Ruthie Marlenée’s new, acclaimed novel, AGAVE BLUES, presents readers with a strong sense of place—in both Mexico and Los Angeles—and a strong-willed female protagonist. The book is a gripping family saga and lesson in transformation. An excerpt, plus a conversation with AFLW’s Lillian Ann Slugocki and the author on her inspiration–and magic in her writing process.

‘Your name is not / an apology, the sound kowtowing / to ears accustomed to Jennifers / and Debbies. You are a namesake / for a temple rising / in the Chao Phraya River / face to the morning sun. Your name / is mantra, meant for repetition.’ A poem in tribute to Vice-President Kamala Harris and to girls and women like her with names that are hard to pronounce and mean so much by Aruni Wijesinghe.

‘Are we not deserving of nice things? / Twenty families in search for more / The neighbors kick in the door / The glass cuts through skin pores / California Highway Patrol rolls in with hogties & roars.’ Poet and activist Iris De Anda reminds us that housing rights are human rights, as movements in L.A. fight for fair and just shelter while home and rental prices increase. Her words reclaim the land we stand on.

As he honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., L.A.-native Mark Eckhardt details how he has been a target of racist incidents in his own neighborhood since the election of President Trump, and encourages all of us to find the courage to confront the resurgence of bigotry, to live according to the dreams of Dr. King.

After the loves and betrayals of THE REVOLUTION OF MARINA M., young poet Marina Makarova finds herself pregnant and adrift amid the devastation of the Russian Civil War, forced to survive on her own resourcefulness. A riveting excerpt from Janet Fitch’s latest, acclaimed novel, CHIMES OF A LOST CATHEDRAL, followed by a deeply thoughtful Q&A on her process with writing group partner and friend, author Rita Williams.

Chris L. Terry’s new, acclaimed novel, BLACK CARD, presents a stirring examination of racial identity in America as its unnamed narrator is a young, mixed-race man who longs to earn his “black card,” but soon finds it comes with an acute and systemic vulnerability to racism. An excerpt, followed by a Q&A between the author and AFLW Fiction Editor Pete Hsu.

Through meditations on race, culture and family, Carla Rachel Sameth’s debut, ONE DAY ON THE GOLD LINE: A MEMOIR IN ESSAYS, tells the story of a lesbian Jewish single mother raising a black son in Los Angeles. Through her moving essays, she examines life’s surprising changes that come through choice or circumstance, often seemingly out of nowhere, and sometimes darkly humorous. An excerpt from her celebrated, new book release.

In DTLA/37, authors Yennie Cheung and Kathryn E. McGee consider the “human temperature” of the ever-changing landscape of Downtown Los Angeles. From larger-than-life murals to burlesque to a historic hotel, these 37 stories along with full-color photographs capture the unique character of a place in which the City of Angels was born.