Leland Cheuk

Leland Cheuk (’01, ’02, ’19) is the award-winning author of three books of fiction, including the novel No Good Very Bad Asian. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Boston Globe, NPR, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Salon. He’s been awarded fellowships at MacDowell, Hawthornden Castle, Djerassi, and elsewhere. He founded and runs the press 7.13 Books and lives in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: Jessi Tran

Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Ingrid Rojas Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her memoir, The Man Who Could Move Clouds, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won a Medal in Nonfiction from the California Book Awards. It was also a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and was long-listed for a Carnegie Medal in Excellence in Nonfiction. It was named a “Best Book of the Year” by TIME, People, NPR, Vanity Fair, and the Boston Globe, among others. Her first novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree was the silver medal winner in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and a New York Times editor’s choice. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Cut, and ZYZZYVA. [F/NF] ingridrojascontreras.com

Tyler Dilts

Tyler Dilts (’00) is the author of five novels, including the the Edgar Award-nominated Come Twilight and the #1 Amazon Bestseller, A Cold and Broken Hallelujah. He earned his MFA in Fiction from California State University, Long Beach where he now teaches fiction writing and narrative theory. He’s also served as the Visiting Writer at John Cabot University in Rome and taught as visiting faculty at the UCR Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Program. His most recent novel, Mercy Dogs, is currently being developed as a TV series by Bad Wolf Productions.

Alex Espinoza

Alex Espinoza’s (’04, ’05) debut novel, Still Water Saints, was published to wide critical acclaim. His second novel, The Five Acts of Diego León, was the winner of a 2014 American Book Award. He is the author of the nonfiction book Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime and has written for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, VQR, the Los Angeles Times, and NPR. His short story “Detainment” was selected for inclusion in the 2022 Best American Mystery and Suspense Stories.  His latest novel is The Sons of El Rey (Simon and Schuster, June 2024). Alex lives in Los Angeles and is the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair and Professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside.

Janet Fitch

Janet Fitch (’17) is the author of the #1 national bestseller White Oleander, a novel translated into 24 languages, an Oprah Book Club book and the basis of a feature film, Paint It Black, also widely translated and made into a 2017 film, and her epic novels of the Russian Revolution, The Revolution of Marina M. and Chimes of a Lost Cathedral. Additionally, she has written a young adult novel, Kicks, short stories, essays, articles, and reviews, and contributed to anthologies. She taught creative writing for 14 years in the USC Master of Professional Writing program, as well as VCFA’s Writing and Publishing program, A Room of Her Own (AROHO), the UCLA Writer’s Program, and Pomona College. She lectures frequently on fiction writing. Fitch was a 2009 Likhachev Cultural Fellow to St. Petersburg, Russia, a Helen R. Whiteley Fellow, a Research Fellow at the Huntington Library and a Moseley Fellow at Pomona College.

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 lives in Santa Cruz, California. [F]  www.karenjoyfowler.com

Photo credit: Nathan Quintanilla

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] sandshall.com

Photo Credit: Tracy Hall

Rachel Howard

Rachel Howard is the author of a novel, The Risk of Us, and a memoir, The Lost Night. Her stories and essays have appeared in StoryQuarterly, ZYZZYVA, the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other venues. She served as Joan Beebe Teaching Fellow and Interim Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing at Warren Wilson College and teaches nonfiction and novel writing at Stanford Continuing Studies. For more than 20 years she has written dance criticism for the San Francisco Chronicle. [F/NF] rachelhoward.com

Photo Credit: Emmet Cullen

Dana Johnson

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. Her most recent work is Trailblazer: Delilah Beasley’s California, a fictionalized account of the life of African American historian and scholar Delilah Beasley. Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, she is a professor of English at the University of Southern California. [F]  www.danajohnsonauthor.com

Photo credit: Brett Hall Jones

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 

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 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

Sameer Pandya

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 forthcoming novel The Boys will be published in 2025 by Ballantine/Random House in the US and Bloomsbury in the UK. His cultural criticism has appeared in a range of publications, including the Atlantic, Salon, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN. He is an Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. [F]

Victoria Patterson

Victoria Patterson’s latest story collection, The Secret Habit of Sorrow, was published in 2018. The critic Michael Schaub wrote: “There’s not a story in the book that’s less than great; it’s a stunningly beautiful collection by a writer working at the top of her game.” Her novel The Little Brother, which Vanity Fair called “a brutal, deeply empathetic, and emotionally wrenching examination of American male privilege and rape culture,” was published in 2015. She is also the author of the novels The Peerless Four and This Vacant Paradise, a 2011 New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her story collection, Drift, was a finalist for the California Book Award and the Story Prize and was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by the San Francisco Chronicle. She currently teaches at Antioch University’s Master of Fine Arts program. [F]

Jason Roberts

Jason Roberts is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. His most recent book is Every Living Thing: The Great and Deadly Race to Know All Life, published this year by Random House. His previous book, A Sense of the World: How Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler, was a national bestseller and a finalist of the National Book Critics Circle Award. [NF]

Photo Credit: Brett Hall Jones

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] margaretwilkersonsexton.com

Photo Credit: Smeeta Mahanti

Martin J. Smith

Martin J. Smith is the author of five crime novels and five nonfiction books including Going to Trinidad: A Doctor, a Colorado Town, and Stories from an Unlikely Gender Crossroads, a finalist for a 2022 Colorado Book Award. The veteran journalist and magazine editor has won more than fifty newspaper and magazine writing awards, and his novels have been short-listed for three of the publishing industry’s most prestigious honors, including the Edgar Award, the Anthony Award, and the Barry Award. He is a former senior editor of the Los Angeles Times Magazine and Orange Coast Magazine. [F/NF] martinjsmith.com

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]  gregoryspatz.com

Photo Credit: Julia Graff

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

Gail Tsukiyama

Gail Tsukiyama is the author of nine novels, including Women of the Silk, The Samurai’s Garden, The Color of Air, and her latest novel, The Brightest Star. 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. One of fifty authors chosen by the Library of Congress to participate in the first National Book Festival in Washington D.C., she has taught at San Francisco State University, University of California, Berkeley, and Mills College. [F] gailtsukiyama.com

David L. Ulin

David L. Ulin is the author, most recently, of the novel Thirteen Question Method. His other books include Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, shortlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay; The Lost Art of Reading: Books and Resistance in a Troubled Time; and Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award. He is the books editor of Alta and the former book editor and book critic of the Los Angeles Times. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Harper’s, The Paris Review, and The Best American Essays 2020. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and Ucross Foundation, as well as a COLA Individual Master Artist Grant from the City of Los Angeles, he is a Professor of English at the University of Southern California, where he edits the journal Air/Light. [F/NF] theshipmanagency.com

Monica West

Monica West is the author of Revival Season, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a Barnes and Noble Discover selection, and short listed for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. She received her B.A. from Duke University, her M.A. from New York University, and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. She has received fellowships and funding from Bread Loaf, Hedgebrook, Kimbilio Fiction, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She currently serves as the Visiting Assistant Professor of Fiction at the University of San Francisco. [F] monicawestwrites.com

Photo: Chickpea Photography

Tom Zoellner

Tom Zoellner is the author of eight nonfiction books including Island on Fire, which won the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Bancroft Prize. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy and many other places. He teaches at Chapman University and Dartmouth College and also serves as an editor-at-large for The Los Angeles Review of Books. [NF] tomzoellner.com