Not Miss (NEW!). New to Columbus, visiting or just wanting to explore your own backyard? With 111 listings and another 111 tips, it’s a pretty sure bet that you’ll discover something that you may not have known about. Or more likely, several somethings, as I did during my “travels” in the town I lived in for over 40 years. These include the first African-American country club; “Jeff” the dinosaur at OSU; arguably the most annoying earworm ever composed in Westerville; the “Cheetah dog” program at the Columbus Zoo; a $5,000 bathtub and many more. Other aspects of Columbus including restaurants, sports, shopping, museums, historical sights and more will be covered. Also includes the amazing photos of the book’s photographer Mitch Geiser as well as few unpublished oddities that I took while researching the book.

Myths and Mysteries of Ohio. Why would the people of Sabina embalm the corpse of a random black man and put him on display for the entire world to see? What was the real story behind Johnny Appleseed’s fascination with teenage girls? And what was it about Marietta, Athens/Ohio University and the Golden Lamb in Lebanon that made these places such as ghost magnets? And where are the dead aliens at Wright Patterson AFB? MYTHS AND MYSTERIES OF OHIO dissects these and other urban and perhaps not-so-much legends. Through a PowerPoint presentation, discussion and a brief reading, explore the new abnormal with author Sandra Gurvis. Prizes may also be involved.

Country Club Wives. Before the “Real Housewives” and “Desperate Housewives” there was….COUNTRY CLUB WIVES, a satire about women, money, and homeless animals set in “New Albany, oops New Wellington” Ohio. And now it’s been optioned as a TV show! Come hear Sandra talk about the genesis of the book, the controversy it caused and questions it raised, and how it has taken on a life of its own. Participants can also play “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me: Country Club Wives Edition” and separate the fiction from the facts!

Ebooks: Good News and Challenges. While ebooks have opened up a world of possibilities for writers, they also have their pitfalls — and sometimes even pratfalls. The good news is that now, with the right blend of talent, ability, and market sense, you can put your written vision into words — and not only have artistic control but also earn a king’s share of royalties. The trick is in doing it correctly, and there are plenty of challenges along the way, from cover design to editing/proofreading to formatting to understanding the potential audience to the biggest hurdles of all — getting publicity, readers, and sales. With millions of ebooks out there, and many more being published, how can you make yours stand out from the thundering herd? This workshop will provide not only an overview of the process but also a step-by-step guide of what to expect (and avoid).  It will cover epublishing such as editing, proofing, cover design as well as marketing and review tips. The process of putting together an ebook can be complex and intimidating but with time and effort it can be professional and appealing, even if it’s your first project. And unlike self-publishing or publish or demand, it needn’t cost much, if anything, at all (although remember the saying about getting what you pay for).

Turning Personal Experiences into Viable Prose. “Everything is material” or so the saying goes. But how can you turn life experiences into salable writing that readers can enjoy and relate to? This workshop will focus on using anecdotes, memories, and observations to craft salable stories as well as how to distance yourself to avoid losing perspective and to protect yourself legally as well as the privacy of others. Properly executed, personal experiences in writing can add dimension to description, characterization, dialogue and setting and greatly increase your chances for publication.

Inventing (and Re-Inventing) Yourself as a Writer. No matter how many years you’ve been at it, writing is a continual process of discovery. Aimed at both novice and experienced writers, this workshop helps explore the many ways you can use your skills and experiences to boost your career. Participants will get a chance to evaluate their present and future aspirations, along with finding new ways to earn income as a freelancer. Versatility and risk-taking ability, along with other traits and requirements to help grow your writing career will be discussed and brainstorming and idea-sharing will help define goals.

The Art of Book Promotion. Today’s authors need to be more than good writers, they also must learn how to sell themselves and their ideas, be they fiction or nonfiction. This workshop focuses on: getting your book reviewed by newspapers and magazines, using conventions and other special interest groups as marketing opportunities, contacting and talking to people who will help spread the word about your book, snagging television and radio interviews, promoting your work over the Internet, persuading bookstores to feature your book, utilizing book signings to their maximum effect, and working with publishers to achieve the greatest exposure. A list of promotion and Internet resources will be provided, along with suggestions as to organizing such efforts to fit into a regular work schedule.

Flashing Back to the ’60s. From Long Hair to No Hair. Click here for a detailed description and options for this program/coffeehouse.

CONFERENCES/VENUES (partial list)*

  • Allen Correctional Institution
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
    • Writers’ Conference (New York City)**
  • Beachwood Library
  • Cleveland State Writers’ Conference
  • Columbus Metropolitan Library**
  • Columbus Writers’ Conference**
  • Chicago Public Library
  • Creative Adult Program (Ohio State)**
  • Featured speaker at:
    • UC Berkeley
    • Louisville Chamber of Commerce
    • Miami University
    • Ohio Library Council**
    • Ohio State University
    • Rollins College (Winter Park, FL)
    • University of Dayton
    • University of Louisville**
    • University of Florida
    • Vanderbilt College
  • Erma Bombeck Conference on American Humor (Dayton)
  • Granville (Ohio) Writers’ Conference (co-coordinator, 1991-98)
  • Houston Writers’ Conference
  • Imagination Writers’ Conference (Cleveland)
  • Johnson County Writers’ Conference (Kansas City)
  • Kentucky Book Fair**
  • Midwest Writers’ Conference**
  • Ohio Professional Writers (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Open U (Minneapolis)
  • Sinclair Writers’ Conference (Dayton, Ohio)
  • Southern Festival of Books (Nashville)**
  • Thurber House (speaker)
  • Virginia Festival of the Book
  • Youngstown State University Writers’ Conference**

**Denotes more than one occasion References available upon request