UCR faculty, staff, and alumni will be at the LA Times Festival of Books

This year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books includes a UC Riverside star-studded lineup.

Nineteen UCR faculty, staff, and alumni will be participating in this annual literary event that takes place at the University of Southern California. More than 550 authors, poets, artists, chefs, celebrities, and musicians will gather on April 23-24. See full details: LA Times Festival of Books.

For tickets: events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks

Highlander representation at LATFOB:
Saturday, April 23

Amir Zakki
Amir Zaki ’96, is a practicing artist living in Southern California. He received his MFA from UCLA in 1999 and has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since. Zaki has had over 30 solo exhibitions at institutions and galleries including the Mak Center Schindler House, the Doyle Arts Pavilion, the Dalian Modern Museum (China), and the ACME gallery. His most recent book by him is a monograph, “Building + Becoming,” that goes on sale April 26. He is a photography professor with the Department of Art.
Details: 2 pm “Building+Becoming” official release and book signing. Booth #183. Read more about “Building+Becoming.”

David L Ulin
David L. Ulin is the former book critic of the Los Angeles Times. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, he is the author or editor of nine books, including “Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles,” the novella “Labyrinth,” and “The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time.” He teaches at the UCR Palm Desert low residency MFA program.
Details: Noon – 1 pm Untold Stories: Building a Publishing Pipeline – Panel 1052 – REQUIRES TICKET. Ronald Tutor Campus Center. And 3- 4 pm Writing the Present: Christos Ikonomou, Maggie Nelson & Christopher Merrill – Panel 1144 – REQUIRES TICKET. Albert and Dana Broccoli Theatre.

Heather Scott Partington
Heather Scott Partington is a writer, teacher, and book critic. Her criticism of her has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Newsday, The Star Tribune, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. Heather was the 2019-2020 critic in residence for the UCR Palm Desert low residency MFA program.
Details: Noon – 1 pm Fiction: Things Are Not What They Seem – Panel 1022 – REQUIRES TICKET. Town and Gown

Keenan Norris
Keenan Norris is a novelist, essayist and scholar. His latest novel by him is “The Confession of Copeland Cane.” His forthcoming book by him, “Chi Boy: Native Sons and Chicago Reckonings,” will be published in November. Norris’s essay “One Coyote” won a 2021 Folio: Eddie Award for Best Overall/Special Interest Article and was a finalist for a National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award. He holds an MFA from UCR’s MFA program.
Details: Noon – 1 pm Fiction: Growing Up and Finding Your Way – Panel 1142 – REQUIRES TICKET. Albert and Dana Broccoli Theater

Mark Haskell-Smith
Mark Haskell Smith is the author of six novels. His work by him has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, Vulture, Alta, and Literary Hub. He is an associate professor in the MFA program for writing and writing for the performing arts at the UCR Palm Desert low residency MFA program.
Details: Noon – 1 pm Arts & Culture: Comedy Through the Ages – Panel 1072 – REQUIRES TICKET. Seeley G. Mudd 123. Also from 1:30 – 2:30 pm Fiction: Finding the Funny – Panel 2073 -REQUIRES TICKET. Seeley G. Mudd 123

Natashia Deon
Natashia Deón is an NAACP Image Award Nominee, practicing criminal attorney, and author of the critically acclaimed novels, “Grace,” which was named a Best Book by the New York Times and awarded Best Debut Novel by the American Library Association’s Black Caucus in 2016 and “The Perishing” (Counterpoint Press 2021). She holds an MFA from the UCR Palm Desert low residency MFA program.
Details: Noon – 1 pm Things Are Not What They Seem – Panel 1022 – REQUIRES TICKET
Town and Gown

Stephen Graham-Jones
Stephen Graham Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of nearly thirty novels and collections. He is an NEA recipient, has won the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction, the LA Times Ray Bradbury Prize, the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, among many others. He holds an MFA from the UCR Palm Desert low residency MFA program.
Details: 11 a.m. – noon. Science Fiction: The Dark Heart of the Story – Panel 1101 – REQUIRES TICKET. Taper Hall 101

Susan Straight
Susan Straight is the author of several novels, including the national bestseller “Highwire Moon,” a finalist for the National Book Award, and “A Million Nightingales,” a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, as well as the memoir “In the Country of Women.” Her new novel by her, “Mecca,” published in March. She is a distinguished professor with the Department of Creative Writing.
Details: 4:30- 5:30 pm Michael Connelly, author of “The Dark Hours,” and Susan Straight, author of “Mecca,” in Conversation – Panel 1055 – REQUIRES TICKET. Ronald Tutor Campus Center

Tod Goldberg
Tod Goldberg is the author of more than a dozen books, including “Gangsterland,” a finalist for the Hammett Prize; “Gangster Nation;” “The House of Secrets,” co-authored with Brad Meltzer; and “Living Dead Girl,” a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His writing by him has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, Las Vegas Weekly, and The Best American Essays, among other publications. He directs the low-residency MFA in creative writing and writing for the performing arts.
Details: 10:30 – 11:30 am Once Upon a Crime: Families, Victims and the Ties That Bind – Panel 1121 – REQUIRES TICKET. Norris Theatre, Programming Presented by Audible. And 3:30 – 4:30 pm Cops and Crooks: Good Guys Gone Bad, Bad Guys Gone Good – Panel 1104 – REQUIRES TICKET. Taper Hall 101.

Sunday, April 24

Alex Spinoza
Alex Espinoza holds an MFA from UC-Irvine’s Program in Writing. He’s the author of “Still Water Saints,” and “The Five Acts of Diego León.” His awards include a 2009 Margaret Bridgeman Fellowship in Fiction to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a 2014 Fellowship in Prose from the NEA, and a 2014 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. His latest book by him is “Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime” (Unnamed Press 2019). Espinoza is an associate professor with the Department of Creative Writing and serves as the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair of Creative Writing.
Details: 12:30 – 1:30 pm Fiction: Queer Identity and the Stories That Define Us – Panel 2102 – REQUIRES TICKET. Taper Hall 101

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, California Arts Council Legacy Artist Fellowship, Fulbright Scholar, First Jade Nurtured SiHui Female International Poetry Award recipient, recent Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals, and US Library of Congress Witter Bynner fellow, has written seven books of poetry, one book of nonfiction, and a play. she most recently directed UCR’s Writers Week, the Along the Chaparral/Pūowaina project, and the Sandhill Crane Migration Retreat and Festival. Her most recent book by her is a collection of poetry, “Look at This Blue.”
Details: 1:40-2 pm Reading from “Look at This Blue.” Poetry Stage

elizabeth crane
Elizabeth Crane is the author of two novels and four collections of short stories, most recently the novel “The History of Great Things” and the story collection “Turf.” Her debut novel, “We Only Know So Much,” has been adapted for film. She teaches in the UCR Palm Desert low residency MFA program.
Details: 3:30 – 4:30 pm Stories: The Next Chapter – Panel 2084 – REQUIRES TICKET. Selley G Mudd 124

Edgar Gomez
Edgar Gomez is a Florida-born writer with roots in Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. A graduate of UCR’s MFA program, his words from him have appeared in Poets & Writers, Catapult, Lithub, The Rumpus, Electric Lit, and elsewhere online and in print. His memoir of him, “High-Risk Homosexual,” was called a “breath of fresh air” by The New York Times. He lives in New York.
Details: 3-4 pm Memoir: An Exploration of Queer Identity – Panel 2094 – REQUIRES TICKET. Salvatori Computer Science

Emily Rapp Black
Emily Rapp Black is the author of “Poster Child: A Memoir”; “The Still Point of the Turning World,” which was a New York Times bestseller; “Sanctuary;” and “Frida Kahlo and My Left Leg.” She is an associate professor with the Department of Creative Writing.
Details: 12:30 – 1:30 pm Memoir: The Art of Losing – Panel 2082 – REQUIRES TICKET. Selley G Mudd 124

Laila Lami
Laila Lalami is the author of five books, including “The Moor’s Account,” which won the American Book Award, the Arab-American Book Award, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. It was on the longlist for the Booker Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Her most recent novel of hers, “The Other Americans,” was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and the National Book Award in Fiction. She is a professor with the Department of Creative Writing.
Details: Noon- 1 pm Fiction: California as a Character – Panel 2022 – REQUIRES TICKET. Town and Gown

Lisa Jacobs
Liska Jacobs is the author of the novels “Catalina,” “The Worst Kind of Want,” and “The Pink Hotel.” She holds an MFA from the UCR Palm Desert low residency MFA program.
Details: 1:30 – 2:30 pm Fiction: At the Crossroads of Life – Panel 2113 – REQUIRES TICKET. Taper Hall 201

Mark Haskell-Smith
Mark Haskell Smith is the author of six novels. His work by him has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, Vulture, Alta, and Literary Hub. He is an associate professor in the MFA program for writing and writing for the performing arts at the UCR Palm Desert low residency MFA program.
Details: 1:30 -2:30 pm Fiction: Finding the Funny – Panel 2073 -REQUIRES TICKET. Seeley G. Mudd 123

Maggie Downs
Maggie Downs is an award-winning writer based in Palm Springs, California. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Palm Springs Life, and McSweeney’s and has been anthologized in “The Lonely Planet Travel Anthology: True Stories from the World’s Best Writers and Best Women’s Travel Writing.” “Braver Than You Think” is her first book of hers. She holds an MFA from the UCR Palm Desert low residency MFA program and is also a staff member there.
Details: 1:30 – 2:30 pm Memoir: Starting Over – Panel 2093 – REQUIRES TICKET. Salvatori Computer Science

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 by her has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from UCR’s MFA program
Details: 11 a.m. – noon. Fiction: Writing from History – Panel 2081 – REQUIRES TICKET. Selley G Mudd 124

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