Lisa Alvarez

Host and Editor of Why to These Rocks

Lisa Alvarez’s poetry and prose has been published in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Huizache, [PANK], Santa Monica Review, TAB Journal and most recently in So It Goes, the literary journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library as well as anthologies including Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America (Norton). Along with Andrew Tonkovich, she co-edited Orange County: A Literary Field Guide (Heyday). She is the editor of the forthcoming Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poems from the Community of Writers (Heyday). Born in Los Angeles, she earned an MFA from UC Irvine and has taught for nearly 30 years as a professor of English at Irvine Valley College. She co-directs the Writers Workshops, and serves serves as Assistant Program Director at the Community of Writers.

Photo credit: Brett Hall Jones

Sands Hall

Sands Hall‘s recent memoir, Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology, (Counterpoint), was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award, and a Publishers Weekly Best Book in Religion and Spirituality. She is also the author of the novel, Catching Heaven (Ballantine), a Willa Award Winner, Women Writing the West, and a Random House Reader’s Circle selection; as well as a volume of essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft. Stories and essays have been published in such places as Iowa Review, New England Review, and Los Angeles Review of Books, and she has written several produced plays. Professor Emeritus at Franklin & Marshall College, Sands is a writing coach and teaches for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and for the Community of Writers, among other conferences. She is also a theater artist and a singer/songwriter. Sands lives in Nevada City, California. Please visit

Photo Credit: Tracy Hall

Brett Hall Jones

Brett Hall Jones has been director of the Community of Writers since 1991. Before that she was the Director of Photography at the auction House Butterfield & Butterfield. She is a photographer who specializes in portraits of authors. You can see some of her work here.  She is the daughter of Barbara and Oakley Hall who cofounded the Community of Writers, and is the wife of the novelist Louis B. Jones.

Andrew Tonkovich

Andrew Tonkovich is the longtime editor of the West Coast literary arts journal Santa Monica Review.  His essays, fiction and reviews have appeared in Faultline, ZYZZYVA, Ecotone, Juked, OC WeeklyBest American Nonrequired Reading, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Los Angeles Times. With Lisa Alvarez, he edited the anthology Orange County: A Literary Field Guide (Heyday).  He is the author of a comic novella collection, The Dairy of Anne Frank and More Wish Fulfillment in the Noughties (Blue Jay Ink), and a short story collection, Keeping Tahoe Blue and Other Provocations (What Books Press).
Photo Credit: Brett Hall Jones