2016 LitFest Pasadena

May 29, 2016

Octavia-Butler_signingIt’s the 5th LitFest Pasadena on June 4 with award-winning authors, panel discussions, Q&A, readings, prizes, and micro-narratives. And, it’s all free.

The day begins at 10 a.m. at Vroman’s Bookstore then meanders around the Playhouse District to Zona Rosa Alley and the Playhouse’s Carrie Hamilton Theater.

Jonathan Gold speaks and takes questions in regard to Laura Gabbert’s documentary City of Gold, Sandra Tsing Loh of “The Madwoman in the Volvo” performs, and author and LitFest co-founder Jervey Tervalon moderates “Writing in the Time of Black Lives Matter.” Mystery writer Gary Phillips moderates “Crime in the Big City” with Frank Giradot and Naomi Hirahara. Hirahara’s newest Mas Arai mystery installment, Sayonara Slam, was just released by Pasadena’s Prospect Park Books.

One of our favorite local writers, Ron Koertge, shall read works along with fellow poet Kim Dower. One of our favorite contributions to Hometown Pasadena‘s Write Here category is Koertge’s “The Fund Raiser.” Koertge’s poetry collections include Making Love to Roget’s Wife, The Ogre’s Wife, and Sex World published by Pasadena’s Red Hen Press. He is the author of the celebrated—and smartly written and imagined—YA novels Margaux with an X, Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, Stoner & Spaz, and Coaltown Jesus.




Yunte Huang will speak about his new anthology of contemporary Chinese literature and Rosalind Helfand of Literature for Life moderates “Not Your Momma’s Comics!”

Local historian William Deverell talks about Woody Guthrie in Los Angeles (1937-1940) and Darryl Holter whips out his guitar to sing a Guthrie song or two. Read about Deverell in “You Must Have Been Talking to My Mother.”


Woody Guthrie, 1943

Woody Guthrie, 1943


Sara Lippincott, Geo. Morgan, Margaret Wertheim discuss “local heroines at Caltech and JPL” during “(Why Aren’t There More) Women in Science” while “Octavia Butler & Afro Futurism” looks at this “extraordinary Pasadena novelist (who) was ahead of her time.”

Altadena Poet Laureates—and Hometown Pasadena contributors—Linda Dove and Thelma T. Reyna read their works along with 2016 Altadena Library District Poet Laureate Elline Lipkin. Reyna’s poem “Till the Very End” is featured in this week’s edition of Hometown Pasadena‘s Write Here.

Isabel Quintero Flores moderates “The YA Body and Self,” while Leslie Hall leads the discussion “Future of Literary Arts Education in Pasadena: Passionate readers vs. dispirited test takers.”


Janet Fitch (White Oleander and Paint It Black); photo by Wally Skalij/LA Times

Janet Fitch (White Oleander and Paint It Black); photo by Wally Skalij/LA Times


Cozy and casual is the setting for reading circles and an informal Q&A with award-winning children’s authors, while Stefan Zambrano moderates “Comedy Writing in the Time of Donald Trump.” Janet Fitch participates in a short form “flash” writing discussion and exercise in which the audience is invited to participate, and Noel Alumit, Alex Espinoza, and Brandi Spaethe discuss their work, politics and “the need for establishing and sustaining a thriving literary community for writers of difference” at “LGBTQ Writers Having Their Say.”

LitFest Pasadena has grown in leaps and bounds in a few short years—with the authors represented, the cultures represented, and the genres discussed. The panel discussions are diverse and topical, representative of current events and our populace, ethnicities, heritage, and lifestyles. The program is a smorgasbord of choices. Enjoy.

For full program of events, visit





Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Boulevard


Zona Rosa Caffe, 15 S. El Molino Avenue

Zona Rosa Caffe, 15 S. El Molino Avenue



Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Avenue




Photo, top right, Pasadena native and esteemed author Octavia Butler, October 25, 2005, by Nikolas Coukouma [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo, Woody Guthrie on March 8, 1943, by New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer: Al Aumuller [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


1 Response for “2016 LitFest Pasadena”

  1. Thank you, Kat Ward​, for your outstanding summary of this fantastic literary event coming up this Saturday, free to the public and loaded with 100 writers and other artists. Looking forward to seeing you and lots of our FB friends there! 10 am-7 pm., June 4, starting at Vroman’s Bookstore​.



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