Lisa Alvarez’s poetry and prose have appeared in Air/Light, Huizache, [Pank], the Los Angeles Times, Santa Monica Review and elsewhere. Her work has been included anthologies such as Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America (W.W. Norton) and adapted for the stage by L.A.’s New Short Fiction Series and Breath of Fire’s COVID Monologues. She has edited three anthologies, including Orange County: A Literary Field Guide and most recently, Why to These Rocks: Fifty Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers, both published by Heyday Books. Through the decades, she has practiced a politically engaged public and performance art activism which ranges from guerrilla installations and performances to poster art and was most recently a contributor to the La Maestra exhibit at Crear Studio. She is a professor of English and Irvine Valley College and in the summers co-directs the Writers Workshops at the Community of Writers.
Tom Barbash is the author of four books as well as reviews, essays, and articles for publications such as McSweeney’s, Tin House, the Believer, Narrative Magazine, ZYZZYVA, and the New York Times. His short story collection Stay Up With Me was nominated for the Folio Prize and picked as a Best Book of the Year by the Independent of London, NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Jose Mercury News. His novel The Last Good Chance was awarded The California Book Award and was a Publishers Weekly and Anniston Star Best Book of the Year. His nonfiction book On Top of the World, about the fate of the bond firm Cantor Fitzgerald on 9/11, was a New York Times Bestseller. A well-regarded speaker, panelist, and interviewer, Barbash teaches the novel, short fiction, and nonfiction at California College of the Arts. His most recent book, the novel The Dakota Winters, was a National Bestseller, and named as an Editors Choice by The New York Times Book Review, Oprah Magazine, Rolling Stone and People.
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Leland Cheuk is an author of three books of fiction, most recently the novel No Good Very Bad Asian. Cheuk’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as NPR, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Prairie Schooner, among other outlets. He is the founder of the indie press 7.13 Books and lives in Los Angeles. You can follow him on Twitter @lcheuk and at lelandcheuk.com.
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Tyler Dilts received his MA in English Literature and MFA in Fiction Writing from California State University, Long Beach. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Air/Light, and The Best American Mystery Stories, and he is the author of the Long Beach Homicide series of detective novels: A King of Infinite Space, The Pain Scale, A Cold and Broken Hallelujah (An Amazon #1 Bestseller), the Edgar Award-nominated Come Twilight, and most recently the standalone novel, Mercy Dogs. He lives with his wife in Long Beach, California and teaches creative writing at CSULB.
Louis Edwards is the author of four novels, including his latest, Ramadan Ramsey (Amistad/Harper Collins), which was selected as one of the best books of 2021 by NPR and Publishers Weekly. He has won both the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Whiting Writers Award. Born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Edwards attended Hunter College and LSU (B.A. in Journalism). He has had a decades-long career as a producer of many special events, most notably the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He is the Chief Creative Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of Festival Productions, Inc.-New Orleans.
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Alex Espinoza was born in Tijuana, Mexico to parents from the state of Michoacán. He graduated from the University of California-Riverside, then went on to earn an MFA from UC-Irvine’s Program in Writing. His first novel, Still Water Saints, was published by Random House in 2007. His second novel, The Five Acts of Diego León, was published by Random House in March 2013. Alex’s work has appeared in several anthologies and journals. His awards include a 2009 Margaret Bridgeman Fellowship in Fiction to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a 2014 Fellowship in Prose from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a 2014 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for The Five Acts of Diego León. His latest is Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime (Unnamed Press 2019). Alex teaches at UC-Riverside where he serves as the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair of Creative Writing. www.alexespinoza.com
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Joshua Ferris is the author of four novels, including A Calling for Charlie Barnes, published in September of 2021, and a collection of stories, The Dinner Party. He was a finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Barnes and Noble Discover Award and the PEN/Hemingway Award. To Rise Again at a Decent Hour won the Dylan Thomas Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, and Best American Short Stories. He was awarded the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2016. He lives in New York.
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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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Debra Gwartney is the author of a hybrid memoir, I Am a Stranger Here Myself, winner of the RiverTeeth Nonfiction Prize and the Willa Cather Award from Women Writing the West. Debra’s first book is a memoir, Live Through This, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her essay “Suffer Me To Pass,” published in VQR, was the winner of a 2020 Pushcart Prize. Other work has appeared in Granta, Tin House, American Scholar, The Normal School, Creative Nonfiction, Prairie Schooner, Washington Square Review, Kenyon Review, Salon, Triquarterly Review, The New York Times “Modern Love” column, etc. She is a contributing editor at Poets & Writers Magazine, and lives in Western Oregon.
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/
Photo Credit: Tracy Hall
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Susan Henderson is a six-time Pushcart Prize nominee, the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Award, and author of the novels Up from the Blue and The Flicker of Old Dreams, both published by HarperCollins. A lifetime member of the NAACP and the National Book Critics Circle, she lives in New York and blogs at the writer support group, LitPark.com.
Rhoda Huffey’s novel 31 Paradiso is published by Delphinium Books. Her stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Santa Monica Review, Tin House, and other magazines. She holds an MFA from the Programs in Writing at the University of California, Irvine; and she was a student at the Community of Writers on multiple occasions. Her first novel, The Hallelujah Side, was a Barnes and Noble Discover Book, and is being republished alongside the second. She lives in Venice Beach with her husband, Bill McDonald, and a host of animals. www.rhodahuffey.com
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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 Ploughshares, 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/
Photo credit: Brett Hall Jones
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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Sameer Pandya is the author of the novel Members Only, a finalist for the California Book Award and an NPR Best Books of 2020, and the story collection The Blind Writer, longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award. His cultural criticism has appeared in a range of publications, including the Atlantic, Salon, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN. The recipient of the PEN/Civitella Fellowship, he is an Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Jason Roberts is the author of the nonfiction works A Sense of the World and the forthcoming Every Living Thing. He is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle and the Guardian First Book awards, and winner of the Van Zorn Prize. He is also the editor of four titles in the bestselling 642 Books series, each of them collections of creative materials for writers. http://jasonroberts.net/
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Gregory Spatz’s most recent book publications are the novel Inukshuk, short story collection Half as Happy, and the collection of connected stories and novellas What Could Be Saved. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, New England Review, Santa Monica Review, Kenyon Review, Post Road Magazine, Glimmer Train Stories and many others. He’s the recipient of a Washington State Book Award and fellowships from the NEA and the Washington State Artist Trust. He teaches in and directs the MFA program for creative writing at Eastern Washington University. http://www.gregoryspatz.com/
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Lysley Tenorio is the author of the novel The Son of Good Fortune and the story collection Monstress, which was named a book of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Whiting Award, a Stegner fellowship, the Edmund White Award, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Bogliasco Foundation. His stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Zoetrope: All-Story, and Ploughshares, and have been adapted for the stage by The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the Ma-Yi Theater in New York City. The Son of Good Fortune is being developed into a comedy series by Riz Ahmed and Lulu Wang for Amazon, and Tenorio is currently a 2021-22 Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University, where he is working on a novel. Born in the Philippines, he lives in San Francisco, and is a professor at Saint Mary’s College of California.
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Héctor Tobar is the Los Angeles-born author of five books, including the novels The Tattooed Soldier and The Last Great Road Bum. His nonfiction Deep Down Dark was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times bestseller. Tobar’s novel The Barbarian Nurseries won the California Book Award, and his fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories. His books have been translated into 15 languages. He earned his MFA from UC Irvine. As a journalist, he has been a foreign correspondent and has written for the New York Times, The New Yorker, and others. www.hectortobar.com
Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of the short story collection Battleborn and two novels: Gold, Fame, Citrus and I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness. She is a professor at the University of California, Irvine and lives in the Mojave Desert.
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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