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      Date(s) - 05/06/2023
      12:30 pm - 5:00 pm

      Altadena Main Library


      people listening to poetry

      Litfest 2104 (File Photo – Staff)

      LitFest in the Dena is best known for its focus on writers, the power of the written word, and how literature manifests change in our world, our communities, and ourselves.

      Some books do this head-on. Some explore how we handle change. Others can unsettle and challenge us by presenting a new or unfamiliar point of view. This year LitFest in the Dena has a theme, celebrating Books That Make a Difference. Whether mystery writers delve into their genre or authors of color discuss “surviving the literary life,” books have made a difference, personally, culturally, socially, politically, historically, and within our community, and even the world. We will celebrate these books and the writers who wrote them and the influence they’ve had on our LitFest in the Dena participants.

      As always, this year’s event is free to the public. It begins on Tuesday, May 2 at Altadena Library with a tribute to Eric Priestley, alum of the original Watts Writers Workshop who created fierce, unsparing, and heartfelt poetry. Erin Aubry Kaplan, Pam Ward, and Jervey Tervalon (friends whom he also mentored) lead the evening’s dramatic readings with actor Lorne Green.  They will explore the enduring legacy of Black culture and the arts. This will be followed by “Surviving the Literary Life,” a discussion with Pat Alderete, Janet Fitch, Lorne Green, Gary Phillips, Lisa Teasley, and Jervey Tervalon.

      Friday, May 5, Thomas Backer, PhD, opens LitFest in the Dena with his remarks on human creativity. This will be followed by a VIP Authors and Participants reception and a performance of LA’s oldest crime reading series Noir at the Bar.

      LitFest in the Dena 2023 (Part 1)
      Tuesday, May 2, and Friday, May 5
      6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
      Altadena Library
      600 E. Mariposa St.
      Altadena, CA 91001

      The weekend of May 6 and 7, LitFest in the Dena heads to Mountain View Mausoleum with panel discussions, workshops, readings, and other literary events.

      Saturday, May 6, offers panel discussions, readings, and interactive literary events such as “Talk Story to Me,” “The Art of Literary Translation,” “Queer Writers Tracing Literary Ancestries,” “Book Talk and Literary Podcasting,” “Not-Quite Silenced Voices: Overcoming Abuse of Authority,” “Writing Trauma,” “Biblio Sinensis: A Tea and Book Discussion,” and “Debut Women Over 60.”

      Debut mystery novelist Lauren Thoman joins veterans Eric Beetner, Rachel Howzell Hall, Jordan Harper and Walter Mosley in “A Life of Crime” followed by Joe Ide’s “Writing the Killer Crime Novel” workshop.

      “Requited Love” brings together authors Lian Dolan, Erin Judge, Suzanne Park, Kate Spencer, and Elissa Sussman to discuss how romantic comedies are alive and well in fiction with deeper characters and more inclusive storylines, as well as what makes a great romance, how comedy makes it sing, and why we still love a happy ending.

      LitFest in the Dena partners with Children’s Literature Council of Southern California to present “Book Banning and the Gatekeepers: Curation vs. Censorship “featuring authors Ernesto Cisneros and Benson Shum, author and educator Sharon Langley, librarian Candice Mack, and Lynn Kysch, CLCSC president. Children, middle grade, and YA enthusiasts can enjoy “Making a Picture Book: From Process to Publication” and “Walking Through Fire: Hope and Resilience in Middle Grade and YA Fiction.”

      Saturday evening at 6:15 pm, Nina Revoyr, author of the critically acclaimed A Student of History, is the LitFest in the Dena Special Guest Author. Her depiction of our cities and historical roots of race and economic division informs us, enlightens us, and tells us why the written words matters. She’ll share her observations, perspective and learned experiences followed by a Q&A.

      Sunday, May 7, brings together the stories and activism of our community with “Bells Toll Ad Infinitum,” a group of BIPoC seniors and women who created an anthology to preserve their stories and “Power of One,” which for 20 years has chronicled the otherwise untold stories – and accomplishments – of everyday citizens working to improve their communities and create real change.

      LitFest in the Dena partners once again with Open Book, a program of the Pasadena Literary Alliance, as they present “Culinary Culture: How Food Connects Us to Our Wellbeing” with authors Kim Fay, Maite Gomez-Rejón, Fanny Singer, and Lian Dolan, moderator.

      A writing life is often challenging. Along the way many odd, exciting, alarming, and very funny moments are experienced. In “Outrageous Literary Stories” Jean Guerrero, Gary Phillips, Tim Stiles, and Jervey Tervalon try to top each other with the most compelling, entertaining, and awkward moments of their literary lives.

      LitFest revives “Bookstores We Love,” this time focusing on owners creating and finding their niche with Flintridge Bookstore, North Figueroa Bookshop, The Ripped Bodice, Octavia’s Bookshelf, and Zibby’s Bookshop. Moderated by Erin Judge.

      Sandra Tsing Loh and producer Samantha Dunn bring their podcast BOOKISH to LitFest in the Dena to talk book trends; funny, awkward, and inspiring moments; and to interview Diane Marie Brown about her debut novel Black Candle Women.

      “In the Belly of the Beast: Understanding Los Angeles” has authors Rosecrans Baldwin, Jim Dawson, Natashia Deón, and Mike Sonksen dissecting and analyzing what makes LA tick, what is the truth below longstanding stereotypes, and how does living here influence the stories they create.

      “Reclaiming Witches and Monstrous Women” shifts the lens from female archetypes that vilify and victimize to re-writing and reclaiming, embracing and celebrating.

      Local publicists Megan Beatie, Laura Segal Stegman and Holly Watson explain what they actually do and why it benefits an author to have one. And for the more home grown, the “San Gabriel Valley Food Club” reveals how, over a shared meal, community members come together to support one another in the publishing industry. Finally, learn how to get your own work out in the world at “How to Get Published” with representatives from Doppelhouse Press, Lil’ Libros, Red Hen Press, The Unnamed Press, and Tsehai Publishers. Moderated by Julia Callahan, sales rep for the distributor Independent Publishers Group.

      LitFest in the Dena 2023
      Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7
      12:30 pm – 6:00 pm
      Mountain View Mausoleum
      2300 N. Marengo Ave.
      Altadena, CA 91001


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