LitFest 2015

May 3, 2015

LitFest_on_the_Prowl_2014_PasadenaPoets, independent bookmakers, self-publishing, satire, California authors, diversity in Young Adult literature, memoir writing, Pulitzer Prize-winner and food critic Jonathan Gold, science writers, mystery writers, and women writers may all be heard during the 2015 LitFest Pasadena.


Local authors, Désirée Zamorano, Jervey Tervalon, Ron Koertge, Gary Phillips, Petrea Burchard, Naomi Hirahara will be among the notables participating in this year’s event.




Poets Thelma T. Reyna, Linda Dove, and Vibiana Chamberlin who have contributed poetry to Hometown Pasadena’s “Write Here” category for poetry and short fiction and nonfiction will join fellow Altadenan Nancy Shiffin for the opening LitFest event, “Diverse Poets in Our Backyard,” on May 9th at Vroman’s on Colorado Boulevard. These woman are four of the 60 poets whose works are featured in the newly released Altadena Poetry Review: Anthology 2015.



Newly released


LitFest continues throughout the day with panels, discussions, more readings, Q&As, and strolling the Playhouse District. Events will be held all throughout Vroman’s (inside and out), in the Playhouse Courtyard, and at Monopole Wine.


L-R: Jonathan Gold, Jillian Lauren, Paula Williams Madison, Francesca Lia Block, Steph Cha

L-R: Jonathan Gold, Jillian Lauren, Paula Williams Madison, Francesca Lia Block, Steph Cha


The evening concludes at El Portal Restaurant with antojitos (literally “little cravings”), margaritas, and open mic readings.




LitFest Pasadena 2015
Saturday, May 9th, 11:45 a.m.-11 p.m.
Pasadena Playhouse District, Colorado Blvd. & El Molino Ave.
Free event
For complete info, visit


L-R: Lynell George, Naomi Hirahara, Rachel Howzell, Désirée Zamorano, Ron Koertge

L-R: Lynell George, Naomi Hirahara, Rachel Howzell, Désirée Zamorano, Ron Koertge




LitFest schedule of events:

11:45 am … Vroman’s Upstairs
Diverse Poets in Our Backyard
Linda Dove, Nancy Shiffrin, Vibiana Aparicio-Chamberlin; Thelma Reyna, Moderator

1:00 pm … Vroman’s Upstairs
Innovative Micro-Publishing in LA
Manhattan has dominated the publishing industry since about 1850, and look how well that’s going. Yet Los Angeles independent publishers have always thrived beneath New York’s cold shadow, and now more than ever. Join David Kipen (Libros Schmibros, UCLA, KPCC) for an hour with some of L.A.’s best and riskiest bookmakers.
Lisa Pearson at Siglio, Robby Herbst at Llano del Rio Collective, Chris Heiser from Unnamed Press; David Kippen, Moderator

1:00 pm … Vroman’s Paseo
Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!: Black Lives Matter
Keenan Norris, Joel Jacobsen, Kima Jones, Emory Holmes, Gary Phillips, Lisa Teasley; Jervey Tervalon, LitFest Literary Director, Moderator

2:00 pm … Vroman’s Upstairs
Adventures in Self-Publishing
Tips and tales about The Process: self-published authors of both fiction and nonfiction share their stories about the self-publishing experience.
Petrea Burchard, Norman Ludwin, Ron Osborn, Hassan Riaz; Linda Peters, Moderator




2:00 pm … Vroman’s Paseo
Satire in the Time of Charlie Hebdo
Satirical writers and a cartoonist address the crazy fact that in the wake of the murderous rampage at a Parisian satirical magazine, barbed criticism has real risks.
Lalo Alcaraz, James Dore, Andrew Nichols; Carl Kozlowski, Moderator

3:00 pm … Vroman’s Paseo
Ideograms: The Chinese Diaspora in California Writing
Writers with Chinese roots have spread throughout the world. What does it mean in a time when the Middle Kingdom is not only culturally important but increasingly economically and politically dominant?
Jason Chuan, Yunte Huang, Thomas Tseng, Paula Williams Madison, Elizabeth Wong; Jinghuan Liu Tervalon, Moderator

3:00 pm … Vroman’s Upstairs
Strength in Numbers: the Diversity of YA Literature
YA lit is a world of Demons, Dragons, Heartbreak, Heroism, Sacrifice, Suspense, Romance, Music, Mystery, History, and of course teen angst. But it’s the sheer diversity of the genre that makes it so much fun! From graphic novels to fractured fairy tales, if you don’t know anything about YA literature, this panel will be a great introduction.
Cecil Castelucci, Lisa Freeman, Elissa Sussman and Ron Koertge; Aquita Winslow, Moderator




4:00 pm … Vroman’s Paseo
All That Glitters
Hollywood writers on prose storytelling in Tinseltown, interviewed by LitFest Artistic Director, Larry Wilson.
Shanna Mahin and Jillian Lauren

4:00 pm … Vroman’s Upstairs
The Changing Face of YA Literature: Not Just for Teens Anymore
Currently one of the hottest trends in publishing, Young Adult literature is no longer just the safe haven of the teenage reader. Now more than ever teens and adults alike are exploring the multitude of worlds that YA has to offer. Whether you are steeped in the fantastical, grounded in reality, or just looking for a good love triangle, YA has something for you.
Francesca Lia Block, Lisa Gail Green, Lissa Price, Nicole Maggi; Erika Jelinek, Moderator




5:00 pm … Vroman’s Paseo
Jonathan Gold & Kogi BBQ’s Roy Choi
Kogi BBQ truck king and Koreatown restaurateur Roy Choi, the hottest chef in town and author of the best-selling memoir “L.A. Son,” joins food and cultural critic extraordinaire Jonathan Gold, one of the great food writers in the world, in the grand Southern California tradition of M.F.K. Fisher and Julia Child, on the Vroman’s Paseo stage to talk about the state of eating in Los Angeles right now.

5:45 … Vroman’s Paseo
Pasadena Prize in Prose Award

6:00 pm … Playhouse Plaza building plaza steps
Poetry in Motion, Stand-up Comedy and Improv Theater
A dozen California poets, including Poets in Distress and those from the Cal State Long Beach MFA program, go head to head word-wise with Rachel Mac’s Bitchface stand-up comics in a battle over the oral storytelling tradition.
Plus: “Nocturnal Notes,” a comedy romance between eccentric artists in the early millennium of Los Angeles.
Rachel Mac and Mike the Poet, Moderator

6:00 pm … Pasadena Playhouse courtyard
Poesia Para la Gente
Poetry on demand from the L.A. troupe specializing in declaiming poems in non-traditional places.

6:15 pm … Pasadena Playhouse
Stories Only I Can Tell
Memoir and fiction explore the joy and pain of life experience. These authors bring stories unique to them, with unforgettable universal themes.
Alex Espinoza, Reyna Grande, Lisa Hernandez, Toni Ann Johnson, Wally Rudolph; Désirée Zamorano, Moderator




6:15 pm … Pasadena Playhouse
L.A. On Foot
Notions of culture, geography, and rootedness shift when LA is traversed on foot.
Lynell George, Geoff Nicholson, James T. Rojas; Steve Reich, Moderator

6:15 pm … Monopole
Writing Together: The Importance of Writing Groups to Today’s Writers
Members of local writing groups reflect on the ways that getting together for critiques influences their work.
Jonathon Green, Elizabeth Hughes, Kim Koehler, Jonathon Rothel; Claire Crisp, Moderator

7:15 pm … Pasadena Playhouse
Women of Mystery
What kind of grit does it take to delve into the mind of murderous folk, again and again? These authors bring their unique sensibilities to their novels and readers keep clamoring for more.
Steph Cha, Rachel Howzell Hall, Naomi Hirahara, Jo Perry; Désirée Zamorano, Moderator

7:15 pm … Pasadena Playhouse
Lab Rats: Science Writers
Relations between scientists and science writers with LA Review of Books Editor Tom Lutz.
Sean Carroll, KC Cole and Sara Lippincott

8:15 pm on … El Portal Restaurant
Antojitos, margaritas and open mic readings






Margarita photo by Jon Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



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