Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on November 24th, 2015

I Can Give You Anything But Love (Rizzoli ExLibris)

 The long-awaited memoir from one of the most acclaimed radical writers in American literature. Described by the London Review of Books as one of the most brilliant critics writing in America today, Gary Indiana is a true radical whose caustic voice has by turns haunted and influenced the literary and artistic establishments. 

With I Can Give You Anything but Love, Gary Indiana has composed a literary, unabashedly wicked, and revealing montage of excursions into his life and work from his early days growing up gay in rural New Hampshire to his escape to Haight-Ashbury in the post summer-of-love era, the sweltering 1970s in Los Angeles, and ultimately his existence in New York in the 1980s as a bona fide downtown personality. Interspersed throughout his vivid recollections are present-day chapters set against the louche culture and raw sexuality of Cuba, where he has lived and worked occasionally for the past fifteen years. Connoisseurs will recognize in this his most personal book yet the same mixture of humor and realism, philosophy and immediacy, that have long confused the definitions of genre applied to his writing. Vivid, atmospheric, revealing, and entertaining, this is an engrossing read and a serious contribution to the genres of gay and literary memoir.

Gary Indiana is a novelist, playwright, critic, essayist, filmmaker, and artist. Hailed by The Guardian as "one of the most important chroniclers of the modern psyche," and by The Observer as "one of the most woefully underappreciated writers of the last thirty years," he is also the author of a recent memoir, I Can Give You Anything But Love.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on November 17th, 2015

The Mark and the Void (Farrar, Straus, Giroux)

Presented in partnership with The Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Mark and the Void is Murray's newest and funniest novel yet.

What links the Investment Bank of Torabundo, (yes, with an "s," don't ask), an art heist, a novel called For the Love of a Clown, a six-year-old boy with the unfortunate name of Remington Steele, a lonely French banker, a tiny Pacific island, and a pest control business run by an ex-KGB agent?

The Mark and the Void is Paul Murray's madcap new novel of institutional folly, following the success of his wildly original breakout hit, Skippy Dies. While marooned at his banking job in the bewilderingly damp and insular realm known as Ireland, Claude Martingale is approached by a down-on-his-luck author, Paul, looking for his next great subject. Claude finds that his life gets steadily more exciting under Paul's fictionalizing influence; he even falls in love with a beautiful waitress. But Paul's plan is not what it seems--and neither is Claude's employer, the Investment Bank of Torabundo, which swells through dodgy takeovers and derivatives trading until--well, you can probably guess how that shakes out.

The Mark and the Void is the funniest novel ever written about the recent financial crisis, and a stirring examination of the deceptions carried out in the names of art and commerce.

Praise for Paul Murray

“Darkly comic . . . thoughtful and entertaining. [Murray’s] creative energy sends the book in many directions . . . but the same may be said of Dickens, with whom [he] also shares wit, sympathy, and a purposeful sense of mischief.”—Kirkus Review (starred review)
“Murray’s 2010 novel Skippy Dies earned the Irishman worldwide acclaim as a writer enviably adept at both raucous humor and bittersweet truth. His new novel, perhaps the funniest thing to come out of the Irish economic collapse, follows Claude, a low-level bank employee who, while his employers drive the country steadily towards ruin, falls in with a struggling novelist intent on making Claude’s life worthy of telling.”—The Millions, “Most Anticipated” Fall 2015 book preview
“Murray’s latest quickly takes off. . . The author displays much of the quick wit of his popular previous novel, but this effort also boasts a more modernist slant, with ever-blurring lines between art imitating life and life imitating art for the characters. The result is another page-turner with smarts, an absurdist riff on our economic follies, one that leaves the impression that it’s not all so far-fetched, after all.”—Publishers Weekly
“Brilliant.”—Ben Paynter, Los Angeles Review of Books
“[Murray] is brilliant at creating a cast of banking types at once hilarious and awful. For long periods, The Mark and the Voidis a boisterous office sitcom, just as Skippy Dies was a knockabout school comedy. But, as with Skippy Dies, his ambitions go well beyond slapstick. There’s no disguising his anger at the banks and politicians who have brought Ireland to this position. But neither is this a simple diatribe. Murray refuses to excuse the Irish people for letting this happen to themselves . . . In Murray’s complicated narrative, not all bankers are bad, just as not all artists are virtuous . . . From the opening page [Murray] advertises a plot that, for all its real-world relevance, is impossible to take seriously. And yet, such is his panache that through the chaos emerges a tale of complex truths and authentic humanity.”—Neil O’Sullivan, The Financial Times
“This is it, at last: a fine work of fiction set in the present day that kicks all those asses that so urgently need to be kicked. Twenty pages in and I wanted to tour the nation’s nine remaining bookshops with Murray and shout from the back: ‘That’s what I’m talking about, people; this is what a real novel should be. Fuck all that ersatz pap you’ve been sold; read this! …The Mark and the Void is the best novel I have reviewed by someone of my own generation writing on this side of the Atlantic. It’s unabashedly intelligent, it’s ingeniously inventive, it’s richly alive in language, thought and character; it’s read-the-whole-page-again funny, and hugely entertaining and philosophically engaged with the great questions and circumstances of our times. It is the answer to the question of what a serious and seriously talented contemporary novelist should be writing.”—Edward Docx, The Guardian, Observer
“Serious and impressive. Fans of Skippy Dies and Murray’s first novel, An Evening of Long Goodbyes, will not be surprised to hear that it is very funny, its author’s fluency spooling out in joke after joke . . . There is profundity beyond the laughter, not least in the book’s depiction of the bleak emptying-out of a country. . . Murray does an excellent job of exposing the Ponzi schemes and endless recapitalisations of failing institutions as the simple confidence tricks gussied up by gobbledegook that they really are.”—Alex Clark, The Guardian
“It was a tall order for Paul Murray to come up with a follow-up to 2010’s Skippy Dies, a novel which I declared in my review to be the funniest book I had read all year. . . I should not have worried about Murray maintaining form.  The Mark and the Void is a hilarious, blade-sharp satire on the banking system featuring vividly drawn characters, and it is, once again, the funniest book I’ve read so far this year. . . A joy from start to finish.”—Leyla Sanai, The Independent
“Murray is masterful at capturing the cynicism of the banking world, the way its staffers, who keep landlines “for when I need to find my mobile”, indulge in vacuous bar-room chat like debates on “whether a boom or a bust is a better time to be rich”. His prose is peppered with enlightened digressions on art, anthropology, geometry, philosophy and the origins of the corporation in Europe’s Middle Ages. There are moments while reading The Mark and the Void that are almost dizzying, as Murray careers down the side-street of another subplot. In the hands of a novelist with a heavier touch, they could be confounding, but not in Murray’s. He’s written a notable satirical novel. Few can nail the mystifying ways of the Irish as precisely.”—Richard Fitzpatrick, The Irish Examiner
“Murray masterfully builds the tale into an extravagant and rewarding whole, with genuine hilarity floating atop the sobering currents of social commentary. This is a gamble that more than pays off.”—Laurie Grassi, The Toronto Star
“With The Mark and the Void, Paul Murray has done the impossible: he’s written a novel about international finance that not only isn’t dense, boring, or annoyingly didactic, but is, in fact, a hilarious page-turner with a beating human heart that nonetheless provides real insight into the ongoing economic crisis. To put all of these elements in a pot and alchemically produce something so brilliant and cohesively constructed, one might assume Paul Murray is a witch. I think he’s simply a great writer.”—Adam Wilson, author of Flatscreen and What’s Important Is Feeling
“People always tell me, ‘If you love Paul Murray so much, why don't you marry him?’ Now thanks to recent legislation in his native Ireland, I finally can. And so should you, reader. The Mark and the Void not only monetizes the death of the novel, but makes us believe in its resurrection. Praise the Lord for Paul Murray's big brain and tender heart.”—Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure
The Mark and the Void is Murray’s best book yet—a wildly ambitious, state-of-the-nation novel, and a scabrously funny yet deeply humane satire on the continuing fall-out of the biggest financial crisis in 75 years.”—The Bookseller

Paul Murray was born in 1975. He studied English literature at Trinity College in Dublin and creative writing at the University of East Anglia. His first novel, An Evening of Long Goodbyes, was short-listed for the Whitbread Prize in 2003 and was nominated for the Kerry Irish Fiction Award. Skippy Dies, his second novel, was long-listed for the Booker prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Matthew Specktor is the author of the novels American Dream Machine and That Summertime Sound. His writing has appeared in the New York TimesGQ, the Paris ReviewTin HouseThe Believer, and numerous other periodicals and anthologies. He is a founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books.

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RICK BURSKY reads from his new book of poetry, I AM NO LONGER TROUBLED BY THE EXTRAVAGANCE, and MARTIN OTT reads from his new book of poetry UNDERDAYS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on November 17th, 2015

I Am No Longer Troubled by the Extravagance (BOA Editions / Underdays (Univ of Notre Dame Press)

Please join us this evening as two terrific poets share their latest collections.

I'm No Longer Troubled by the Extravagance by Rick Bursky is a collection of poems that assign new meanings to the people and things of the past. The book moves in three sections through a fantastic landscape that maps human fragility. The poems in the first section speak to matters of the heart--intimacy and loss--punctuated by lovers who leave. The second section is comprised of prose poems chronicling misadventures and conspiracies: Russian spies on Wilshire Boulevard, artichokes that mate for life, and secret photographs of God. Finally, the third section pans out from individual experience, hosting the collective in fable-like reflections. Together, the poems in Extravagance mark with fragile acceptance the surreal extravagance of being alive

Rick Bursky is the author of Death Obscura (Sarabande Books, 2010) and The Soup of Something Missing (Bear Star Press, 2004), winner of the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize. He lives in Los Angeles where he works in advertising and teaches poetry in the UCLA Extension Writer's Program.

Underdays by Martin Ott is a dialogue of opposing forces: life/death, love/war, the personal/the political. Ott combines global concerns with personal ones, in conversation between poems or within them, to find meaning in his search for what drives us to love and hate each other. Within many of the poems, a second voice, expressed in italic, hints at an opposing force under the surface, or multiple voices in conversation with his older and younger selves his Underdays to chart a path forward. What results is a poetic heteroglossia expressing the richness of a complex world.

Martin Ott is the author of the poetry book Underdays, Sandeen Prize winner, University of Notre Dame Press, 2015. Martin served as an interrogator in the U.S. Army and moved to Los Angeles to attend the Masters of Professional Writing Program at USC. His previous full length poetry collections are Captive, De Novo Prize winner, C&R Press, and Poets' Guide to America and Yankee Broadcast Network, coauthored with John F. Buckley, Brooklyn Arts Press. His two books of fiction are the novel The Interrogator's Notebook (currently being pitched as a TV pilot) and his short story collection,Interrogations, Fomite Press, 2016. His blog for writers, Writeliving, has been read by more than 25,000 people in 100+ countries.

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AMY BERKOWITZ reads from her newest book TENDER POINTS, and MAGGIE NELSON reads from her newest book THE ARGONAUTS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on November 17th, 2015

Tender Points (Timeless/Infinite Light)                                                

The Argonauts (Graywolf Press)

Tender Points is a narrative fractured by trauma. Named after the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia, the book-length lyric essay explores sexual violence, gendered illness, chronic pain, and patriarchy through the lenses of lived experience and pop culture (Twin Peaks, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, noise music, etc.).

Praise for Tender Points"

"Tender Points does precisely what people are always saying can't be done—it combines a moving, distilled, literary journey with advocacy and even pedagogy, here about trauma, chronic pain, patriarchy, and more. Call it "écriture féminine en homme," if you want (as Berkowitz does, with acid wit)—but whatever you call it, this is firm, high-stakes speech speaking truth to power, radiating beauty and fierceness from its inspiring insistence and persistence."—Maggie Nelson

"'Trauma is nonlinear,' writes Berkowitz. I am impressed by the sensing form she makes. That has the day in it, as well as the night. The body, that is, in variable settings, frames and weathers. The stairs that 'climb up my arms and neck.' The 'I am bitterly jealous of people who can always go back to being a barista for a while.' This book is a kind of clutching and being there for real, and that is what I like. A book. That takes up. A visceral form."—Bhanu Kapil

"Tender Points is one of those books that feels necessary. It takes on rape culture and cops and doctors, the whole long history of who gets to speak and how, who gets heard and who doesn't and why not. I wish this book wasn't as necessary as it is, but I'm so grateful to Amy for writing it."—Stephanie Young

Amy Berkowitz is the author of Tender Points (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015). Her work has also appeared in Dusie, Textsound, Where Eagles Dare, and VIDA's Reports from the Field series. In 2014, she was a Writer in Residence at Alley Cat Bookstore & Gallery. She lives in a rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco, where she is the founding editor of Mondo Bummer Books and the host of the Amy's Kitchen Organics reading series. 

, . . 

Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making. Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson's insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry of this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.

Praise for The Argonauts

"What a dazzlingly generous, gloriously unpredictable book! Maggie Nelson shows us what it means to be real, offering a way of thinking that is as challenging as it is liberating. She invites us to 'pay homage to the transitive' and enjoy 'a becoming in which one never becomes.' Reading The Argonauts made me happier and freer." --Eula Biss

"Maggie Nelson cuts through our culture's prefabricated structures of thought and feeling with an intelligence whose ferocity is ultimately in the service of love. No piety is safe, no orthodoxy, no easy irony. The scare quotes burn off like fog." --Ben Lerner 

"There isn't another critic alive like Maggie Nelson--who writes with such passion, clarity, explicitness, fluidity, playfulness, and generosity that she redefines what thinking can do today. Indeed, I come away from The Argonauts with a heady, excited sensation of having seen unveiled a new era of embodied, soulful rumination. Her impeccable sentences destroy doxa and gleefully remake the body politic; her prose seems air-borne, like an Argus-eyed levitator in touch with the divine. Buoyant, Nelson soars through art and philosophy and her own experiences with reckless mastery and insurrectionary ease--a virtuosity born of deep reflection and fearless trust in what literature, at its best, can do." --Wayne Koestenbaum

"In The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson turns 'making the personal public' into a romantic, intellectual wet dream. A gorgeous book, inventive, fearless, and full of heart." --Kim Gordon

"The Argonauts takes us on delicious journey into the real life intimacies and intricacies of queer love, sex, literature, and motherhood. Maggie Nelson's honesty, intelligence, humor and great writing transform what society might deem a radical, non-traditional lifestyle into the new desirable. A fucking gem of a book that touched and tickled all my sweet spots."--Annie Sprinkle

"Once again, Maggie Nelson has created awe-inspiring work, one that smartly calls bullshit on the places culture--radical subcultures included--stigmatize and misunderstand both maternity and queer family-making. With a fiercely vulnerable intelligence, Nelson leaves no area un-investigated, including her own heart. I know of no other book like this, and I know how crucially the culture needs it." --Michelle Tea 

Maggie Nelson is the author of nine books of poetry and prose, many of which have become cult classics defying categorization. Her nonfiction titles include the New York Times bestseller The Argonauts (Graywolf Press, May 2015), The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (Norton, 2011; named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year), Bluets (Wave Books, 2009; named by Bookforum as one of the top 10 best books of the past 20 years), The Red Parts: A Memoir (Free Press, 2007), and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (U of Iowa Press, 2007); her poetry titles includeSomething Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007) and Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull, 2005; finalist for the PEN/ Martha Albrand Art of the Memoir). She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction, an NEA in Poetry, a Literature Fellowship from Creative Capital, and an Arts Writers Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and has taught literature and writing at the New School, Pratt Institute, and Wesleyan University. Since 2005 she has been on the faculty of the School of Critical Studies at CalArts. She lives in Los Angeles.

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LUC SANTE discusses his new book THE OTHER PARIS with JC GABEL

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on November 16th, 2015

The Other Paris (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

A trip through Paris as it will never be again--dark and dank and poor and slapdash and truly bohemian.

Paris, the City of Light. The city of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, of soft cheese and fresh baguettes. Or so tourist brochures would have you believe. In The Other Paris, Luc Sante reveals the city's hidden past, its seamy underside--one populated by working and criminal classes that, though virtually extinct today, have shaped Paris over the past two centuries. Drawing on testimony from a great range of witnesses--from Balzac and Hugo to assorted boulevardiers, rabble-rousers, and tramps--Sante, whose thorough research is matched only by the vividness of his narration, takes the reader on a whirlwind tour. Richly illustrated with more than three hundred images, The Other Paris scuttles through the knotted streets of pre-Haussmann Paris; through the improvised accommodations of the original bohemians; through the massive garbage dump at Montfaucon, active until 1849, in which, "at any given time the carcasses of 12,000 horses . . . were left to rot."

A wildly lively survey of labor conditions, prostitution, drinking, crime, and popular entertainment, of the reporters, réaliste singers, pamphleteers, and poets who chronicled their evolution, The Other Paris is a book meant to upend the story of the French capital, to reclaim the city from the bon vivants and the speculators, and to hold a light to the works and days of the forgotten poor.

Praise for The Other Paris:

The Other Paris is a heartbreaking spectacle, immense in intellectual and political scope and emotional reach. Peopled by crooks and movie stars, gamblers and thinkers, the world’s premiere city of dreams is rendered, through Luc Sante’s fine hand, historian’s eye, and poet’s heart, into a place we hardly knew—a world of hitherto unknown mysteries and realities. A grand journey in an epic work.”—Hilton Als
“‘We have forgotten what a city was,’ writes Luc Sante provocatively about Paris. By the last chapter of this absorbing book we are convinced. Washerwomen and rag pickers, bohemians and clochards, anarchists and apaches, all play their part in this alternative urban history. This is not the Gay Paree of Maurice Chevalier, though he too makes an appearance.”—Witold Rybczynski
“This brilliant, beautifully written essay is the finest book I have ever read about Paris. Ever. Thank you, Luc Sante.”—Paul Auster
“Nowadays, the old crowded, swarming, surly cities are at least half-forgotten. But in this great chronicle Luc Sante recalls when Paris was rougher, when the poor, the tough, the unregulated, the underworld, thrived there; maybe the city was also less rough, in that there was room for nearly everyone all the way down the social ladder. Hanging over The Other Paris is the contemporary curse of cities that perhaps hit Paris first, of cities that have become bland transnational stopping places for the privileged. Magisterial as ever, Sante returns us to the flavor, texture, savor, shouts, and clashes of the bygone city.”—Rebecca Solnit

Luc Sante was born in Verviers, Belgium. His other books include Low Life, Evidence, The Factory of Facts, and Kill All Your Darlings. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy (for album notes), an Infinity Award for Writing from the International Center of Photography, and Guggenheim and Cullman fellowships. He has contributed to The New York Review of Books since 1981, and has written for many other magazines. He is the visiting professor of writing and the history of photography at Bard College and lives in Ulster Country, New York.

Originally from Chicago, J.C. Gabel is a book editor, writer, journalist, small publisher and curator living in Los Angeles. He is the founder of Stop Smiling, "The Magazine for High-Minded Lowlifes," and founding Editor and Publisher of LA-based Hat & Beard Press, which will launch in 2016 in partnership with DAP (Distributor of Artist Publishers).  

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 19th, 2015

Reconsolidation: Or, it’s the ghosts who will answer you (Penny Ante Editions)

Memory assists perception, grounding our understanding of those around us and those who have left their traces through time – but how reliable is memory really? Memory is malleable, shaped and shifted through consolidation and reconsolidation. Consolidation is the neurological process that stores memories after an event’s occurrence; reconsolidation refers to a process whereby consolidated memories later become unstable, causing false or loose recall. Reconsolidation: Or, it’s the ghosts who will answer you is a lyrical montage born out of the eternal loss of a loved one. Powerfully crafted during grief’s inertia, Janice Lee elegantly weaves the present with recollections of a tenuous past, arresting memory’s flexible and vulnerable position in the lifelong process of mourning. A eulogy for a loved one – pure and honest –Reconsolidation is a poetic search for a lost connection.

Praise for Lee

"Janice Lee is a genius" - Eileen Myles

Janice Lee is the author of KerotakisDaughterDamnation, and The Sky Isn’t Blue which will be out in 2016. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she is Editor of the #RECURRENT Novel Series for Jaded Ibis Press, Assistant Editor atFanzine, and the Executive Editor at Entropy

Will Alexander works in multiple genres. In addition to being a poet, he is also a novelist, essayist, aphorist, playwright, philosopher, visual artist, and pianist. He is approaching 30 books published, and is a Whiting Fellow, a California Arts Council Fellow, a PEN Oakland recipient, as well as an American Book Award winner, and is presently Poet-In-Resident at Beyond Baroque.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 19th, 2015

Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque Books)

Join us for a special evening with four poets from one of our favorite local publishers.

"What is this aesthetic? I’d call it offhand if that didn’t sound dismissive. Perhaps a better word is “self-aware.” This is how Lummis refers to it in her introduction, which cites, as emblematic, Florence Weinberger’s “The Light Gatherers,” with its stirring image of those who “poke around the blasted pieces / for traces of what newspapers call ‘human remains’ / … Impossible to get it all.”...

That sensibility — of poetry as observation, of poetry as piecing together, of poetry as a way to see beneath the surfaces of a city that still, to some extent, defines itself by surfaces — is central to Wide Awake. It is both a diverse collection and a consistent one, a framing of voices, all trying to make sense of not Los Angeles in the abstract, but on the most concrete, experiential terms.

Lummis is an ideal guide for this endeavor — poet, anthologist, long-time L.A. literary booster — although perhaps the most essential aspect of the book is her generosity. As with its predecessor, 1997’s Grand Passion: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, her intent here is not to showcase any particular school or aesthetic, but rather the range of Southern California poetry.

Praise for Wide Awake

"There is little myth in Wide Awake, just a set of personalities, perspectives: the poets of Los Angeles. Like L.A. itself, the book is a shifting landscape, formal and informal, collective and individual. The conversation it provokes insists we ask the most fundamental questions: Who are we? How do we live here? What is the essence of our engagement with this place?" - David Ulin, LA Times Book Critic

S.A. Griffin lives, loves and works in Los Angeles. Editor, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry (Firecracker Award), Mr. Griffin has been appeared in many poetry zines and anthologies including the upcoming Cross-Strokes edited by Neeli Cherkovski and Bill Mohr. In 2014 he released his newest collection of poetry Dreams Gone Mad With Hope on Punk Hostage Press. Since 1985 he has been touring extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada with poetry performance super groups The Lost Tribe, White Trash Apocalypse and The Carma Bums. From April-June of 2010 he toured the United States with his Poetry Bomb, “Elsie”. Named Best Performance Poet for The LA Weekly by Wanda Coleman, in 2011 he honored to be the first recipient of Beyond Baroque's Distinguished Service Award. On his blog talk radio show Onword he has had the real honor and privilege to interview many world class poets and writers including three time Poet Laureate of the United States Robert Pinsky, beat poet and writer Hettie Jones and Elizabeth Bishop, editor Poet Laureates of The United States. In 2014 he edited and published Michael Lane Bruner's Natural Geographics (Rose of Sharon Press) and most recently had the privilege to edit Scott Wannberg's newest book The Official Language of Yes for Perceval Press scheduled for release in August 2015. Father, husband and Vietnam era vet; he is owned by two beautiful cats.

Suzanne Lummis studied poetry at CSU Fresno, and has been a longtime teacher for the UCLA Extension Writers' Program. Open 24 Hours received the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize, and she's had poems in The New YorkerThe Antioch Review,PloughsharesHotel Amerika. Together with her students she wrote, The Poetry Mystique: Inside the Contemporary Poetry Workshop (2015). She's the 2015 recipient of Beyond Baroque's George Drury Smith Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Award. And she's one of the Nearly Fatal Women.

Harry E. Northup has had ten poetry books published, including Where Bodies Again Recline.  Harry was an original member of the Wednesday night poetry workshop that began in early 1969 at Beyond Baroque.  Northup received his B.A. in English, at CSUN, where he studied verse with Ann Stanford.  He is a founding member of Cahuenga Press and is married to the poet Holly Prado.

Holly Prado's eleventh book, Oh, Salt/Oh, Desiring Hand, was published in Fall, 2013 by Cahuenga Press. She's been an active part of the Los Angeles poetry community since the early 1970s. Poet Holly Prado was born in 1938 in Lincoln, Nebraska. She received a B.A. from Albion College in 1960. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles, where she remained to become an active, influential member of the Southern California literary community as a poet, educator, and regular participant in live poetry readings and literary events. She married actor and poet Harry Northup in 1990.

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KATHLEEN ALCOTT reads from her new novel INFINITE HOME, together with KAROLINA WACLAWIAK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 19th, 2015

Infinite Home (Harper Collins)

A beautifully wrought story of an ad hoc family and the crisis they must overcome together. 

Edith is a widowed landlady who rents apartments in her Brooklyn brownstone to an unlikely collection of humans, all deeply in need of shelter. Crippled in various ways--in spirit, in mind, in body, in heart--the renters struggle to navigate daily existence, and soon come to realize that Edith's deteriorating mind, and the menacing presence of her estranged, unscrupulous son, Owen, is the greatest challenge they must confront together. 

Faced with eviction by Owen and his designs on the building, the tenants--Paulie, an unusually disabled man and his burdened sister, Claudia; Edward, a misanthropic stand-up comic; Adeleine, a beautiful agoraphobe; Thomas, a young artist recovering from a stroke--must find in one another what the world has not yet offered or has taken from them: family, respite, security, worth, love.

The threat to their home scatters them far from where they've begun, to an ascetic commune in Northern California, the motel rooms of depressed middle America, and a stunning natural phenomenon in Tennessee, endangering their lives and their visions of themselves along the way. 

With humanity, humor, grace, and striking prose, Kathleen Alcott portrays these unforgettable characters in their search for connection, for a life worth living, for home.

Praise for Infinite Home

“Kathleen Alcott is part sculptor and part fire-breather—not only are these characters intricately carved but they stand up, walk right off the page and beckon us into a story that is both vivid and welcoming.”  —Ramona Ausubel, author of No One is Here Except All of Us and A Guide to Being Born

“Vibrant, inventive, expansive. Kathleen Alcott has peered through the walls of an everyday apartment building and transformed the private lives of its tenants into pure poetry. Infinite Home is as much a story of those neighbors we may only know in passing, as it is a commentary on the beauty and misfortune of our modern age.”—Said Sayrafiezadeh, author of Brief Encounters with the Enemy

 “Starting with the first page of Infinite Home, you will feel it: something different, something brave, and something fundamentally amazing about Kathleen Alcott’s power over the English language. Every yearning character in this breakout novel is flesh and blood. Alcott’s roving heart, and power as a storyteller, may very well be limitless.” —Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River

“A stunningly sensitive exploration of how families are made and unmade, and how the search for one’s place in the world can come to define a life. Kathleen Alcott writes characters so achingly real, they will take up permanent residence in your imagination. This novel is the evidence of a wondrous talent at work.” —Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youthand Find Me

“In her quietly wonderful second book, Alcott displays a deft hand with every one of her odd and startlingly real characters. …As their lives weave together more tightly, we feel more drawn to them individually and as a family of sorts. Their situation may not be enviable, but Alcott's handling of it is. The voices in this book speak volumes. A luminous second novel from a first-class storyteller.”—Kirkus Starred Review

“Alcott’s writing has an acute sensory quality, and she’s at her imaginative best when describing the small, quotidian moments of her characters’ lives…Alcott’s writing is generous, and her peculiar cast of characters memorable.” –Publishers Weekly 

“Infinite Home is a story about a handful of people’s lives and their excuses not to live them, and how neither our lives nor our excuses can last forever. ….Kathleen Alcott’s beautiful telling of their stories is dense with individual sentences that are beautiful all on their own. She’s that kind of writer. You might cry. You’ll probably cry, actually. (I cried.)” – Gawker
“Alcott’s sophomore effort does wonders in building a fragile web of familiarity, and compels the reader to become an extended part of it.” – NYLON 

 “I read straight through its 317 pages in about a day. This is … mainly a direct result of Alcott’s page-turning, character-driven prose. [Infinite Home] offers up a story about the quest to find connection, meaning, love and a life that feels all our own.” – Brooklyn Based

Infinite Home doesn’t disappoint. At turns despondent and darkly funny, Alcott has woven a uniquely beautiful story which challenges the way we view the concept of home.” – Brooklyn Magazine

“[Infinite Home] gets at the heart of what the word “home” is about — both in terms of the physical place and the feeling. …Prepare to be moved, because this one will reach deep inside of you.”– Bustle

“Novelist Katheen Alcott calls into question what "home" really means -- is it a physical space populated by the belongings you acquire, or a state of mind achieved when you're surrounded with those you feel most at ease with? In Infinite Home, she posits that it's somehow both.” – The Huffington Post

Kathleen Alcott is the author of the novel The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets. Her fiction, essays, and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, ZYZZYVA, The Coffin Factory, The Believer, and elsewhere, and her short story “Saturation” was listed as notable by The Best American Short Stories of 2014. Born in 1988 in Northern California, she lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

Karolina Waclawiak received her BFA in Screenwriting from USC School of Cinematic Arts and her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. She is the author of How To Get Into The Twin Palms (Two Dollar Radio) and The Invaders (Regan Arts). Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Rumpus, and The Believer (where she is also an editor). She lives in Los Angeles.

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PATRICK deWITT reads from his new novel UNDERMAJORDOMO MINOR

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 19th, 2015

Undermajordomo Minor (Ecco Press)

 Patrick deWitt was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for his last novel, The Sisters Brothers. Now, this brilliantly inventive writer takes readers in a new direction with Undermajordomo Minor a folktale re-imagined in a wholly original way—at once adventure, mystery, searing portrait of bad behavior and, above all, violent love story. 

Lucien (Lucy) Minor, is eccentric, young, and aimless. A compulsive liar and sickly weakling, he is without friends in the rural hamlet of Bury. When he accepts the post of Undermajordomo of the remote, foreboding Castle Von Aux, Lucy discovers that the fortress possesses many secrets, including the whereabouts of the castle’s master, Baron Von Aux. He encounters the quaint and quirky denizens of the local village—thieves, madmen, and aristocrats alike—and meets Klara, a delicate beauty for whose love he must compete with the handsome soldier, Adolphus. What unfolds is a surprising tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery, and cold-blooded murder, one in which every aspect of human behavior is laid bare for Lucy—and us—to observe.

Following in the footsteps of the Brothers Grimm, Thomas Bernhard, Bram Stoker, and Italo Calvino, deWitt finds great modern resonance in an archetypal tale about sorrow, love, isolation and obsession. 

Praise for Undermajordomo Minor

Undermajordomo Minor is a wonderfully wry and wise novel, and reading it is like coming across some twisted classic—Cervantes by way of Louis C.K. I marvel at all that Patrick deWitt is able to do on the page.” — Jess Walter, author ofBeautiful Ruins

 “An electrifying adventure, both tender and profane. Nervy, hilarious and utterly unpredictable, Patrick deWitt has served up another dazzler.”— Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
Undermajordomo Minor wears a fairytale cloak, but at its wondrous and fantastical heart lies an unexpectedly moving story about love, home, and the difficulty of finding one’s place in the world. Elegant, beautifully strange, and utterly superb.”— Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

“Patrick deWitt has an untrammeled and utterly original imagination. I cannot think of anyone else who could pull off so beautifully this controlled explosion of drollery, mischief , sly fun and tenderness.”— Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others

“In his delightful and dark new novel, Booker nominee deWitt brings his amusingly off-kilter vision to a European folk tale. After nearly dying from an illness that claims his father, Lucy Minor, a bored and pompous young man, leaves his fairy tale–like hamlet of Bury to begin a new life as assistant to the majordomo at Castle Von Aux. Just getting there proves to be an adventure: Lucy is beset by thieves, learns of his predecessor’s awful fate, and is relieved of his last coin by Adolphus, an exceptionally handsome soldier fighting a war in the forest. Once at the castle, Lucy befriends the thieves who robbed him, competes with Adolphus for the love of the beguiling Klara, and attempts to restore the Baron Von Aux to sanity. Lucy’s earnest actions only create more trouble when a dinner party descends into grotesque bacchanalia, a lecherous guest loses his teeth, and Adolphus makes a final play for Klara’s heart, driving Lucy to the edge of the Very Large Hole, where he vacillates between killing himself and someone else. deWitt uses familiar tropes to lull the reader into a false sense of grounding, delivering with abundant good humor a fully realized, consistently surprising, and thoroughly amusing tale of longing, love, madness, and mirth.”–Publishers Weekly, 

Patrick deWitt is the author of the critically acclaimed Ablutions: Notes for a Novel, as well as The Sisters Brothers, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Born in British Columbia, he has also lived in California, Washington, and Oregon, where he currently resides.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 19th, 2015

The New Middle (Strebor Books)

 As the 2012 presidential election is underway, five baby-boomers face the randomness of fate while navigating through the fast-paced life of 21st century culture, in this compelling, contemporary tale that illuminates the joys and woes of midlife.

The parents of two lovely teenage daughters, Dianne and Torrick feel blessed and secure. But behind the facade of their seemingly ideal life, the couple's once rock-solid marriage is slowly beginning to crumble. Dianne becomes overwhelmed by the emotional ups and downs of menopause, while Torrick becomes more and more distracted by the demands of his private security business. Will the couple find a way to repair what's been broken, or will their restlessness tear the family apart? 

Jacqueline is a savvy, stunningly attractive consultant at a high-profile company. Single and childless, her life is shaped by her success. When a close friend dies of cancer, she starts to feel the isolation of reaching midlife without a family. Uncharacteristically vulnerable, she makes a decision that transforms her life in more ways than one... 

Phoebe has spent the better part of her life traveling the world. When the housing market collapses and she loses her sprawling beach bungalow, she moves in with her goddaughter. Then a new man, Joseph, enters her life, but Phoebe feels she's out of his league. As a friendship develops between them, she starts to feel pangs of regret for giving her child up for adoption. Can Joseph, a lonely widower and father of two, offer any help, or will Phoebe be left on her own to deal with her regrets of the past? 

From marriage, children, and career, to being single, widowed, facing death, and reinventing oneself, this character-driven tale explores the depth of regret, loneliness, isolation, and angst. Whether or not you've reached midlife, The New Middle is a compelling novel that will have you laughing and crying alongside its unforgettable characters until the very end.

Bonita Thompson is a freelance story analyst and reader. She has been educated at several universities, including The American University of Paris, in Paris, France. She has studied communications, international law, and media. Bonita has taught creative writing, and English as a second language. She volunteers for WriteGirl, a creative writing and mentoring program for teen-aged girls in Los Angeles.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on October 19th, 2015

The Suicide of Claire Bishop (Dzanc Books)

A Greenwich Village housewife and a present-day schizophrenic find their fates inextricably linked by a mysterious painting as they both battle issues with family, mental illness, love, and the true nature of reality...

Greenwich Village, 1959. Claire Bishop sits for a portrait—a gift from her husband—only to discover that what the artist has actually depicted is Claire’s suicide. Haunted by the painting, Claire is forced to redefine herself within a failing marriage and a family history of madness. Shifting ahead to 2004, we meet West, a young man with schizophrenia who is obsessed with a painting he encounters in a gallery: a mysterious image of a woman’s suicide. Convinced it was painted by an ex-girlfriend with whom he is obsessed, West constructs an elaborate delusion involving time-travel, Hasidism, art-theft, and the terrifying power of representation. When the two characters finally meet, in the present, delusions are shattered and lives are forever changed.

With West as our tenderly vulnerable and highly unreliable guide, and high stakes that reach across American history, Carmiel Banasky effortlessly juggles balls of madness, art theft, and Time itself, holding the reader in a thrall of language and personal consequences. Gripping, sexy, emotional, The Suicide of Claire Bishop is a dazzling debut that heralds Banasky as an important new talent.

Praise for The Suicide of Claire Bishop

“Banasky’s memorable, intricate, and inventive debut novel uses vulnerable characters to probe themes of time, identity, perception, and love...With its dancing time frames, recurring motifs, glimpses of history, and shifting realities, all united by striking prose, the novel is both an intellectual tour de force and a moving reflection on the ways we try to save ourselves and others.”—Publishers Weekly

“Daring, precise, and linguistically acrobatic, this novel brings a history of America alive, from the war protests in the sixties to turn-of-the-21st-century art theft. A fearless portrayal of madness and its consequences, Carmiel Banasky’s debut novel tracks the life of a suicidal housewife and her unlikely, schizophrenic counterpart. This is a new writer to savor, reminiscent of Nicole Krauss, Michael Chabon, and Andy Sean Greer.”—Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin

“Vivid, strange and always compelling, The Suicide of Claire Bishop weaves together art, politics and the specter of madness in an unforgettable New York story. Carmiel Banasky, a writer like no other, is a talent to watch.”—Claire Messud, author ofThe Emperor’s Children

Carmiel Banasky is a writer and teacher from Portland, OR, who now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared inGlimmer Train, American Short Fiction, Slice, Guernica, PEN America, The Rumpus, and NPR, among other places. She earned her MFA from Hunter College and is the recipient of awards and fellowships from Bread Loaf, Ucross, Ragdale, Artist Trust, I-Park, and other foundations.

Tim Heidecker was born and raised in Allentown, PA. He has collaborated with Eric Wareheim on Tom Goes to The Mayor and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, which aired five seasons on Cartoon Network. Tim and Eric also created a spin off show starring John C. Reilly called Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule, which has run for two seasons. In 2012 Tim co-wrote, directed, and starred in his first feature film, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, which was produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Tim’s most recent collaboration with Eric was for an anthology series, Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories, which premiered on Adult Swim in September of 2014. Tim also has a musical side project Heidecker & Wood.

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ROBERT GUFFEY reads from his new book CHAMELEO with GERRY FIALKA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on September 28th, 2015

Chameleo: A Strange But True Story of Invisible Spies, Heroin Addiction and Homeland Security (O/R Books)

 A mesmerizing mix of Charles Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, and Philip K. Dick, Chameleo is a true account of what happened in a seedy Southern California town when an enthusiastic and unrepentant heroin addict named Dion Fuller sheltered a U.S. Marine who’d stolen night vision goggles and perhaps a few top secret files from a nearby military base.

Dion found himself arrested (under the ostensible auspices of The Patriot Act) for conspiring with international terrorists to smuggle Top Secret military equipment out of Camp Pendleton. The fact that Dion had absolutely nothing to do with international terrorists, smuggling, Top Secret military equipment, or Camp Pendleton didn’t seem to bother the military. He was released from jail after a six-day-long Abu-Ghraib-style interrogation. Subsequently, he believed himself under intense government scrutiny — and, he suspected, the subject of bizarre experimentation involving “cloaking”— electro-optical camouflage so extreme it renders observers practically invisible from a distance of some meters — by the Department of Homeland Security. Hallucination? Perhaps — except Robert Guffey, an English teacher and Dion’s friend, tracked down and interviewed one of the scientists behind the project codenamed “Chameleo,” experimental technology which appears to have been stolen by the U.S. Department of Defense and deployed on American soil. More shocking still, Guffey discovered that the DoD has been experimenting with its newest technologies on a number of American citizens.

Praise for Chameleo:

"Guffey is my kind of crazy. He understands that the universe is preposterous, life is improbable, and chaos rules: get used to it." —Pat Cadigan, author of Mindplayers

"Robert Guffey's writing has impressed, entertained, and enlightened me pretty much since I first met him, as one of my Clarion West students. My suggestion? If he wrote it, read it." —Jack Womack, author of Random Acts of Senseless Violence

Robert Guffey is a lecturer in the Department of English at California State University – Long Beach. A graduate of the famed Clarion Writers Workshop in Seattle, he is the author of a collection of novellas entitled Spies & Saucers (PS Publishing, 2014). His first book of nonfiction, Cryptoscatology: Conspiracy Theory as Art Form, was published in 2012. He’s written stories and articles for numerous magazines and anthologies, among them Fortean Times, Mysteries, Nameless Magazine, New Dawn, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Paranoia, The Third Alternative, and Video Watchdog Magazine.

Gerry Fialka - Artist, writer, and paramedia ecologist lectures world-wide on experimental film, avant-garde art and subversive social media. He has curated three film series in LA for over three decades. Fialka has been praised by the Los Angeles Times as "the multi-media Renaissance man." The LA Weekly proclaimed him "a cultural revolutionary."

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on September 27th, 2015

PEN Center USA presents Rattling Wall Issue 5

Join us as LA literary journal The Rattling Wall presents writers from Issue 5 reading their work.

The readers will include: 

David Ulin
Cecil Castellucci
Rita Williams
David Francis
Julianne Ortale 
Susan Berman 

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on September 27th, 2015

Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men (New York University Press)

 A straight white girl can kiss a girl, like it, and still call herself straight—her boyfriend may even encourage her. But can straight white guys experience the same easy sexual fluidity, or would kissing a guy just mean that they are really gay? Not Gay thrusts deep into a world where straight guy-on-guy action is not a myth but a reality: there’s fraternity and military hazing rituals, where new recruits are made to grab each other’s penises and stick fingers up their fellow members’ anuses; online personal ads, where straight men seek other straight men to masturbate with; and, last but not least, the long and clandestine history of straight men frequenting public restrooms for sexual encounters with other men. For Jane Ward, these sexual practices reveal a unique social space where straight white men can—and do—have sex with other straight white men; in fact, she argues, to do so reaffirms rather than challenges their gender and racial identity.

Ward illustrates that sex between straight white men allows them to leverage whiteness and masculinity to authenticate their heterosexuality in the context of sex with men. By understanding their same-sex sexual practice as meaningless, accidental, or even necessary, straight white men can perform homosexual contact in heterosexual ways. These sex acts are not slippages into a queer way of being or expressions of a desired but unarticulated gay identity. Instead, Ward argues, they reveal the fluidity and complexity that characterizes all human sexual desire. In the end, Ward’s analysis offers a new way to think about heterosexuality—not as the opposite or absence of homosexuality, but as its own unique mode of engaging in homosexual sex, a mode characterized by pretense, dis-identification and racial and heterosexual privilege. Daring, insightful, and brimming with wit, Not Gay is a fascinating new take on the complexities of heterosexuality in the modern era.

Praise for Not Gay

“Clear-eyed and unsqueamish, Not Gay defiantly insists that sex between contemporary American straight white men is in fact meaningful sex that can't—and shouldn't—just be hand-waved away. Jane Ward provides a timely and convincing corrective.” —Hanne Blank, author of Virgin: The Untouched History

Not Gay is nothing less than a breath of fresh air. This book is certain to change the way that we think about heterosexuality’s relations with the homoerotic.”—Roderick Ferguson, author of Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique

Jane Ward is associate professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at University of California Riverside, where she teaches courses in feminist, queer, and heterosexuality studies. Her published essays have focused on a broad range of topics including feminist pornography, queer parenting, gay pride festivals, HIV/AIDS organizing, same-sex marriage, and the social construction of heterosexuality. Her first book, Respectably Queer: Diversity Culture in LGBT Activist Organizations, was named by The Progressive magazine as a best book of 2008.  Her second book, Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men, will be released by New York University Press in July 2015.

Ward is founder of the feminist blog and cofounder, along with CJ Pascoe and Tey Meadow, of She cofounded the queer burlesque troupe “The Miracle Whips” in 2004 and founded the parenting collective “L.A. Genderqueer Parenting” in 2009, both based in Los Angeles.  She is also a baker, an urban gardener, and a parent to one human child, four cats, and eight chickens.

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Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on September 27th, 2015

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure (Disney Lucasfilm Press)

 Join us today for a special Star Wars celebration! Show off your best Wookie roar! Compete in Star Wars trivia! And much much more! Costumes are encouraged! 

Princess Leia returns for an all-new adventure in this thrilling upper middle grade novel. Set between Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi, the story follows the warrior princess as she leads a ragtag group of rebels on a dangerous mission against the evil Galactic Empire. Hidden in the story are also hints and clues about the upcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, making this a must-listen for fans old and new!

Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, First Day on Earth, The Year of the Beasts, Tin Star, Stone in the Sky and the Eisner nominated Odd Duck. Her picture book,Grandma’s Gloves, won the California Book Award Gold Medal. Her short stories have been published in Strange Horizons, YARN,, and various anthologies including, Teeth, After and Interfictions 2.  She is the Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus, a two time Macdowell Fellow and the founding YA Editor at the LA Review of Books. She lives in Los Angeles.

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