Please find below biographies for participating authors at this year’s Authors on the Move!
These recently published authors will join Authors on the Move guests for conversation during the first two courses of a gourmet Farm-to-Fork meal, followed by a lively auction during the main course. With dessert, guests will enjoy award winning keynote author Rabih Alameddine, author of The Wrong End of the Telescope. Guests will have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of any or all of our authors’ most recently published books. All books sales for the event will be offered through Capital Books. For more event information, please visit Authors on the Move 2024.
Keynote Speaker Biography 2024
Rabih Alameddine, The Wrong End of the Telescope.
Rabih Alameddine is the author of six critically acclaimed novels, most recently The Wrong End of the Telescope (Grove Atlantic, 2021), which Publisher’s Weekly called, “profound and wonderful,” The Angel of History (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2016), An Unnecessary Woman (Grove Press, 2014), a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, the winner of the California Book Award, and a Washington Post, Kirkus.
When asked if he considers himself a political writer, Alameddine responded, “Well, yes, I am a political writer…what fiction is not political? The trouble with the United States is that there is this delusion that the written word can ever not be political, and that if something is political, it is somehow less than. I’ve said this one hundred times and I’ll say it again: if your country is dropping bombs in Yemen and you decide to write about a woman in Beirut who is seventy-two and doesn’t leave her house, that is a political book. If your country’s policemen are shooting unarmed black men on the street, and you write about a white couple in Minneapolis, that is a political decision. To write about the human condition is political; it’s one of the greatest political acts. Art has never been apolitical.”
Born in Amman, Jordan, he grew up in Lebanon and Kuwait, lived in England, then moved to the US. He earned a degree in engineering from UCLA and an MBA in San Francisco before becoming a painter and novelist. He divides his time between Beirut and San Francisco.
Participating Author Biographies 2024
Adam Bessie is a community college English professor, long-term brain cancer survivor, and award-winning comics writer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Truthout, Project Censored, and much more. His first graphic memoir, Going Remote: A Teacher’s Journey (created with Peter Glanting and published by The Censored Press and Seven Stories Press), has received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and is listed as one of the top 10 adult graphic novels to look for in 2023. Adam draws inspiration from his students and teaches courses on graphic novels, as well as science fiction and fantasy. Adam lives along the San Pablo Bay, with his wife, a public-school teacher, and his son, a public-school student. (www.adambessie.com)
Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s newest novel, Tell the Rest, features two young people who escape together from an abusive summer camp, and then immediately lose contact with each other. Over the next twenty-five years, they both channel rage and creativity into healing, eventually finding their way back to one another. Bledsoe has authored six other novels, two short story collections, and several children’s books. Her fiction has won a California Arts Council Fellowship in Literature, an American Library Association Stonewall Award, the Devil’s Kitchen Fiction Award, and two National Science Foundation Artists & Writers Fellowships. The New York Times wrote that her work “triumphs as an intimate and humane evocation of day-to-day life under inhumane circumstances.” (www.lucyjanebledsoe.com)
Georgeanne Brennan is the author of more than 30 cookbooks, as well as the bestselling food memoir, A Pig in Provence. A recipient of a James Beard award and a Julia Child award, her books have been translated into multiple languages, including Finnish, German, and Korean. She is the co-founder and partner in the beverage brand L’Apero les Trois wine aperitifs, with a tasting room in downtown Winters. The idea sprang from her book, Aperitif (Chronicle Books) and her years living in France and making aperitifs. She continues to write and work from her homes in Winters and Provence. (www.georgeannebrennan.com)
JaNay Brown-Wood, Ph.D., is an award-winning children’s author, poet, educator, scholar, and a former professor of Early Childhood Education and Child Development. Her first children’s book, Imani’s Moon, won the NAESP Children’s Book of the Year Award and was featured on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show, while her second book, Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story! won the CELI Read Aloud Book Award. JaNay has also authored the popular picture book series Where in the Garden, the Harriet Tubman and Simone Biles Little Golden Book Biographies, and the Love Puppies chapter book series, among many others. JaNay lives in California with her husband Catrayel, her daughter Vivian, and her turtle Theodora. (www.janaybrownwood.com)
Lisa Bunker writes novels for young readers, including Felix Yz (2017), Zenobia July (2019), and most recently Almond, Quartz, and Finch, from Sacramento-based New Wind Publishing (November 2023). Lisa has made homes in New Mexico, the LA area, Seattle, the Florida panhandle, Maine, and New Hampshire. Vo (they) now lives (live) in Sacramento with veir (their) spouse Dawn Huebner, who is an expert on anxiety in children and an author in her own right. Between them they have three grown children. Lisa is a longtime trans/non-binary activist, and from 2018 to 2022 vo (they) represented the town of Exeter in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Veir (their) interests include chess, birding, choral singing (currently with the Sacramento Master Singers), and playing bass and piano. (www.lisabunker.net)
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke is a Fulbright scholar and recipient of numerous awards, including the First Jade Nurtured SiHui Female International Poetry Award, Legacy Artist-California Arts Council, and the Thomas Wolfe Prize. She recently served as the Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals and is a U.S. Library of Congress Witter Bynner fellow. Hedge Coke has written seven books of poetry, one book of nonfiction, and a play. After retraining as a fieldworker in Santa Paula and Ventura in the mid-1980s, Hedge Coke started mentoring in literacy at the Santa Paula Library, eventually becoming a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. Hedge Coke is the editor of ten anthologies and has served as an editor and guest editor for magazines and journals, most recently World Literature Today. (www.Hedgecoke.com)
Minna Dubin is the author of MOM RAGE: The Everyday Crisis of Modern Motherhood. Her writing has been featured in the New York Times, Oprah Daily, The Sunday Times Magazine, Salon, Lit Hub, Parents, and Romper. She is the recipient of an artist enrichment grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. As a leading feminist voice on mom rage, Minna has appeared on MSNBC, Good Morning America, The Tamron Hall Show, the BBC and NPR. Minna writes memoirs, reported articles, and poetry. She occasionally creates interactive literary public art projects and is currently at work on her first novel about queerness and non-monogamy. Minna lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband, two kids, and no pets because enough is enough. (www.minnadubin.com)
Benjy Egel is The Sacramento Bee’s food and drink writer and the author of Sacramento Eats: Recipes from the Capital Region’s Favorite Restaurants. Born in Sacramento and raised in Davis, he studied journalism at Cal Poly before working as a business reporter for the Amarillo Globe-News in Amarillo, Texas, and as a breaking news reporter for The Bee. As The Bee’s food and drink reporter since 2018, he has covered the ins and outs of greater Sacramento’s dining scene during its ascent to a national audience, most notably authoring a review-based list of the region’s Top 50 Restaurants in 2022. He has been a finalist for several California News Publishers Association awards, oversees the Cal Poly journalism department’s student-alumni mentorship program, and is currently making his own ketchup from scratch. (www.benjyegel.com)
Rachel L. Ertassi, driven by a desire to illuminate the experiences of those living with type one diabetes, aspired to craft a novel that would both educate and captivate. Initially considering a memoir, she instead chose to pen a fictional thriller, wanting to avoid instilling fear about the disease. Her novel, City of Trees, City of Shadows, set in Sacramento, intertwines suspense with an exploration of life with type one diabetes. Ertassi aims not only to resonate with those directly affected by type one diabetes but also to engage a broader audience of thriller enthusiasts. This debut novel also touches on mental health and the medical field, making it a meaningful read for both the type one diabetes community and Sacramento locals. (N/A)
Cindy Fazzi is a Filipino American writer and former Associated Press reporter. She has worked as a journalist in the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States. She is the author of Multo, a contemporary thriller published by Agora Books, an imprint of Polis Books, in 2023. Her historical novel, My MacArthur, was published by Sand Hill Review Press in 2018. Her articles have appeared in the Daily Beast, Electric Literature, Publishers Weekly, Forbes, and Writer’s Digest. (www.cindyfazzi.com)
Kevin Fisher-Paulson grew up in a large Irish family in South Ozone Park, where he learned that storytelling is how the family passes on values and traditions. He subsequently studied writing at the University of Notre Dame. Kevin writes a weekly column for the San Francisco Chronicle. His columns discuss gay marriage, multiracial families, foster care, chosen family, and cupcakes. He has published three books: A Song for Lost Angels; How We Keep Spinning…!; and Secrets of the Blue Bungalow. His work also appears in When Love Lasts Forever, by Pilgrim Press. Kevin has also written dramas for the National AIDS Theater Festival, Theater Rhinoceros and Next Wave ODC. Kevin lives in the mysterious Outer, Outer, Outer, Outer Excelsior, on the very edge of San Francisco, with his husband, his two sons and his dogs. (www.Twopennypress.org)
Bill George is an accomplished author and documentary film producer and has produced eight films for PBS about California history. He formed Nimbus Films & Books in 2011 and produced The Hidden Wonder of the World about the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad from Sacramento to Donner Summit. He wrote the book Rails, Tales and Trails as a companion guide to the film. In 2023, Rowman & Littlefield published Bill’s book, Victory in the Pool, about the swimmers from a Sacramento swim club who won twenty Olympic Gold medals. He has won the Conference of California Historical Societies Award of Merit for his documentary films, the American Society of Civil Engineers top award for media presentations, and the Sacramento County Historical Society Award of Excellence. (www.Billgeorge1.com)
Peter Glanting is an illustrator and UX designer. He is fascinated by engravings, wood block prints, and works that emphasize hatching and linear halftone. Pete holds a B.A. in English from the University of California Davis, and an M.F.A. in Comics from the California College of the Arts. He lives and works in Portland, Oregon. (www.PeterGlantingDraws.com)
Jasmin Iolani Hakes was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii. She is the product of the Filipino, Puerto Rican, and Portuguese laborers who migrated to the Hawaiian Kingdom in the early and mid-1800s, a mixed identity that led her on a lifelong search to understand what it means to belong. Her essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee. She is the recipient of residencies at VCCA and Hedgebrook. Her debut novel Hula was named a must-read by Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Oprah Daily, and others. (www.jasminiolani.com)
Mackenzie Joy grew up in California and spent much of her childhood drawing, reading, playing sports, and being outdoors. Her mission in life is to bring people together and to show that you can be enough simply by being yourself. “I want to increase understanding, compassion, and respect,” she says, “between people, for the environment and nature, for science, for art.” Mackenzie Joy is also the author-illustrator of Wallflowers (Clarion) and, along with her co-creator Tony Piedra, they created One Tiny Treefrog (Candlewick). She lives in northern California. (www.mackenziejoy.art)
Susan Kelly-DeWitt is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow and the author of Gatherer’s Alphabet (Gunpowder Press, CA Poets Prize, 2022), Gravitational Tug (Main Street Rag, 2020), Spider Season (Cold River Press, 2016), The Fortunate Islands (Marick Press, 2008) and a number of previous small press collections. Her work has also appeared in many anthologies, and in print and online journals at home and abroad. She is currently a member of the National Book Critics Circle, the Northern California Book Reviewers Association, and a contributing editor for Poetry Flash. (www.susankelly-dewitt.com)
Arif Khatib’s life is broad and varied, encompassing the authorship of six books and the production of a documentary titled Because They Believed, which is scheduled for worldwide distribution on February 2, 2024. These works are dedicated to uplifting, inspiring, and highlighting athletes of color and other significant figures who have contributed to American sports and society. The most recent book pays tribute to the numerous athletes of color who have paved the way for future generations but never received proper recognition. These pioneers’ historic contributions have had a lasting impact on sports and society. Remember Their Sacrifice…Stories of Unheralded Athletes of Color is now used in sociology and US History classes at several schools and colleges, reflecting its educational and historical significance. (www.becausetheybelieved.com)
Lio Min lives in Oakland, CA, and writes toward their future. Their debut YA novel Beating Heart Baby, which the Los Angeles Times called “alive with ache, grief, hunger, love, pain and awe,” follows two boys as they reckon with internet friendships, first love, family, fandom, and “the violence and ecstasy of what it means to become an artist” (Chicago Review of Books). It was named a best YA book of 2022 by Publishers Weekly, BookPage, BuzzFeed, and the Chicago Public Library. Their culture reporting and fiction have appeared in The FADER, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Broccoli Magazine, and other outlets. Min has devoted their life to writing about music, magic, and sadness at the locus of queer youth culture and metamorphic Asia America. (www.liomin.com)
Fred Noland is a visual storyteller. His comics have appeared in the New Yorker. He created San Francisco Black History, a public art series, for the San Francisco Arts Commission. A collection of his memoir comics, Steady Rollin’, was released in 2023. He is currently working on Major Taylor, a biographical comic about the first Black World Champion in road cycling, who became one of the first international sports stars. Noland resides in Oakland, California, and is an avid but unremarkable cyclist. (www.frednoland.com)
Leticia Ordaz is the founder of the bilingual publishing house Cielito Lindo Books and a ten-time award-winning children’s book author at the International Latino Book Awards. A proud Mexican American, Leticia is also an Emmy Award-winning anchor/reporter in Sacramento, California. As the mother of two young Latino boys, Leticia is working hard to break barriers, given that currently only 7% of American children’s books feature Latinx characters or subjects, and only 10% of authors and illustrators in the US are Latinx. She recently teamed up with the Antelope Valley Union High School District to publish the anthology We Come From, a heartfelt project that shared the stories of 88 migrant youth from Los Angeles County and helped create 88 new published authors. When Leticia is not on the news being a voice for her community, she is busy spreading the love of reading in English and Spanish. (www.Cielitolindobooks.com)
Dorothy Lazard was born in St. Louis and grew up in San Francisco and Oakland. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from San Francisco State University and a Master of Library and Information Studies from UC Berkeley, where she began her career as a librarian in 1983. Joining the staff of the Oakland Public Library in 2000, she was responsible for various collections including history, biography, genealogy, travel, architecture, and maps. She is celebrated for encouraging people of all ages, cultures, and educational levels to explore local history. Dorothy holds an MFA degree in Creative Nonfiction (Goucher College) and has been a committed writer for decades. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications including Oakland Noir; The Public Library: a photographic essay; Go Girl!: the Black Woman’s Book of Travel & Adventure; Oakland Heritage Alliance News; and a number of literary anthologies. (www.dorothylazard.com)
Halifu Osumare, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of African American and African Studies at University of California, Davis, and is recognized as a scholar, dancer, choreographer, and cultural activist for over forty years. She wrote The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip-Hop: Power Moves (2007) and The Hiplife in Ghana: West African Indigenization of Hip-Hop (2012) and was a soloist with the Rod Rodgers Dance Company of New York in the early 1970s. As a community activist, she was the founder of CitiCentre Dance Theater in Oakland and created the national dance initiative Black Choreographers Moving Toward the 21st Century. Dr. Osumare published her autobiography Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir (2018), winning the 2019 Selma Jeanne Cohen Prize in Dance Aesthetics and the American Book Award. In February 2024 her sequel memoir, Dancing the Afrofuture: Hula, Hip-Hop, and the Dunham Legacy, appears in print. (www.hosumare.com)
Mark Ernest Pothier followed his Bay Area native wife to San Francisco in 1987. His first published story won a Chicago Tribune/Nelson Algren Award in 1994, and his debut novel, Outer Sunset (University of Iowa Press), which has been called “insightful and bittersweet — a terrific novel” by the San Francisco Chronicle, was published three decades later, in 2023. In the interim, in addition to publishing shorter work elsewhere, he’s worked in the communications offices of California Humanities, The James Irvine Foundation, The Judicial Council of California, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Mark earned an MFA from San Francisco State, a BA from St. John’s College in Annapolis, and he has enjoyed singing Slavic choral music in community choirs for many years. (www.MarkErnestPothier.com)
Harvey Schwartz, Ph.D., was born and raised in San Francisco. His interest in American social, political, and labor history came from observations he made in a southern state while serving in the U.S. Army. Schwartz decided to become a labor historian and to study at UC Davis with the eminent labor historian David Brody. Much of his work has focused on the West Coast and Hawaii-based International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Schwartz’s new book, Labor Under Siege: Big Bob McEllrath and the ILWU’s Fight for Organized Labor in an Anti-Union Era, is an oral history. His earlier books include Building the Golden Gate Bridge: A Workers’ Oral History, Solidarity Stories: An Oral History of the ILWU, and The March Inland: Origins of the ILWU Warehouse Division, 1934-1938. Schwartz’s books have won Independent Publisher Book Awards, National Indie Excellence Awards, and Nautilus Book Awards prizes. He holds an A.B. from Stanford, an M.A. from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. from UC Davis. (N/A)