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Women’s Literary Festival in Santa Barbara Announces Diverse Lineup of Writers

The Women’s Literary Festival committee is pleased to announce the list of authors for the 2015 event.

The festival will celebrate readers and women writers in a day of interactive presentations and book signings on March 7 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Click here for more information about the event, registration information and information about past events.

Dedicated to promoting literacy, diversity and social justice, WLF is designed to expand the understanding and appreciation of current literature through insightful and inspirational presentations given by a distinguished group of contemporary women authors from diverse backgrounds. During the 45-minute presentations, the writers will discuss their writing craft and describe the social and cultural ideas that move them to write. Festival attendees can interact with the authors during book signing sessions, and an independent bookseller will be on site with an inventory of the authors’ published works available for purchase.

Featured authors for the 10th annual Women’s Literary Festival include:

Nika Cavat — Nika Cavat is a poet, teacher and blogger who has worked in both documentary and feature films. Born in Rome and raised in both Europe and the United States, she received her graduate training in film, screenwriting and directing from Columbia University. Nika’s critical essays, poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including poetdiversity and Oberon Review. Currently a teacher at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, Nika lives in Venice Beach with her daughter, their dog, cat and hedgehog.

Naomi Hirahara — Prolific and eclectic, Naomi Hirahara is the author of seven novels, including the Mas Arai mystery stories and her latest, Murder on Bamboo Lane, featuring rookie bicycle cop Ellie Rush. Hirahara has written extensively on the history and culture of Japanese-Americans, focusing on topics as diverse as Japanese-American gardeners in Southern California and Japanese-American physicians in World War II detention camps. A graduate of Stanford University, she also had a distinguished career in journalism editing Rafu Shimbo, an influential bilingual Japanese-English newspaper.

Katrina Karkazis — Stanford cultural and medical anthropologist Katrina Karkazis studies the history and treatment of intersex people. Her groundbreaking book, Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience, appeared in 2008. 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 — Hong Kong-born, Ma. McCunn is of Chinese and Scottish descent. Educated at the University of Texas, Austin, she is the author of several novels, including the highly acclaimed Thousand Pieces of Gold, later made into a film. She has 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 — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario has spent her career shining much-needed light on critical 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. In 2006, Nazario published a book to great critical acclaim that expanded upon the series. In July, Nazario penned the influential New York Times opinion piece "The Children of the Drug War: A Refugee Crisis, Not an Immigration Crisis."

Sofia Samatar — Professor Samatar, a specialist in multicultural literature and non-western authors has taught literature and Arabic at CSU Channel Islands since 2013. Prior to receiving her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she lived in South Sudan and Egypt for over a decade. 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. She is also the nonfiction and poetry editor for the online journal Interfictions.

Verta Taylor — Professor of sociology and an affiliated faculty member in feminist studies at UCSB, Taylor teaches courses on gender and sexuality, feminism, and social movements. She has published over 100 scholarly articles and is the author of 15 books and edited volumes, including The Marrying Kind? Debating Same-Sex Marriage within the Lesbian and Gay Movement (2013). Taylor received the American Sociological Association’s Jessie Bernard Award in 2011 in recognition of her lifetime of scholarship on women.

About the Women's Literary Festival

In 2004 the WLF steering committee, made up of volunteers from throughout Santa Barbara County, came up with the idea of a literary festival to celebrate women authors and their diverse life experiences. The festival authors’ presentations offer an opportunity for building community, advancing women’s voices, promoting literacy, and celebrating those who write and read for the purpose of developing our personal lives and our sense of community.

For more information, click here or email [email protected].

— Mary Ellen Brooks represents the Women’s Literary Festival.

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