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.
Leslie Daniels’ first novel, Cleaning Nabokov’s House has been published in translation in four languages. The novel, now under option for film, fights the good fight of being both literary and funny. Daniels’ stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications. Her background in publishing includes over a decade as a literary agent in New York, as well as serving as the fiction editor for Green Mountains Review. She currently teaches writing at the Spalding University MFA program, and the Community of Writers. Leslie Daniels lives in Ithaca, New York. www.lesliedaniels.com
Alex Espinoza earned his MFA from UC Irvine and is the author of the novels Still Water Saints and The Five Acts of Diego León, both from Random House. His newest book is Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime. He’s written for the LA Times, the NY Times Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, and NPR’s All Things Considered. The recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the MacDowell Colony, as well as an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, he is the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair of Creative Writing at UC Riverside and is completing a new novel. https://www.alexespinoza.com/
Photo Credit: Tracy Hall
Janet Fitch’s first novel, White Oleander, was a #1 New York Times bestseller and Oprah’s Book Club selection, translated into 24 languages and made into a feature film. Her second novel, Paint It Black, a national bestseller, was made into a 2017 feature film, written and directed by Amber Tamblyn. Her most recent books are a duet of novels set during the Russian Revolution, The Revolution of Marina M. and Chimes of a Los Cathedral. She leads weekend writing intensives through the Community of Writers, and is longtime staff at the Summer Workshops, which she herself attended as a young writer. www.janetfitchwrites.comwww.janetfitchwrites.com
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Karen Joy Fowler is a novelist and writer of short fiction. Her work ranges from literary to science fiction, from contemporary to historical. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves won the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award, the California Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2014. She has recently finished a seventh novel, expected out in 2022. She is currently sheltering at home in the beautiful city of Santa Cruz, California. www.karenjoyfowler.com
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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 https://sandshall.com/
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Vanessa Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of the national bestseller, A River of Stars, and the short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. A National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, her honors include Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, and Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Social Justice Reporting. Her work appeared publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic. She teaches at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and elsewhere. www.vanessahua.com
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Michael Jaime-Becerra is a writer from El Monte, California, a working-class suburb east of East Los Angeles. He is the author of This Time Tomorrow, a novel awarded an International Latino Book Award, and Every Night Is Ladies’ Night, a story collection that received the California Book Award for a First Work of Fiction. Recent essays of his have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, ZYZZYVA, and The Los Angeles Review of Books.
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Dana Johnson is the author of the short story collection In the Not Quite Dark. She is also the author of Break Any Woman Down, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction; and the novel Elsewhere, California. Both books were nominees for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, The Paris Review, Callaloo, The Iowa Review and Huizache, among others. Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, she is a professor of English at the University of Southern California. https://danajohnsonauthor.com/
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Louis B. Jones is the author of the novels Ordinary Money (Viking); Particles and Luck and California’s Over (Pantheon); Radiance, and Innocence (Counterpoint). His short fiction and essays have appeared in ZYZZYVA, The Threepenny Review, Open City, The Sun, Santa Monica Review, the Pushcart Prize, and The Best of Pushcart anthology. He co-directs the Writers Workshops at the Community of Writers. www.louisbjones.com
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Peter Orner is the author of six books including, Maggie Brown & Others, a New York Times Notable Book, an Oprah Magazine Top Ten book for 2019, and winner of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for Jewish Fiction. His novel, Love and Shame and Love, won the California Book Award and his essay collection Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Reading to Live and Living to Read was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A three-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, Orner received the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Best American Stories. He holds the Dartmouth Professorship of English and Creative Writing, and lives with his family in Norwich, Vermont where he’s a member of the fire department.
Kirstin Valdez Quade is the author of Night at the Fiestas, which won the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation. Kirstin was awarded a Rome Prize, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, and a Stegner Fellowship. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. She is an Assistant Professor at Princeton. Her new novel is The Five Wounds, out April 2021.
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Margaret Wilkerson Sexton was born and raised in New Orleans, and studied creative writing at Dartmouth College and law at UC Berkeley. Her most recent novel, The Revisioners, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, was a California Book Award finalist, and was a national bestseller as well as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her debut novel, A Kind of Freedom, was long-listed for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award, won the Crook’s Corner Book Prize, and was the recipient of the First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Her work has been published in The Paris Review; O, The Oprah Magazine; The New York Times Book Review; and other publications. She lives in Oakland with her family. https://margaretwilkersonsexton.com/
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Martin J. Smith is an award-winning journalist and author of five suspense novels, including the Edgar Award-nominated Straw Men and the thriller Combustion; and five nonfiction books, including The Wild Duck Chase, the essay collection Mr. Las Vegas Has a Bad Knee, and the forthcoming Going to Trinidad: A Doctor, a Colorado Town, and Stories from an Unlikely Gender Crossroads (Bower House, April 2021). A participant at the Community of Writers in 1992, Smith has been returning as a faculty member since 2002. https://martinjsmith.com/
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Hector Tobar is the author of five books, including the novels The Last Great Road Bum, The Tattooed Soldier, and The Barbarian Nurseries. His non-fiction Deep Down Dark was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times bestseller. Tobar is a contributing editor to the New York Times editorial pages, and has written for The New Yorker and many other publications. His fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories and his books that have been translated into 15 languages. He teaches at the University of California, Irvine. www.hectortobar.com
Gail Tsukiyama is the author of eight novels, including Women of the Silk, The Samurai’s Garden, The Street of a Thousand Blossoms, and her latest novel, The Color of Air. She has been the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Award, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence, and the Asia Pacific Leadership Award from the Center of the Pacific Rim and the Ricci Institute. A resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, she has taught at San Francisco State University, University of California, Berkeley, and Mills College.
Josh Weil is the author of the novel The Great Glass Sea, the novella collection The New Valley, and story collection The Age of Perpetual Light. A Fulbright Fellow and National Book Foundation 5-under-35 honoree, he has been awarded The American Academy of Arts and Letters’ First Fiction Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the GrubStreet National Book Prize, the Library of Virginia Literary Award, the California Book Award, and a Pushcart. A writing teacher for over a decade, he has most recently taught in the MFA program at U.C. Irvine and at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. www.joshweil.com
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Tiphanie Yanique is the author of the poetry collection, Wife, which won the 2016 Bocas Prize in Caribbean poetry and the United Kingdom’s 2016 Forward/Felix Dennis Prize for a First Collection. Tiphanie is also the author of the novel, Land of Love and Drowning, which won the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award from the Center for Fiction, the Phillis Wheatley Award for Pan-African Literature, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, and was listed by NPR as one of the Best Books of 2014. Land of Love and Drowning was also a finalist for the Orion Award in Environmental Literature and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. She is the author of a collection of stories, How to Escape from a Leper Colony, which won her a listing as one of the National Book Foundation’s 5Under35. Her writing has won the Bocas Award for Caribbean Fiction, the Boston Review Prize in Fiction, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship and an Academy of American Poet’s Prize. She has been listed by the Boston Globe as one of the sixteen cultural figures to watch out for and her writing has been published in the New York Times, Best African American Fiction, The Wall Street Journal, American Short Fiction and other places. Tiphanie is from the Virgin Islands and is a professor at Emory University. She lives in Atlanta with her family. www.tiphanieyanique.com