Thomas Barbash

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.

Photo Credit: Sven Wiederholt

Michelle Chihara

Michelle Chihara is Editor-in-Chief at Los Angeles Review of Books. She was an editor and reporter when she got out of college, and worked as a staff writer at two weekly newspapers, The New Haven Advocate and The Boston Phoenix, before she eventually became an online editor at the news magazine Mother Jones. She has published reportage and essays in a variety of publications, online and off, like The Boston Globe, The Houston Chronicle and Mother Jones, as well as magazines like n+1, Her short story “The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors Even” was honored in The Best American NonRequired Reading 2014 “Notable” list; “Reading Katy Perry” was anthologized in the California Prose Directory 2014; her reported personal essay on Joan Didion and land in California from Rare Bird Press’s volume, Slouching Towards Los Angeles was featured on LitHub and on Arte TV in Europe. She received her MFA in fiction and then her PhD in English Literature from UC Irvine. Her peer-reviewed research appears in American Literary History and Postmodern Culture, among other journals. Other essays have appeared in Post45: Contemporaries, Politics/Letters and From 2013-2022, she was associate professor of English and director of the program in independent curricular design at Whittier College, where she taught contemporary American literature, media studies, critical theory, and creative writing. From 2016 onwards, she was a section editor in Economics & Finance until she became Editor-in-Chief at Los Angeles Review of Books in 2023. 

Katy Hays

Katy Hays is the author of The Cloisters, a New York Times and Sunday Times best seller, as well as Read with Jenna Pick. In addition to writing, Katy works as an adjunct Art History Professor, teaching rural students from Truckee to Tecopa. She holds an MA in Art History from Williams College and pursued her PhD in Art History at UC Berkeley. Her academic writing has been published by Ashgate, an imprint of Routledge.

Michelle Latiolais

Michelle Latiolais is Professor of English at the University of California at Irvine and Director of the Programs In Writing.  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, as was Widow, a collection of stories, Involutions and essays, released in January 2011.  She was released in May 2016 by W.W. Norton & Company.  Recent work has appeared in ZYZYVVA and the Santa Monica Review.

Photo Credit: Brett Hall Jones

Susanne Pari

Susanne Pari is the author of The Fortune Catcher, a novel of revolutionary Iran, and of In the Time of Our History, about an Iranian American family grappling with generational clashes and the rebellion of its women. It was an IndieNext pick, Target Book Club pick, 2023 Women’s National Book Association Group Reads Selection, and Hoopla Spotlight Selection. Her work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Boston GlobeThe San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and PEN America.

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. She is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her most recent book, The Backyard Bird a Chronicles (Knopf, April 2024) marks her debut as a nature journalist and bird artist.

She first attended the Community of Writers as a participant in 1987 and has since returned as a staff member and special guest for many years. She now sits on the Board of Directors of the Community of Writers.

Photo Credit: Kim Newmoney