What is the longest-running, free literary event in California? Writers Week (of course) which celebrates its 40th anniversary at the University of California, Riverside this week from Feb. 14 through 16. I am honored to be part of this wonderful and diverse lineup of authors.
This year, Writers Week includes Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o (who is often mentioned as a potential Nobel Laureate), National Book Award winner Robin Coste Lewis, the great Dagoberto Gilb who is also the founding editor of Huizache, rising star Lilliam Rivera whose debut YA novel has just been published by Simon & Schuster, award-winning poet David Hernandez, and many other acclaimed fiction writers, journalists, and poets.
And guess what? The event is free and open to the public! Complimentary parking permits will be available at the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus. All author presentations will be in Interdisciplinary Building South 1128.
“Once again, we have many of the world’s most interesting and accomplished writers coming to spend the week with us in Riverside,” said Tom Lutz, UCR professor of creative writing and director of the event. “Ngugi will receive the second annual Los Angeles Review of Books/UCR Creative Writing Lifetime Achievement Award, and writers from Southern California and around the country will read and discuss their work, some extremely distinguished, some just having published their first works, some in the middle – all superb!”
Writers Week is presented by the UCR Department of Creative Writing, with additional support from African Student Programs, the Office of the Chancellor, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Poets & Writers.
For the full schedule and times of author readings, visit here.
Participating in Writers Week 2017 are:
Luis J. Rodriguez is the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and is this year’s Stephen Minot Lecturer. For Luis poetry is soul talk, a prophetic act, a powerful means to enlarge one's presence in the world. Luis is also a novelist/memoirist/short story/children's book writer as well as a community & urban peace activist, mentor, healer, youth & arts advocate. He has 15 books in all genres, including the best-selling memoir, Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. His latest book is the sequel, It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing. He is founding editor of Tia Chucha Press, now in its 25th year, and co-founder/president of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley. And he's co-convener of the Network for Revolutionary Change.
Natashia Déon is a recipient of the PEN Center USA Emerging Voices fellowship and author of the critically acclaimed novel, Grace (Counterpoint Press). An attorney, writer, law professor, and creator of the popular L.A.-based reading series Dirty Laundry Lit, Deón was recently named one of L.A.'s "Most Fascinating People" by L.A. Weekly. Deón has been awarded fellowships and residencies at Yale, Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, Prague's Creative Writing Program, Dickinson House in Belgium, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, The Rumpus, The Feminist Wire, Asian American Lit Review, Rattling Wall, B O D Y and other places. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside–Palm Desert.
Jade Chang has worked as an arts and culture journalist and was recently an editor at Goodreads. She is the recipient of a Sundance Arts Journalist fellowship and is a nominee for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. Her debut novel, The Wangs vs. the World, is a New York Times Editors' Choice and was named one of the best books of 2016 by Buzzfeed, NPR, Elle, and others. The Wangs will be published in 11 countries.
Dana Johnson is the author of the short story collection In the Not Quite Dark, published in August 2016. She is also the author of Break Any Woman Down, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the novel Elsewhere, California. Both books were nominees for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Callaloo, The Iowa Review and Huizache, among others, and anthologized in Watchlist: 32 Stories by Persons of Interest, Shaking the Tree: A Collection of New Fiction and Memoir by Black Women, and California Uncovered: Stories for the 21st Century. Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, she is a professor of English at the University of Southern California.
Michael Tolkin is a filmmaker and novelist. His latest novel, NK3 is out this month. He has written numerous screenplays, including The Player (1992), which he adapted from his novel of the same name (1988), and for which he received the Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay (1993). He is also the author of the novels The Return of the Player (2006) and NK3 (2017) and screenplays for Nine, Dawn of the Dead, Changing Lanes, Deep Impact, and others. He is a writer, director, and producer on Ray Donovan and wrote and directed the feature films The Rapture and The New Age.
William Luvaas is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Fiction and has published three novels, The Seductions of Natalie Bach (1987), Going Under (2012), and his latest, Beneath The Coyote Hills (2016). He is also the author of the story collections A Working Man’s Apocrypha (2007) and Ashes Rain Down: a story cycle (2013), which was a The Huffington Post 2013 Book of the Year. He has edited an anthology of California writers, Into The Deep End: The Writing Center Anthology 3 (1997). His novel Welcome To Saint Angel is forthcoming from Anaphora Literary Press in 2017.
Daniel Olivas is the author of seven books and editor of two anthologies. His books include the award-winning novel, The Book of Want (2011), and the landmark anthology, Latinos in Lotusland (2008), which brings together 60 years of Los Angeles fiction by Latin@ writers. His newest book is Things We Do Not Talk About: Exploring Latino/a Literature through Essays and Interviews (2014). Daniel has been widely anthologized including in Sudden Fiction Latino and Hint Fiction (both 2010), and New California Writing (2012). He will publish two new books later this year: The King of Lighting Fixtures: Stories (University of Arizona Press), and Crossing the Border: Poems (Pact Press). He shares blogging duties on La Bloga which is dedicated to Chican@ and Latin@ literature.
Fred Moten is author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, Hughson’s Tavern, B. Jenkins, The Feel Trio, The Little Edges, The Service Porch and co-author, with Stefano Harney, of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study and, with Wu Tsang, of Who touched me? He lives in Los Angeles and teaches at UCR.
Sarah Vap is the author of five collections of poetry, including Dummy Fire, winner of the 2006 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize, selected by Forrest Gander. Her second collection, American Spikenard, was the winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize in 2007. Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, and Gulf Coast, among other publications.
Vanessa Hua is the author of Deceit and Other Possibilities and a columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle. She received a Rona Jaffe Writers' Award, the San Francisco Foundation’s Phelan Award for Fiction, and Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing. For nearly two decades, she has been writing about Asia and the diaspora, filing stories from China, Burma, Panama, South Korea, Abu Dhabi, and Ecuador. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, The Atlantic, ZYZZYVA, Guernica and elsewhere. She is a contributing non-fiction editor at the Asian American Writers' Workshop's The Margins. A graduate of UCR’s MFA program, she works and teaches at the Writers’ Grotto in San Francisco.
Michelle Latiolais is the author of the novel She (2016); Widow (2011), a collection of stories shortlisted for The Believer Book Award; the novel A Proper Knowledge (2008); and the novel Even Now (1990), which received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California. She is a Professor of English at the University of California at Irvine, where she co-directs the Programs in Writing.
Dagoberto Gilb is this year’s Stephen Minot lecturer. He is the author of Before the End, After the Beginning, The Flowers, Woodcuts of Women, Gritos, The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña, and The Magic of Blood. He also edited the canonical Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature and Mexican American Literature: A Portable Anthology. He was a union, high-rise carpenter for almost two decades. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in a range of magazines regional and national, including The New Yorker and Harper's, and anthologies such as The Best American Essays and The O’Henry Prize Stories, and are reprinted widely. Among his honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and the PEN/Hemingway Award, and his work has been a finalist for both the PEN/Faulkner and National Book Critics Circle Award. Gilb makes his home in Austin, and he is the executive director of CentroVictoria, a center for Mexican American literature and culture at the University of Houston-Victoria and founding editor of the literary magazine Huizache.
Emily Rapp Black is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir and The Still Point of the Turning World, which was a New York Times Bestseller and a finalist for the PEN Center Literary Award in Nonfiction. Black has received awards and recognition for her work from The Atlantic Monthly; StoryQuarterly; Mary Roberts Rinehart Foundation; Rona Jaffe Foundation (Emerging Writer Award); Jentel Arts Foundation; Corporation of Yaddo; Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown; Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain; and she was the Philip Roth Fiction Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University. Her blog, a live medical narrative, http://ourlittleseal.wordpress.com, was named by Time as one of the top 25 blogs of 2012, and The Huffington Post recommended her work as “Required Reading for Women.” Her essays have appeared in Vogue, Lenny Letter, the New York Times, Salon, Slate, The Sun, Brain. Child, The Rumpus, Role/Reboot, O the Oprah Magazine, Redbook, The Nervous Breakdown, Bodega, Fitness, Good Housekeeping, The Los Angeles Times, and other publications and anthologies, including The Modern Loss Anthology and O's Little Guide to Starting Over. Since 2012, she has been a literary correspondent for the Boston Globe, and her essays about medical ethics, genetics, disability issues, 19th century philosophy (with an emphasis on Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling), and the ethics of end-of-life care have appeared in many academic journals and anthologies. She is new to the faculty of UCR.
David Hernandez's most recent collection of poetry is Dear, Sincerely (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). His other books include Hoodwinked (Sarabande Books, 2011), winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, Always Danger (SIU Press, 2006), winner of the Crab Orchard Series, and A House Waiting for Music (Tupelo Press, 2003). David has been awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes. His poems have appeared in Field, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and The Best American Poetry. He is also the author of two YA novels, No More Us for You and Suckerpunch, both published by HarperCollins. David teaches creative writing at California State University, Long Beach.
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, the 2016 Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellow. Her books include Streaming (Pen Southwest Book Award in Poetry, Wordcrafter of the Year Award, Lifetime Achievement Award NWCA, IPPY Medal), Off-Season City Pipe (Wordcrafter of the Year in Poetry), Dog Road Woman (American Book Award), Blood Run (bestseller in US & UK), Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer (AIROS Book of the Month Selection), and The Year of the Rat. She has edited numerous anthologies, including: Effigies II, Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas, Effigies: New Indigenous Pacific Rim Poetry, Ahani: Indigenous American Poetry, They Wanted Children, and Coming to Life: Poems for Peace in the Aftermath of 9-11. Her play Icicles was a first finalist for the National Repertory Theater Prize. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have been translated in multiple languages and have appeared in Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Gargoyle, South Dakota Review, World Literature, This Land, Brooklyn Rail, Bombay Gin, and Akashic Noir. She is new to the faculty at UCR.
Robin Coste Lewis is the author of Voyage of the Sable Venus (Knopf, 2015), a National Book Award winner. She is a Provost’s Fellow in Poetry and Visual Studies at the University of Southern California. Lewis is also a Cave Canem fellow and a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. She received her BA from Hampshire College, her MFA in poetry from NYU, and an MTS in Sanskrit and comparative religious literature from the Divinity School at Harvard University. A previous finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award, she has published her work in various journals and anthologies, including The Massachusetts Review, Callaloo, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Transition: Women in Literary Arts, VIDA, Phantom Limb, Lambda Literary Review, and The LARB Quarterly Journal among others. She has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, Hampshire College, and the NYU Low-Residency MFA in Paris.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, frequently mentioned as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, is receiving this year’s LARB/UCR Creative Writing Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a Kenyan novelist, essayist, and playwright who has been publishing dynamic work since the 1960s. Writing primarily in his native tongue, Gikuyu, in recent decades, Ngugi has published more than twenty-five works, which have been translated into more than thirty languages. His work is the subject of many books, critical monographs, and dissertations and he is the recipient of many honors, including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature and ten honorary doctorates. Ngugi’s unflinchingly critical narratives have put him in prison, on political hit lists, and in exile. Undeterred, he has continued to write prolifically, in 2006 publishing what some have described as his crowning achievement, Wizard of the Crow, and, most recently, a collection of essays: Secure the Base: Making Africa Visible in the Globe and the latest volume of his memoirs: Birth of a Dream Weaver: A Memoir of a Writer's Awakening. He currently serves as a Distinguished Professor of English and Literature at the University of California, Irvine and lectures around the world at numerous universities and other institutions.
Ruth Nolan’s debut poetry chapbook, Ruby Mountain, was published in 2016. Her short story, “Palimpsest” was published in LA Fiction Anthology: Southland Stories by Southland Writers (2016), and won an Editor’s Reprint Honorable Mention award from Sequestrum Magazine, 2016. Her writing has also been published in James Franco Review, Angels Flight Literary West, Rattling Wall, Desert Oracle, Women’s Studies Quarterly; New California Writing, Lumen, Pacific Review, The Desert Sun and elsewhere. Her nonfiction book, Fire On the Mojave: Stories from the Deserts and Mountains of Inland Southern California is forthcoming in 2017. She’s also the editor of No Place for a Puritan: the Literature of California’s Deserts (2009). A former wildland firefighter for the USFS and BLM, Ruth is Professor of English, Creative Writing and Native American literature at College of the Desert in Palm Desert. She holds her MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the UCR, Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Program.
Kima Jones has received fellowships from PEN Center USA Emerging Voices, Kimbilio Fiction, Yaddo's 2016 Howard Moss Residency in poetry and was named the 2014-2015 Gerald Freund Fellow at The MacDowell Colony. She has been published at GQ, Guernica, NPR, PANK, Scratch Magazine and The Rumpus among others and in the anthologies Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, Her Own Accord: American Women on Identity, Culture, and Community and The New York Times Best Seller, The Fire this Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward. Her short story “Nine” received notable mention in Best American Science Fiction 2015. An MFA candidate in fiction and Rodney Jack Scholar in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, she is a founding board member of Makara Center for the Arts. She lives in Los Angeles where she operates Jack Jones Literary Arts, a book publicity company.
Lilliam Rivera is the author of The Education of Margot Sanchez, a contemporary young adult novel to debut on Simon & Schuster in February 21, 2017. She is also a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner with work in Tin House, Los Angeles Times, Bellevue Literary Review, and Latina, among others. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles with her family.
Brandy Colbert is author of the young adult novel Pointe, which was named a best book of 2014 by Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, Book Riot, and the Chicago and Los Angeles public libraries. Her short fiction and nonfiction has been featured in critically acclaimed anthologies, and her next novel, Little & Lion, will be published in August.
Rachelle Cruz is from Hayward, California. She is the author of Gods Will for Monsters, winner of the 2016 Hillary Gravendyk Prize and the chapbook, Self-Portrait as Rumor and Blood (2012) and co-editor with Melissa Sipin of Kuwento: Lost Things, an anthology of Philippine Myths (2015). Her work has appeared in As/Us, New California Writing 2013, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Yellow Medicine Review, Jet Fuel Review, The Lit Pub, The Bakery, Stone Highway, The Collagist, Bone Bouquet, PANK Magazine, Muzzle Magazine, Splinter Generation, KCET's Departures Series, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, among others. She hosts The Blood-Jet Writing Hour on Blog Talk Radio, and is the Podcast Editor at The Collagist. She is a recent recipient of the Manuel G. Flores Scholarship from PAWA (Philippine American Writers and Arists, Inc). An Emerging Voices Fellow, a Kundiman Fellow and a VONA writer, she lives, writes and teaches in Southern California.