On March 8, PEN Center USA hosted a birthday celebration at EsCaLA in Koreatown in honor of the late Grabriel García Márquez who left this physical world last year. The featured writers (who were asked to choose a piece by Gabo) were Carolyn Castaño, Olga García Echeverría, Antonieta Villamil, and 2014 Emerging Voices Fellow Andrés Reconco. I was honored to be one of the readers, as well. The festivities were hosted by David L. Ulin, book critic of the Los Angeles Times, and sponsored in part by the California Community Foundation.
I want to offer a special shout out to Lilliam Rivera, the Program Coordinator for Emerging Voices and Workshops. Though many others helped make this a special evening, Lilliam—without a doubt—worked many long hours planning the festivities that included identifying and coordinating the authors who would participate in this event. Lilliam is, herself, a 2013 PEN Center Emerging Voices Fellow and 2013 Enchanted Land Fellow at A Room of Her Own Foundation. Her work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus.net, and Latina. Her young adult novel My Shelf Life is currently with agents for representation.
I note that 10% of all EsCaLA’s dinner checks was donated to PEN Center USA, a literary arts and human rights organization.
And now for some images from the evening’s readings.
|Moments before the festivities, Lilliam Rivera (second from right) huddles with host, David Ulin|
|Lilliam Rivera welcomes the happy crowd|
|Olga García Echeverría|
|Friends and family enjoy food and literature|