Allyson Allen uses traditional materials to create unique, dimensional textile art, quilts, dolls, and handmade books. She is a multiple California Arts Council grant award recipient, twice nominated for NEA National Heritage Fellowship consideration, and has been recognized for three decades as an award-winning Master African American Quilt and Doll Artist by the state of California. The characteristics of her unique, original story quilts are considered information art. Her quilts combine art, craft, research, original design,history, and culture in traditional and contemporary pieces exemplifying a cross-disciplinary approach to quilt making. Allen's work often references American history, social issues, African folklore, or Black history. Many of her quilts are created specifically for storytelling presentations. Her handmade quilted journals usually incorporate recycled materials, fabric, and stitched paper elements.
Lisa Alvarez was born in Los Angeles and came to Orange County as a grad student earning an MFA in fiction at UC Irvine. Her essays, stories and poems have appeared in Air/Light, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Huizache, [Pank], Santa Monica Review and elsewhere, including Santa Ana Literary Association’s Year in Poetry series and Breath of Fire’s COVID Monologues. Her work has been included in anthologies such as Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America. She has herself edited three anthologies, including Orange County: A Literary Field Guide and most recently, Why to These Rocks: Fifty Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers, both from Heyday. For nearly 30 years she has been a professor of English at Irvine Valley College, where she teaches writing and literature and co-directs the Puente program. During the summers she co-directs the workshops at the Community of Writers in the High Sierra.
Gustavo Arellano is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, covering Soutnern California everything and a bunch of the West and beyond. He is author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, Orange County: A Personal History, and !Ask a Mexican!, and co-author of A People’s Guide to Orange County.
Mary Camarillo’s novel The Lockhart Women, published in June 2021 by She Writes Press, won first place in the Next Generation Indie Awards for first fiction. Her work has appeared in publications such as 166 Palms, The Sonora Review, Lunch Ticket, and The Ear. She lives in Huntington Beach, California.
Jaime Campbell is the managing editor of Citric Acid. Her fiction has appeared in Sonora Review, Santa Monica Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Angel City Review. She was the runner-up for Sonora Review’s 2020 Fiction Contest, a semi-finalist for the American Short Fiction 2019 Halifax Ranch Fiction Prize, and the winner of the 2018 JuxtaProse Fiction Prize. You can track down some of her work at jaimecampbell.com. She lives in Modjeska Canyon, a rural oasis tucked within Southern California suburbia.
Peter Carr (1925-1981) taught in the Department of Comparative Literature at CSULB and co-founded the grassroots anti-nuclear organization, the Alliance for Survival. He was the author of self-published books and pamphlets, including Aliso Creek and In the Summer We Go to the Mountains, and produced thousands of drawings, paintings, posters and illustrations. He lived in Laguna Beach with the community activist Jeanne Bernstein. A posthumous showing of his work was organized by the late Mark Chamberlain at BC Space in 2016. Both the Jeanne Bernstein and Peter Carr papers are held at the libraries of the University of California Irvine.
Jonathan Cohen's short stories and creative nonfiction have been published in the Community of Writers' Omnium Gatherum Quarterly and the Santa Monica Review. He is a 2004 alumnus of the CoW. For eighteen years, he and his wife Beth have been the proofreaders of the Santa Monica Review. Jonathan is a private tutor specializing in AP U.S. History and has been a volunteer literacy tutor at Orange County's two public library systems, for which he received the Excellence in Volunteerism award from Orange County in 2015.
Thuy Vo Dang is Curator for the University of California, Irvine Libraries Southeast Asian Archive and Research Librarian for Asian American studies. She has a Ph.D. in ethnic studies from UC San Diego and is co-author of the books, A People's Guide to Orange County and also Vietnamese in Orange County. Thuy serves on the board of directors for Arts OC and the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association.
Edward (Ted) Fowler, a Californian from the age of five months, spent his youth in Los Angeles County and the past three decades in Orange County, where he taught for twenty-two years at UC Irvine. Best known for his San’ya Blues: Laboring Life in Contemporary Tokyo, he is the author of or contributor to half a dozen books on Japan. He is also a 2019 alumnus of the Community of Writers. In retirement, he has written a memoir about his first wife, a Japanese national, from which “A View from the Ridge” is excerpted.
Sarah Rafael García is an author, community educator, curator, and performance ethnographer born in Brownsville, Tejas and raised in Santa Ana, California. She’s the founder of Barrio Writers, LibroMobile and Crear Studio — all art programs initiated as a response to build cultural relevance and equity for BIPOC folks in Orange County.Sarah Rafael García is an author, community educator, curator, and performance ethnographer born in Brownsville, Tejas and raised in Santa Ana, California. She’s the founder of Barrio Writers, LibroMobile and Crear Studio — all art programs initiated as a response to build cultural relevance and equity for BIPOC folks in Orange County.
Peter Gerrard grew up in Southern California, and ended up “Behind the Orange Curtain,” specifically Irvine. While he attended UCI for graduate school (which he never finished), his wife Kim and two sons are Anteaters with degrees. He likes to ski, and ride bikes that are embarrassingly expensive but at least environmentally justifiable. Classes and seminars at IVC and Chapman keep his interest in writing fresh.
Natalie J. Graham, a native of Gainesville, Florida, earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Florida and Ph.D. in American Studies at Michigan State University as a University Distinguished Fellow. Since moving to Orange County in 2013, Natalie has coordinated art-centered community events, workshops, and readings for hundreds of participants. She is an award-winning author and performer who has toured nationally with her collection of poems, Begin with a Failed Body. Her poems and articles have been published in San Francisco Chronicle, PEN America: A Journal for Writers and Readers, Callaloo, Obsidian, New England Review, Southern Humanities Review, The Journal of Popular Culture, and Transition. In August 2021, she was appointed Poet Laureate of Orange County.
Grant Hier was the first Poet Laureate of Anaheim, California from 2018-2020. Honors include Prize Americana, the Kick Prize, and the Courage Award. Books include Untended Garden, The Difference Between, and Similitude. A new book of poetry and instruction titled Practice: 394 Poems in 365 Days, is forthcoming. California Continuum Vol. One is a book of historical flash fiction he co-wrote with John Brantingham, the Poet Laureate of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Grant has been entered for three Grammy Awards: as a writer for “Best Album Notes” (for the last two Los Lobos albums, Llegó Navidad and Native Sons) and as a Producer for “Best Folk Album” (for Joyride: Friends Take the Wheel). He recently wrote the liner notes to a forthcoming, special edition 5-LP box set (WAR—The Vinyl: 1971-1975). As a voice actor he contributed to the audio book of George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the 2018 Audie Award for Audiobook of the year. Grant is a Full Professor at Laguna College of Art and Design, and poetry editor for Chiron Review. More at www.granthier.com
Jimin Han was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in Rhode Island, Ohio, and New York. Her writing can be found on NPR’s “Weekend America,” in Catapult Magazine, Poets & Writers Magazine, and elsewhere. A Small Revolution, her first novel, was among Entropy’s Best Fiction of 2017, Pleiades Editors’ Choice 2017, and Electric Literature's Ten Galvanizing Books About Political Protest. Her new novel, The Apology, is forthcoming from Little, Brown & Co. in 2023. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and Pace University.
Grant Hoskins is a self-taught artist who has been creating art from childhood onward. His art can be found locally and internationally ranging from galleries, zines, music album covers and pieces in the streets of Southern California.
Jesse La Tour is currently the editor of the Fullerton Observer newspaper, one of the last remaining independent local newspapers in Orange County. Prior to that, he was co-founder of Hibbleton Gallery, Bookmachine books + zines, The Magoski Arts Colony, and the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk (all of which are, sadly, on hiatus due to the pandemic). He has also taught English composition at Cal State University, Fullerton and Fullerton College. La Tour enjoys writing about local history, and is working on an in-depth history of Fullerton called The Town I Live In.
Elaine Lewinnek is professor of American Studies and chair of the Environmental Studies program at California State University Fullerton. She is co-author of A People's Guide to Orange County and also author of The Working Man’s Reward: Chicago’s Early Suburbs and the Roots of American Sprawl.
Tina Mai is a 16-year-old writer and the inaugural OC Youth Poet Laureate. Her writing has received recognition from the Library of Congress, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the Poetry Society of the UK, Bow Seat, the North Carolina Poetry Society, and the CSLA, among others. She is also the youngest recipient of the Atlanta Review International Poetry Award, in addition to being a Best New Poets nominee and a Scholastic National Gold Medal winner in poetry. Outside of writing, she finds passion in public speaking and computer science, including developing an app to aid writing accessibility through spoken word stories.
Raised in Orange County, Victoria Patterson is the author of the novels The Peerless Four, The Little Brother, and This Vacant Paradise, a 2011 New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her story collection, Drift, was a finalist for the California Book Award, the 2009 Story Prize, and was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by The San Francisco Chronicle. A second story collection, The Secret Habit of Sorrow, arrived in 2018. She lives with her family in Southern California and teaches at Antioch University’s Master of Fine Arts program.
Joel Robinson, Director & Senior Naturalist, Naturalist For You. He has guided interpretive nature walks, restored wildlife habitat, conducted biological surveys and organized environmental awareness classes, workshops, presentations and events for the public benefit since 2001. He worked for The Nature Conservancy, City of Santa Ana Parks & Recreation, Inside the Outdoors, The Wildlands Conservancy and California State Parks. His services are regularly appreciated by public agencies, schools, community groups, nonprofits, religious institutions and businesses throughout Southern California. He enjoys foraging wild foods, birding, barefooting, hiking and camping with his family and performing sea shanties in a pirate band.
Garrett Saleen is a writer and visual artist from Southern California. His fiction has appeared in Santa Monica Review, Funicular, The Collagist, and Data Epics with Studio Tilt at the University of Washington’s School of Art, Art History, and Design. He is a member of the PNW Collage Collective and his art has been featured in galleries around Seattle and in Holiday in Mar-a-Lago, a collage zine inspired by the Dead Kennedys. His art can be found @jan_homm on Instagram. He lives in Seattle, where he is editing his first collection of short fiction.
Virginia Shank writes, rides a velomobile, teaches at Irvine Valley College, and edits The Ear in Southern California, then summers in upstate New York. Poems have appeared in Third Wednesday, So It Goes, Rhino, and elsewhere.
Nicholas Schou is the former Editor-in-Chief of OC Weekly and an investigative reporter whose work has led to the release from prison of wrongfully convicted individuals as well as the indictment and imprisonment of a Huntington Beach Mayor. Schou's work has appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic, Newsweek, Salon, and the Los Angeles Times. He is also the author of several books including Kill the Messenger, which was made into a 2014 Hollywood film starring Jeremy Renner, and Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and its Quest to Spread Peace, Love and Acid to the World.
Bethia Sheean-Wallace has been working in the stacks in libraries from Florida to California for twenty-five years. She writes like a fiend about everything from poetry to politics and always has. She was born and raised in Los Angeles in a time when Orange County was considered the home of Disneyland, orange groves, and John Birch Republicans. She has been married for four decades to a fellow hippie and has three adult children, one daughter-in-law, and one wee grandbaby.
Kareem Tayyar’s collection The Revolution of Heavenly Bodies & Other Stories will be released by J.New Books in May, 2022.His work has appeared in a variety of literary journals, including Poetry Magazine, Prairie Schooner, the Santa Monica Review, and The Writer’s Almanac. His novel, The Prince of Orange County, received the 2020 Eric Hoffer Prize for Young Adult Fiction, and he was a recipient of a 2019 Wurlitzer Poetry Fellowship.
Andrew Tonkovich is the founding editor of Citric Acid and longtime editor of the Santa Monica Review. His fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Ecotone, Zyzzyva, Faultline, Juked, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. He wrote for both OC Weekly and the Orange County Register. With Lisa Alvarez, he co-edited the landmark Orange County: A Literary Field Guide, and is the author of two fiction collections, The Dairy of Anne Frank and More Wish Fulfillment in the Noughties and Keeping Tahoe Blue and Other Provocations. His review of A People's Guide to Orange County appeared recently in Alta online.
Mitsuye May Yamada is an acclaimed poet, essayist, educator, feminist and human rights activist. Yamada was one of the first and most vocal of Asian American women writers who wrote about the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans. She is the author of Camp Notes and Other Poems (1976) and Desert Run: Poems and Stories (1988), both of which are available in the combined volume, Camp Notes and Other Writings (1998). At age 96, she released Full Circle: New and Selected Poems (2019). With a lifelong commitment to fighting for human rights, Yamada served on the Amnesty International USA National Board of Directors. She is featured in the documentary Mitsuye and Nellie: Asian American Poets (1981). Most recently, her life is depicted in the political biography Nisei Radicals: The Feminist Poetics and Transformative Ministry of Mitsuye Yamada and Michael Yasutake (2020) by Diane C. Fujino.
Yamada has received numerous awards including a MELUS award, a Vesta Award from the Los Angeles Woman’s Building, and a Jesse Bernard Wise Women Award from the Center for Women’s Policy Studies, Washington DC. She was a Women’s Day USA Honoree, has been designated a KCET Local Hero and was a Yaddo Fellow, Saratoga Springs, New York. Yamada received an honorary doctorate from Simmons College, Boston in 2009.