Litfest Pasadena’s 2016 authors and presenters include:
Lalo Alcaraz is the creator of the first nationally syndicated, politically themed Latino daily comic strip, La Cucaracha, seen in scores of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times. He has produced editorial cartoons for the LA Weekly since 1992 and also creates editorial cartoons in English and Spanish for Universal. He is on the faculty at Otis College of Art & Design and is the host of The Pocho Hour of Power on KPFK. He is in conversation with Jaime Hernandez at 1:30 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo, and on the comedy writing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
AKoldPiece is a father, educator, writer, poet, spokenword artist, motivational speaker and host. This gentle giant has a special gift for creating haiku and short stories accented with his wit and humble personality. AKoldPiece has traveled as far as the motherland “Afraka” to share his artistry. Inspired by the legacy of his father and the future for his sun, AKP, which he is called by many, continues to embrace the unknown, where he finds solace in knowing that the unknown and uncomfortable is where true growth resides. He is part of the Poets & Allies reading at 1:15 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Noel 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. He is part of the LGBTQ panel at 4:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Khadija Anderson is the creator and host of Poets & Allies for Resistance, which is a monthly literary series featuring two Black writers and an open mic that focuses on social justice issues. The series was formed in response to and support of the Black Lives Matter movement and had its first reading in December 2014 in Pasadena, CA. Khadija is a frequently published poet and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her book History of Butoh was released in 2012 by Writ Large Press. She is part of the Poets & Allies reading at 1:15 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Maribel Banuelos and Dean Audrey Vergara are student editors of MUSE, the publication from Riverside Community College. She is part of the indie publishing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Lisa Beebe grew up in upstate New York, and now lives in Studio City. Her short stories have appeared in Indiana Review, Eleven Eleven, Switchback, Cactus Heart, and Psychopomp, among others. She is working on her first YA novel. Lisa volunteers regularly with WriteGirl, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles that matches women writers with teenage girls for creative writing mentoring. She is part of the YA publishing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Tanya Bjork has been inventing stories so she could illustrate them for as long as she can remember. Her current comic series, Havenhurst, explores the theme of social floors, particularly universal health care, through a tale about a runaway from a dysfunctional magical family. Orion, a near-future story about a brewing revolution from the perspective of a girl looking for her lost rabbit, looks at how the vulnerable often become casualties in the struggle for a better world. By wrapping social issues in the metaphors of genre fiction storytelling, Tanya strives to find and celebrate the buoyancy of human hope. She’s a member of the Los Angeles Women’s Comic Creator’s League, also known as the Ladybugs. She is part of the graphic novels panel at 6:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Nikki Blak is a proud Los Angeles native and lifelong resident. She was the only poet whose likeness was depicted in a Michael Massenburg Mural in the heart of Leimert Park, as well as a piece recently commissioned for the Metro Expo. She is the author of two volumes of poetry and fiction, GIRL and Five-Three and Rising. She is the 2010 LA Grand Slam Champion, has been a member of 3 different southern California slam teams, and has gone on to compete at the annual National Poetry Slam 4 times. In the coming year, Nikki looks forward to publishing her third volume of poetry, essays, and short stories, and continuing to conduct writing workshops and perform poetry nationally. She is part of the Poets & Allies reading at 1:15 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
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. Currently writing his way towards his first published collection of poetry, he seeks to speak for those too embarrassed or proud to claim their truth. Derek is a member of the Still Waters Writers’ Collective who regularly shares his work among peers and mentors in Leimert Park at the World Stage Performance Gallery’s longstanding Anansi Writers Workshop. He has also added hosting to his resume, facilitating the open mic at Vibrations Cultural Center and Tea House as well as filling in at The World Stage. He is part of the Poets & Allies reading at 1:15 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Katie Burbank is a member of the Yelp Elite Squad. Elite Squad Members are your in-the-know crew who reveal hot spots for fellow locals, act as city ambassadors, and are the true heart and soul of the Yelp community, both on and offline. As some of the best and brightest urban adventurers, we’re giving them the stage during LitFest to share their most UFC (useful, funny, cool) reviews! She is part of the Yelp reviews reading at 7:15 p.m. in Litfest Lounge.
Billy Burgos is an Illustrator/Designer/Poet from Los Angeles. He is a Curator on staff at Gotpoetry.com. His poetry has been featured in both Anthologies and Literary Journals and Zines. In 2007 Billy was chosen as an up and coming poet by the L.A. Poetry Festival. He has served as workshop facilitator of the Beyond Baroque Wednesday night workshop and hosts the First Sunday Open Reading at Beyond Baroque. Billy is the host of Word Ballast, a blogtalk poetry show where he has interviewed such poets as Nikki Giovanni, Nikky Finney, Thomas Sayers Ellis and Nick Flynn. His vivid paintings of some of L.A’s most interesting poets called The Faces of Poetry is a traveling gallery/poetry exhibit which has been featured in both art journals as well as KCET. His first full length collection of poetry called Eulogy to an Unknown tree is out now on Writ Large Press. He is part of the Poets & Allies reading at 1:15 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Mary Lea Carroll, a lifelong resident of Pasadena, falls back on the phrase, “one could die of encouragement in Hollywood,” because in her younger days she wrote numerous scripts, many of which almost went somewhere. When her children came along, she turned her writing energies to freelance journalism, memoir writing and poetry. For many years she was the read-aloud lady at school, the theatre mom for grades k-12, and taught kids’ creative writing. She produced the first Pasadena High School Theatre festival at the Pasadena Playhouse and more recently, she has embarked on spoken word performance and is currently working on a memoir collection entitled The Mrs. McKay Stories. She is part of the Literature for Life panel at 12:00 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Jessica 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 Gentre De Place Ing: A Response is forthcoming on Writ Large Press at the end of 2016. She is part of the amazing women writers panel at 3:00 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Jade Chang is the author of The Wangs vs. the World, out in October from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She is the recipient of a Sundance Fellowship for Arts Journalism, the AIGA/Winterhouse Award for Design Criticism, and the James D. Houston Memorial scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. She lives in Los Angeles. She is part of the amazing women writers panel at 3:00 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Chiwan 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. He is part of the indie publishing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
William Deverell, coauthor and coeditor of the new book Woody Guthrie L.A. 1937 to 1941, is a professor of history and director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West at the University of Southern California. With a focus on the nineteenth and twentieth century American West, Deverell has authored works on political, social, ethnic, and environmental history, including Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past. He is currently at work on a book exploring the history of the post-Civil War American West. He is part of the Woody Guthrie in L.A. performance at 4:15 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Hollye Dexter is author of the memoir Fire Season (She Writes Press, 2015) and coeditor of Dancing at the Shame Prom (Seal Press). Called “moving” and “inspiring on so many levels” by First for Women Magazine, Fire Season was also an NIEA finalist for best memoir. Hollye’s essays and articles about women’s issues, activism and parenting have been published in anthologies as well as in Maria Shriver’s Architects of Change, Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, Writer’s Digest and more. In 2003, she founded the award-winning nonprofit Art and Soul, running arts workshops for teenagers in the foster care system. She currently teaches writing workshops and works as an activist for gun violence prevention in L.A., where she lives with her husband and a houseful of kids and pets. She is part of the YA: Body and Self panel at 10:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Deborah Dominguez has been performing for worldwide audiences for the past 12 years. She is currently working on seven different projects. In theater, Deborah Dominguez is known for her roles as The Woman on the Frame, in Wicked Lit 2015, with Unbound Productions in LA; as Ophelia in Hamlet and as Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, with the Shakespeare Foundation in Spain, where she also did her masters in acting. She played Ms Ines in the original cast of Don Juan of the International Theatre Company she was managing for a while. In media, she also bared it all as one of the leads of the web series, Are you APP? before moving to Los Angeles in 2013 to pursue her career, where she has been working mainly in the film industry. She plays the lead of the last project she´s been in: Americana, which is currently stepping in different international film festivals. She is accomplished writer, producer and singer and is a passionate traveler who enjoys working around the world, in the four languages she speaks. She performs at 12:00 p.m. in the Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Jimmy Dore is the star of several Comedy Central specials, author of the best seller Your Country Is Just Not That Into You, a writer performer for the Off-Broadway hit The Marijuana-Logues, the host of his own weekly radio show in Los Angeles, and on air host for The Young Turks, the largest online news show in the world. His latest effort Sentenced To Live is Jimmy’s most powerful Hour of Stand-Up comedy to date. He effortlessly skewers our corporate media and bought politicians as he holds a mirror up to American culture. Citizen Jimmy is the award-winning one-hour Comedy Central Special that was chosen Best Of 2008 by iTunes, and was named one the the top 5 comedy DVDs of the year by Punchline Magazine. Jimmy’s everyman style and razor-sharp material draws people in and has made him one of fastest rising stars in comedy today. He is part of the comedy writing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Linda Dove has published two award-winning collections, In Defense of Objects (Bear Star, 2009) and the chapbook O Dear Deer, (Squall, 2011). She holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature and was a college English professor for many years. She was the Poet Laureate of the Altadena Library District in 2012-2014. She currently lives in Monrovia, California. She is part of the Altadena Poets Laureate reading at 11:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Kim (Freilich) Dower was born and raised in New York City and received a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College where she also taught creative writing. Her first collection of poetry, Air Kissing on Mars, (Red Hen Press, 2010) was on the Poetry Foundation’s Contemporary Best Sellers list, and was described by the Los Angeles Times as, “sensual and evocative … seamlessly combining humor and heartache.” Slice of Moon, her second collection, (Red Hen Press, 2013), nominated for a Pushcart, was called, “unexpected and sublime,” by O magazine. Kim’s work has been featured in Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, and Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, as well as in Ploughshares, Barrow Street, Rattle and Eclipse. Her poems are included in the anthologies, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, published by The Pacific Coast Poetry Series, an imprint of Beyond Baroque Books, and Coiled Serpent: Poets arising from the cultural quakes and shifts of Los Angeles, edited by Los Angeles Poet Laureate, Luis Rodriguez. Kim owns a book publicity company called Kim-from-L.A. Literary & Media Services and teaches a workshop called “Poetry and Dreaming” in the B.A. Program of Antioch University. She lives in West Hollywood, California. She is part of the Red Hen Press reading at 1:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Since his breakthrough comic book Violent Messiahs in 2000, New York Times bestselling author Joshua Dysart has contributed to some of the most high-profile graphic novel projects of the past decade, including Hellboy, Swamp Thing and Neil Young’s Greendale. Most notably, from 2008 to 2010 Dysart authored a two-year run on Vertigo’s comic Unknown Soldier. Dysart spent a month in Acholiland, Uganda during the LRA/UPDF ceasefire of 2007 researching the work. Unknown Soldier garnered two Eisner Award nominations, for Best New Series and Best Single Issue, as well as international critical acclaim. Since 2012 he has been one of the key creators in the relaunch of Valiant comics, using his series Harbinger and Imperium to help architect the larger universe as a whole. In December 2014 he went to Iraqi Kurdistan to interview refugees fleeing ISIS, and in January of 2016 Huffington Post World hosted the graphic novel that came from it, Living Level-3: Iraq, free for all to read. In May of 2016 he spent ten days in Aweil, South Sudan investigating the mass migrations of human beings fleeing food insecurity in the region. This research will form the basis of the upcoming, Living Level-3: South Sudan. He is part of the graphic novels panel at 6:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Brandon M. Easton is a professional writer based in Los Angeles, CA. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Brandon was a U.S. History and Economics teacher in NYC for 6 years before moving to the west coast in 2008. Brandon has written for the 2011 ThunderCats reboot from WB Animation and Transformers: Rescue Bots from Hasbro. Easton won the 2012 Glyph Award for his Shadowlaw series and multiple 2014 Glyph Awards for the Watson and Holmes comic series and a 2014 Eisner Award nomination. The Watson and Holmes story was notable for covering issues of human sex trafficking and transgender abuse in NYC. He is also the producer, director and writer of Brave New Souls documentary that explored the aspirations, inspirations and obstacles faced by African-American speculative fiction creators in the 21st century. In 2015, Brandon was selected as one of the eight winners of the 2015 Disney/ABC Writing Program which led to his new position as a Staff Writer for season two of Marvel’s Agent Carter. In 2016, Brandon was nominated for the 2nd annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics for his acclaimed graphic novel Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven which was recently optioned for a big-screen biopic. IDW Publishing announced Brandon as the writer for the M.A.S.K. reboot comic book series for release in Fall 2016. He is part of the graphic novels panel at 6:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Alex Espinoza is the author of Still Water Saints and The Five Acts of Diego León (Random House), and he is the recipient of a fellowship from the NEA and an American Book Award. He is part of the LGBTQ panel at 4:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Ranging from truck-stop lullabies to Klezmer-punk-jazz, ballads & barn-burners to hillbilly stomp, citing influences from the new-wave intelligentsia of the Talking Heads to the archetypal fire of Johnny Cash, all welded together with the mutant masterminds of Ween: The jukebox at the Mad Hatters tea party is the Evangenitals. Juli Crockett and The Evengenitals riff on Moby-Dick at 3:00 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Christa Faust is the author of over a dozen novels, including Choke Hold, Money Shot and Hoodtown. She worked in the Times Square peep booths, as a professional dominatrix, and in the adult film industry both behind and in front of the cameras. She lives and writes in Los Angeles. She is part of the Crime in the Big City panel at 4:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Janet Fitch is the author of the Los Angeles novels Paint It Black and White Oleander. Her short stories and essays have appeared in anthologies and journals such as Black Clock, Los Angeles Noir, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Paint it Black has been made into a feature film, directed by Amber Tamblyn. Fitch is currently finishing on a novel set during the Russian Revolution. She is part of the flash writing workshop at 3:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Erin Foley is a comedic actress, comedian, and writer. Currently, Foley is a regular cast member on TruTV’s How To Be A Grown Up. She is writing for the new NBC sitcom, One Big Happy. As a seasoned comedian, she has her own Comedy Central Presents, as well as having been on Conan O’Brien, @ Midnight, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Chelsea Lately, Arsenio Hall and Last Call With Carson Daly. She has performed five times at the Montreal Comedy Festival, the San Francisco Sketch Fest, the Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin and the Limestone Comedy Festival in Bloomington. Foley’s successful comedic podcast Sports Without Balls was recently added to the All Things Comedy network, receiving critical acclaim. Her versatility makes her one of the most sought-after women working the comedy scene today. She is part of the comedy writing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Judith Freeman is the author of four novels, including Red Water and The Chinchilla Farm, as well as a collection of stories, and The Long Embrace, a biography of Raymond Chandler. Her most recent book,The Latter Days: A Memoir, will be published by Pantheon in June. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction, and the Erle Stanley Gardner fellowship from the Harry Ransom Center, and has taught in the graduate writing program at USC and various writing workshops around the country. She is part of the flash writing workshop at 3:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Before becoming a novelist, Jeff Garvin acted on TV and toured as the lead singer of a rock band. He has a BFA in Film from Chapman University and lives in Southern California, surrounded by adorable, shedding beasts. He is part of the YA: Body and Self panel at 10:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Ryan Gattis is a writer and educator. His most recent book, All Involved: A Novel of the 1992 L.A. Riots, is grounded in 2.5 years of research & background spent with former Latino gang members, firefighters, nurses, and other L.A. citizens who lived through it. The novel won the American Library Association’s Alex Award and the Lire Award for Noir of the Year in France. Set to be translated into 11 languages, it has been called “a high-octane speedball of a read” by The New York Times and its film rights have been acquired by HBO. Gattis lives and writes in Los Angeles, where he is a member of the street art crew UGLARworks and a founding board member of 1888, a Southern California literary arts non-profit. He is part of the Crime in the Big City panel at 4:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Frank Girardot, former editor of the Pasadena Star-News, is the author of true crime non-fiction books, including Name Dropper, about the former San Marino resident who called himself Clark Rockefeller, and is co-author with Burl Barer of the recent New York Times bestseller A Taste For Murder published by Wild Blue Press. He is part of the Crime in the Big City panel at 4:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Jonathan 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. He is in conversation with the audience and guests at 6:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Sonia Greenfield was born and raised in Peekskill, New York, and earned an MFA from the University of Washington and an MPW from the University of Southern California. Author of poetry chapbook Circus Gravitas (2014) and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems, essays, and fiction have appeared widely, including in 2010 Best American Poetry, The Antioch Review, The Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Cream City Review, The Massachusetts Review, Meridian, and Rattle. Her book, Boy with a Halo at the Farmer’s Market, recently won the 2014 Codhill Poetry Prize. She lives with her husband and son in Los Angeles, California, where she teaches writing at USC. She is part of the flash writing workshop at 3:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Jean 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. She is part of the Latina/o’s in Journalism at 11:00 a.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater and Literature for Life | Locavore Lit at 12:00 p.m., Vroman’s Upstairs.
Rachel M. Harper is a novelist and screenwriter based in Los Angeles. Her first novel, Brass Ankle Blues, was a Borders Original Voices Award finalist and selected as a Target Breakout Book. Her newest novel, This Side of Providence, was published in April 2016. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the R.I. State Council on the Arts. Harper is on the faculty at Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing Program. She is part of the panel Writing in the Times of Black Lives Matter at 5:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Aleshea Harris received a B.A. in General Theatre from the University of Southern Mississippi and is currently an MFA Writing for Performance candidate at California Institute of the Arts. She has worked as a playwright, actor, poet and singer-songwriter in a number of different places. Aleshea’s writings have been featured in the films Anatomy of Anger (a collaboration with Art Not Hate founder Bob Barancik) and in the award winning short God of the Ground (a collaboration with Roundhouse Creative’s Andy Lee). She is part of the Poets & Allies reading at 1:15 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Erika Hayasaki‘s features and essays have appeared in Wired, Newsweek, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, The California Sunday Magazine, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications, including the Los Angeles Times, where she spent nine years as a staff reporter and national correspondent. She is the author of The Death Class: A True Story About Life (Simon & Schuster), as well as two bestselling Amazon Kindle Singles, Dead or Alive (2012), and Drowned by Corn (2014). Erika teaches workshops in nonfiction writing and classes in digital storytelling at the University of California, Irvine, where she is an associate professor in the literary journalism, an undergraduate degree program dedicated to studying and practicing narrative journalism. She is part of the amazing women writers panel at 3:00 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Rosalind 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. She is part of the graphic novels panel at 6:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Carol Henault, Executive Director of Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California, has been dedicated to the advancement of literacy throughout her 26 years in the nonprofit world. Prior to joining RIFSoCal in October 2004, she was the Director of Children’s Programming and Public Relations for the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles where she worked to provide tutoring, enrichment, mentoring and life skills programs for at-risk youth and teen mothers, as well as collaborative art and library programs in public elementary schools in the Los Angeles area. In that position, she was a member of the L.A. Workforce Literacy Project. She is currently on the Steering Committee of the Children’s Literacy Coalition of Los Angeles, working to facilitate partnerships between families, schools, and communities to ensure literacy is an integral part of every child’s life. Under Ms. Henault’s leadership, RIFSoCal has tripled in size and initiated many new partnerships with local corporations and community-based organizations. She is part of the Literacy Matters panel at 11:00 a.m. in the Litfest Lounge.
Jaime Hernandez was born in Oxnard. He has been making comic books professionally since the first issue of Love and Rockets in 1981. The series continues to this day. He has done work for other publications but Love and Rockets is still his baby. He receives the Litfest Pasadena award for lifetime achievement in the literary arts at 1:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Pasadena-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. She is part of the Crime in the Big City panel at 4:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Emory Holmes II is a Los Angeles based short-story writer and journalist. His stories on crime and the arts have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the L.A. Sentinel, and other publications. He has scripted scores of radio programs for national syndication, including the 3-hour documentary on the Civil Rights Movement, King from Atlanta to the Mountaintop. His stories have appeared in three anthologies, The Cocaine Chronicles (2005), The Best American Mystery Stories 2006, and Los Angeles Noir (2007). His story, “Dangerous Days,” has been expanded into a novel, The Flash Whack Mob. He is part of the panel Writing in the Times of Black Lives Matter at 5:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Darryl Holter, coauthor and coeditor of the new book Woody Guthrie L.A. 1937 to 1941, has written books and scholarly articles on labor history and urban revitalization. He has a Ph.D in History from the University of Wisconsin and taught for several years in the History Department at UCLA. Holter manages several family businesses in Los Angeles and is an Adjunct Professor in History at the University of Southern California. He is also a singer-songwriter and a member of Professional Musicians Local 47. His album, Radio Songs: Woody Guthrie in Los Angeles, 1937-1941, was released to critical acclaim in 2015. He is part of the Woody Guthrie in L.A. performance at 4:15 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Rachel Howzell Hall is the author of the Detective Elouise Norton series. The third novel in the series, Trail of Echoes, will be published this May. Land of Shadows and Skies of Ash (Forge) were included on the Los Angeles Times‘ “Books to Read This Summer” for 2014 and 2015, and the New York Times called Lou Norton “a formidable fighter — someone you want on your side.” A featured writer on NPR’s acclaimed Crime in the City series, Rachel also served as a mentor in AWP’s Writer to Writer Program and is currently a member of the Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. She is part of the Crime in the Big City panel at 4:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Yunte Huang came to the U.S. in 1991 after graduating from Peking University with a B.A. in English. He received his Ph.D. from the Poetics Program at SUNY-Buffalo in 1999 and taught as an Assistant Professor of English at Harvard University from 1999-2003. His book, Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History (W. W. Norton, 2010), won the Edgar Award and was the finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as being named a New York Times Notable Book and one of the Best Books of the Year by San Francisco Chronicle, Village Voice, Amazon, and Kirkus Reviews. A Guggenheim Fellow in 2014-15, he has also published articles in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Daily Beast, and others. He is part of the panel on The Big Red Book of Contemporary Chinese Literature at 4:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Stefan Karlsson is a poet from Redlands, California. He is currently an MFA student at UC Irvine. He completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA, where he served as editor for the literary journal, Westwind. His poems have appeared in The Great American Literary Magazine, Forklift, Ohio, and CIRCLE Poetry Journal. He is part of the poetry reading at 12:00 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Aditi Khorana spent part of her childhood in India, Denmark and New England. She has a BA in International Relations from Brown University and an MA in Global Media and Communications from the Annenberg School for Communication. She has worked as a journalist at ABC News, CNN, and PBS, and most recently as a marketing executive consulting for various Hollywood studios including FOX, Paramount and SONY. Mirror in the Sky is her first novel. She lives in Los Angeles and spends her free time reading, hiking, and exploring LA’s eclectic and wonderful architecture. She is part of the YA: Body and Self panel at 10:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Jonathan Kirsch, publishing attorney and book editor of the Jewish Journal, is the author of thirteen books, most recently The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat and a Murder in Paris (Liveright). He is part of the memoir panel at 12:00 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Jen Klein lives in Burbank with many boys and animals, all of whom are unruly and ill-behaved. When she’s not writing YA novels, Jen is an Emmy-nominated television writer, currently writing on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. She is part of the YA publishing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Ron Koertge writes poetry and fiction. His awards include grants from the NEA, the California Arts Council, and P.E.N. prizes for YA Fiction. He is part of the Red Hen Press reading at 1:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
E. Katherine Kottaras is originally from Chicago, but now she writes and teaches in the Los Angeles area. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College. She is interested in the stories we tell, the stories we are given, and the ways we can redefine our worlds by discovering which stories are true. She is the author of the YA contemporary novel, How to Be Brave (2015) and the forthcoming The Best Possible Answer (2016), both from St. Martin’s Press/Griffin Teen. She is part of the YA publishing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
S.W. Lauden‘s punk rock mystery novel, Bad Citizen Corporation (Greg Salem, Book 1), is available now from Rare Bird Books. The second Greg Salem novel, Grizzly Season, will be published in September 2016. His standalone novella, Crosswise, is available now from Down & Out Books. He is part of the Crime in the Big City panel at 4:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Elline Lipkin is a poet, academic, and nonfiction writer, as well as the current Poet Laureate of Altadena. Her first book, The Errant Thread, was chosen by Eavan Boland for the Kore Press First Book Award. Her second book, Girls’ Studies, was endorsed by Peggy Orenstein and explores contemporary girlhood in the United States. Currently a Research Scholar with the Center for the Study of Women at UCLA, Elline also teaches poetry for Writing Workshops Los Angeles. As a nonfiction writer she has written about everything from being a feminist bride to female mentorship and influence within the literary world as well as the new Barbie and “fauxpowerment.” She is part of the Altadena Poets Laureate reading at 11:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Sara Lippincott was an editor at The New Yorker from 1982 until 1993, specializing in science. She moved to Pasadena in 1993 and for the next 10 years taught a nonfiction writing workshop at Caltech. As a freelancer, she has since edited some 80 books, mostly about science and including several bestsellers: Bill Bradley’s Time Present, Time Past; Lawrence Krauss’s The Physics of Star Trek; Timothy Ferris’s The Whole Shebang; Lee Smolin’s The Trouble with Physics; and John McPhee’s Annals of the Former World, which won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction. She is part of the women in science panel at 5:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Loretta McCormick is a UWM English PhD student from Los Angeles, California, and editor in chief of cream city review. Her work has appeared in The Northridge Review, The Quotable, and decomP magazinE, and is forthcoming in agápe journal and elsewhere. She is part of the indie publishing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
George D. Morgan has a BA in Creative Writing from CSUCI and an MFA in Writing for the Performing Arts through the University of California, Riverside. George has written more than a dozen stage plays and musicals including Second To Die, Nevada Belle, Thunder in the Valley, Pasadena Babalon, and Capture The Sun. He also wrote the music and lyrics for the children’s musical The Trial of Goldi Locks. George is the author of Rocket Girl: The Story of Mary Sherman Morgan, America’s First Female Rocket Scientist, a memoir about his mother. It is based on his play Rocket Girl, which premiered in 2008 at Caltech. George is a member of both the Dramatists Guild and the Writers Guild of America. George and his wife Lisa are foster-adopt parents of three young children. He is part of the women in science panel at 5:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Michael Mullin lives in Pasadena, although all his sports allegiances remain in his native New England. He wrote TaleSpins, a YA collection of three twisted fairytale retellings. The first story, which features Creepy the previously unknown 8th dwarf, has become a cult hit with book bloggers and has also been published in graphic novel form (8: The Untold Story). His latest novel, Simon, is a modern day Hamlet for YA readers that won a Bronze Medal in the 2015 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Michael also co-authored several titles in the award-winning Larry Gets Lost picture book series, and wrote the middle-grade humor/adventure Rocketboy: The Return of Dr. Megaton. He is part of the YA publishing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Leslie Johansen Nack graduated from UCLA with a BA in English literature. She is a member of the National Association of Memoir Writers and San Diego Writers Ink. She lives in San Diego and has two children with her husband of twenty-six years. She is the author of Fourteen: A Daughter’s Memoir of Adventure, Sailing, and Survival, (She Writes Press, Oct 2015) which was named the Winner of the Young-Adult Non-Fiction category at the 2016 National Indie Excellence Awards and a Finalist in the Memoir (Overcoming Adversity/Tragedy/Challenges) category in the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She is part of the memoir panel at 12:00 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Adam T. Newman is an award winning, children’s book author whose childhood consisted of sports, reading comic books and playing with action figures. His love for film, writing and cartoons led him cross country to Los Angeles where he landed a job working for a children’s animation company. Adam has worked for numerous film studios as an art director and graphic designer. He is also the recipient of the prestigious “World’s Greatest Dad” award which was presented by his two wonderful kids in the form of a t-shirt. He is part of the Literacy Matters panel at 11:00 a.m. in the Litfest Lounge.
Alina Nguyen is a poetry, comic book, and tattoo enthusiast from Los Angeles, CA. She received her BA in English Literature and Asian American Studies from California State University, Northridge and is currently pursuing her MFA in Poetry at California State University, Long Beach. She also enjoys collecting pins and Star Wars. She is part of the poetry reading at 12:00 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Keenan 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. He is part of the Octavia Butler & Afro Futurism panel at 11:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Laurie Ochoa is arts and entertainment editor at the Los Angeles Times. She is part of the Latina/o’s in Journalism at 11:00 a.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Stacey Parshall Jensen is a vibrant Mixed Blood screenwriter, storyteller, filmmaker whose stories overflow with dramatic tension of dynamic relationships of the flawed who find their strength, heal their wounds and triumph over their obstacles. She’s co-owner of Through The Wilderness, LLC, a film production company dedicated to untold stories and New Takes on Old Tales. TTW’s debut production she wrote is Blessed, a Native female action short about the struggle between becoming a mother or being a warrior to save your family. First Girl I Loved, a PSH Collective feature with TTW as executive producers, world premiered at Sundance 2016 where it won the Best of NEXT Audience Award. She holds a MLS in Interdisciplinary Child Social Policy from the U of MN, a MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University and a MFA in Screenwriting from USC School of Cinematic Arts. She plans to make more movies where she can blow shit up. She is part of the amazing women writers panel at 3:00 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Raised 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.
Poesia Para La Gente presents Las Lunas Locas: Poems on Demand featuring Amanda Wang, Carolina Gamero, Cynthia Guardado, Karineh Mahdessian, Iris De Anda, Lisa Luna, Sophia Rivera, and Xitlalic Guijosa. Poesia Para La Gente is a program that brings poetry to the people, using non-traditional places as venues. By providing a welcoming non-traditional, unique, and one-time-only public platform for sharing the power of the spoken word, we hope to stimulate intercultural understanding within the diverse population of the North East Los Angeles area…and beyond. Las 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. Poesia Para La Gente perform between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. along El Molino / Colorado Blvd.
Elizabeth Pomeroy is the author of several books of local history, and publisher of others through Many Moons Press. She is a 40-year resident of Pasadena, has served on city commissions and is currently on the school board of Pasadena Unified School District. She is an English teacher, most recently teaching for ten years at Pasadena City College, and has also been on the staff of the Huntington Library. She enjoys pursuing grassroots history and spreading the word. She is part of the Future of Literary Arts Education in Pasadena panel at 10:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Isabel Quintero is a writer and the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She was born, raised, and resides in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Isabel also sits on on the board for a non-profit literary arts organization, PoetrIE. Gabi, A Girl in Pieces from Cinco Puntos Press, her first novel, is the recipient of the 2015 William C. Morris Award for Debut YA Novel, the 2015 Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, the California Book Award Gold Medal for Young Adult, and the 2015 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, Grades 7-12. Gabi, A Girl in Pieces has also been included on the Amelia Bloomer Project List of Recommended Feminist Reading for ages 0-18, one of School Library Journal‘s Best Books of 2014, 2015 Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens, and is one of Booklist‘s Best Books of 2014, among other lists. In addition to writing fiction, she also writes poetry and her work can be found in Huizache, As/Us Journal, The Acentos Review, The Pacific Review, and others. She is part of the YA: Body and Self panel at 10:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Andrew Ramirez is a native of El Paso, Texas. His fiction and poetry have been published in Slake, If & When, Gumbo, Literature for Life, among others. In 2012 he was a featured writer for the New Short Fiction Series and is the recipient of the Jimmy Gaunt Award, as well as the USC Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship for writing. He earned his B.A. from University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles. He is part of the Literature for Life panel at 12:00 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Thelma 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. She is part of the Altadena Poets Laureate reading at 11:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Travis Richardson has been a finalist for the Macavity, Anthony, Derringer and Screencraft short story awards. His novella Lost in Clover was listed in Spinetingler Magazine’s Best Crime Fiction of 2012. His second novella, Keeping the Record, came out in 2014. He has published stories in crime fiction publications such as Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, Flash Fiction Offensive, and All Due Respect. He used to edit the SINC/LA newsletter Ransom Notes and reviewed Anton Chekhov short stories at www.chekhovshorts.com. He lives with his wife and daughter. He is part of the Crime in the Big City panel at 4:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Alva Sachs earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Illinois. She holds a Master’s of Education degree from Northern Illinois University. Her previous teaching experience for more than sixteen years and a life-long passion for writing for kids is her motivation. She is the founder of Three Wishes Publishing Company. Alva is an award-winning children’s author Serving as President of Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California has enhanced her goal for the purpose of not only promoting literacy for children, but also helping to build home libraries for underserved children in the greater Los Angeles, Orange County, Pasadena, Mountain View District, and others. As Vice President of the Angel of the Alliance of the Thousand Oaks Civics Arts Plaza in California and liaison to the Kids for the Arts program, she helps to raise funds for Title 1 schools to have the opportunity to experience live theatre. She is part of the Literacy Matters panel at 11:00 a.m. in the Litfest Lounge.
Channing Sargent holds a B.F.A. in theatre from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a Master’s Degree in creative writing from USC’s Master of Professional Writing Program. She also studied at the Moscow Art Theatre, and is an alumni of the Paris American Academy Creative Writing Workshop. She is a recent Gabriel García Márquez Fellow of Cultural Journalism, awarded through the Colombia Ministry of Culture and the New Journalism Foundation. She covers obscure cultures, cities, arts and culture for LA Weekly, LA Magazine, LA Downtown News, among others, and is working on her first memoir. She is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. She is part of the flash writing workshop at 3:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
S. Pearl Sharp creates cultural art for the eye, ear and heart. Her commentaries and essays have been broadcast on NPR, many of which are collected in her new book The Evening News – Essays And Commentaries From NPR And Other Clouds, and she’s a contributing producer/host at KPFK-FM Pacifica Radio. Her love of creative collaboration produced the poetry w/jazz CD Higher Ground, poetry performances with dance, the documentary films Life Is A Saxophone on poet Kamau Daáood, and The Healing Passage/Voices From The Water which aired on The Documentary Channel. Other work includes four volumes of poetry, the non-fiction Black Women For Beginners, and the short story audio collection Uncertain Rituals. Now enjoying eldership she facilitates community rituals, offers creativity coaching and instigates through art and activism. She is part of the panel Writing in the Times of Black Lives Matter at 5:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Born 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. He first discovered poetry at the age of five when he plagiarized a decorative poem on his mother’s bathroom wall. In his 4th grade English class, he was proclaimed the “Captain of Limerick Poems.” He later went on to the University of Southern California to receive a B.A. in English: Creative Writing and a Masters of Professional Writing in Poetry. 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, Write or Die, and PHOTOETRY: Poetry and Photography from South Central. He is also the publisher at World Stage Books. He is part of the indie publishing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater, and the panel Writing in the Times of Black Lives Matter at 5:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
By day she works in a monster factory, at night she writes by the glow of her laptop. Sherri L. Smith is the author of five award-winning young adult novels, including the 2009 California Book Awards Gold Medalist, Flygirl—a World War II adventure the Washington Post named a best book of the year, and Orleans, a “cli-fi” adventure set in a future, post-disaster New Orleans. Her novels appear on multiple state lists and have also been named Amelia Bloomer and American Library Association Best Books for Young People selections. Sherri was a judge for the 2014 National Book Awards in Young People’s Literature and a three-time writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook women writers’ retreat in Washington State. She’s worked in comic books (The Simpsons), animation (Disney, Tim Burton) and construction (at LAX!), and currently teaches in the MFA Writing Program at Goddard College. Sherri makes her middle grade debut with The Toymaker’s Apprentice, a historical clockwork fantasy based on original story that inspired the Nutcracker ballet. She is part of the Octavia Butler & Afro Futurism panel at 11:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Brandi M. Spaethe received her MFA in poetry from Fresno State where she worked for The Normal School and The Philip Levine Prize in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in CRATE, Off the Rocks: An Anthology of GLBT Writing, American Athenaeum, and BLOOM, to name a few. Her chapbook, To You Who Wants In, was released in December 2012. Brandi received the 2012 C.G. Hanzlicek Poetry Writing Fellowship and was a poetry fellow in the 2013 Lambda Literary Foundation’s Emerging Writer’s Retreat. She is the program associate at Poets & Writers‘ California Office and teaches at California State University, Los Angeles. She is part of the LGBTQ panel at 4:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Amy Spalding grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She received a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School, and currently manages digital media planning for an advertising agency specializing in indie film. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and can be seen performing around L.A. Amy is the author of The New Guy and Other Senior Year Distractions, Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys), The Reece Malcolm List, and Ink Is Thicker than Water. She is part of the YA: Body and Self panel at 10:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Kevin Staniec is an arts advocate, author, and publisher. He is the founder of 1888, a regional catalyst for the preservation, presentation, and promotion of cultural heritage and literary arts. In 2002, Kevin co-founded ISM, a non-profit organization that published an internationally distributed culture magazine and produced art exhibitions and community programs. In 2015, Kevin was selected by the OC Register as one of the Most Influential People in Orange County and honored in OC Weekly’s People Issue celebrating the Most Fascinating People in Orange County. He is part of the flash writing workshop at 3:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Tim Stiles lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. He is the co-author of the photography-poetry collaboration project Repeat After Me/BotMerica. His poems and short stories have been published throughout the US and Great Britain. He is part of the Poets & Allies reading at 1:15 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Lisa 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. She is part of the panel Writing in the Times of Black Lives Matter at 5:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
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. He is part of the Future of Literary Arts Education in Pasadena panel at 10:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs and the panel Writing in the Times of Black Lives Matter at 5:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Jinghuan 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. She is part of the panel on The Big Red Book of Contemporary Chinese Literature at 4:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Kosiso Ugwueze is a Nigerian-American writer. She received her B.A. in English and International Relations from the University of Southern California. She has a professional background in consulting and public health communications. Kosiso has attended the VONA/Voices Writers Workshop as well as the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. She lives in Los Angeles, California. She is part of the Literature for Life | Locavore Lit panel at 12:00 at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Originally from Monterey, California, AJ Urquidi has studied poetry around Los Angeles and New York City. His poems have appeared in such journals as Chiron Review, Foothill, and Thin Air, been nominated for Ina Coolbrith and Pushcart Prizes, and won the Gerald Locklin Writing Prize. He has led creative writing workshops at CSULB and Beyond Baroque in Venice Beach. AJ lives in Long Beach, where he executively edits indicia, an online journal, and investigates grammar for the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is part of the poetry reading at 12:00 p.m. in Zona Rosa Alley.
Dean Audrey Vergara and Maribel Banuelos are student editors of MUSE, the publication from Riverside Community College. She is part of the indie publishing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Diana Wagman is the award winning author of five novels for adults and the upcoming young adult novel, Extraordinary October, due in October, 2016. She has published short stories and essays in Black Clock, Conjunctions, The Colorado Review, and elsewhere and is an occasional contributor to the LA Times. She is part of the YA publishing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
Margaret Wertheim is a science writer and curator. She is the author of six books, including Pythagoras’ Trousers, a groundbreaking history of physics, religion and women and The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace, a history of space from Dante to the Internet. She has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Cabinet, Aeon and many others. Wertheim has been a pioneer in communicating STEM subjects to women. In her native Australia she wrote and produced a 6-part TV science series aimed at teenage girls, and for ten years wrote regular science columns for women’s magazines such as Australian Vogue and Elle. Wertheim is the founder of the Institute For Figuring, an LA-based organization devoted to innovative public engagement with math and science. The IFF’s “Crochet Coral Reef” project, spearheaded by Margaret and her twin sister Christine, is now the largest participatory science-and-art endeavor in the world, and has been shown at the Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), Hayward Gallery (London) and the Smithsonian (Washington D.C.). Through an unlikely conjunction of handicraft and geometry, the Crochet Coral Reef offers a feminine window into the foundations of mathematics while addressing the issue of reef degradation due to global warming. Wertheim’s TED talk on the topic has been viewed more than a million times, and translated into 20 languages. She is part of the women in science panel at 5:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Rossandra White, a fourth generation South African, spent the first twenty-three years of her life in Zambia where she ran around barefoot, learned to tell a log from a crocodile, and whistle through her tongue. She moved to Laguna Beach, California where she wrote Monkey’s Wedding and Mine Dances, two Young Adult novels based on her childhood, as well as her memoir LYB, (published by SWP in 2014). She lives in Laguna Beach, California with her two Staffordshire Bull Terriers with whom she hikes the hills and fights for space in her bed. She is part of the memoir panel at 12:00 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Larry Wilson is artistic director and co-founder of LitFest Pasadena. For 12 years he was editor of the Pasadena Star-News, and previously the paper’s editorial page editor. He is now on the editorial board of the Southern California News Group, 11 newspapers in three counties. He and his wife Phoebe Wilson, creative director of LitFest, live in Pasadena and have a 25-year-old daughter, Julia. He is part of the women in science panel at 5:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Erika T. Wurth‘s novel, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend, was published by Curbside Splendor. Her first collection of poetry, Indian Trains, was published by The University of New Mexico’s West End Press and her second A Thousand Horses Out to Sea is forthcoming from Mongrel Press. A writer of both fiction and poetry, she teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and has been a guest writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, such as Boulevard, Drunken Boat, and South Dakota Review. She is represented by Peter Steinberg. She is Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee and was raised outside of Denver. She is part of the YA: Body and Self panel at 10:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Dennis Yang, AKA Papa Didos, author of over 110 children’s stories and founder of the “Papa Didos Ideals Foundation” just finished an epic 10,022 mile journey around the thirty-five states that make up the perimeter of the US. The journey was tough but very rewarding. He gave books to kids in orphanages, children’s hospitals, and public schools everywhere. His mission is to give the gift of literacy and fitness while helping kids set and achieve their goals. He is part of the Literacy Matters panel at 11:00 a.m. in the LitFest Lounge.
As the executive director for Reading Partners, Laura Zachar spends her time dedicated to improving student literacy rates in Los Angeles. Laura was born and raised in Southern California and has spent the last decade working to close the opportunity gap in communities in California, New Mexico, and Arizona. After attending Arizona State University, Laura worked for several years in Phoenix and New Mexico with youth development and education organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Playworks, and Citizen Schools, and was a consultant for AVID Center in San Diego. Her expertise includes providing training and outreach to schools and communities to support students to achieve their full potential. A voracious reader and writer herself, Laura believes that literacy is the key to future success for our young people. She is part of the Future of Literary Arts Education in Pasadena panel at 10:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.
A Pushcart prize nominee and award-winning short story writer, Désirée Zamorano is the author of the critically acclaimed The Amado Women, where she explores the lives a mother and her three adult daughters. She also delights in the exploration of contemporary issues of injustice and inequity, via her mystery series featuring private investigator, Inez Leon. She is a huge fan of nurturing creativity in young people, and she is able to do this as the director of Occidental College’s Community Literacy Center. She is part of the amazing women writers panel at 3:00 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater.
Stef Zamorano began writing comedy when she became a member of The Groundlings Sunday Company and ACME Comedy Theater. Stef’s next big break came when Carmen Zapata produced Reina co-written with Desiree Zamorano (sister). The sister team went on to write another production entitled Bell Gardens 90210 for The Bilingual Foundation of the Arts. “Carmen Zapata made a huge impact on my life and I’m so grateful for the opportunities!” Stef has written for NBC Primetime Comedy, SiTV, and Dreamworks. Zamorano is a contributing writer for The Jimmy Dore Show on 90.7 KPFK Pacifica Radio Network. Stef is The Miserable Liberal, and when she’s not writing or performing comedy she is teaching high school students. She is part of the comedy writing panel at 2:15 p.m. at Vroman’s Paseo.
Christy Zamani is the Executive Director of Day One and brings over seventeen years of progressively responsible experience in dynamic and diverse non-profit organizational settings; such as, community based organizations, educational institutions and local businesses. A graduate and former Student Body President of California State University Long Beach, Christy has served as the Day One Executive Director since 2007, sharing her hands on experience in public policy, community health, innovative marketing, and youth leadership development to Day One. Prior to her work at Day One Christy served on the Executive Cabinet for the California State University, Office of the Chancellor from 1999-2004. Christy’s passion lies in empowering disenfranchised communities, amplifying the youth voice, and advancing public health. She is committed to the well-being of people. Developing and improving programs and policies that strengthen the health of all populations especially those at greater risk. She is part of the Future of Literary Arts Education in Pasadena panel at 10:00 a.m. at Vroman’s Upstairs.