New Year New Books Los Angeles 2024
Celebrate a new year alongside fellow PEN America Members and supporters at our annual New Year New Books Party in Los Angeles! Join us and the 2024 Literary Host Committee to celebrate the freedom to write, our vital literary community, and the many great books published by PEN America members over the last year.
All members of PEN America and literary allies are warmly invited.
Honorary Literary Hosts
Alison Tatlock is a tv writer and playwright currently working on the new Vince Gilligan Series. Previously she was a writer/EP on BETTER CALL SAUL. Past credits include HALT AND CATCH FIRE, STRANGER THINGS and the HBO drama IN TREATMENT (starring Gabriel Byrne and Debra Winger). Alison’s play THE SHORE received workshops at the Pasadena Playhouse and the Vineyard Playhouse (featuring Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen and Hamish Linklater) and was produced by Ensemble Studio Theatre – The LA Project. Other plays include THE CATCH, developed at New York Stage and Film (directed by Pam MacKinnon and featuring Merritt Wever) and UNTITLED IV BY RUTH MARKOFSKY, commissioned by the UCSB Launch Pad program. Alison worked for many years as a teaching artist and Co-Executive Director for the youth violence intervention organization Street Poets, Inc., bringing poetry workshops into juvenile detention camps and schools across Los Angeles. She currently serves on their Board of Directors.
Alyesha Wise is a poet, teaching artist, and co-founder of Spoken Literature Art Movement, an organization providing poetry education and extensive programming for poets. Wise is currently the Director of Program Development for Street Poets. As slam team head coach, Alyesha has led teams from Da Poetry Lounge to the final stage at The National Poetry Slam and is a two-time Women of the World Poetry Slam finalist. Her work has been featured by OWN, BET, Huffington Post, Afropunk, PBS, LA Times, Buzzfeed, Free Speech TV, and more. She has collaborated with The Nantucket Project, the ACLU of Southern California, Brave New Films, and has been featured in the Google Interstellar Project, in conjunction with the hit film Interstellar.
Eloise Klein Healy, the author of nine books of poetry, was named the first Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2012. She was the founding chair of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles where she is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Emerita. Healy directed the Women’s Studies Program at California State University Northridge and taught in the Feminist Studio Workshop at The Woman’s Building in Los Angeles. She is the founding editor of ARKTOI BOOKS, an imprint of Red Hen Press specializing in the work of lesbian authors. A WILD SURMISE: NEW & SELECTED POEMS & RECORDINGS was published in 2013 and ANOTHER PHASE in 2018. Her latest book is A BRILLIANT LOSS published in 2022.
Dr. Eric Cervini is an award-winning author, producer, and historian of LGBTQ+ politics. His first book, The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America, was a NYT bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It also won the Publishing Triangle’s Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction, the NYT Editors’ Choice, and the “Best Read of 2020” at the Queerties.
Jade Chang is the author of The Wangs vs. the World, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The Wangs has been named a New York Times Editors’ Choice as well as a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, Buzzfeed, ELLE, and NPR, and was honored with the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. The novel will be published in 12 countries. According to NPR, “Her book is unrelentingly fun, but it is also raw and profane—a story of fierce pride, fierce anger, and even fiercer love.” Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre
Jean Guerrero is an award-winning journalist and speaker, Currently, she’s an opinion columnist at the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump and the White Nationalist Agenda. Her first book, Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir, won a PEN Literary Award and was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2019. Her writing is featured in Vanity Fair, Politico, The Nation, Wired, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Best American Essays 2019 by Rebecca Solnit and more. She won the 2022 “Best Commentary” award from the Sacramento Press Club. As an investigative border reporter at KPBS, she won an Emmy, contributed to NPR, the PBS NewsHour and more. Months before Trump’s family separations captured national attention, her PBS reporting on the practice was cited by members of Congress. She started her career at the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires as a foreign correspondent in Mexico and Central America. She was named one of the California Chicano News Media Association’s most influential Latina journalists.
After becoming a movie critic for the Chicago Tribune at age 16, KK Wootton received her BFA in dramatic writing from New York University and a master’s degree in writing from the University of Southern California (USC). She has taught writing at USC and at Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies. Wootton has published short fiction in the Grove Press anthology They’re at It Again and creative nonfiction in the Houghton Mifflin collection, Personals. In his column “On Language,” William Safire attributed to her the first media appearance of the phrase “get a life.”
Miranda Cowley Heller has worked as senior vice president and head of drama series at HBO, developing and overseeing such shows as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Deadwood, and Big Love, among others. THE PAPER PALACE, Penguin 2022, is her first novel. She grew up spending summers on Cape Cod, and now lives in California.
Shook is a poet, translator, filmmaker, and editor whose work has spanned a wide range of languages and places. Their writing has appeared in Poetry, World Literature Today, the Guardian, and many other publications, as well as being translated into more than a dozen languages, including Isthmus Zapotec, Kurdish, and Uyghur. Since founding Phoneme Media in 2013, Shook has edited and published translations from over thirty-five languages. Today they direct Kashkul Books, a publishing project based in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, as well as the translation-focused imprint avión at Gato Negro Ediciones in Mexico City. Shook’s spring 2024 translations include Mikeas Sánchez’ How to Be a Good Savage and Other Poems, translated from Zoque and Spanish with Wendy Call, and Conceição Lima’s No Gods Live Here: Selected Poems, translated from the Portuguese.
Steph Cha is the author of Your House Will Pay, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the California Book Award, and the Juniper Song crime trilogy. She’s a critic whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she served as noir editor, and is the current series editor of the Best American Mystery & Suspense anthology. A native of the San Fernando Valley, she lives in Los Angeles with her family.
Susan Orlean for Grub Street / New York MagazineSusan Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. She is the New York Times bestselling author of eight books, including On Animals, The Library Book, Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night, and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award–winning film Adaptation. She lives with her family and her animals in Los Angeles.
Susan Straight is the author of several novels, including Mecca (2022, Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and the national bestseller Highwire Moon, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She also wrote A Million Nightingales, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, as well as the memoir In the Country of Women, named a best book of 2019 by NPR and Real Simple. She is the recipient of the Edgar Award for Best Short Story, the O. Henry Prize, the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her stories and essays have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, Harper’s, and elsewhere. She was born and continues to live in Riverside, California, with her family, where she serves as Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.
Belinda Huijuan Tang is a novelist from San Jose, California. She is the author of A Map for the Missing, long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and one of NPR’s best books of 2022. She holds degrees from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Stanford University, and Peking University in Beijing. Her fiction has received the Truman Capote Fellowship, the Michener Copernicus Fellowship, and support from the Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Institute and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is also a filmmaker and currently a Film Independent Writing Fellow.
Charmaine Craig is the author of the novels My Nemesis (Grove Press, February 2023); Miss Burma, longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction; and The Good Men, a national bestseller. Her writing has been published in a dozen languages and appeared in venues including The New York Times Magazine, Narrative Magazine, AFAR Magazine, and Dissent. Formerly an actor in film and television, she studied literature at Harvard College, received her MFA from the University of California at Irvine, and serves as a faculty member in the Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside. She lives in Los Angeles.
David L. Ulin is the author or editor of nearly twenty books, including 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’s also the editor of Library of America’s Didion: The 1960s & 1970s and Didion: The 1980s and 90s. Thirteen Question Method is his latest book. The former book editor and book critic of the Los Angeles Times, he has written for The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New York Times, Zyzzyva, and The Paris Review. He is a Professor of English at the University of Southern California, where he edits the journal Air/Light.
Diane Marie Brown is a professor at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California and a public health professional for the Long Beach Health Department. She has a BA and MPH from UCLA and a degree in fiction from USC’s Master of Professional Writing Program. Her work has appeared in Bomb Magazine, Hear Our Voices, Scary Mommy, Women Writers, the Audible Blog, and the Daily Bruin. She grew up in Stockton and now lives in Long Beach, California, with her husband, their four daughters, and their dog, Brownie. Her debut novel, Black Candle Women, is a Read With Jenna book club selection.
Elana K. Arnold is the award-winning author of many books for children and teens, including The Blood Years, the Printz Honor winner Damsel, the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of, and the Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat. She is a member of the faculty at Hamline University’s MFA in writing for children and young adults program, and lives in Long Beach, CA, with her family and a menagerie of animals. You can find her online at www.elanakarnold.com.
Ivy Pochoda is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Wonder Valley, Visitation Street and most recently These Women which was a The New York Times best thriller of 2020. These Women was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, The Edgar Award, the California Book Award, The Macavity Award, and the International Thriller Writers Award. Wonder Valley won the 2018 Strand Critics Award for Best Novel and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and France’s Le Grand Prix de Litterature Americaine. Visitation Street won the Prix Page America in France. Her books have been widely translated. Her first novel, The Art of Disappearing, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2009. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times & The Los Angeles Review of Books. She teaches creative writing at the Studio 526 Skid Row.
Jordan Harper is the Edgar-Award winning author of SHE RIDES SHOTGUN, THE LAST KING OF CALIFORNIA, EVERYBODY KNOWS and the short story collection LOVE AND OTHER WOUNDS. He lives in Los Angeles, where he works as a writer and producer for television.
Kashana Cauley is a television writer and the author of the novel THE SURVIVALISTS, which was nominated for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and named a Best Book of 2023 by over a half-dozen outlets, including Vogue, the Today Show, and the BBC. She’s also a former contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and her work has appeared in many other publications, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and Rolling Stone.
Kerry Howley is an essayist, screenwriter, and the author of Thrown, a New York Times Notable Book, New York Times Editor’s Choice, and pick for best-of-the-year lists in Time, Salon, Slate, and many other venues. Howley is the screenwriter behind WINNER, a comic coming of age story adapted from her profile of an endearing young whistleblower. The film stars Emilia Jones, Connie Britton, and Zach Galifianakus, and will be released in 2023. Howley’s second nonfiction novel, Bottom’s Up and the Devil Laughs, is forthcoming from Knopf. In 2020 Howley left a professorship at the University of Iowa’s celebrated Nonfiction MFA program to join the staff of New York Magazine. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Best American Sportswriting, The New York Times Magazine, and Harper’s. A Lannan Foundation Fellow and three-time National Magazine Award nominee, she lives in Los Angeles.
Naomi Hirahara is an Edgar Award-winning author of multiple traditional mystery series and noir short stories. Her Mas Arai mysteries, which have been published in Japanese, Korean and French, feature a Los Angeles gardener and Hiroshima survivor who solves crimes. Her first historical mystery, Clark and Division, which won a Mary Higgins Clark Award, follows a Japanese American family’s move to Chicago in 1944 after being released from a California wartime detention center. A former journalist with The Rafu Shimpo newspaper, Naomi has also written numerous non-fiction history books and curated exhibitions. She has also written a middle-grade novel, 1001 Cranes. Her follow-up to Clark and Division, Evergreen, will be released this August.
Rachel Howzell Hall is the author of twelve novels, including the bestselling thrillers What Never Happened, We Lie Here and multiple award-nominated These Toxic Things and And Now She’s Gone. A Los Angeles native, Rachel is a former member of the board of directors for MysteryWriters of America and was a featured writer on NPR’s acclaimed “Crime in the City” series and the National Endowment for the Arts weekly podcast.
Rex Ogle is an award-winning author and the writer of nearly a hundred children’s books, comics, graphic novels, and memoirs—most notably Free Lunch, which won the ALA/YALSA award for Excellence in Non-Fiction. Born and raised (mostly) in Texas, he moved to New York City after college to intern at Marvel Comics before moving over to DC Comics, Scholastic, and Little Brown Young Readers. As an editor, he championed over a dozen NY Times Bestsellers and worked (and often wrote) on major brands such as X-Men, Justice League, Star Wars, LEGO, Power Rangers, Transformers, Minecraft, Assassin’s Creed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Neil Patrick Harris’s Magic Misfits. Rex has written under a lot of pen names, including Trey King and Honest Lee, but he loves to reimagine classic literature in graphic novel form as Rey Terciero (a nickname given by his Abuela, being Español for “third king”, which is apt since Rex is Latin for “king”, and he is the third “Rex” in his family). Now, Rex lives in Los Angeles where he writes in every day—that is, when he’s not outdoors hiking with his dog Toby, playing MarioKart with friends, or reading.
Tod Goldberg is the author of more than a dozen books, including the newly released Gangsters Don’t Die, the conclusion to the acclaimed Gangsterland trilogy, and The Low Desert: Gangster Stories, named a Southwest Book of the Year and a finalist for several literary prizes. He lives in Indio, California, where he directs the low-residency MFA in creative writing and writing for the performing arts at the University of California, Riverside.
Rocio “wyldeflower” Contreras is an event & concert producer. An avid record collector & music connoisseur, behind the turntables, she considers herself a music selector. Playing records inspires her to dig, search, share, connect & explore. Musically she takes you to other worlds where your soul and heart can be free. With over 10years of production and programming under her belt she’s motivated and committed to curating top tier cultural and musically rich experiences.
Complimentary valet will be offered to the first 75 vehicles. Street parking is also available in the area. Rideshare is also encouraged.