Authors & Speakers

Over 150 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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

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 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

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,, The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, DAME, The Establishment, The Los Angeles Review, Quartz: The Atlantic Media,, 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 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 journey and career in photography more than 20 years ago as a photographer focusing on jazz. His jazz photographs have been part of multiple exhibits. He was co-editor (with Bill Minor) of the 40th Anniversary book for the Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival: 40 Legendary Years, Angel City Press, 1997). More recently he has turned his creative lens on the urban environment in cities around the world. The project started in 2012 is entitled “Art of the City Wall.” and focuses on the visual art and aesthetics of urban walls. In 2007 he founded f8 Pasadena Salon, exploring the aesthetics and art of photography. In 2012 he founded and am currently Co-Project Director of a non-profit organization, “Pasadena Photography Arts” dedicated to promoting photography and helping emerging photographers in the East Los Angeles area ( He likes prose poetry and have published two volumes of prose poems entitled “Things Happen When You Travel,” as e-books on Amazon / Kindle. As a longtime resident of Pasadena, he currently serves on the Board of Five Acres in Pasadena; a non-profit dedicated to helping youth at risk by promoting safety, wellbeing and permanency. He is currently a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Keck USC School of Medicine where he’s involved in teaching medical ethics.

Brandon Yung

Brandon James Yung is a senior at South Pasadena High School and a Curator of Tunnel Magazine  which publishes art + writing + music + misc from young and fresh people, specifically high schoolers.

Brandy Colbert

Brandy Colbert is the Stonewall Award–winning author of Little & Lion and Pointe, and the forthcoming Finding Yvonne. Her short fiction and essays have been featured in several critically acclaimed anthologies for young people, and her books have made several best-of lists, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Kirkus, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Vulture, and more. Brandy lives and writes in Los Angeles.

Brian Biery

Brian Biery is a documentary photographer who strives to capture the complexities, contradictions and beauty of life through his camera lens. His world view has been shaped by living in Guatemala as a Peace Corps Volunteer and by working in community organizing projects in the city of Pasadena. His work has been shown in numerous exhibits including the ‘Tender Land’ (Pasadena), the Sierra Club (Pasadena Chapter), and the Los Angeles County Fair. In addition, his photos have been published in various magazines including Orion, Z Magazine, Eco Traveler, American Cattleman, and the Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine. Brian was the photographer for the book Power of One written by Traude Gomez.

Brian Corley

Brian Corley is based out of Austin, Texas, and enjoys looking for the strange underbelly of his beloved city. When Corley isn’t exploring the unknown, he can be found in his home office dreaming up his next comic fantasy novel. For more info, visit his website at

Brian Lin

Born in Taiwan and living in LA, Brian Lin is a queer writer of color and an ethnic studies teacher. He studied literature at Brown University and urban education at UCLA. Brian taught at Hawthorne High School and is at work on his debut novel and a short story collection. He enters USC’s Ph.D. program in creative writing and literature in the fall.

Bridgette Bianca

bridgette bianca is a poet and professor from South Central Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Howard University and her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Otis College of Art & Design. bridgette bianca has performed her poetry all around Southern California, including features at the World Stage, the Southern California Poetry Festival, the 2017 Los Angeles Lit Crawl, the Table Lit, and the un::fade::able Reading Series. She was most recently published on bridgette bianca’s work as a writer and an educator seeks to serve the people and moments most forget or ignore.

Brooke Jean

Los Angeles native spoken-word artist Brooke Jean returns to creating and performing her motivational pieces of art. After a two-year mental growth break from international and domestic performances, Brooke Jean is gearing up to revive the soul and jazz scenes. From eclectic acapella story-telling to full-fledged music compositions, her goal is to consistently remind us of the God-given power within us. Inspiring her audience to embrace their innermost insecurities remains the top priority as Brooke Jean exposes her own vulnerabilities through her poetry.

Caeli Wolfson Widger

Caeli Wolfson Widger is the author of the novel Real Happy Family. Her other work has appeared in numerous literary journals, the New York Times Magazine, and Amazon’s Day One and on NPR. Caeli lives with her husband and three children in Santa Monica, California, where she runs a recruiting firm focused on tech start-ups.

Camari Carter-Hawkins

Camari Carter-Hawkins is a poet, fiction writer, and small business owner. Her first book of poetry Death by Comb was published in May 2016 by World Stage Press. Her works can also be found in Rise Anthology by Vagabond Press. Hawkins is the 2018 Spoken Word, Voices Heard Amateur Slam Winner. Hawkins is currently writing a novel and a book of short stories.