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Authors & Speakers

Over 250 authors, artists, and speakers are participating in LitFest Pasadena 2018. For authors with books available, books may be purchased at Vroman’s Bookstore for signing after they appear.

A Kold Piece

Father, Educator, Writer, Poet, Spokenword Artist, Motivational Speaker & Host, this gentle giant has a special gift for creating haiku and short stories accented with his wit and humble personality. He is a feature reader across Los Angeles.

Aaron Burleson

Aaron was born in South Los Angeles, and grew up in Palmdale in a lower-middle class Black family, and from a young age was exposed to the powerful mediums that are music, film and television, Aaron attended UCLA where he studied Political Science and developed a passion for the arts, as well as an interest in education and organizing around racial justice issues. After graduating, Aaron served as the director of S.H.A.P.E., an educational outreach program through the Afrikan Student Union, and went on to work as a community organizer. While doing community work, Aaron discovered his love for comedy writing and decided to create a multi-cultural production team, Lawah Dawah Productions, where he worked with diverse creatives to produce short films and comedic sketches for digital platforms. Aaron has contributed as a writer, producer, and director to several platforms including All Def Digital, The Peak Video through Issa Rae Productions, and The Lip TV. Aaron also performs and produces live sketch and improv for a troupe called “Laughtivism LA” where the goal is to create social change and awareness through comedy. Aaron is passionate about comedy, social justice and creating quality comedic content that is reflective of the Millennial voice, with a focus on diverse Millennials. He is currently a producer at the Sundance institute.

Adam Korenman

Adam Korenman was born in Fort Worth, Texas, around the same year “Rambo: First Blood II” was released. He quickly found a love for the written word at Boston University and worked hard to crank out the prettiest stories you ever did see. At the same time, Adam caught a different kind of bug and joined the military, because that’s how all great stories begin. He has been an infantry grunt, a tank commander, and the Captain of an entire company of Soldiers. Adam ended his service in 2017. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Adam was struck by two things at once: Wonder, and an organic soy free-range open source Frisbee. Since changing his driver’s license, Adam has become the Video Game Section Editor for CC2KOnline, written four novels, won awards for five short films, and briefly starred in a series of videos for Machinima.com.

Adam Schiff

Congressperson Adam Schiff represents California’s 28th Congressional District, and throughout his tenure in Congress, he has focused on growing the economy, bolstering national security, strengthening our communities, helping small businesses, and improving education, safety and health care for our children. In his 9th term in the House of Representatives, Schiff currently serves as the Ranking Member, or top Democrat, of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and as a Member of the Benghazi Select Committee. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence oversees the nation’s intelligence agencies including components of the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, State and Energy. A long time champion of the environment and mass transit, Schiff is the author of the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act, which was signed into law by President Bush on May 08, 2008. As a State Senator, he wrote the legislation establishing the Gold Line Light Rail Authority and in Congress has led efforts to extend the light rail throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Schiff is a strong proponent of science and believes that American leadership in space exploration is a key driver of American leadership in a host of high-tech and emerging industries. As a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, Schiff has fought hard to preserve and expand the robotic missions undertaken by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada-Flintridge, from missions to Mars to a future mission to Jupiter’s moon of Europa.

Alanah Andrews

Alanah Andrews is a high school English teacher who spends far too much time creating escape rooms and other fun activities for her students. Although she has lived in Australia for over ten years, she proudly grew up in New Zealand where she had a boiling mud pool in her backyard. Creative writing has always been a passion for Alanah, and she specialised in this area at university. Since then, she has had short stories published by Hammond House Publishing, Birdcatcher Books and Lane Cove Literary Awards. She also contributes regular writing tips to the online publication The Writing Cooperative.

Alex Schmidt

Alex Schmidt is the creator and host of Kurt Vonneguys, the podcast dedicated to the life and work and ongoing things of Kurt Vonnegut, because he’s the greatest author of all-time. The show has the seal of approval of The Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library in Indianapolis, has performed live at The Last Bookstore and UCB Sunset, and has received rave reviews from The AV Club, Splitsider, LA Weekly, and more fine publications. When not book-podding, Alex is also the Head Of Podcasting at Cracked.com, one of the Internet’s most popular comedy brands, where he hosts Earwolf’s The Cracked Podcast and frequently guests on podcasts like Who Charted, Fake The Nation, Unpopular Opinion, and more.

Alfred Madain

Alfred Madain aka DJ Al-Fareed is the founding director of Bedouin X, the desert blues band, and an educator and ethnomusicologist active on the Los Angeles music scene since the 1990s. He grew up in his native Jordan listening to an eclectic selection of music from the Arab world, America, and Europe. Throughout his life he has explored all genres of music and passed through many different phases of obsession. Listeners can hear his Radio Al-Fareed podcasts on Soundcloud from The Markaz in Los Angeles and add them to their iTunes collection.

Allison Scagliotti

A TV veteran of over 15 years, Allison is firmly rooted in science fiction culture. Best known for Warehouse 13, Drake and Josh,  Stitchers, and memorable guest appearances on Eureka, Smallville, One Tree Hill, and the Vampire Diaries, Allison is now directing independently and for Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger.
Twitter: @allisonscag, IG: @wittyhandle

Amanda Fletcher

Amanda Fletcher is the Emerging Voices Fellowship manager at PEN America Los Angeles. A 2012 Emerging Voices Fellow herself, she is also a former writer and editor for After Party Magazine, and her travel and feature writing have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Orange County Register, Coast Magazine, Hippocampus Magazine, FAR+WIDE, and the Ignite Magazine blog. Amanda is working to finish her first memoir.

Amber Benson

Amber Benson is a writer, director, actor, and maker of things.  She wrote the five book CALLIOPE REAPER-JONES urban fantasy series and the middle grade book, AMONG THE GHOSTS. She co-directed the Slamdance feature, DRONES – and she spent three years as Tara Maclay on the television series BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.

Amelia Anthony

Amelia Anthony is a senior at South Pasadena High School and serves as editor of Tunnel Magazine. Along with Brandon Yung and other teen contributors, the publication has been regularly legitimizing and uplifting teen artists since 2014. It has grown into a vibrant international collective of creators and followers.

Amy Spalding

Amy Spalding grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She has a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, and an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. By day, she manages the digital media team for an indie film advertising agency. By later day and night, Amy writes, performs, and pets as many cats as she can. Her latest book is The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles).

Amy Uyematsu

Amy Uyematsu is a third-generation (sansei) Japanese American poet and teacher. Born in Pasadena, she was raised in Sierra Madre and attended Pasadena High School, where she submitted her first poem to the school literary journal back in the sixties. Uyematsu has five published collections: Basic Vocabulary (2016), The Yellow Door (2015), Stone Bow Prayer (2005), Nights of Fire, Nights of Rain (1998), and 30 Miles from J-Town (1992). She taught senior high math for 32 years and currently leads a writing workshop at the Far East Lounge in Little Tokyo.

Andrew Ramirez

Andrew Ramirez is a writer from El Paso, Texas. He received his BA from University of Southern California, and has been published in Slake, If&When, Gumbo, Literature for Life, and elsewhere. He lives in Los Angeles.

 

Angela Penaredondo

Angela Peñaredondo is a queer Pilipinx writer-artist-educator living and working in southern California. Angela is author of the chapbook Maroon (Jamii Publications) and All Things Lose Thousands of Times (Inlandia Institute, winner of the Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize). Her work has appeared in Anomaly (aka Drunken Boat), Weird Sister, Asian American Writers Workshop: The Margins, Four Way Review, Cream City Review and elsewhere. Angela is also a Kundiman and VONA/Voices of our Nations Art fellow. Learn more about Angela at www.apenaredondo.com

Angelina Sáenz

Born and raised in urban Los Angeles, Angelina Sáenz is a poet whose work focuses on memory, mujeres, motherhood and cultural/linguistic unfolding. Her poems have appeared in Díalogo (the Journal for Latino Research at DePaul Univeristy), Split this Rock and Out of Anonymity (The Journal of the UCLA Writing Project). A full-time public school teacher, Angelina is eternally inspired by the daily daynamics of her family life, her classroom and her community. She hosts the monthly reading series La Palabra in Highland Park.

Anna Katz

ANNA KATZ is a writer and editor. She has done work for a wide variety of companies and publishers, including Weldon Owen, Nat Geo Kids, and Amazon. Her latest book, Swimming Holes of Washington: Perfect Places to Play in the Water, will be out in June of 2018. She lives in Seattle with her family. You can find her at www.helloannakatz.com.

Anne Louise Bannon

Both a novelist and a journalist, Anne Louise Bannon has freelanced for the Los Angeles Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Backstage West, and edits wine blog OddBallGrape.com. On the fiction side, she writes a romantic serial, a spy series, and her Kathy and Freddy historical mystery series, set in the 1920s. Her most recent title is Death of the Zanjero. She and her husband live in Southern California with an assortment of critters.

Annette Wong

Annette is a mindfulness coach, podcast host, and writer. She helps people reignite their sense of purpose, identify professional and creative blocks, and recover from burnout using mindfulness and narrative-based techniques. Her podcast, Break Form, is a conversation challenging conventional notions about career, creativity, and success. She is currently working on her first book of poems. You can connect with her at www.annettewong.com.

Antonia Crane

Antonia Crane is the author of the memoir, “Spent” (Barnacle Books, Rare Bird Lit). She is a writing instructor, stripper and performer in Los Angeles. She has written for The New York Times, The Believer, The Toast, Playboy, Cosmopolitan, Salon.com, The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, DAME, The Establishment, The Los Angeles Review, Quartz: The Atlantic Media, Medium.com, Buzzfeed, Lenny Letter and lots of other places. Her screenplay “The Lusty” (co-written by Transparent director, writer Silas Howard), based on the true story of the exotic dancer’s labor union, is a recipient of the San Francisco Film Society/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Grant in screenwriting. She has appeared on CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling and has been interviewed on WTF with Marc Maron and Michael Smerconish on https://www.siriusxm.com/potus where he compared dancers to Uber drivers. She is currently making cool shit by and for the sex worker community.

Ariana Stein

Ariana Stein is the co-founder and CEO of Lil’ Libros, a Los Angeles–based publisher focused on chic and modern bilingual children’s books. Lil’ Libros was created to inspire parents to read to their children at the earliest age, and encourage them to do so in two languages. Their publications have been featured in Forbes, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, NBC, ABC, and E News.

Armand Baltazar

Always keen on drawing and painting at an early age, Armand Baltazar’s parents encouraged his talents with trips to the Art Institute of Chicago. He worked as a contributing editorial artist for The Arizona Republic’s Perspective column and worked as a freelance illustrator. His quest to grow as an artist led him to California to attend the Art Center College of Design. There he earned a second BFA in Illustration and find new focus for his talents. At school Armand found a great passion for narrative painting. More simply, pictures that told a story with feeling and design. This would lead to a natural path…film. Armand began his film career with DreamWorks SKG Animation then later with Walt Disney Feature Animation and Image Movers Digital. Currently he calls Northern California his home and is a Senior Designer for Pixar Animation Studios. Armand works in both film and fine art, exhibiting in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco. He occasionally teaches and speaks at universities around the country.

Ben Paulus

Ben Paulus is a poet and information architect. He studied creative writing at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin, and received a mentorship from the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His poems can be found online, and in the journal, Central Ohio Writing. A member of the Reality Benders improv troupe, Ben lives with his son in Bend, Oregon.

Benin Lemus

Benin Lemus is a teacher, librarian and poet. She was a Fall 2016 mentee with Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Writer-to-Writer mentorship program. Her work has been featured in The New Engagement and she has written and performed work for Center Theater Group. She lives in South Los Angeles with her family.

Beth Pratt-Bergstrom

A lifelong advocate for wildlife, Beth Pratt-Bergstrom has worked in environmental leadership roles for over twenty-five years, and in two of the country’s largest national parks: Yosemite and Yellowstone. As the California Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation, she leads the #SaveLACougars campaign to build the largest wildlife crossing in North America—and potentially the world—to help save a population of mountain lions from extinction, and her conservation work has been featured by The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BBC World Service, CBS This Morning, the Los Angeles Times, and NPR. Her new book, When Mountain Lions are Neighbors: People and Wildlife Working It Out In California, was published by Heyday Books in 2016.

Beverly M. Collins

Beverly M. Collins; author of the books, Quiet Observations: Diary Thought; Whimsy and Rhyme; and Mud in Magic, one of three prize winners for California State Poetry Society 2012 yearly competition. Her work has appeared in Poetry Speaks! Year of Great Poems and Poets (Calendar), California Quarterly, The Journal of M odern Poetry, Altadena Poetry Review and many other publications. In 2015, Beverly M. was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best Independent American Poetry for her work that appears in Rubicon: Words & Art Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis. Collins was born in Delaware, raised in New Jersey.

Bill Cushing

Bill earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. His poems have been published since 1992. He was honored as one of the “Top Ten L. A. Poets of 2017” and among “Ten Poets to Watch in 2018” by Spectrum Publishing.

Bill Wishner

Bill Wishner started his career in photography more than 20 years ago focusing on jazz. He was co-editor (with Bill Minor) of Monterey Jazz Festival: 40 Legendary Years.” In 2007 he founded “f8 Pasadena Salon,” exploring the art and aesthetics of photography. In 2011 he founded and is Co-Project Director of “PasadenaPhotographyArts,” dedicated to promoting photography and helping emerging photographers. More recently, he turned his creative lens on the urban environment as a Visual Hunter in cities around the world. The project “Art of the City Wall” focuses on unique transformational art present on city walls. The first publication from the series “Artifacts” has just been published. Bill has published two volumes of prose poems, (e-books Amazon / Kindle) “Things Happen When You Travel.”

Bonnie S. Kaplan

Bonnie S. Kaplan once shook hands with Groucho Marx. Her poems are published in Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology, This Assignment is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching, and online in Cultural Weekly. She is proud to call Altadena her home for the past eight years. Explore more at bonnieskaplan.com

Brad T Gottfred

Brad T Gottfred is a screenwriter, producer, director, playwright and young adult novelist. His third book, THE HANDSOME GIRL AND HER BEAUTIFUL BOY, was just released on May 8th by Macmillan/Holt. His debut novel, FOREVER FOR A YEAR, was followed by THE NERDY AND THE DIRTY. Brad wrote and directed the critically acclaimed play WOMEN ARE CRAZY BECAUSE MEN ARE A**HOLES that played to sold out audiences for over four years in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. He wrote and directed the digital series THE BOONIES, which premiered on go90 in 2017. Gottfred also wrote, directed, and executive produced the feature film THE MOVIE HERO, which played at over 20 film festivals worldwide, winning numerous awards including the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival. In June, 2017, Gottfred co-founded the film/tv/digital production house BOLD SOUL STUDIOS with new media pioneer Corey Moss. Their first feature, CONFESSIONAL, which Gottfred directed, will come out in 2019.