Archive for skylight books

RACHEL NAGELBERG READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL THE FIFTH WALL WITH STEPHEN BEACHY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on June 24th, 2017

The Fifth Wall (Black Sparrow Books)

In this debut novel by Rachel Nagelberg, conceptual artist Sheila B. Ackerman heeds a mysterious urge to return to her estranged family home and arrives at the exact moment of her mother’s suicide. In an attempt to cope with and understand her own self destructive tendencies, Sheila plants a camera on the lawn outside the house to film 24/7 while workers deconstruct the physical object that encases so many of her memories. Meanwhile, as she begins to experience frequent blackouts, she finds herself hunting a robot drone through the San Francisco MOMA with a baseball bat, part of a provocative, technological show, The Last Art, and resuming a violent affair with her college professor. With a backdrop of post-9/11 San Francisco, Sheila navigates the social-media- obsessed, draught-ridden landscape of her life, exploring the frail line between the human impulse to control everything that takes place around us and the futility of excessive effort to do so. The Fifth Wall allows readers to explore from a safe distance the recesses of their own minds, leaving the haunting feeling of depths that yet remain unknown.

Praise for The Fifth Wall

Set into motion by an inexplicable, traumatic and violent real-life event, Rachel Nagelberg’s brilliant first novel begins at the limits of contemporary art, as it attempts to reflect the ungraspable present. Born in 1984 into a familiarly frayed American family, her protagonist Sheila B. Ackerman, a former art student, is neither especially likable or unlikeable: that is, she’s incredibly real.  A close artistic cousin to Joni Murphy’s Double Teenage and Natasha Stagg’s Surveys, The Fifth Wall is a new kind of novel. Female and philosophical, emotion flows through the book across a dense and familiarly incomprehensible web of information, from satellite selfies to awkward sex to internet beheadings and shamanic tourism in the third world. Nagelberg's engrossing narration is littered with stunning perception: We look into the distance to be able to see what’s right in front of us.  She writes without affect, and with unselfconscious acuity.That is, she writes really well.  – Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick

"Nagelberg has a true gift, able to write gorgeously on the line level with unctuous images. And simultaneously, there's a readable page-turner here. Most of us are lucky to do one of those, which is a testament to the singular talent.  This book cascades beauty and meaning and truth.– Joshua Mohr, author of All This Life and Termite Parade, a New York Times Editor’s Choice pick

"The Fifth Wall crackles with braininess and sex. It's hallucinatory and interactive and funny and sad and it has something incandescent to show you." – Stephen Beachy, author of The Whistling Song and Distortion, and professor at the University of San Francisco 

Rachel Nagelberg is an American novelist, poet, and conceptual artist living in Los Angeles. The Fifth Wall is her debut novel.

Stephen Beachy is the author of the novels boneyard, Distortion, and The Whistling Song, and the twin novellas Some Phantom/No Time Flat. He has also written and is continuing to write the “Amish Terror” sci-fi series that begins with Zeke Yoder vs. the Singularity, and his newest novel Glory Hole will be published by FC2 fall of 2017. He is Prose Editor of the journal Your Impossible Voice, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of San Francisco, and lives in San Diego.

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DEEPAK UNNIKRISHNAN READS FROM HIS DEBUT NOVEL TEMPORARY PEOPLE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on June 4th, 2017

Temporary People (Restless Books)

In the United Arab Emirates, foreign nationals constitute over 80 percent of the population. Brought in to construct and serve the towering monuments to wealth that punctuate the skylines of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, this labor force is not given the option of citizenship. Some ride their luck to good fortune. Others suffer different fates. Until now, the humanitarian crisis of the so-called “guest workers” of the Gulf has barely been addressed in fiction. With his stunning, mind-altering debut novel Temporary People, Deepak Unnikrishnan delves into their histories, myths, struggles, and triumphs.

Combining the linguistic invention of Salman Rushdie and the satirical vision of George Saunders, Unnikrishnan presents twenty-eight linked stories that careen from construction workers who shapeshift into luggage and escape a labor camp, to a woman who stitches back together the bodies of those who’ve fallen from buildings in progress, to a man who grows ideal workers designed to live twelve years and then perish—until they don’t, and found a rebel community in the desert. With this polyphony of voices, Unnikrishnan maps a new, unruly global English and gives personhood back to the anonymous workers of the Gulf.

Praise for Temporary People

"Guest workers of the United Arab Emirates embody multiple worlds and identities and long for home in a fantastical debut work of fiction, winner of the inaugural Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.... The author's crisp, imaginative prose packs a punch, and his whimsical depiction of characters who oscillate between two lands on either side of the Arabian Sea unspools the kind of immigrant narratives that are rarely told. An enchanting, unparalleled anthem of displacement ​ and repatriation.​" —​Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Inaugural winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, this debut novel employs its own brand of magical realism to propel readers into an understanding and appreciation of the experience of foreign workers in the Arab Gulf States (and beyond). Through a series of almost 30 loosely linked sections, grouped into three parts, we are thrust into a narrative alternating between visceral realism and fantastic satire.... The alternation between satirical fantasy, depicting such things as intelligent cockroaches and evil elevators, and poignant realism, with regards to necessarily illicit sexuality, forms a contrast that gives rise to a broad critique of the plight of those known euphemistically as “guest workers.” VERDICT: This first novel challenges readers with a singular inventiveness expressed through a lyrical use of language and a laserlike focus that is at ​ once charming and terrifying. Highly recommended​.” —Henry Bankhead, ​Library Journal, Starred Review

“Deepak writes brilliant stories with a fresh, passionate energy​. Every page feels as if it must have been written, as if the author had no choice. He writes about exile, immigration, deportation, security checks, rage, patience, about the homelessness of living in a foreign land, about historical events so strange that, under his hand, the events become tales, and he writes tales so precisely that they read like history. Important work. Work of the future. This man will not be stopped.”—Deb Olin Unferth, author of ​Revolution

“Unnikrishnan’s debut novel shines a light on a little known world with compassion and keen insight. The Temporary People are invisible people—but Unnikrishnan brings them to us with compassion, intelligence, and heart. This is why novels matter​.” —Susan Hans O’Connor, Penguin Bookshop

“From the strange Kafka-esque scenarios to the wholly original language, this book is amazing on so many different levels. Unlike anything I've ever read, Temporary People is a powerful work of short stories about foreign nationals who populate the new economy in the United Arab Emirates. With inventive language and darkly satirical plot lines, Unnikrishnan provides an important view of relentless nature of a global economy and its brutal consequences for human lives. Prepare to be wowed by the immensely talented new voice.”​ —Hilary Gustafson, Literati Bookstore

“Absolutely preposterous! As a debut, author Unnikrishnan shares stories of laborers, brought to the United Arab Emirates to do menial and everyday jobs. These people have no rights, no fallback if they have problems or health issues in that land. The laborers in Temporary People are sewn back together when they fall, are abandoned in the desert if they become inconvenient, and are even grown from seeds. As a collection of short stories, this is fantastical, imaginative, funny, and even more so, scary, powerful, and ferocious​.”—Becky Milner, Vintage Books 

Deepak Unnikrishnan ​was raised in the United Arab Emirates. ​He is a resident of Chicago and a lecturer at the Chicago Art Institute, and he has taught at New York University Abu Dhabi. Temporary People, his first book, was the inaugural winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.

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BEN BLATT DICUSSES HIS BOOK NABOKOV’S FAVORITE WORD IS MAUVE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on June 4th, 2017

Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing (Simon & Schuster)

Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve is a playful and informative look at what the numbers have to say about our favorite authors and their classic books. It’s How Fiction Works or Eats, Shoots & Leaves meets Nate Silver.

There’s a famous piece of writing advice—offered by Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, and myriad writers in between—not to use ‘ly’ adverbs. It sounds like solid advice, but can we actually test it? If we were to count all the ‘ly’ adverbs these authors used in their careers, do they follow their own advice compared to other celebrated authors? What’s more, do great books in general—the classics and the bestsellers—share this trait?

In Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve, statistician and journalist Ben Blatt brings big data to the literary canon, exploring the wealth of fun findings that remain hidden in the works of the world’s greatest writers. He assembles a database of thousands of books and hundreds of millions of words, and starts asking the questions that have intrigued curious word nerds and book lovers for generations: What are our favorite authors’ favorite words? Do men and women write differently? Are bestsellers getting dumber over time? Which contemporary writer uses the most clichés? What makes a great opening sentence? How can we judge a book by its cover? And which writerly advice is worth following or ignoring?

Blatt draws upon existing analysis techniques and invents some of his own. All of his investigations and experiments are original, conducted himself, and no math knowledge is needed to understand the results. Blatt breaks his findings down into lucid, humorous language and clear and compelling visuals. This eye-opening book will provide you with a new appreciation for your favorite authors and a fresh perspective on your own writing, illuminating both the patterns that hold it together and the brilliant flourishes that make it unforgettable.

Praise for Nabokov's Favorite Word is Mauve

“What fun this is! Ben Blatt’s charming book applies numerical know-how to questions of literary style, teasing out insights about cliffhangers, adverbs, and whether Americans write ‘more loudly’ than the British. (Spoiler: WE DO!!!)”—Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong

“Ben Blatt’s delightful book gives us an original big data perspective on great writers’ work. Its humor, insights, and statistical displays are fascinating to behold, even as it helps us develop our own writing.”—Carl N. Morris, Professor Emeritus of Statistics, Harvard University

“Blatt provides amiable and intelligent narration, and literature enthusiasts will enjoy the hypotheses he poses and his imaginative methods.”—Publishers Weekly

Ben Blatt is a former staff writer for Slate and The Harvard Lampoon who has taken his fun approach to data journalism to topics such as Seinfeld, mapmaking, The Beatles, and Jeopardy! His previous book, co-written with Eric Brewster, is I Don't Care if We Never Get Back, which follows the duo’s quest to go on the mathematically optimal baseball road trip, traveling 20,000 miles to a game in all thirty ballparks in thirty days without planes. Blatt’s work has also been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and Deadspin.

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MEG HOWREY READS FROM HER NOVEL THE WANDERERS WITH CHARLES YU

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on June 4th, 2017

The Wanderers (G.P. Putnam's Sons)

Brilliantly imagined and wholly original, The Wanderers follows three astronauts as they audition for the first-ever mission to Mars, an experience that will push the boundary between real and unreal, test their relationships, and leave each of them—and their families—changed forever. Inspired by real-life experiments designed to test the psychological and physiological demands of a human mission to Mars, Meg Howrey’s intrinsically-researched, stunning new novel is described best by J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times-bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest, “Ambitious and deeply empathetic, Howrey’s exquisite novel demonstrates that the final frontier may not be space after all.” Readers of Station Eleven, Karen Joy Fowler, and Ruth Ozeki will love this imaginative, witty work of literary fiction and its moving tribute to human relationships that define and support incredible scientific achievement.

In four years, Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars in a wildly ambitious and history-making mission called MarsNOW. Helen Kane, Yoshihiro Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they’re the crew for the job by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation of a space mission ever created.

Helen, recently retired from NASA after a decades-long career and three extended missions to space, has not trained for irrelevance. It’s nobody’s fault that the best of her exists only in space, but her daughter can’t help placing blame. This mission is Helen’s last chance to return to the only place she’s ever felt at home. For Yoshi, the mission is an opportunity to prove himself to the high-powered wife he has loved absolutely, if not quite correctly. Sergei is willing to spend seventeen months in a tin can if it means traveling to Mars, ultimately proving his own immense strength and stamina as an example of solidity for his sons.

As the days turn into months aboard the simulated spacecraft, the line between what is real and unreal fractures irreparably, and the astronauts learn that the complications of inner space are no less fraught than those of outer space. As their family members navigate planet Earth thousands of miles away, facing their own greatest fears and achieving incredible personal triumphs, the astronauts grapple with intense loneliness and increasingly prevalent psychological stress. They start to ask themselves the eternal questions that we have all faced: What is life? Who are we? What is the purpose of all this cosmic mayhem? Probing just how well we can ever know ourselves, or hope to know somebody else,

The Wanderers gets at the heart of what it means to be human—even when we’re a million miles from home. Sweeping in both its delicious, witty writing and phenomenal, factual exploration of outer space, Howrey’s meticulously researched yet tender novel puts a uniquely human face on the science behind space exploration, bringing sparks of life to each astronaut and reminding us that in an age of space exploration, the thing we search most desperately for is to find ourselves.

Praise for The Wanderers

"Three astronauts and those who know them best explore the limits of truth and love in Howrey's genre-bending novel...The voices are distinct, each member reviewing and acting on his or her own emotional telemetry with equal parts brilliance and blunder, and the stakes are high, with any heartbeat capable of tipping the scales against the crew's survival...With these believably fragile and idealistic characters at the helm, Howrey's insightful novel will take readers toa place where they too can 'lift their heads and wonder.'"–Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Engrossing…Although the contours of a space drama may seem familiar to a 21st-century readership, Howrey, through the poetry of her writing and the richness of her characters, makes it all seem new. A lyrical and subtle space opera"-–Kirkus, Starred Review

The Wanderers…confronts ageless questions of why humans explore, what they are looking for, and what happens when they find it. Evoking the authenticity of Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves (2015) with the literary sensitivity of Ann Patchett, Howrey has made the mission-to- Mars motif an exquisite exploration of human space, inner and outer.”-–Booklist

The Wanderers is phenomenal. A transcendent, cross-cultural and cross-planetary journey into the mysteries of space and self, the novel explores the dangers and necessities of venturing away from the familiar and finding home in the unknown. Howrey's expansive vision left me awestruck.” —Ruth Ozeki, New York Times bestselling and Man Booker shortlisted author of A Tale for the Time Being

“An expansive tale of the costs of human ambition, The Wanderers is unquestionably the work of a brilliant writer at the height of her powers. Meticulously researched and magnificently rendered, Howrey’s dazzling novel on humankind’s most ambitious project is, in itself, a work of wondrous skill and ambition, a book about space that’s truly about people, but also about the lonely wonder of true trailblazers, the disparate cast behind a great life, and the compromises that build success. Fiercely inventive and deeply empathetic, Howrey’s exquisite novel demonstrates that the final frontier may not be space after all.”—J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

The Wanderers is a stealthily brilliant novel. A distinct, shimmering vision of who we are and where we think we want to go. Meg Howrey’s three astronauts and their families seem to embody the whole human race at the signal moment of a growth spurt. They exist, as we do now, at the edge of science fiction, their story propelled by a seriousness and intelligence wrapped in a comic and tender humanity. Meg Howrey delivers this vision in a prose that feels new, sui generis, its own necessary vehicle, with a kind of sleek precision that is at once simple, gorgeous, and profoundly moving.”—Peter Nichols, national bestselling author of The Rocks and A Voyage for Madmen

“Elegant, thoughtful, gorgeously written. A meditation on solitude, connection, aspiration, imagination and reality, which builds effortlessly to moments of immense power and honesty. There are passages near the end of this book that I will never forget.”—Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe and Sorry Please Thank You

The Wanderers is a wonderful exploration of space, trust, and what it means to be a conscious creature, finely-tuned and funny from the first page to the last. I loved getting lost in Meg Howrey's off-kilter world of astronauts and their simulated fantasies. She's a writer with an amazing eye for freedom and confinement and the thin line that sometimes lies between the two.”—Jonathan Lee, author of High Dive

Meg Howrey is a former dancer who performed with The Joffrey, Eglevsky Ballet, and City Ballet of Los Angeles. She toured nationally with the Broadway production of Contact, for which she won the Ovation Award in 2001 for best featured actress in a musical. Howrey is the author of two previous novels, Blind Sight and The Cranes Dance, and the coauthor of the bestselling novels City of Dark Magic, and City of Lost Dreams, published under the pen name Magnus Flyte. Her nonfiction has appeared in Vogue and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Charles Yu is the author of three books. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in various publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Wired. He is currently writing for an upcoming HBO show created by Alan Ball, and is also at work on his next novel, The Book of Wishing

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KAYA PRESS PRESENTS KAZIM ALI, HARI ALLURI, AND SPECIAL GUEST ABEER Y. HOQUE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on June 4th, 2017

Join us for an evening with authors from Kaya Press, the group of dedicated writers, artists, readers, and lovers of books working together to publish the most challenging, thoughtful, and provocative literature being produced throughout the Asian and Pacific Island diasporas, with special guest Abeer Hoque.

The Secret Room

In Kazim Ali's wildly inventive novel The Secret Room, written as musical score for a string quartet, he asks: How does one create a life of meaning in the face of loneliness and alienation from one’s own family, culture, or even sense of self? During the space of one single day, the lives of four people converge and diverge in ways they themselves may not even measure.

Sonia Chang, a violinist prepares for a concert. Rizwan Syed, a yoga teacher who gives so much to others, makes one last panicked attempt at reconciliation with his own family. Jody Merchant tries to balance a difficult and stressful work-life with a dream she abandoned long ago. Pratap Patel trudges through his life trying to ignore the pain he still feels at old losses.

Just like the real musical quality of a string quartet, these four characters weave in and out of one another's experiences in a raw, fluid song that mimics the hidden lives that exist within us all.

Praise for Kazim Ali

“Here are new organizing principles; to allow ourselves to be organized by music; to be scored. This is a text that suggests not to worry about how to read it. Rather, it extends an invitation to allow the text to happen with us (and/or for us to happen with the text), and this is a Revolutionary Hermeneutics: to open to the experiences of pain and awe. Text as ambient drift we can move through (the same space where healing and magic happens). The way a line divines another, a voice divines a voice, and the emergent conversation, and how this conversation is a hidden music, the music we have been waiting for.”-- Selah Saterstrom, author of Slab and Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics

"Kazim Ali has managed to render into the English language the universal inner voice." -- Lucille Clifton

Kazim Ali's books include five volumes of poetry, The Far Mosque, The Fortieth Day, Bright Felon, Sky Ward, and All One’s Blue: New and Selected Poems; three novels, Quinn’s Passage, The Disappearance of Seth and Wind Instrument; a collection of short stories, Uncle Sharif’s Life in Music, and three collections of essays, Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence, Fasting for Ramadan and Resident Alien: On Border-crossing and the Undocumented Divine. He has translated books by Sohrab Sepehri, Ananda Devi and Marguerite Duras. He is an associate professor of Comparative Literature and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Oberlin College.

The Flayed City

Hari Alluri is an author who, according to U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, “carries a new, quiet brush of multi-currents, of multi-worlds to paint this holographic life-scape.” In The Flayed City, Alluri gives an intimate look into the lives of city dwellers and immigrants, imagining the souls that reside in “broom-filled nights”, “skyscrapers for buoys”, and under an “aluminum rising sun”. The charged poems in The Flayed City sweep together “an archipelago song” scored by memory and landscape, history and mythology, desire and loss. Driven by what is residual—of displacement, of family, of violent yet delicate masculinity, of undervalued yet imperative work—Alluri's lines quiver with the poet's distinctive rendering of praise and lament steeped with “gravity and blood” where “the smell of ants being born surrounds us” and “city lights form constellations // invented to symbolize war.”

Praise for Hari Alluri

“Hari Alluri is Michaux for our time. Which is to say: he is the poet who is able to find myth in our days of sorrow and displacement, when so many lose homes and identities, Hari Alluri offers a new music. When cities are destroyed by fire, Hari Alluri offers lyric fire that heals the heart, that lets theimagination save us. When there is nothing left to say and the page of our drive to stop the pain is brightly-lit and blank, Hari Alluri brings a few words that sing, brings them by the hand, gives them to us—not just words but images, sparks, from which the fire comes, from which whole villages are alive again. This is the poet to live with."-- Ilya Kaminsky, author of Dancing in Odessa 

[Hari Alluri] carries a new, quiet brush of multi-currents, of multi-worlds to paint this holographic life-scape; a most rare set of poems—with jazz beat word lines, long-line wisdom and open space scenes where you can widen your eyes, scrape your hands and rush into colliding worlds. Bravo, many bravos!”

Hari Alluri, who immigrated to Vancouver, Coast Salish territories at age twelve, is the author of Carving Ashes (CiCAC, 2013) and The Promise of Rust (Mouthfeel, 2016). An award-winning poet, educator, and teaching artist, his work appears widely in anthologies, journals and online venues, including Chautauqua, Poemeleon and Split This Rock. He is a founding editor at Locked Horn Press, where he has co-edited two anthologies, Gendered & Written: Forums on Poetics andRead America(s): An Anthology. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego State University and, along with the Federico Moramarco Poetry International Teaching Prize, he has received VONA/Voices and Las Dos Brujas fellowships and a National Film Board of Canada grant. Hari currently serves as editor of pacific Review in San Diego, Kumeyaay land.

Photo by Cynthia Dewi Oka

Olive Witch (Harper 360)

In the 1970s, Nigeria is flush with oil money, building new universities, and hanging on to old colonial habits.

Abeer Hoque is a Bangladeshi girl growing up in a small sunlit university town where the red clay earth, corporal punishment and running games are facts of life. At thirteen she moves with her family to suburban Pittsburgh and finds herself surrounded by clouded skies and high schoolers who speak in movie quotes and pop culture slang. Finding her place as a young woman in America proves more difficult than she can imagine. Disassociated from her parents and laid low by academic pressure and a spiraling depression, she is committed to a psychiatric ward in Philadelphia. When she moves to Bangladesh on her own, it proves yet another beginning for someone who is only just getting used to being an outsider – wherever she is.

Arresting and beautifully written, with poems and weather conditions framing each chapter, Olive Witch is an intimate memoir about taking the long way home.

Praise for Abeer Y. Hoque

“Told with vivid lyricism yet unflinching in its gaze, Abeer Hoque's memoir is the coming-of-age story of migration on three continents, and about the pain, rupture, and redemptive possibilities of displacement.”
--Tahmima Anam, author of The Bones of Grace

"An unflinching yet luminously beautiful take on family, race, sex and the treachery of memory. Don’t be fooled by the frangipani beauty of Abeer Hoque’s prose. Its razor-sharp edges can draw blood."--Sandip Roy, author of Don't Let Him Know

Abeer Y. Hoque is a Bangladeshi-American writer and photographer. Her first book of fiction, The Lovers and the Leavers, was published by HarperCollins to critical acclaim. She also has a book of travel photographs and poems, The Long Way Home. She lives in New York City. 

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PATTY YUMI COTTRELL DISCUSSES HER NEW BOOK SORRY TO DISRUPT THE PEACE WITH AMINA CAIN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on June 4th, 2017

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace (McSweeney's Books)

Helen Moran is thirty-two years old, single, child-less, college-educated, and partially employed as a guardian of troubled young people in New York. She’s accepting a delivery from IKEA in her shared studio apartment when her uncle calls to break the news: Helen’s adoptive brother is dead.

According to the internet, there are six possible reasons why her brother might have killed himself. But Helen knows better: she knows that six reasons is only shorthand for the abyss. Helen also knows that she alone is qualified to launch a serious investigation into his death, so she purchases a one-way ticket to Milwaukee. There, as she searches her childhood home and attempts to uncover why someone would choose to die, she will face her estranged family, her brother’s few friends, and the overzealous grief counselor, Chad Lambo; she may also discover what it truly means to be alive.

A bleakly comic tour de force that’s by turns poignant, uproariously funny, and viscerally unsettling, this debut novel has shades of Bernhard, Beckett, and Bowles—and it announces the singular voice of Patty Yumi Cottrell.

Paise for Sorry to Disrupt the Peace

“Grief takes an unnerving path through a singular mind in Sorry to Disrupt the Peace. Beckett fans will find a familiar, but Patty Yumi Cottrell’s voice is her very own.”—Amelia Gray

“Patty Yumi Cottrell’s prose does so many of my favorite things—some too subtle to talk about without spoiling, but one thing I have to mention is the way in which her heroine’s investigation of a suicide draws the reader right into the heart of this wonderfully spiky hedgehog of a book and then elbows us yet further along  intowhat is ultimately a tremendously moving act of imagination.”—Helen Oyeyemi, author of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

“Patty Yumi Cottrell’s adoption of the rambling and specific absurd will and must delight. This is a graceful claim not just about writing but about a way of being in the world, an always new and necessary way to contend with this garbage that surrounds us, these false portraits of our hearts and minds. This book is not a diversion—it’s a lifeline.”—Jesse Ball, author of How to Set a Fire and Why

“Intelligent and mysterious and funny, Patty Yumi Cottrell’s Sorry to Disrupt the Peace moves so mesmerizingly towards its blazingly good ending. One is tempted to read it as quickly as possible. But really, it is a book that should be read slowly, as some of its deepest pleasures lie in the careful observations, the witty prose, and just the book’s really wonderful gaze on city life, and actually, on all life. This is a stunning debut.”—Rebecca Lee, author of Bobcat

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace had me opening my mouth to laugh only to feel sobs come tumbling out. It’s absurd, feeling so much at once, but it’s a distinctly human absurdity that Patty Yumi Cottrell has masterfully created in this book. In the end I felt ebullient and spent, grateful to be reminded that life is only funny and gorgeous because life is also strange and sad.”—Lindsay Hunter, author of Ugly Girls

“‘Behind every suicide, there is a door.’ So says Helen, aka Sister Reliability, aka ‘spinster from a book,’ who is determined to open the door behind her adoptive brother’s recent death. Her search takes her from a studio apartment in NYC to a childhood home in Milwaukee, and yet thein vestigation is as philosophical as it is practical, as was, perhaps, the death itself. Patty Yumi Cottrell’s Sorry to Disrupt the Peace is a beguiling debut: absurdly funny, surprisingly beautiful, and ultimately sad as fuck.”—Danielle Dutton, author of Margaret the First

“In this completely absorbing novel of devastation and estrangement, Patty Yumi Cottrell introduces herself as a modern Robert Walser. Her voice is unflinching, unforgettable, and animated with a restless sense of humor.”—Catherine Lacey, author of Nobody Is Ever Missing

Patty Yumi Cottrell was born in South Korea and grew up in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in BOMB, Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, and other publications. She lives and works in Los Angeles. This is her first novel.

Amina Cain is the author of the short story collection Creature, out with Dorothy, a Publishing Project, and a novel-in-progress, The Energy of Vitória. Her stories and essays have appeared in BOMBn+1The Paris Review Daily, and Full Stop, among other places.

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LAMBDA LITFEST PRESENTS INDIE VOICES FROM INDIE PRESSES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on June 4th, 2017

Los Angeles-based authors Alex Espinoza, Dan Lopez, Wendy C. Ortiz, and Martin Pousson discuss the ways they found homes for their unique voices and the independent literary communities that champion them, from publishers to bookstores and publications, in LA and beyond.

Alex Espinoza was born in Tijuana, Mexico. He came to the United States with his family at the age of two and grew up in suburban Los Angeles. Author of the novel Still Water Saints, he received an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. A recipient of the Margaret Bridgman Fellowship in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Espinoza is currently an associate professor of English at California State University, Fresno. His latest book is The Five Acts of Diego Léon.

Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir and Hollywood Notebook. Her work has been profiled or featured in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Rumpus, and the National Book Critics Circle Small Press Spotlight blog. Her writing has appeared in such places as The New York Times, Hazlitt, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Nervous Breakdown, Fanzine, and a year-long series appeared at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Wendy lives in Los Angeles.

Martin Pousson was born and raised in the bayou land of Louisiana. His short stories won a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and have appeared in The Antioch Review, Epoch, Five Points, StoryQuarterly, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He also was a finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award, the Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Award, and the Lambda Literary Award. He now lives in Los Angeles.

Dan Lopez's work has appeared in The Millions, StorychordTime Out New York, and Lambda Literary, among others. The Show House is his first novel. He lives in Los Angeles. 

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AMY GOODMAN DISCUSSES HER BOOK DEMOCRACY NOW! WITH CO-AUTHOR DENIS MOYNIHAN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 31st, 2017

Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America (Simon & Schuster) 

From the standoff at Standing Rock over the Dakota Access Pipeline, to the voices of grassroots leaders; from Black Lives Matter activists to the stories of those fighting for peace, climate justice, migrant rights, and LGBTQ equality; from uncovering government surveillance to fighting attacks on freedom of the press, Democracy Now! has been reporting for two decades from the front lines of the movements that are changing America and changing the world. 

In these times of war and elections, movements and uprisings, we need independent media more than ever. The commercial media serves as a mouthpiece for corporate and government interests--giving a platform to the pundits and the pollsters who know so little about so much, explaining the world to us and getting it so wrong.

Free speech is democracy’s last line of defense. We must demand it, defend it, and most of all, use it--now.

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now! a daily, global grassroots news hour, broadcasting on over 1,400 public television and radio stations around the U.S. and the world, with millions accessing it online at democracynow.org. An acclaimed international journalist, she has won the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the Alternative Nobel Prize. Goodman is also the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from Harvard’s Nieman Foundation of Journalism, the George Polk Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Prize for International Reporting, and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award. This is her sixth New York Times bestselling book.

Denis Moynihan has been working with Democracy Now! since 2000. He is a bestselling author and a King Features syndicated columnist. He lives in Colorado, where he founded community radio station KFFR.

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SARAH MANGUSO DISCUSSES HER NEW BOOK 300 ARGUMENTS WITH ETHAN NOSOWSK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

300 Arguments (Graywolf Press)

A “Proustian minimalist on the order of Lydia Davis” (Kirkus Reviews), Sarah Manguso is one of the finest literary artists at work today. To read her work is to witness acrobatic acts ofcompression in the service of extraordinary psychological and spiritual insight.

300 Arguments, a foray into the frontier of contemporary nonfiction writing, is at first glance a group of unrelated aphorisms. But, as in the work of David Markson, the pieces reveal themselves as a masterful arrangement that steadily gathers power. Manguso’s arguments about desire, ambition, relationships, and failure are pithy, unsentimental, and defiant, and they add up to an unexpected and wise piece of literature.

Praise for 300 Arguments

“A writer's life, solitary and complex, broken apart—not into shards but puzzle pieces. . . . A slim, poetic self-portrait that opens up as you read it and stays in the mind.”—Kirkus Reviews

300 Arguments shook me. It’s dark, but the darkness comes from a refusal to look away. Its humor is wounded but present. Is it possibly a sort of novel? The writer says somewhere, ‘This book is the good sentences from the novel I didn’t write.’ The idea holds up when applied, and the attentive reader will intuit an encompassing narrative. Sarah Manguso deserves many such readers.”—JOHN JEREMIAH SULLIVAN

“A new book by Sarah Manguso is always a cause for celebration. She is a poet-philosopher of the highest order who combines a laser-sharp intellect with a lyric gift and a capacious, generous heart. She is one of my favorite writers, and with 300 Arguments she deepens her inquiry into the very essence of what it is to be human.”—DANI SHAPIRO

Sarah Manguso is the author of three book-length essays, Ongoingness, The Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay; a story collection; and two poetry collections. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches at St. Mary’s College.

Ethan Nosowsky is Editorial Director at Graywolf Press. He began his career at Farrar, Straus and Giroux and has also been Editorial Director at McSweeney’s. He has edited books by Jeffery Renard Allen, Hilton Als, Kevin Barry, David Byrne, Vikram Chandra, Geoff Dyer, Dave Eggers, Sarah Manguso, Maggie Nelson, and Jenny Offill among many others. He lives in Oakland, California.

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EMILY FRIDLUND READS FROM HER DEBUT NOVEL HISTORY OF WOLVES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

History of Wolves (Grove Atlantic)

History of Wolves is the story of fourteen-year- old Linda, who lives with her parents in an abandoned commune in the icy woods of Northern Minnesota. Isolated at home and at school, Linda finds unusual company in her beautiful classmate, Lily, and her charismatic History teacher, Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is accused of possessing child pornography, Linda’s world shifts dramatically. Things seem to look up when the Gardner family moves in across the lake. Linda is welcomed into their home as their son, Paul’s, babysitter. However, this sense of belonging, and her newfound feelings of purpose come at an unexpected price—Linda is drawn into secrets that she doesn’t understand and is eventually forced to make decisions that will affect her entire life.

Praise for History of Wolves

“[A] stellar debut . . . A sense of foreboding subtly permeates the story . . . [the] wordsmithing is fantastic, rife with vivid turns of phrase. Fridlund has elegantly crafted a striking protagonist whose dark leanings cap off the tragedy at the heart of this book, which is moving and disturbing, and which will stay with the reader.”—Publishers Weekly (starred boxed review) 

“An atmospheric, near-gothic coming-of-age novel turns on the dance between predator and prey . . . Fridlund is an assured writer . . . The novel has a tinge of fairy tale, wavering on the blur between good and evil, thought and action. But the sharp consequences for its characters make it singe and sing—a literary tour de force.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 

“The writing is beautiful . . . a triumph of tone and attitude. Lovers of character-driven literary fiction will embrace this.”—Booklist (starred review)

“First thing you see is the bracing intelligence of the book’s young narrator – no big-eyed sentiments for Linda, raised amid blighted ideals in the ceaseless winters and vast swamps of northern Minnesota. So observant is Linda that you trust her instantly, but it’s her own search for trust, for connection even at enormous cost, that will hold you to the final hour. Emily Fridlund’s language is generous and precise, her story grief-tempered and forcefully moving. History of Wolves is the loneliest thing I’ve read in years, and it’s gorgeous. These are haunted pages.” —Leif Enger, author of Peace Like a River

“As exquisite a first novel as I’ve ever encountered. Poetic, complex, and utterly, heartbreakingly beautiful.”—T. C. Boyle

“So delicately calibrated and precisely beautiful that one might not immediately sense the sledgehammer of pain building inside this book. And I mean that in the best way. What powerful tension and depth this provides! I’m so excited for readers to encounter the talent and roiling intelligence of Emily Fridlund.”—Aimee Bender

Emily Fridlund grew up in Minnesota and currently resides in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Her fiction has appeared in a variety of journals, including Boston Review, Zyzzyva, FiveChapters, New Orleans Review, Sou'wester, New Delta Review, Chariton Review, Portland Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly. The opening chapter of History Wolves won the 2013 McGinnis-Ritchie Award for fiction, and Fridlund's collection of stories, Catapult, won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and will be published by Sarabande in the fall of 2017.

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VANESSA DAVIS LAUNCHES HER NEW GRAPHIC MEMOIR SPANIEL RAGE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

Spaniel Rage (Drawn & Quarterly)

Join Los Angeles-based cartoonist Vanessa Davis as she presents her latest release Spaniel Rage: a collection of frank, intimate pencil drawings created over the course of one year to chronicle her life as a single woman in New York. Filled with self-deprecating anecdotes about her anxieties, intimate moments between friends and lovers, and mingling general observations and wry truths about life in the Big City, Spaniel Rage is a witty tour de force that grabs you by the heartstrings.

Vanessa Davis's autobiographical comics delighted readers ten years ago when she first began telling stories about her life in New York as a young single Jewish woman. More observational than confessional, Spaniel Rage is filled with frank and immediate pencil drawn accounts of dating woes, misunderstandings between her and her mother, and conversations with friends. Her keen observation of careless words spoken casually is refreshingly honest, yet never condemning. Unabashedly, Davis offers up gently self-deprecating anecdotes about her anxieties and wry truths about the contradictions of life in the big city. These comics are sexy, funny, lonely, beautiful, spare, and very smart—the finest work from a natural storyteller.

Praise for Spaniel Rage

"These comics are a gift. Casual, but precise, Davis has an emotional and intellectual range that creeps up on you with a warmth and a sensibility to the page that feels revelatory. Spaniel Rage is a brave, deeply felt work." Sammy Harkham, Kramers Ergot

"Loose, perfect cartooning. Vanessa Davis is one of the very best." Michael DeForge, Big Kids, Ant Colony, and Lose

"Vanessa's comics feel like a phone call with your best, warm, funny friend. I've kept this book close at hand for the last decade, re-reading it over lunches, in baths, and curled up in bed at night." Lisa Hanawalt, Bojack Horseman, Hot Dog Taste Test

"I spent my 20s reading and re-reading this book. I'm still looking for clues in its warm, perfect drawings and clear, quiet voice a grateful ghost in the white spaces, standing by Vanessa's side." Eleanor Davis, How To Be Happy

Vanessa Davis was born in Florida and currently lives in Los Angeles. She’s a cartoonist and illustrator who has contributed to Vice, the New York Times, Lucky Peach, and Tablet.

 
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DANIELLE KRYSA DISCUSSES HER BOOK YOUR INNER CRITIC IS A BIG JERK, WITH MARTHA RICH

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative (Chronicle Books)

This book is duct tape for the mouth of every artist's inner critic. Silencing that stifling voice once and for all, this salve for creatives introduces ten truths they must face in order to defeat self-doubt. Each encouraging chapter deconstructs a pivotal moment on the path to success fear of the blank page, the dangers of jealousy, sharing work with others and explains how to navigate roadblock. Packed with helpful anecdotes, thoughts from successful creatives, and practical exercises gleaned from Danielle Krysa's years of working with professional and aspiring artists plus riotously apt illustrations from art world darling Martha Rich this book arms readers with the most essential tool for their toolbox: the confidence they need to get down to business and make good work.

Danielle Krysa has a BFA in Fine Arts, and a post-grad in graphic design. She is the writer/curator behind the contemporary art site, The Jealous Curator. In 2014 she published two books, both with Chronicle Books, titled Creative Block and Collage. Her third book, Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk was released in October 2016. Danielle has also had the great pleasure of speaking at TEDx  PIXAR, Creative Mornings, CreativeLive, Altitude Summit, and was interviewed for several video segments on Oprah.com.

Martha Rich is a Philadelphia-based artist working in both the commercial and fine art fields. Drawing, painting, using words, while being absurd and funny, and having a penchant for painting food is what she does.

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STEVE ERICKSON READS FROM HIS NEW NOVEL SHADOWBAHN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

Shadowbahn (Blue Rider Press)

In Granta Jonathan Lethem called Steve Erickson’s forthcoming novel Shadowbahn "Jaw-dropping … Erickson weaves a playlist for the dying American century with his usual lucid-dreaming prose. I've read every novel he's ever written and I'll still never know how he does it: A tour-de-forcer's tour de force." A prescient book about a divided USA, Shadowbahn is a winding and reckless ride through intersections of danger, destiny, and the conjoined halves of a ruptured nation.

The sleep of reason produces monsters, said Goya—including monsters of architecture and history that meet, most uneasily, in the pages of Erickson's latest. It's a startling scenario, a kind of deus ex machina at the beginning instead of the end of a story: What would happen if, two decades after their collapse, the twin towers of the World Trade Center were to loom up in the South Dakota Badlands? Well, it being America, they turn into a tourist attraction made all the more alluring by the fact that there's a presence up on the top floors of the southern building—a presence that just happens to be the revenant brother of another American icon. It would be a spoiler to get too much into specifics of that fellow's identity and why on earth he happens to be inhabiting a building he never lived to see, but suffice it to say that with this book, perhaps his oddest yet, Erickson stakes a claim to be one of the most centrifugal writers at work today. Even then, he works his magic mostly by conjuring sci-fi-ish plotlines and then having characters move across them in more or less realistic ways: youngsters on their way to visit family on the coast are pulled down a dusty rabbit hole into a place that requires conversations on Adlai Stevenson, Elvis, the old folk song "Shenandoah," Dealey Plaza, Churchill, Wounded Knee, RFK ("Was his big brother being metaphorical now? Ironic? Literary?"), and the whole swirl, for better and worse, of American history. Whatever is normal is upended, but it's all oddly believable. Throughout, Erickson, a master of the mot juste, writes with archly elegant lyricism: "He heads toward a west that is the dreamer's true north, where the desert comes looking for us and curls at the door, a wild animal made of our ashes…." Think Philip K. Dick on smoother acid and with a more up-to-date soundtrack, and you've got something of this eminently strange, thoroughly excellent book.

Praise for Shadowbahn

“A great, great, great, great novel. I could say more -- about its big-world heartedness and old-world shadowness, about twins and towers, brothers and sisters, road trips and all the borders we design and transgress, and of course Erickson’s beautiful heart-bit music -- but it would still add up to the same thing: great.  Sung, of course.”–Mark Z. Danielewski, author of The Familiar

“Steve Erickson is one of America’s greatest living novelists.  He is always inventive, always engaging, always surprising. In Shadowbahn, Erickson combines the social novel, the science fiction novel, the pop music essay, the comedic set piece, and the family novel into a wild, idiosyncratic tour de force.”–Dana Spiotta

“Not sure whether Steve Erickson's off-kilter whoppers have gotten more plausible or the country gets more and more unhinged.  He and his book's bewitching nouns, from the Badlands to "La Bamba," are good company either way.”–Sarah Vowell

Shadowbahn maps out an American counter-history where events that have touched all Americans, and people from all over the world, are given new shape and speak in new voices.  As both a revisioning of a national story and a family drama, the book has a simultaneous weight and lightness, an older person’s high seriousness and the ability of younger people to see right through it.”--Greil Marcus

Steve Erickson is the author of nine other novels, including Zeroville, which James Franco has adapted for film, Our Ecstatic Days, and These Dreams of You and two nonfiction books that have been published in ten languages. His work has appeared in numerous periodicals, such as EsquireRolling StoneSmithsonianAmerican Prospect, and Los Angeles, for which he writes regularly about film, music, and television. Erickson is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award. Currently he teaches at the University of California, Riverside.

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MARK SUNDEEN DISCUSSES HIS BOOK THE UNSETTLERS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on May 14th, 2017

The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today's America (Riverhead Books)

Today's Americans are looking to escape: faced with drastic increases in climate change, the rise of the One Percent, and a suffocating 24/7 work culture that seems to be keeping an entire population chained to their smart phones, it comes as no surprise that we are now, more than ever, yearning for "the simple life." Organic eating continues to gain popularity and minimalistic Tiny Houses seem to be popping up every direction--but why? And is it actually possible not only to walk away from the modern conveniences on which we've become so paralyzingly dependent but to adopt--even model--a truly sustainable ethical and authentic way of life? 

In The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today's America, Mark Sundeen follows a diverse group of Americans--urban and rural, female and male, black and white--on their complicated quest for a simpler life in modern times, raising fascinating and subversive questions about the way we live, eat, and work. We asked Sundeen what led him to write The Unsettlers, and he replied, "So many people have anxiety about the state of the world--climate change, extinction, financial inequality--but so few have an idea of what they can actually do to extract themselves for the system, much less change it. This book illuminates those who are trying with all their might." 

There is no better writer to tell this story than Sundeen, whose writings on off-the-grid movements have appeared in the New York Times, Outside Magazine, The Believer, National Geographic Adventure, and McSweeny's. His previous book, The Man who Quit Money, was a sleeper hit, earning rave reviews from readers and critics--the Seattle Times deemed it "captivating," and Outside hailed it as a "critique that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt remorse on the treadmill of getting and spending"--cementing Sundeen's reputation as one of the preeminent translators of alternative communities and movements to the mainstream. 

With the lively writing-style of Barbara Kingslover and on-the-ground savvy of Michael Pollan, Mark Sundeen simultaneously explores and contextualizes the fascinatingly complex history of simple living throughout American history--from the Founding Fathers to the present movement in which, among the other subjects he profiles, Detroit natives Olivia Hubert and Greg Willerer set out to revitalize their city by farming it. 

Praise for The Unsettlers

"Rigorously reported and utterly enthralling. With Candor, wit, and live-voltage curiosity, Sundeen profiles pioneers who have developed better ways to live in our overdeveloped world."--Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

"With his chronicles of modern-day American visionaries and iconoclasts who have opted out of the mainstream culture, I've come to think of Mark Sundeen as our poet laureate of a new era of alternative lifestyles."--Bob Shacochis, author of The Woman Who Lost Her Soul

Mark Sundeen is the author of several books, including The Man Who Quit Money and the coauthor of North by Northwestern, which was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He has taught fiction and nonfiction in the MFA creative writing programs at the University of New Mexico and Southern New Hampshire University. He and his wife divide their time between Fort Collins, Colorado, and Moab, Utah.

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UC RIVERSIDE MFA STUDENTS AND PROFESSORS READ FROM THEIR WORK

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books by skylightbooks on April 10th, 2017

Join us as professors and students from UC Riverside’s Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts MFA read from their work. Readers include: Tom Lutz, Charmaine Craig, Katie Ford, Robin Russin, Bernardita Garcia, Ashanti Anderson, Alicia Mosely, Lorelei Baughman, and Emily Margaret Wells.

Tom Lutz is the author, most recently, of And the Monkey Learned Nothing: Dispatches from a Life of Travel and Drinking Mare's Milk on the Roof of the World: Wandering the Globe from Azerbaijan to Zanzibar. He is the founding editor of Los Angeles Review of Books.

Robin Uriel Russin is a professor of screenwriting and playwriting in the Department of Theatre, Film & Digital Production at the University of California, Riverside. He has written, produced and directed for film, TV and the theater, including the box office hit On Deadly Ground; America’s Most Wanted; and Vital Signs on ABC, where he was Senior Producer. Robin is co-author of the books Screenplay: Writing the Picture, now in its second edition, and Naked Playwriting. His stories, articles and reviews have been appeared in Script Magazine, Verdad Magazine, Connotation Press, Harvard Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The American Oxonian, Shofar, and elsewhere. A Rhodes Scholar, Robin has degrees from Harvard, Oxford, Rhode Island School of Design, and UCLA. His play, The Face in the Reeds, recently premiered in an extended run at the Ruskin Group Theatre, where he initiated and leads a workshop for emerging and established local playwrights. His original one-hour pilot script about King David, Beloved, was adapted by ABC TV as Of Kings and Prophets. Robin is currently directing the indie feature, When I Sing.

Katie Ford is the author of DepositionColosseum, and Blood Lyrics, which was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Rilke Prize. Colosseum was named among the “Best Books of 2008” by Publishers Weekly and the Virginia Quarterly Review and led to a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry MagazineThe Paris ReviewThe American Poetry Review and The Norton Introduction for Literature, and she is currently serving as a judge for the 2016 National Book Awards. Her fourth book is forthcoming from Graywolf Press is 2018. She is a Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the MFA Program.

Charmaine Craig is a faculty member in the Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside, and the descendant of significant figures in Burma’s modern history. A former actor in film and television, she studied literature at Harvard University and received her MFA from the University of California, Irvine. Her first novel, The Good Men (Riverhead), was a national bestseller translated into six languages.

Bernardita García is a twenty-nine year-old Chilean journalist who is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at UC Riverside. For the last two years, she has worked as a ghostwriter. In 2016, her children’s book “La Ballena Jorobada” (The Humpback Whale) was given an award by the Municipality of Santiago, Chile. She's a paws-and-tails lover and was the coordinator of Chile’s largest animal rights campaign: #NoSonMuebles. Her writing is influenced by Latin American social changes, women’s struggle and her generation’s quest for its own identity.  

Lorelei Baughman has spent her life in California, with interludes in France and the San Juan Islands. She’s been in sales, driven a taxi, and owns a business. Now that she’s writing, she looks back most fondly on driving the taxi. She writes short stories, and graduated from UC Riverside in 2015 with a BA in Creative Writing. She loves teaching almost as much as she loves writing, and has conducted a Creative Writing class at the Chino Women’s Correctional Facility. She has been published in Bravura and Mosaic. Her stories are about ordinary people in Las Vegas and Nebraska, but she secretly wants to write about angels and genii wielding scimitars up in the ozone, inflicting their whims on the grocery clerks and civil engineers below.  She lives in Temecula, California with her husband and dogs.

Ashanti Anderson earned her B.S. in Psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana. Before officially deciding to pursue her goals as a writer, she was a research assistant in a lab that studied the effects of music on the cognition of individuals with dementia. She has published poetry, creative non-fiction, essays, and research articles through various print and electronic publications. Her interests include psychology, theology, cooking, and nature, and she usually (sometimes unintentionally) incorporates at least two of those into every piece that she writes.

Alicia Mosley was born in Santa Cruz, California and spent most of her life with one foot in Northern California and the other in Southern. In her writing, she is interested in exploring the ways people straddle the intersections of place, culture, and time. Alicia currently lives in Riverside with her four children and is working on her first novel.

Emily Margaret Wells writes true stories (journalism) and obliquely true stories (fiction). She is working on a novel about art, family and religion, which she plans to complete during the MFA at UC Riverside. Formerly a newspaper reporter, fashion model and ballet dancer, she lives and works with a nameless cat.

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