When newlywed David Feinberg’s Tarzana townhouse burned down, he and his wife moved in with her parents. Life with his in-laws forced him to rethink his definition of adulthood while adjusting to awkwardness of sex in his wife’s childhood room, and a rigid set of house rules.
Category Archive: ISSUES
“As we all continue to collectively mourn Toni Morrison, we also collectively pay tribute to the gifts she gave us. Rest in power and poetry,” writes AFLW Associate Poetry Editor Luivette Resto as she shares poems by Angelina Sáenz, Donny Jackson and Jessica Gallion that celebrate Morrison’s memory, beauty and wisdom.
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.
David Lynch’s premiere of Twin Peaks at the Ace Hotel provides the setting for a wry, observant glimpse into the superficial, glitzy aspects of Los Angeles. That is until a chance encounter downtown at Clifton’s flings frivolity to the wind as life’s fragility zooms into sharp focus.
In her new memoir, writer and criminal defense attorney Karen Stefano, shares the gripping story of how a young woman persevered after a violent sexual assault, ultimately regaining her strength and sense of freedom she had lost.
Acclaimed YA novelist Lilliam Rivera creates an intricate dystopian world in her new novel, where fierce Latina girl gangs rule in order to survive.
Maria Hummel delves into L.A.’s art world, a sordid place of vice, provocation, violence and, yes, mystery in her novel, now in paperback.
East-Coast transplant and writer Marnie Goodfriend has an “it’s complicated” relationship with L.A.’s elusive passage of time, and considers the notion of idleness as a luxury item.
In his new book of poems and essays, Mike Sonksen explores and examines Los Angeles as well as its people, neighborhoods, culture and history over generations. It’s both an up-close view and one from 35,000 feet floating above the geography and the psychology of the city.
Of African American, Eastern European Jewish and Muscogee Creek Native American descent, Gina Loring alchemizes sociopolitical issues into art. For the final day of National Poetry Month, we are proud to publish her recent works, celebrating multi-ethnic heritage, female empowerment and poetry changing the world.
THIS IS (NOT) L.A. by Jen Bilik is a love letter to Los Angeles, and an essential reality check and debunker of false myths about the city. An excerpt of the most L.A. and un-L.A. guide, including a foreword by the late Jonathan Gold.
Arminé Iknadossian’s latest collection of poetry potently explores the many facets of being a woman, including ambiguity, lover and warrior.
In his recently released novel, PORTRAIT OF SEBASTIAN KHAN, writer Aatif Rashid creates a uniquely compelling modern Muslim-American coming-of-age story and a new POC narrative.
What do you do when everything in your life is touched by waves of anxiety, when the simplest thing in your routine provokes debilitating panic attacks? Writer Andrea Tate shares how she’s overcoming her phobias to find a way out of fear.
Author Riley Perez went to prison for the robbery and attempted extortion of Joe Francis, the creator of Girls Gone Wild. It was a job he was hired to do by the mob. In WHAT IS REAL, Perez brings the reader into his world, one in which the rules of engagement make sense only to those whose lives depend on it.
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.
In turning 40 on Yom Kippur, a week after the 30th anniversary of her mother’s death, writer and musician Solvej Schou reflects on grieving endings and celebrating new beginnings—and freeing herself to own her life.
In her acclaimed debut novel, CATALINA, Liska Jacobs takes us into the tortured mind of Elsa Fisher as she retreats to Los Angeles, jobless after an intense affair in the heart of Manhattan’s art world. A journey of drinking, destruction and discovery follows as Elsa unravels in a seeming paradise: Catalina Island. An excerpt from the perfect beach (or island) read for hot summer days and nights, and a revealing Q&A between AFLW’s Jian Huang and the author on the evergreen question of New York vs. L.A. and, as a native Angeleno, how the character of Los Angeles as place influences her writing.
In Jessica Shoemaker’s “Mia Is Going to Mars,” Mia has survivor’s guilt. She wants to make good. But what’s lined up against her stands firm.
In “Panels,” inspired by small oil portraits on wood, Jonathan Blum sketches glimpses of people from diverse backgrounds, capturing the essence of lives lived.
We begin National Poetry Month with a searing poem written for and read by Shonda Buchanan at our Black Resistance in the Time of Trump event. Her lyrical opening, which she sang, took our breath away and made the room sacred. Her words, full of pain and rage and the truth.
In THE LAST TO SEE ME, M. Dressler blurs the boundaries between the living and the dead, showing us that otherness is a matter of not seeing and not knowing how to communicate, and that evil resides not either in the world of ghosts or men, but in one’s own heart. An excerpt and fascinating conversation between AFLW fiction editor Shilpa Agarwal and the author, on the heels of her winning this year’s $10,000 Book Pipeline Award book-to-film project for the novel.
In TRIPLE CROSS KILLER, crime writer Rosemarie Aquilina, who recently made headlines in the courtroom for her historic judgment for survivor rights, takes us into the dark, shadowy life of a serial killer and those who hunt him out. We are honored to feature an excerpt from the book and a conversation between AFLW fiction editor Shilpa Agarwal and Judge Aquilina, in which she speaks about what inspired her to write her novel focused on children, voice and power, and her vision for creating real change in society.
In her new memoir, CUZ: The Life and Times of Michael A., Danielle Allen, a distinguished classicist and political scientist, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and Washington Post Opinion columnist, writes with sensitivity and candor about the tragic death of her younger, African-American cousin Michael after his release from a prison sentence that began when he was just 15 years old, and the pressing need for reform of mass incarceration in the United States.
Deanne Stillman’s latest, acclaimed book, “Blood Brothers: The Story of the Strange Friendship between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill,” gives an unexpected view into white America’s troubled relationship with its native population. Learn more about this fascinating story, with lessons from the past that impact current issues, in an excerpt and Q&A with the author.
An achingly honest account of one woman’s quest to reconnect with her body post-divorce explores the ways in which relationships mentally and physically shape us.
In BEGIN WITH A FAILED BODY, winner of the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, poet and professor Natalie Graham considers the wounded self trapped between poverty and memory.
Working long hours in an upscale Beverly Hills restaurant, a single, white mother in her 50s and a young Latino cook form an unlikely friendship to protect their jobs, never realizing how essential their bond is until one of them faces an unimaginable tragedy.
In “The Art of Misdiagnosis,” Gayle Brandeis probes the mysteries surrounding her mother’s suicide, artfully weaving letters, research and documentary transcripts throughout the narrative. An excerpt and Q&A between the author and AFLW creative nonfiction editor, Marnie Goodfriend, on letters never sent, truth seeking, and loving our parents, flaws and all.
In his new, bestselling book, “More Beautiful Than Before,” Rabbi Steve Leder offers wisdom gleaned from his years in service to others, and from moving through his own pain. For the holidays, he shares ways to cope, survive and, even, thrive.
They met online on Skype and then in person in Chile. Their connection continued in cyberspace. A tribute to a love outside of time.
A fast, furious and hopeful response to the #MeToo hashtag activism that went viral.
“It’s a very L.A. story, surely, but you needs must own that it’s the sort of thing that could happen anywhere, to anyone.” New, fanciful fiction, a love story, by THE BLACK WATCH indie rock band founder and author John Andrew Fredrick.
“Back then, being so comfortable in my skin, strong, rebellious, someone’s hero—that person will become a stranger and then come back throughout my life. That person is me.” A rousing personal essay on survival and resistance.
Sgt. Hector Gallegos of the LAPD reads his cheap, plastic Bible backward. This is a secret, as is the holy book’s presence in his patrol car, a tool – like his gun – to combat evil. When tragedy visits his home, he understands it’s not just faith, but something more that wields the power to protect his family. New fiction set in the City of Angels.
“I said nothing while I watched life transform from several feet away. I wasn’t observing from above in a surgical theater, nor was I a terrified loved one on the other side of the solid door.” A deeply moving excerpt from Elizabeth L. Silver’s acclaimed, new memoir of medical uncertainty.
“I am still in awe of the wonders and magic of modern medicine, but I am now much more aware of its frailties.” Elizabeth L. Silver, author of THE TINCTURE OF TIME, in an emotive Q&A.
“Not yet men and women and no longer boys and girls, they may have believed in fairy tales still but wouldn’t dare confess. That summer, after the black-bristled gypsy moth caterpillars hatched, Avalon’s youth surrendered the woods reluctantly. What more was there to fear?” A beautiful yet foreboding prelude excerpt from Julia Fierro’s heralded coming-of-age novel.
Julia Fierro on how her new novel, THE GYPSY MOTH SUMMER, is an “anti-revenge revenge story” and more.
“Man cage. Man trip. The coal mine was clearly a space for men, but the salt mine didn’t feel as manly, somehow; it was more womblike, friendly, its body briny as flesh.”
“Is it possible to envision a world where, in a battle between a gun and a story, the story would win? Is that a question worth asking? Worth imagining? Worth embodying in our work and lives?”
“My father loved thin women and thick steaks.” A poignant and funny excerpt from Annabelle Gurwitch’s brilliant new memoir on family, with her larger-than-life dad playing the lead.
On the two-year anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray, after suffering police brutality, laments by Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.
“The news wraps you in lists, trying to destroy the light of your name,
Waxing moon sliver of light—metaphor for black Baltimore boys?”
The one and only Cheryl Strayed passes on her wisdom about literature’s grand mission, the long game and the writer’s role in grim political moments.
On a precarious journey down a twisting mountain road, a singer-songwriter finds herself on a crash-course with her heart. Her husband awaits at the bottom, but the loops and turns of her life are pointing her elsewhere, a burning for change, a fiery want, a flame.
“The other day, my son asked who our king is. Normally, I would laugh — but right now it feels a little too precarious.”
In THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ, by Lilliam Rivera, a Puerto Rican-American family does everything it can to maintain a veneer of perfection for their teenage daughter, Margot. But when she’s caught stealing money, she winds up working in her father’s South Bronx grocery store, and that’s where her education truly begins. A riveting excerpt and Q&A with the author.
In CAKE TIME, Siel Ju’s protagonist has no illusions about family or perfection. She’s left that all behind long ago. A compelling excerpt and Q&A with AFLW Fiction Editor Shilpa Agarwal.