Castella resident, author and SAM member, Paula Amen Judah (aka Paula Amen Schmitt), has a first book of poetry coming out this fall, Añoranza,  published by Fithian Press. A celebration and brief reading will take place at S.A.M. on Sunday, October 2 from 4:30 – 6:30 PM. Her former student, Jeremiah La Rue, will provide music as people gather and again after the formal presentation when Cindy Martel will be serving up her delectable fare. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

Añoranza, means “longing” or “yearning” in Spanish, the writer’s second language. The collection evokes small-town mid-century life with intimate detail, both physical and emotional, capturing moments of girlhood that linger and haunt the memory in later life. Her poetry contains a constellation of themes—faith, death, power, and conflict—which culminate in a call north to the Siskiyou mountains where the author embraces a new geography of acceptance and redemption.

Paula was born in Nebraska and grew up in Napa where she raised her children, taught in the county jail, and performed in bands at night. In 1993, on a solo “reason-to-live odyssey”, she fell in love with the Castle Crags, met her future husband, Mark Schmitt, and moved to the north state. She is best known to locals as teacher, counselor, and play director at Dunsmuir High School.


She co-authored three other books:

Napa: The Transformation of an American Town

If Not to History: Recovering the stories of women in Napa  

Napa Valley Farming