Group Reading for “Orange County: A Literary Field Guide” »
February 24, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 pm
FREE Admission and Parking
Books will be available for purchase before and after the reading.
Even by California’s standards, the County of Orange teems with abundance: in sweeping topography along the azure Pacific, in sprawling suburbs, in promises of prosperity, and in its self-perpetuated reputation as a citrus-lined paradise. But the acclaimed fertility of this corner of California is not just agricultural or economic, as this new anthology shows. In this literary field guide, more than sixty writers – some well known, others emerging – lead readers on a tour that begins at the coast and heads inland over the Santa Ana Mountains, through the canyons, and into the cities of Anaheim, Irvine, and Orange in search of vistas of truth. Luminaries including Michael Chabon, Philip K. Dick, Steve Martin, Susan Straight, E. L. Doctorow, Joan Didion, Christopher Isherwood, Charles Wright, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Yusef Komunyakaa, and many others explore the complexities and contradictions of the county, locating readers in a place made in equal measure by 950 square miles of land and the imagination.
About the six readers:
Lisa Alvarez‘s prose and poetry have recently appeared in the Codex Journal, Faultline, Huizache, Santa Monica Review, Zócalo Public Square, and in anthologies including Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America and in PEN Center USA’s post-election anthology, Only Light Can Do That. With Alan Cheuse, she edited Writers Workshop in a Book: The Community of Writers on the Art of Fiction. She is a professor of English at Irvine Valley College and for over a decade has co-directed the Writers Workshops at the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Together with Andrew Tonkovich, she edited Orange County: A Literary Field Guide.
Gustavo Arellano is the editor of OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, author of Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, an essayist for various publications and a frequent commentator on radio and television. He writes “¡Ask a Mexican!,” a nationally syndicated column in which he answers any and all questions about America’s spiciest and largest minority. Gustavo is the recipient of awards ranging from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies to the Los Angeles Press Club President’s Award to an Impacto Award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and was recognized by the California Latino Legislative Caucus with a 2008 Spirit Award for his “exceptional vision, creativity, and work ethic.” Gustavo is a lifelong resident of Orange County and is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants, one whom came to this country in the trunk of a Chevy.
Stephanie Brown is the author of Allegory of the Supermarket, published by the University of Georgia Press in 1999 and Domestic Interior, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2008. She was awarded Fellowships from the NEA and Breadloaf. Her work has been published in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Slope, Pool, ZYZZYVA, Green Mountains Review and other journals and selected for six editions of The Best American Poetry, including the 25th anniversary edition. Her poetry and essays were anthologized in American Poetry: The Next Generation, Great American Prose Poems, and The Grand Permission, among others. From 2004-2010 she curated the Casa Romantica Reading Series in San Clemente, California, and was the poetry editor for Zócalo Public Square from 2010-2016. She taught creative writing at UC Irvine and the University of Redlands but has primarily made her living in librarianship. She is an Administrative Manager for OC Public Libraries.
Grant Hier was named recipient of Prize Americana for his book Untended Garden (The Poetry Press, 2015), which was also nominated for both an American Book Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He was awarded the Nancy Dew Taylor Prize for Literary Excellence in Poetry (2014) and the Kick Prize for poetry (2013). Several of his pieces have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His writing has been anthologized in Orange County: A Literary Field Guide (Heyday, 2017), Only Light Can Do That (Rattling Wall/PEN Center USA, 2016), LA Fiction Anthology: Southland Stories by Southland Writers (Red Hen Press, 2016), Monster Verse: Human and Inhuman Poems (Knopf/Everyman, 2015), and John Fante: A Critical Gathering (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1999). His poems have been widely published internationally, including in Zócalo Public Square, WTC Remembrances, Poets Against the War and other places. He is the former editor of the Orange County Review. As a voice actor he contributed the part of Stanley Hohner for the audio book version of George Saunders’ most recent work, Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel (Penguin/Random House, 2017). He is Professor of English at Laguna College of Art + Design where he teaches creative writing in the BFA and MFA programs, which he created.
Victoria Patterson is the author of the novel The Little Brother, which Vanity Fair called “a brutal, deeply empathetic, and emotionally wrenching examination of American male privilege and rape culture.” She is also the author of the novels The Peerless Four and This Vacant Paradise, a 2011 New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her story collection, Drift, was a finalist for the California Book Award and the Story Prize and was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by The San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in South Pasadena, California with her family and teaches at Antioch University.
Andrew Tonkovich is the co-editor with Lisa Alvarez of the first-ever literary anthology of his adopted county, Orange County: A Literary Field Guide (Heyday). He edits the West Coast literary arts journal Santa Monica Review and hosts a weekly books show, Bibliocracy Radio, on KPFK (90.7 FM) in Southern California. His essays, fiction and reviews have appeared in the OC Weekly, Faultline, The Rattling Wall, Los Angeles Review of Books and Best American Nonrequired Reading. He teaches writing at UC Irvine, where he is president of the union representing Librarians and Lecturers, and lives in Modjeska Canyon.