LitFest 2017

May 15, 2017

Evolve is the word. From its inception as a book festival in Central Park in 2012, LitFest Pasadena has evolved into a Playhouse District neighborhood day-long event of speakers, panels, music, and readings, which continues to celebrate the written word.

There’s spontaneity in conversation and writing, LA mystery writers chatting about inspirations and adventures, and discussion of indigenous peoples, conflict, destiny, and self-determination. Also on the menu, running and the soul’s escape, Red Hen’s poetry-palooka, Las Lunas Locas’ poems on demand, and “cute Filipinos on a Saturday afternoon.” Maybe craft with recycled materials, listen to dramatic readings of the best in short SciFi, and witness LA Times restaurant critic and Pulitzer Prize-winner Jonathan Gold speak on the legacy of Julia Child.

Other notable participating local authors include Lian Dolan, Naomi Hirahara, Denise Hamilton, Jervey Tervalon and poet laureates Elline Lipkin, Maja Trochimczyk, Mary Langer Thompson, and Thelma T. Reyna.


Naomi Hirahara, author of the Mas Arai mystery series, the 6th book in the series titled Sayonara Slam.



We’ll also give a shout out to a friend of ours, Dana Middleton, whose newest release is The Infinity Year of Avalon James. Publishers Weekly writes: “Blending realism with just a touch of magic, Middleton’s debut novel demonstrates a keen awareness of the infinite possibilities of childhood.” Middleton’s on a YA panel with authors Jennifer Brody, Lissa Price, Lilliam Rivera, and Joshua Dysart at Vroman’s (upstairs) on Saturday, 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.



The offerings are numerous, the subjects varied; start planning your route today!


Las Lunas Locas selfie; sourced from LaBloga, December 2015 (read interview here).


Saturday, May 20, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.—Highlights:

—Poet Laureate of Los Angeles (2014-16) Luis Rodriguez (Always Running) talking about his indigenous roots and what it means to “Write Indigenous California.”

—Pulitzer Prize-winning L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Jonathan Gold discussing the legacy of Julia Child.

—Las Lunas Locas’ “Poems on Demand” with poems generated on the sidewalk in real time for attendees—curated by L.A. poet Jessica Ceballos Campbell.

—A celebrity guest lineup dramatically reading top new sci-fi stories from around the world at “The Roswell Award!” including Allison Scagliotti (Stitchers), Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager), Madison McLaughlin (Arrow), and Carlease Burke (Crowded).


Tim Russ, Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager.


—Crime writer Denise Hamilton (Damage Control) will talk about the influence of running on her craft with fellow “Running Writers.”

—Top Young Adult novelists Lissa Price (Starters), Jennifer Brody (The 13th Continuum), and more discuss “Conflict, Destiny, and Self-Determination.”

—The Pasadena Public Library hosts “Flights of Fantasy Story Theater” for children.

Plus, panels on:
Refugee America
Sunshine Noir
Spontaneity in Conversation & Writing
Cute Filipinos on a Saturday Afternoon
Los Angeles Review of Books Editors In Conversation
Shades & Shadows Reading Series (focusing on dark fiction)

Readings by:
Literature for Life’s Issue 5 Authors
Making Space, Holding Space
Red Hen Press Poets


Christopher Noxon, author of Plus One, published by Pasadena’s Prospect Park Books.



Sunday, May 21, 11:15 a.m.-5 p.m.—Highlights:

The Managing Editor of Snopes, Brooke Binkowski discusses “Hostile Environment Reporting for Young Female Journalists.”

Famed afro-futurist writer Nalo Hopkinson (The Chaos) joins a discussion with Jervey Tervalon (Monster’s Chef) and other well-known African American novelists on “Writing in the Times of Black Lives Matter.”

Popular comic book and TV writer Brandon Easton (Agent Carter), joins fellow comic book writers to discuss “Manga Influences on American Culture.”

L.A. literary critic and essayist David Ulin (Sidewalking) joins Lian Dolan(Helen of Pasadena and Elizabeth the First Wife), Christopher Noxon (Plus One), and others to discuss the “Humor & Heartbreak of L.A.”


Lian Dolan, author of Helen of Pasadena and Elizabeth the First Wife, published by Pasadena’s Prospect Park Books.



Joseph Shuldiner (Pure Vegan) talks about “The L.A. Cookbook” with fellow cookbook writers Bill Esparza (L.A. Mexicano) and Amelia Saltsman (The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen).

Best-selling author Heidi Durrow (The Girl Who Fell from the Sky) and critically acclaimed Natasha Deón (Grace) discuss their ideas on “Mixed-Race and Interracial Experience To Make Meaning in a Time of Protest.”



Celebrity guests read L.A. County teens’ top sci-fi stories at The Tomorrow Prize, including Jonathan Slavin (Dr. Ken), Jasika Nicole (Fringe), Peter Mackenzie (Black-ish), Anna Maria Horsford (The Bold and the Beautiful), and David Blue (SGU Stargate Universe).

Authors’ books will be on sale at Vroman’s Bookstore and guests can purchase books to be signed after the panels.


For details of panels, readings, and events

along with location and times, visit


LitFest Pasadena is presented with the generous support of: City of Pasadena, Pasadena Arts Council, Vroman’s Bookstore, The Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena Public Library, Mysterious Galaxy Books, Zona Rosa Coffee, Los Angeles Times Food Bowl, El Portal Mexican Cuisine, Sci-Fest L.A., Walt Girdner Photo Studio and Gallery, Blaze Pizza, Monopole Wine, IDS Real Estate Group, Jones Coffee Roasters, Geoffrey’s Comics, Roy’s, and others.


From Joseph Shuldiner’s Pure Vegan.


Joseph Shuldiner.





1 Response for “LitFest 2017”

  1. Correction; the festival made an error; I won’t be on the panel discussion on the 21st. I’m one of the authors reading on the evening of the 20th. Thanks, -nalo hopkinson



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