2020 LA Times Festival of Books: Week 2 Preview

LA Times Festival of Books / Photo courtesy of LA Times Festival of Books


Marlon James, Author of “Black Leopard Red Wolf”, Winner of the Inaugural Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, in Conversation with Tananarive Due

“Marlon James, winner of the inaugural 2019 L.A. Times Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction and finalist for the 2019 National Book Award, will join award-winning writer and UCLA Afrofuturism professor Tananarive Due in a conversation about his ambitious and breathtaking science fiction novel  ‘Black Leopard Red Wolf’.” (LA Times Festival of Books)

Tananarive Due (interviewer)

Tananarive Due // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Tananarive Due is a writer, educator and producer in the Black Horror genre. She teaches Black Horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA and executive produced “Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror” (Shudder.) Tananarive authored three novels by herself, co-wrote a memoir with her mother (civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due), and co-wrote an episode of “The Twilight Zone” on CBS All Access. She is the recipient of an American Book Award, a British Fantasy Award and the NAACP Image Award. She is married with one son and two cats.

Find Tananarive: Website; Sources: Website

Marlon James

Marlon James // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

The New York Times Bestselling author Marlon James’s expertise lies in blogging, creative writing, criticism, fiction, Latin American fiction, post colonial literature, and southern literature. He earned a degree in language and literature from the University of West Indies and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. He has authored four books and his short- and non-fiction pieces have appeared in such publications as the Caribbean Review of Books, Esquire, GQ, Granta, Harpers, The New York Times, and several anthologies including “Kingston Noir” (Akashic Books, 2012), “Bronx Noir” (Akashic Books, 2007), and “Iron Balloons: Hit Fiction From Jamaica’s Calabash Workshop” (Akashic Books, 2006). His biggest influences are “Batman”, greek tragedy, James Ellroy, William Faulkner, Shakespeare, and “The X-Men”.

Marlon is an Associate Professor of English and Writer in Residence at Macalaster College. He is also a public speaker on the topics of carribbean history, race and gender in the U.S. and U.K.; writing and the writing process; and youth subcultures as expressed in literature and music. He has won a number of awards, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature (2018), the Council for the Institute of Jamaica Silver Musgrave Medal for Distinguished Eminence in the Field of Literature (2013), and Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019 in the “Pioneers” category. Outside of writing, Marlon hosts a podcast with his editor called “Marlon and Jake Read Dead People.” He is originally from Jamaica and currently divides his time between Minnesota and New York.

Find Marlon: Website; Sources: Barclay Agency ProfileMacalaster Staff Profile, One Grand Books


André Aciman, Gayle Forman, Greer Hendricks, and Sara Pekkanen in Conversation with Katie O’Connor, Sponsored by Audible

“André Aciman, Gayle Forman, Greer Hendricks, and Sarah Pekkanen will discuss writing fiction for audio, and with listeners in mind. Audible editor Katie O’Connor will guide the discussion.” (LA Times Festival of Books)

André Aciman

André Aciman // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

André Aciman is a writer, editor, educator and researcher based in Manhattan, NY. He has a B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Lehman College, and a Ph.D. and A.M. in Comparative Literature from Harvard. He held fellowships with the Guggenheim and the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. André currently teaches Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he also serves as director of the Writer’s Institute, the Center for Humanities, and the Critical Theory Certificate Program. He has also taught at Princeton and Bard, and is the editor of “The Proust Project.” His research interests include 17th century French literature, Madame de Lafayette, Marcel Proust, memoirs, memory in the 20th century, the psychological novel and the roman d’analyse. André has authored eight novels and his shorter works have appeared in The Best American EssaysThe New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review. He is the recipient of the 1995 Whiting Writers’ Award in Nonfiction.

Find André: Twitter; Sources: CUNY Faculty ProfileMacmillan Author Profile, Whiting Award Profile

Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Gayle Forman is an author, journalist and lecturer from Brooklyn. She held her first job with Seventeen Magazine and went on to have essays and nonfiction published in Cosmopolitan, Elle, The Nation, The New York Times, and Time. Gayle has authored six books including the number one New York Times Bestseller  “If I Stay” (Speak, 2010), which won the Indie Choice Honor Award in 2010 and was adapted for film in 2014.

Find Gayle: Website; Sources: Penguin Random House Speaker ProfileWebsite

Greer Hendricks

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Greer Hendricks is a former V.P. and Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster. She has authored three New York Times bestsellers and her work has been published in Allure, The New York Times, and Publishers Weekly. She has co-written two books with Sarah Pekkanen. Greer lives in Manhattan, NY with her husband and two children.

Find Greer: Website; Sources: Website

Sarah Pekkanen

Sarah Pekkanen is an author and journalist from Maryland. She is currently a features writer for the Baltimore Sun and a columnist for Bethesda Magazine. In the past she covered capitol hill news for e! Entertainment and USA Today. Sarah has authored eight books on her own and two with Greer Hendricks. Her writing has also been published in People and The Washington Post.

Find Sarah: Website; Sources: Simon & Schuster Author Profile, Website

Katie O’Connor

Katie O’Connor // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Katie O’Connor is the current Director of Editorial at Audible. After working as a Literary Assistant at ICM Partners, she became a Marketing Coordinator at Audible and over the course of seven years worked her way up to her current position. Katie earned a B.A. in English from Georgetown and is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Find Katie: LinkedIn; Sources: Audible Staff Profile, LinkedIn


Fiction: All You Need Is Love

“‘Crazy Rich Asians’ author Kevin Kwan returns with his brilliantly funny new release ‘Sex and Vanity,’ joining co-authors of ‘The Heir Affair,’ Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan in what is sure to be a deliciously fun conversation moderated by novelist and essayist Jade Chang. Hidden truths, scandalous secrets, and bad behavior abound as these authors explore fame, fortune and following your heart.” (LA Times Festival of Books)

Jade Chang

Jade Chang // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Jade Chang is the author of “The Wangs vs. the World”, a New York Times Editor’s Choice and 2016 Best Books Selection by Amazon, Buzzfeed, Elle Magazine, and NPR. She is a former Goodreads editor and Sunland Arts Journalist Fellow.

Find Jade: Website; Sources: The Caret Interview, Website


Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Heather Cocks // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Jessica Morgan // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan are longtime friends that have been writing partners since 2004. They co-founded the “snarky celebrity fashion site” Go-Fug Yourself and have co-authored three books: “Spoiled” (Poppy, 2011), “Messy” (Poppy, 2012), and “The Royal We” (Grand Central Publishing, 2015). The latter was a New York Times Summer Reading List selection, a People Magazine’s Editor’s Pick, a USA Today Bestseller, and was optioned by CBS Films.

Find Heather and Jessica: Website; Sources: Website

Kevin Kwan

Kevin Kwan // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Kevin Kwan is the author of four novels, including “Crazy Rich Asians” which was adapted into a popular feature film. In 2018 he was selected as one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Kevin was born in Singapore and has lived in the West Village of New York City since 1995.

Find Kevin: Website; Sources: Penguin Random House Author ProfileWebsite


Roots to Routes: Immigration and Race in L.A., Presented by USC

“This first half of a two-part panel on Los Angeles will explore issues of race and immigration in Southern California, both historically and today. Topics include how shifting racial demographics have changed the economy, and California’s impact on politics and immigration nationally. Featuring USC Professors Juan De Lara, Manuel Pastor, and Associate Professor Sarah Gualtieri moderated by Professor William Deverell.” (LA Times Festival of Books)

Juan De Lara

Juan De Lara // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Juan De Lara is a geographer, sociologist and writer. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Labor Studies from Pitzer College, an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley. He has also held a number of fellowships including one with the Institute for the Study of Social Change at UC Berkeley (2005-07), a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship (1996), a Rhodes Scholarship (1995-96), a McNair Scholarship (1994-95), and an American Sociological Association MOST Fellowship (1993-94). He is the former Program Director of the Ontario Community Studies Program at Pitzer College and currently holds two roles at USC: Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity and Founding Director of the USC Center for Latinx and Latin American Studies.

Juan’s extensive research has investigated immigration and labor, intersections of race, Latinx geographies, social justice and social movements, space and power, the politics of space, racialization, and the urban political economy. His current research projects are centered around the use of data science and technology to reorganize how state agencies restructure the social relations of race, immigration and labor. He has authored one book, “Inland Shift: Race, Space, and Capital in Inland Southern California” (UC Press, 2018) and his writing has been published in Annals of the American Association of Geographers, The Guardian, Human Geography, and the Labor Studies Journal, among many others.

Find Juan: Website; Sources: USC Dornsife Staff Profile, University of Texas DirectoryWebsite

William Francis Deverell (moderator)

William Francis Deverell // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

William Deverell is a professional historian, author and educator. He has an A.B. in American Studies from Stanford, an M.A. in History from Princeton, and a Ph.D. in History from Princeton. He has held a number of fellowships over the years including the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching Faculty Fellowship (2005-08), the Huntington Library’s Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellowship (2007-08), and the Beinecke Senior Fellow in Western Americana at Yale (2009-10). William’s teaching history is also extensive: he was a Postdoctoral Instructor of American History at CalTech/The Huntington Library (1988-89), Assistant and subsequently Associate Professor of History at UC San Diego (1990-96), Associate Professor of History at CalTech (1996-2004), and has been a Professor of History, Spatial Sciences and Environmental Studies at USC since 2004. He has served on the editorial boards of the San Diego History (2005), the Pacific Historical Review (2004-07), and the Western Historical Quarterly (2007-present). He also currently serves as the Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West.

William is the author of three books: “Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of its Mexican Past” (UC Press, 2004), “Eden by Design: The 1930 Olmsted-Bartholomew Plan for the Los Angeles Region” with Greg Hise (UC Press, 2000), and “Railroad Crossing: Californians and the Railroad, 1850-1910” (UC Press, 1994). He has also edited and co-edited several books: “Blackwell Companion to Los Angeles” with Greg Hise (Blackwell, 2010), “Blackwell Companion to California” with David Igler (Blackwell, 2008), “Land of Sunshine: An Environmental History of Metropolitan Los Angeles” with Greg Hise (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005),  “Blackwell Companion to the History of the American West” (Blackwell, 2004), and “Metropolis in the Making: Los Angeles in the 1920s and California Progressivism Revisited” with Tom Sitton (UC Press, 2001).

Sources: Dornsife Staff Profile, LA Service Academy Profile

Sarah Gualtieri

Sarah Gualtieri // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Sarah Gualtieri is an educator, author and researcher based in Los Angeles. She has a B.A. in History from McGill University, an M.A. in Middle East Studies and Ph.D. in Middle East History from the University of Chicago. She is currently an Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, History and Middle East Studies at USC and editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Culture. She served on the editorial board of Mashriq/Mahjar from 2012-17.

Sarah’s research focuses on Middle Eastern immigrants and diasporas. She has authored two books: “Arab Routes: Pathways to Syrian California” (Stanford University Press, 2019) and “Between Arab and White Race: Race and Ethnicity in the Early Syrian American Diaspora” (UC Press 2009). Other works have been published in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Journal of American Ethnic History, and the Syrian Studies Newsletter. Sarah has won a number of awards, most notably the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2016-17), the American Council of Learned Societies Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship (2008-09) and a Fullbright Award (1996-97).

Find Sarah: Twitter; Sources: USC Dornsife Profile, USC Press Room

Manuel Pastor

Manuel Pastor // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Manuel Pastor is an educator and author whose expertise lies in environmental justice; labor markets and low-wage workers; social movements targeting the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities; urban poverty; and regional economics. He has a B.A. in Economics and Creative Writing from UC Santa Cruz, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He was the recipient of fellowships from the Danforth, Guggenheim, and Kellogg foundations, and has received grants from a number of organizations including the California Air Resources Board, the California Endowment, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Manuel is the author of State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future” (The New Press, 2018) and has co-authored six other books. His writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Jose Mercury News, and The Sacramento Bee. He also edited “Unsettled Americans: Metropolitan Context and Civic Leadership for Immigrant Integration” with John Mollenkopf (Cornell University Press 2016). Manuel is the recipient of the Champion for Equity Award from the Advancement Project (2017), Liberty Hill Foundation’s Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year Award for Social Justice Research Partnerships (2012), and the Civic Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the California Center for Regional Leadership.

Manuel currently holds three positions at USC: Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity (2007-present), Director of the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, and Director of the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity. He is also the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Cival Society and Social Change at USC. Prior to USC, he held professorships at UC Santa Cruz (1996-2007) and Occidental College (1984-96). He was the Founding Director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community at UC Santa Cruz.

Find Manuel: Website; Sources: USC Dornsife Staff ProfileUSC ERI Profile, Website

Civic Memory and the Future of L.A., Presented by USC


“What and who should be remembered and memorialized across public spaces, and what should such commemorations look like? Members of the Civic Memory Working Group of Los Angeles, a diverse gathering of artists, architects, historians, and others, will explore the ideas and obligations around civic memory (and civic amnesia).Featuring USC Professor Christopher Hawthorne, architects Frederick Fisher and Gail Kennard, and Associate Professor Taj Frazier, moderated by Professor William Deverell.” (LA Times Festival of Books)

William Francis Deverell (moderator)
See previous event.

Frederick Fisher

Frederick Fisher // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Frederick Fisher is a professional architect. His firm, Frederick Fisher and Partners, designs structures in all branches of the industry: community spaces, educational facilities, libraries, live work environments, mixed-use developments, museums and galleries, parks, private residences, restaurants, and urban plans. His team finds inspiration in architecture, art, literature, performance, and everyday life. Past clients include, but are not limited to, the Annenberg Foundation, the Broad Art Foundation, CalTech, Colby College, Houston’s Restaurants, the Huntington Library, and Princeton University.

Frederick completed a B.A. in Art and Art History at Oberlin College, and an M.A. in Architecture at UCLA. He has been a registered architect since 1978. He is a former Fellow of the Academy in Rome and former Chairman of the Environmental Design Department at Otis College of Art & Design. Frederick currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors at Otis College and Board Member of the following committees: Board of Councilors at the USC School of Architecture, Board of Visitors at the UCLA School of the Arts, Lawrence University, and the Ojai Music Festival. He was the recipient of the 2013 Gold Medal by the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Find Frederick: Website; Sources: Archinect Profile, Website

Taj Frazier

Taj Frazier // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Taj Frazier is a cultural historian and educator. His expertise and research revolve around the artistic, political and expressive cultures of the African diaspora, particularly in the U.S. and China. This includes topics such as activism, cross-cultural exchange and traffic, globalization, histories and dynamics of race and gender, political communication, popular culture, social movements, and urban culture. He is currently studying African American activist intellectuals’ cross-cultural exchanges with the People’s Republic of China from 1949-1976. Taj has authored one book, The East Is Black: Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination” (Duke University Press, 2014). His writing has been published in a wide array of publications including American Quarterly, The Black Arts Quarterly, China Information, The Journal of African American History, The Journal of History and Cultures, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society.

Taj has taught courses at the City University of New York, New York University, Princeton University, and UC Berkeley. He currently works at USC as an Associate Professor of Communication, Director of Doctoral Studies, Director of the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg (IDEA), and in July 2020 was named Faculty Fellow of the Center on Public Diplomacy. Taj serves on the editorial boards of Communication, Culture & Critique and the Journal of Race and Policy. He also co-produced the documentary film “The World Is Yours” (2015).

Find Taj: Twitter; Sources: International Rhetoric WorkshopUC Berkeley AAS ADS ProfileUSC Annenberg, USC Center on Public DiplomacyUSC Press Room

Christopher Hawthorne

Christopher Hawthorne // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Christopher Hawthorne is an architect and journalist based in Los Angeles. He currently serves as the Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles, appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti. He has also been the Director of the Third Los Angeles Project at Occidental College since 2015. Previously, Christopher was an architecture critic for the LA Times (2004-2018), Slate and The New York Times. He has taught courses at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, and the Southern California Institute of Architecture. He completed a B.A. in Political Science and Architectural History at Yale University and has held the National Arts Journalism Program Fellowship at Columbia University as well as a Residency in Criticism at the American Academy in Rome.

Christopher wrote one book, “The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture” with Alanna Stang (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010). He has had other writings published in Architectural Record, Architecture, Harvard Design Magazine, Metropolis, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Slate. Christopher also wrote and directed the documentary “That Far Corner: Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Angeles” (2018). He has been awarded a Bradford Williams Medal from the American Society of Landscape Architects and an LA-area Emmy for “Third LA with Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne” (KCET, 2016).

Sources: Architect Magazine, LA Times Staff Profile, Living Cities Forum

Gail Kennard

Gail Kennard // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Gail Kennard is President of the Kennard Design Group of Architecture and Planning, the oldest African-American-owned architectural firm in the West. The company focuses on transit, public infrastructure and public works projects. She has been a member of the City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission since 2010 and currently serves as the commission’s Vice-President. Gail earned a B.A. in Communications from Stanford and an M.A. from UC Berkeley. She aims to serve historic preservation through sustainable design that utilizes adaptive re-usage of existing structures.

Find Gail: LinkedIn; Sources: Company WebsiteLinkedInVerdeXchange Conference


Maria Hinojosa, Author of “Once I Was You,” and Laila Lalami, Author of “Conditional Citizens,” in Conversation with Steve Padilla, Co-Presented with L.A. Times en Español

“Emmy Award-winning journalist and NPR’s Latino USA anchor, Maria Hinojosa, joins Pulitzer Prize fiction finalist and award-winning essayist Laila Lalami in an exploration of immigration and what it means to be an American, subjects that both authors examine in their recently released memoirs. Moderated by the L.A. Times’ Column One editor Steve Padilla. Co-Presented with L.A. Times en Español.” (LA Times Festival of Books)

Maria Hinojosa

Maria Hinojosa // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning journalist and businesswoman. She is the current Anchor and Executive Producer of NPR’s “Latino USA” and PBS’s “America by the Numbers.” She also anchors her own talk show “Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One” (WGBH/La Plaza) and is a rotating anchor on NPR’s “Need To Know.” Maria is a former Senior Correspondent for “Now on PBS.” In 2010 she started The Futuro Media Group which focuses on community-based journalism, and in 2013 she taught at DePaul University as the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz chair of the Latin American and Latino Studies program. In the past she has also reported for CBS, WNBC, and CNN as an urban affairs correspondent for eight years.

Maria has written three books: “Crews: Gang Members Talk with Maria Hinojosa” with German Perez (Harcourt, 1996), “Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son” (Viking Adult, 1999), and “Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America” (Atria Books 2020). She has been presented with many honors and awards, most notably four Emmy Awards, John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism (2012), Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged, the Sidney Hillman Prize honoring her social and economic justice reporting, and was included three times on the “100 Most Influential Latinos in the United States” list by Hispanic Business Magazine. Maria completed a B.A. at Barnard College and has two honorary degrees from DePaul University (Doctor of Humane Letters) and Simmons College.

Find Maria: Twitter; Sources: APB Speaker Profile, “Latino USA” ProfileNPR Profile, “Now on PBS” Profile

Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Laila Lalami is a writer of novels, essays and short stories. She is also a Professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside. Her primary topics of interest include Arab uprisings, immigration and borders, Islam, the Middle East and North Africa, Muslim women, and race in America. She is a graduate of the Université Mohammed-V in Rabat, University College London, and USC (Ph.D. in Linguistics), and has been honored with fellowships from the British Council, the Fulbright Program, and the Guggeneim Foundation.

Laila has written several books: “Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits” (Algonquin Books, 2005), “Secret Son” (Algonquin, 2010), “The Moor’s Account” (Pantheon, 2014), “The Other Americans” (Vintage, 2019), and “Conditional Citizens” (Pantheon, 2020). Her essays and criticisms have appeared in Harper’s, The Guardian, LA Times, The Nation, The New York Times Magazine, and The Washington Post.

Find Laila: Website; Sources: Lyceum Agency Profile, Website

Steve Padilla

Steve Padilla // Photo Courtesy of the LA Times Festival of Books

Steve Padilla is the Assistant National Editor of the LA Times. Prior to the Times he worked as a Reporter at the San Diego Union. Steve has a B.A. in History and Journalism from USC.

Find Steve: Twitter; Sources: LinkedIn

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