Meg Waite Clayton

Meg Waite Clayton is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, most recently The Postmistress of Paris, a Good Morning America Buzz pick, People Magazine, IndieNext booksellers, LoanStars librarians, USA Today, Book of the Month Club and Amazon Editors’ pick that the San Francisco Chronicle calls “‘Casablanca’ if Rick had an artsy bent…powerful.” Her prior novels include the National Jewish Book Award finalist and international bestseller The Last Train to London, and The Wednesday Sisters, one of Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Essential Best Friend Novels of all time. Her novels have been published in 23 languages. She has also written more than 100 pieces for major newspapers, magazines, and public radio. She has participated in the Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman sponsored The Writers Lab for screenwriting, mentors in the OpEd Project, and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the California bar.

Photo Credit: Adrienne Defendi

Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel is an author and journalist. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and was selected as a best book of the year by the Chronicle and the Northern California Independent Booksellers’ Association. Her second book, Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California, was a New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and was named a best wine book of the year by the Wall Street Journal and Food and Wine magazine. Frances is the co-founder and former executive editor of the award-winning nonprofit news organization, Cityside, which has two news sites: Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Her freelance journalism has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Daily Beast, People magazine, AARP magazine and elsewhere. Frances has also participated in several documentaries and television shows including American Greed, Who Do You Think You Are? and American Jerusalem: Jews and the Making of San Francisco. She also has lectured widely on California and Jewish history, the wine business and the changing ecosystem, of local news. She lives in Berkeley.

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Karen Joy Fowler

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. Her novel Booth was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in 2022. She is currently sheltering at home in the beautiful city of Santa Cruz, California.

Photo credit: Nathan Quintanilla

Michelle Latiolais

Michelle Latiolais is a Professor of English at the University of California at Irvine. She is the author of the novel Even Now, which received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California. Her second novel, A Proper Knowledge, was published in 2008 by Bellevue Literary Press. She has published writing in three anthologies, Absolute Disaster; Women On The Edge: Writing From Los Angeles; and Woof! Writers on Dogs. Her stories and essays have appeared in ZYZZYVA, The Antioch Review, Western Humanities Review, Santa Monica Review, Iowa Review, Juked, The Kenyon Review, and Northwest Review. Widow, a collection of stories, involutions and essays, was published in 2011 by Bellevue Literary Press.  Her most recent book, She, was published in 2016 by W.W. Norton & Company.

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Andrew Nicholls

A Community participant in 2014, Andrew Nicholls has had short fiction in a dozen magazines and literary sites including Black Clock, New World Writing, The Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, and The Santa Monica Review.  He and longtime partner Darrell Vickers have sold over 70 TV comedy pilots, and worked on such shows as Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, The Fairly OddParents, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where they were head writers.  In recent years Nicholls has written stage plays, taught humor writing at UC Davis, and written a how-to book, Comedy Writer (2020).

Kris O’Shee

Kris O’Shee spent four decades as a modern dancer and choreographer, including a decade in London, where she cofounded Junction Dance Company and taught at the London Contemporary Dance School. After returning to the US, she taught and performed in the San Francisco Bay Area before taking a position on the dance faculty at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. She then moved to Washington, DC, to live with her husband, Alan Cheuse, and founded O’Shee Dances, through which she continued choreographing and performing. In the last two decades, O’Shee earned a certificate in massage therapy and a graduate degree in psychology. She currently has a private practice in psychotherapy in DC, where she resides. Her memoir, Our Last Blue Moon, was published in 2021 by Watershed Lit Books. www.

Julia Flynn Siler

Julia Flynn Siler is a New York Times best-selling author and journalist. Her most recent book, The White Devil’s Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco’s Chinatown (Knopf, 2019) was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a nonfiction finalist for the California Book Award. Her other books are The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, a finalist for a James Beard Award and a Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished reporting, and Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure. A graduate of Brown University (American Studies) and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Siler also earned an MBA at night from Northwestern University. A veteran journalist and National Endowment for the Humanities “Public Scholar” fellow, Siler was a foreign correspondent based in London and has been a guest commentator on PBS, the BBC, CNBC, and CNN. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. She will be a fellow at Stanford University’s Distinguished Careers Institute in 2024-2025.

Photo credit: Stephanie Mohan

Jordan Fisher Smith

Jordan Fisher Smith spent 21 years as a park ranger in California, the Rocky Mountains, and Alaska.  His fear of what climate change and extinction were doing to the places he loved spurred him to start writing for magazines, drawing on his experiences on the edge between civilization and nature. His first book Nature Noir—a cross between true crime, nature writing, and history—was an Audubon Editor’s Choice, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2005 pick, and a Wall Street Journal, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and American Booksellers Association summer reading selection when it came out in paperback.  Jordan’s second book, Engineering Eden, won a California Book Award and was longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing. Jordan has also written for The New Yorker, Men’s Journal, Orion, Discover, and other outlets. He appeared in and narrated a documentary about Lyme disease, “Under Our Skin,” which was shortlisted for the 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, and three other films. Jordan writes, speaks, and coaches writers from his base in the Gold Rush town of Nevada City, California.

Amy Tan

Amy Tan’s novels are The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Saving Fish from Drowning, and Valley of Amazement. She is the author of two memoirs, The Opposite of Fate and Where the Past Begins; and two children’s books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat. Tan served as co-producer and co-screenwriter for the film adaptation of The Joy Luck Club and creative consultant for the PBS television series, Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat.  She wrote the libretto for the opera The Bonesetter’s Daughter and is the subject of the American Masters documentary Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir. Tan is an instructor of a MasterClass on Fiction, Memory, and Imagination. Her next project, The Backyard Bird Chronicles, will be published in 2024.

Photo Credit: Kim Newmoney
wang 2016
Photo Credit: Kyle Zimmerman

Dora Wang

Dora-Linda Wang has won a Lannan Foundation Writers Residency, a New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, and the Pfeiffer Visiting Scholar Award form Stanford University. She studied English literature at UC Berkeley, where she earned an MA. She is the author of short works published in the Asian Pacific American Journal, and a literary memoir, The Kitchen Shrink: A Psychiatrist’s Reflections on Healing in a Changing World (Riverhead), about how medical care devolved into a for-profit industry. She is President of the American Psychiatric Association Caucus of Asian American Psychiatrists.