“Start clean and simple. Don’t try to write pretty or noble or big. Try to say just what you mean. This is hard because you have to find out what you mean, and that’s work, real work. (Gertrude Stein)”- Rebecca Robins
Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Mona Simpson is the author of Anywhere But Here, The Lost Father, A Regular Guy, Off Keck Road, and My Hollywood. Off Keck Road won the Heartland Prize from the Chicago Tribune and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. She has received a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim grant, a Lila Wallace Readers Digest Writers’ Award, and, recently, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Simpson is on the faculty at UCLA and also teaches at Bard College.
Simpson went to Berkeley where she studied poetry with Josephine Miles, Thom Gunn and Seamus Heaney. She worked as a journalist before moving to NYC to attend Columbia’s MFA program. She published her first short stories in Ploughshares while still in grad school. She then worked as an editor for The Paris Review while finishing her first novel, Anywhere But Here.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Simpson’s husband was a writer for The Simpsons and named Homer’s mother after her. He used her name in the first episode and continued to do so.
Monday, June 8, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Anthony Breznican’s debut novel, Brutal Youth, is set at a crumbling Catholic high school in Western Pennsylvania called St. Michael the Archangel. The school is a dumping ground for troubled kids and for kids of protective parents who are trying to shelter them from public school. Breznican said that this ironic combination creates "sort of a perfect Darwinist mix of survival of the fittest." The title was inspired by a lyric from an Elvis Costello song, Favourite Hour.
Born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, Breznican graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998. He has worked as a reporter for The Arizona Republic, Associated Press, and USA Today. He is currently a senior staff writer for Entertainment Weekly.
Tuesday, June, 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Danny Bland has been a musician and tour manager for more than thirty years. His debut novel, In Case We Die, is a gritty, but beautiful portrayal of addiction and love in the underworld music scene in Seattle during the 1990s. Mike McCreedy from Pearl Jam called the prose “visceral, eloquent and moving.” The story follows the struggles of a young couple trying to make sense of their lives in the seedy Seattle grunge rock scene while battling drug addiction.
Last fall, SubPop published I Apologize in Advance for the Awful Things I’m Gonna Do, a full-color, 120-page collection of haikus illustrated with photographs by Greg Dulli. Bland lives in Seattle, Washington and has been a veteran of the Seattle music scene for decades.
Wednesday, June, 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Meg Gardiner is the author of 12 thrillers. Her novels have been bestsellers in the U.S. and internationally, and have been translated into more than 20 languages. China Lake won the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original. The Dirty Secrets Club was chosen one of the Top Ten Thrillers of 2008 by Amazon and won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Procedural Novel of the Year. The Nightmare Thief won the 2012 Audie Award for Thriller/Suspense Audiobook of the Year. Her latest novel, Phantom Instinct, was chosen by O magazine as one of the Best Books of Summer.
Born in Oklahoma City and raised in Santa Barbara, Gardiner graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School. She practiced law in Los Angeles and taught in the Writing Program at UC Santa Barbara. She began her writing career while living in London, England, with her husband and three children. She currently lives in Austin.
Thursday, June, 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Tawni O’Dell is the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of five novels, including her latest, the psychological thriller One of Us. Her first novel, Back Roads, was an Oprah’s Book Club pick and is currently in pre-production to be made into a film by Michael Ohoven (Capote) with a screenplay adapted by O’Dell. Her novels have been published in over 40 countries, and her writing has appeared in anthologies, magazines, and newspapers around the world.
Born and raised in the coal-mining region of western Pennsylvania, the territory she writes about with such striking authenticity, Tawni attended Northwestern University where she received a degree in journalism and then spent many years living in Chicago. She eventually returned to her home state where she raised her two children and continues to reside.
Her next novel, A Small Fire, will be published in January 2016.