The festival, which aims at promoting literacy, diversity and social justice through the understanding and appreciation of current women's literature, will feature a day of presentations and book signings during which attendees can interact with the authors. There will also be an independent bookseller onsite with an inventory of the authors’ published works available for purchase.
The featured authors this year will converge from a wide variety of backgrounds:
Nika Cavat is a poet, teacher and blogger who has also worked with film. Born in Rome and raised in both Europe and the U.S., she received her graduate training in film, screenwriting and directing at Columbia University. Since then, her critical essays, poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including poetdiversity and Oberon Review. She currently teaches at Crossroads School in Santa Monica.
Naomi Hirahara has authored seven novels, including the Mas Arai Mystery Series and her latest, Murder on Bamboo Lane. An alumnus of Stanford University, Hirahara has written extensively on the history and culture of Japanese-Americans, focusing on topics as disparate as Japanese-American gardeners in Southern California and Japanese-American physicians in World War II detention camps. She has also had a distinguished career in journalism editing Rafu Shimpo, an influential bi-lingual Japanese-English newspaper based in Los Angeles.
Katrina Karkazis is a cultural and medical anthropologist at Stanford, focusing on the history and treatment of intersex people. Her groundbreaking book Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience appeared in 2008. Karkazis' more recent work examines policies around “gender verification” for elite women athletes, and her article on this topic in The American Journal of Bioethics was among the two most-read articles in the history of the journal. Karkazis is a frequent speaker to academic, clinical and lay audiences on issues at the interface of medicine and society.
Ruthanne Lum McCunn has written several novels, including the highly acclaimed Thousand Pieces of Gold, which has been adapted into a film. Born in Hong Kong, McCunn is of Chinese and Scottish descent. She was educated at the University of Texas, Austin, and has since taught at Cornell University, UC Santa Cruz, and the University of San Francisco. Her most recent work, Chinese Yankee, relates the tale of Ah Yee Way, a man from Hong Kong who fought on the Union side in the U.S. Civil War.
Sonia Nazario is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist who has shed light on critical, yet often overlooked, social issues. Her 2002 series Enrique’s Journey, about the plight of children who immigrate to the U.S. to join their parents, won more than a dozen journalism awards, and in 2006 Nazario published a well-received book that expanded upon the original series. In July 2014, she penned an influential New York Times opinion piece entitled The Children of the Drug War: A Refugee Crisis, Not an Immigration Crisis.
Sofia Samatar is a specialist in multicultural literature and non-western authors and has taught literature and Arabic at CSU Channel Islands since 2013. Before receiving her PhD at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Samatar lived in South Sudan and Egypt. Her debut fantasy novel, A Stranger in Olondria, won the Crawford Award for Best Fantasy Debut and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Samatar is also the nonfiction and poetry editor for the online journal Interfictions.
Verta Taylor is a professor of sociology and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Feminist Studies at UCSB, where she teaches courses on gender and sexuality, feminism and social movements. Taylor has published over 100 scholarly articles, and she is the author of 15 books and edited volumes, including The Marrying Kind? Debating Same-Sex Marriage within the Lesbian and Gay Movement. She received the American Sociological Association’s Jessie Bernard Award in 2011 in recognition of her lifetime of scholarship on women.
This year's WLF will take place on March 7 at Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort (633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. from 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Please visit the Women's Literary Festival website at womensliteraryfestival.com for more information about the event, registration information and information about past events.
—Ali Van Houten