Authors & Presenters

We are currently adding more authors to this list. Check back for updates.

noel-alumit-bookNoel-AlumitNoel Alumit wrote the novels Letters to Montgomery Clift and Talking to the Moon. He won the Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association and the James Duggins Mid-Career Prize.


Khadija-Anderson-Khadija-Anderson-bookjpgAfter 18 years in Seattle, Khadija Anderson returned to her hometown of Altadena where she runs a social justice themed literary series, Poets & Allies for Resistance. Khadija is a Pushcart Prize nominee and holds an MFA in Poetry from Antioch LA. Khadija’s poems have been published extensively and her book, History of Butoh, was published in 2012 by Writ Large Press.


Brooke Binkowski is the managing editor of Snopes and a freelance journalist focusing on border and immigration issues. She was frequently featured in The New York Times discussing the attacks she has received online for her fact-checking work: “I will always push back. At least until someone shows up at my workplace and kills me.” Her career and interests have taken her to Mexico, Alaska, Europe, North Africa and South America. She has a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California, San Diego.

Nikki-BlakNikki Blak is a proud Los Angeles native and lifelong resident. She is the author of four volumes of poetry and fiction. Her work has been featured nationally on Season 5 of Lexus Verses and Flow. She has been a member of 4 different southern California poetry slam teams and has gone on the compete at the annual National Poetry Slam an equal number of times. She is mother to two, an eccentric aunt, lover of animals and baked goods, music enthusiast, radical womanist and activist.


Derek-D-BrownDerek D. Brown Derek D. Brown is a poet born and raised in Los Angeles and a graduate from Community Literature Initiative’s author training program at the University of Southern California. Derek hosts the open mic at Vibrations Cultural Center and the Last Sunday open mic at the U.S. Veterans Artists Alliance. Derek’s first collection of poetry, Articulate Scars, will be released Spring 2017.


Jessica-Ceballosjessica-ceballos-bookJessica Ceballos curates and hosts literary programming at Highland Park’s (her hometown) Avenue 50 Studio including its Poesia Para La Gente program that brings poetry to the community using non-traditional spaces as venues. She’s 1/4 of the experiment in publishing known as Writ Large Press, and she holds a seat with the Highland Park Neighborhood Council where she works to support policy and neighborhood development efforts that favor community sustainability over disproportionate monetary advantage, and heads their Arts & Culture committee. She’s a 2015 Western States Arts Federation Emerging Leader of Color, has been recognized by the the City of Los Angeles Council Districts 1 & 14, and she has received grants from Department of Cultural Affairs and The James Irvine Foundation, and collectively as a publishing partner through partnerships across Southern California. Her work has been published in various journals and anthologies, in addition to public installations in Los Angeles and San Diego. She has been invited to speak at numerous panels on issues related to poetry, place-making, editing, publishing, healing arts, and community building. Her poetry has been integrated into curriculum at UC San Marcos and UCLA’s Chicano Studies program. Her chapbook Gent/Re De Place Ing was published on Writ Large Press at the end of 2016.


Chiwan-ChoiChiwan-Choi-bookChiwan Choi is the author of two collections of poetry, The Flood (Tía Chucha Press, 2010) and Abductions (Writ Large Press, 2012). His two most recent projects are Ghostmaker, a book he wrote, presented, and destroyed in 2015, and The City is My Book, a novel to be written on a series of utility boxes in downtown LA in 2016. He is also currently working on a new collection of poetry to be published by CCM in 2017. Chiwan is also one of the founding partners of Writ Large Press, an indie publisher that uses the book to resist, disrupt, and transgress.

Marvin Dorsey was born in Los Angeles, and spent much of his youth in the Valley. He now lives on a ranch in Lancaster and works in Sunland. From these outskirts Marvin pursues his mission for the care and well-being of domesticated animals as well as his passion for poetry. Marvin is a member of the writing group Emerging Urban Poets in Pasadena, and of the reading ensemble The Inner Four. He has produced six slim chapbooks over the years and is included in several anthologies highlighting poets of the San Gabriel Valley.

Jonathan-GoldJonathan Gold is a food critic who currently writes for the Los Angeles Times and used to write for LA Weekly and Gourmet magazine. In 2007 he became the first such critic to win the Pulitzer Prize. He is also a regular on KCRW’s Good Food radio program. Gold often chooses small, ethnic restaurants for his reviews, although he covers all types of cuisine. A collection of his articles can be found in his book, Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles. He has been married to Laurie Ochoa, who was editor-in-chief at LA Weekly since 1990; they met at the Weekly in 1984.

Jean GuerreroJean-Guerrero is the 2016 winner of the PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers Prize. She is the Fronteras reporter at KPBS, San Diego’s NPR and PBS affiliate. Previously, she was a foreign correspondent in Mexico City for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires, trekking through mountains with coffee smugglers, opium poppy producers and maize farmers. More recently, she ventured into Tijuana’s sewers to expose the plight of deported migrants. She holds a master’s in creative nonfiction from Goucher College, as well as a University of Southern California bachelor’s in journalism and minor in neuroscience. She is half Mexican, half Puerto Rican.

Rosalind-HelfandRosalind Helfand works with nonprofit and government organizations to engage communities in finding and implementing solutions to the pressing human rights, social justice, and conservation issues of our time. She’s the former director of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series and directed programming for their Women’s Leadership Conference. She produced a series of cross-organizational community dialogues in Los Angeles on international issues of women and education, accountable leadership, foreign aid systems, media and Africa, artists as change agents, and human development. Currently, she’s deeply engaged in America’s reproductive justice movement, and can regularly be found on Capitol Hill lobbying to protect women’s health access. Also a leader in the literary world, she’s a Co-founder and Curator of Lit Crawl L.A., the Managing Editor of the lit journal and high school educator’s resource, Literature for Life, Director of Sci-Fest L.A.’s short science fiction story writing competitions, and the former Director of the multiple award-winning book festival, the West Hollywood Book Fair. She’s moderated and curated programming for The Last Bookstore, LitFest Pasadena and others. In her spare time she writes, and recently published a piece on gophers and suburban woes in Cutthroat Magazine.

Naomi-Hiraharanaomi-hirahara-bookPasadena-born Naomi Hirahara is an award-winning mystery writer and social historian. Her Mas Arai mysteries, featuring an Altadena gardener and Hiroshima survivor, have been translated into French, Japanese and Korean. She also writes the Officer Ellie Rush bicycle copy mysteries set in downtown Los Angeles. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo newspaper, she curates exhibitions and produces nonfiction, middle-grade fiction and noir short stories.

Las Lunas LocasLas Lunas Locas is a collective that/who provides a safe space for a community of self-identifying womyn to write, right and rite. They meet every Monday, 7pm, at Here & Now in El Sereno.  They will perform along El Molino / Colorado Blvd.

Keenan-NorrisKeenan-Norris-bookKeenan Norris’s first novel Brother and the Dancer was the winner of the James D. Houston Award for first books. The novel was also nominated for the inaugural John Leonard Prize. Keenan is the editor of Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape. He holds an M.F.A. from Mills College and a Ph.D. from UC Riverside, he currently serves as a guest editor for the Oxford African-American Studies Center, and teaches at Evergreen Valley College.

Gary-Phillipsgary-phillips-bookRaised deep amid the concrete and weathered palms of South Central L.A., weaned on the images of Kirby and Steranko in comic books, and Hammett and Serling in prose, Gary Phillips also draws on his experiences ranging from teaching incarcerated youth, running a nonprofit started after the riots, director of a shadowy political action committee to delivering dog cages in writing his tales of chicanery and malfeasance. He is part of the Crime in the Big City panel at 4:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.

Thelma-Reynathelma-reyna-bookThelma T. Reyna is the national award-winning author of four books: a short story collection (The Heavens Weep for Us and Other Stories), two poetry chapbooks (Breath & Bone; and Hearts in Common); and a full-length poetry collection, Rising, Falling, All of Us. Her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, textbooks, blogs, and regional media for over 25 years. As Poet Laureate in Altadena, 2014-2016, she edited the Altadena Poetry Review Anthology: 2015, as well as the 2016 anthology. She was recently featured in a chapter of the book, Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books, ed. by Mayra Calvani, 2016). Reyna holds a Ph.D. from UCLA.

Hiram-SimsBorn and raised in various parts of Los Angeles, Hiram Sims is a poet, essayist and adjunct English Professor teaching at Cal State University Los Angeles, Long Beach City College, and Compton college. Hiram has a B.A. in English: Creative Writing and a Masters of Professional Writing in Poetry from USC. In addition to teaching essay writing, creative writing, and literature, he is the founder of the Urban Poets Society. He has published three collections of poetry, including Poems of a Young, Troubled Mind (2007), Write or Die: An Anthology of Poetry from the Urban Poet’s Workshop (2008), and PHOTOETRY: Poetry and Photography from South Central (2013).


Tim-StilesTim Stiles lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. His poems and short stories have been published in literary magazines throughout the US and Great Britain. His most recent work is Repeat After Me, a photography/poetry book collaboration with the Photographer Jay Tyrrell.

Lisa-Teasleylisa-teasley-bookLisa Teasley is the author of the acclaimed novels Heat Signature and Dive, and the award-winning story collection, Glow in the Dark, all published by Bloomsbury. Lisa Teasley’s essays, stories and poems have been much anthologized, appearing in publications and media such as National Public Radio, Los Angeles Times, Zyzzyva, Black Clock and Los Angeles Review of Books, where she is currently a fiction editor. Her BBC television documentary High School Prom was in long-term rotation in the UK. Lisa has taught fiction writing at the UCLA Writers Program, University of California, Riverside, Cal Arts MFA Writing Program and Antioch University, as well as in other parts of the world such as Indonesia, Nigeria and Haiti.

Jervey Tervalon was born in New Orleans and raised in Los Angeles, and received his MFA in Creative Writing from UC Irvine. His new novel is Monster’s Chef. He is the Executive Director and founder of Literature for Life, literary magazine and educational advocacy organization, and Literary Director of The Pasadena LitFest. He lives in LA with his wife, Jinghuan Liu Tervalon and their kids.

Jinghuan-Liu-TervalonJinghuan Liu Tervalon graduated from Fudan University. She consults in innovation and most recently worked for Dragon Rouge, a French innovation and design company in Shanghai. She has recently written for Pasadena Weekly.