Lisa Alvarez

Lisa Alvarez’s poetry and prose have appeared in journals including most recently Air/Light, Anacapa Review, Huizache, So it Goes, and in anthologies such as Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America (Norton) and most recently, Rumors, Secrets and Lies: Poems about Pregnancy, Abortion and Choice (Anhinga Press) and Dear California: The Golden State in Diaries and Letters (Stanford University Press) edited by David Kipen.  She has edited three anthologies including Why to These Rocks: 50 years of Poetry from the Community of Writers (Heyday). For over 30 years, she has taught at Irvine Valley College where she co-directs the Puente Program.  She co-directs the Writers Workshops at the Community of writers and serves as Assistant to the Poetry Director.

Photo credit: Brett Hall Jones

Chris Feliciano Arnold

Chris Feliciano Arnold is the author of The Third Bank of the River: Power and Survival in the Twenty-First Century Amazon. He has written essays and journalism for The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New York Times, Outside, Vice News, Sports Illustrated, and more. The recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, he has published fiction in Playboy, The Kenyon Review, Ecotone and other magazines. Along the way, his work has been noted in The Best American Sports Writing and The Best American Short Stories. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he is Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College of California. [F/NF]

Photo: Reyna Tenorio

Lynn Freed

Lynn Freed’s books include seven novels, a collection of stories, and two collections of essays. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, among numerous others. She is the recipient of the inaugural Katherine Anne Porter Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two O. Henry Awards for fiction, and has received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Guggenheim Foundation, among others. She is Professor Emerita of English at the University of California, Davis, and lives in Northern California.  [F]

Photo Credit: Brett Hall Jones

Molly Giles

Molly Giles is the author of five award-winning short story collections (Rough Translations, Creek Walk, Bothered, and All The Wrong Places) and a novel, Iron Shoes. Her collection of short stories, Wife With Knife, recently won the Leap Frog Fiction Contest and was published in October of 2021. Her new novel, The Home for Unwed Husbands will be published by Leapfrog in spring 2023. Her memoir, Life Span, will appear in 2024. She attended the Community of Writers Summer Workshop a thousand years ago as a scholarship student and has happily returned as student and staff member many times since. She has won an NEA, an NBCC award for book reviewing, and has taught Fiction Writing at San Francisco State University and The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. [F]

Debra Gwartney

Debra Gwartney is the author of two book-length memoirs, Live Through This, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and I Am a Stranger Here Myself, winner of the RiverTeeth Nonfiction Prize and the Willa Award for Nonfiction. Debra has published in such journals as Granta, The Sun, Tin House, American Scholar, Creative Nonfiction, VQR, and others. She is the recipient of two Pushcart prizes and her essay, “Fire and Ice,” was recently selected for Best American Essays. She is co-editor, along with her husband Barry Lopez, of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape. She lives in Western Oregon. [M]

Sands Hall

Sands Hall is the author most recently of the award-winning memoir, Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology (Counterpoint Press). Blackstone Audio produced the audio book, read by the author. Her novel, Catching Heaven (Ballantine), is a Willa Award finalist. Her prize-winning essays and stories have appeared in such journals as Alta Journal, New England Review, Iowa Review, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.  Sands co-directs the Nonfiction/Memoir Program at the Community of Writers. [F/NF]

Photo Credit: Tracy Hall

Vanessa Hua

Vanessa Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of A River of Stars, Deceit and Other Possibilities, and Forbidden City. A National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, she has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, a Steinbeck Fellowship, and honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists’ Association. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic and elsewhere. She lives in the Bay Area with her family and has taught at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, University of San Francisco and elsewhere. [F/NF]

Photo Credit: Andria Lo

Louis B. Jones

Louis B. Jones is the author of five novels, three on the New York Times annual list of Notable Books. A Fellow of the NEA and the MacDowell Colony, he has published stories and essays in ZYZZYVA, Santa Monica Review, and The Threepenny Review. He has served as Writer-in-Residence at Washington University in St. Louis and Wichita State University; and has for many years helped run the Community of Writers. [F]

Photo Credit: Brett Hall Jones 

Devi Laskar

Devi S. Laskar (’04, ’08, ’14, ’15, ’21) is the author of The Atlas of Reds and Blues, winner of 7th annual Crook’s Corner Book Prize (2020) for best debut novel set in the South, winner of the 2020 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (selected by APALA); selected by The Georgia Center for the Book as a 2019 book “All Georgians Should Read,” finalist for the 2020 Northern California Book Award, long-listed for the DSC Prize in South Asian Literature and the Golden Poppy Award. The novel was named by The Washington Post as one of the 50 best books of 2019. Laskar’s second novel, Circa, was published on May 3, 2022, by Mariner Books. Her third novel, Midnight, At the War, will be published by Mariner Books in Spring 2024. In 2022, USA Today named Laskar among “50 AAPI authors” to read and Goop selected Circa as its June Goop Book Club pick. Laskar holds degrees from Columbia University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., she now lives in California with her family.

Photo Credit: Anjini Laskar

Krys Lee

Krys Lee is the author of the story collection Drifting House and the novel How I Became a North Korean, and the translator of two books by Young-ha Kim. She is the recipient of the Rome Prize in Literature and the Story Prize Spotlight Award, the Honor Title in Adult Fiction Literature from the Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association, a Granta New Voices pick, and was a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the BBC International Story Prize. She teaches creative writing at Yonsei University, Underwood International College.

Photo Credit: Matt Douma

Edan Lepucki

Edan Lepucki is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels California, Woman No. 17, and Time’s Mouth, which comes out August 1, 2023. She is also the editor of Mothers Before: Stories and Portraits of Our Mothers as We Never Saw Them. Her nonfiction has been published in Esquire Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and The Cut, among other publications, and her short story “People in Hell Want Ice Water” is available as an Audible Original. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Photo credit: Ralph Palumbo

Maceo Montoya

Maceo Montoya is an author, visual artist, and educator who has published books in a variety of genres, including four works of fiction: The Scoundrel and the Optimist, The Deportation of Wopper Barraza, You Must Fight Them: A Novella and Stories, and Preparatory Notes for Future Masterpieces. Montoya has also published two works of nonfiction: Letters to the Poet from His Brother, a hybrid book combining images, prose poems, and essays, and Chicano Movement for Beginners, which he both wrote and illustrated. Montoya is a professor of Chicana/o Studies and English at the University of California, Davis where he teaches courses on Chicanx culture, literature, and creative writing. He is the editor of the literary magazine Huizache and lives in Woodland, CA. [F/NF]

Photo: Alejandra Pérez

Keenan Norris

Keenan Norris’s latest novel is The Confession of Copeland Cane, the winner of the 2022 Northern California Book Award. As an essayist, he’s earned a 2022 National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award and a 2021 Folio: Eddie Award (for the essays “She Who Remembers” and “One Coyote” respectively). His debut novel Brother and the Dancer received the 2012 James D. Houston Award. He’s also authored the book of essays Chi Boy: Native Sons and Chicago Reckonings and the novella Lustre. Keenan is Associate Professor of American literature and creative writing at San Jose State University and coordinator of the Steinbeck Fellows Program. He has been the Rea Visiting Writer at the University of Virginia and is a Callaloo fellow. [F/NF]

Photo: Akubundu Amazu-Lott

Peter Orner

Peter Orner is the author of the novels The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and, Love and Shame and Love and three story collections, Esther Stories, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, and Maggie Brown & Others. His collection of essays, Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. Still No Word from You, a memoir in essays, was published in October, 2022. A three-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, Orner’s work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, Granta, and McSweeney’s. He has been awarded the Rome Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Orner is the director of creative writing at Dartmouth College and lives with his family in Vermont, where he’s a volunteer on the fire department. [F/NF]

Photo: Pawel Kruk

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton studied creative writing at Dartmouth College and law at UC Berkeley. Her most recent novel, On The Rooftop, was a September 2022 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick. Her second novel, The Revisioners, won a 2020 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work 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. She lives in Oakland with her family. [F]

Photo Credit: Smeeta Mahanti

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. She serves as the co-director of the nonfiction program at the Community of Writers.

Photo credit: Stephanie Mohan

Gregory Spatz

Gregory Spatz’s most recent book publications are the novel Inukshuk and the collection of interconnected novellas and stories What Could Be Saved. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, Southern Review, New England Review, Santa Monica Review, Zyzzyva and in many other publications. Among other honors and awards, he’s the recipient of a Washington State Book Award and an NEA Fellowship. He teaches in and directs the program for creative writing at Eastern Washington University. [F]

Photo Credit: Julia Graff

Héctor Tobar

Héctor Tobar is the Los Angeles-born author of six books, including the nonfiction Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino,” and 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. His books have been translated into 15 languages. His novel The Barbarian Nurseries won the California Book Award, and his fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories. 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. [F/NF]

Photo: Patrice Normand, Opale Agency

Andrew Tonkovich

Andrew Tonkovich is the editor of the Santa Monica Review, and founding editor of Citric Acid. He is the author of two story collections, and co-author with Lisa Alvarez of Orange County: A Literary Field Guide. He has written reviews and commentary in the Los Angeles Times, LA Review of Books, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Ecotone, Juked and OC Weekly. He is also the host of KPFK’s Bibliocracy Radio. [F]

Photo Credit: Brett Hall Jones

Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins was born in Bishop, California in 1984 and raised in the Mojave Desert, in Tecopa, California, and Pahrump, Nevada. A graduate of the University of Nevada Reno and the Ohio State University, Claire is the author of three books: two novels (Gold, Fame, Citrus, and I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness), and the short story collection Battleborn. She has been awarded the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times,, The Believer, on Granta‘s list of “Best Young American Novelists,” and elsewhere. She is a professor at UC Irvine, lives in Twentynine Palms, and can often be found at Camp Yellow Pine in the South Pahrump Valley, where she engages in direct action against for-profit industrial solar on public wilderness and for free, distributed community solar in the built environment alongside local conservation groups Basin and Range Watch and Mojave Green. [F/NF]

Photo credit: Lise Watkins