University of Southern California

L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, one of Southern California’s most cherished and engaging weekend celebrations, kicks off its 16th storied year in a new home on USC’s University Park campus April 30 and May 1, 2011.

Harris Hall - Wong Cenference Center

Saturday April 30 & Sunday May 1

Harris Hall

Tickets are required for all Festival of Books indoor panel and speaker sessions, including those at Harris Hall. Tickets will become available at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 24, 2011, through Eventbrite, with a service charge of $1.00 per ticket going to Eventbrite. Click here for more information about tickets.

Saturday, April 30


On Leadership, with Warren Bennis, Edward Lawler and Chris Worley


Warren Bennis – University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at USC and founding chairman of the university’s Leadership Institute – is one of the world’s most prominent experts on leadership. A lecturer, consultant and writer, he has been an adviser to four U.S. presidents, including John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Bennis is the author of numerous books, including the classic On Becoming a Leader. He chairs the advisory board of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and is a former Distinguished Research Fellow at Harvard Business School, former president of the University of Cincinnati and former provost and executive vice-president of SUNY-Buffalo.

Edward E. Lawler IIIEdward E. Lawler III is Distinguished Professor of Business and director of the Center for Effective Organizations in the USC Marshall School of Business. He has been honored as a top contributor to the fields of organizational development, human resources management, organizational behavior and compensation. He is the author of more than 350 articles and 43 books, with his most recent books including Achieving Strategic Excellence: An Assessment of Human Resource Organizations (2006), Built to Change (2006), The New American Workplace (2006), America at Work (2006), Talent: Making People Your Competitive Advantage (2008), Achieving Excellence in HR Management: An Assessment of Human Resource Organizations (2009), and Management Reset: Organizing for Sustainable Effectiveness (2011).

A leader in the field of organization development, Christopher G. Worley is a senior research scientist at the USC Marshall School of Business’ Center for Effective Organizations. Before joining USC, he directed the master of science in organization program at Pepperdine University, and he remains a primary faculty member in that program. Worley has coauthored more than 30 books, chapters and articles. His most recent books, coauthored with Edward Lawler, are Management Reset and Built to Change. Worley also wrote Integrated Strategic Change: How OD Builds Competitive Advantage and, with Tom Cummings, has coauthored five editions of Organization Development and Change, the leading textbook on organization development.


A Reading by Aimee Bender

An associate professor of English who teaches creative writing at USC, Aimee Bender is the author of four books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (1998), which was a New York Times Notable Book; An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000), which was a Los Angeles Times Pick of the Year; Willful Creatures (2005), which was nominated by The Believer as one of the best books of the year; and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (2010), which recently won the SCIBA award for best fiction.

Bender’s short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper’s, Tin House, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review and many other places, and also has been heard on PRI’s This American Life and Selected Shorts. She has received two Pushcart Prizes, and was nominated for the TipTree Award in 2005 and the Shirley Jackson Award in 2010. Her fiction has been translated into sixteen languages.


Writing the Ineffable: Memoir and Disability, with Tim Page and Mark Richard; moderated by Dinah Lenney


Dinah Lenney wrote Bigger than Life: A Murder, a Memoir, and co-authored Acting for Young Actors. Her essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, The Kenyon Review Online, Water~Stone Review, Agni, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and elsewhere. In addition to being a lecturer in the USC Master of Professional Writing Program, she serves on the core faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars and the Rainer Writing Workshop.

Tim Page is a professor with joint appointments in the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and the USC Thornton School of Music. He has been a music critic at The New York Times, Newsday, and The Washington Post. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his work as the chief classical music critic of The Washington Post – work that the Pulitzer board called “lucid and illuminating.” Page also has written a biography of the American novelist Dawn Powell in addition to editing her letters and a two-volume edition of her works that was published by the Library of America.

A lecturer in the USC Master of Professional Writing Program, Mark Richard is the author of two award-winning short story collections, The Ice at the Bottom of the World and Charity, and the novel Fishboy. His short stories and journalism have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, Vogue and GQ. He is the recipient of the PEN/Hemingway Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Whiting Foundation Writer’s Award.


A Reading by Carol Muske-Dukes

Carol Muske-Dukes is poet laureate of the State of California and professor of English and creative writing at USC, where she founded the Ph.D. Program in Literature and Creative Writing. She is the author of seven books of poems; her most recent, Sparrow, was a National Book Award finalist. A new book of poems, Twin Cities, is forthcoming from Penguin in June. (She is also co-editor, with Bob Holman, of Crossing State Lines: An American Renga, to be published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux in April.) Muske-Dukes has written four novels, including Channeling Mark Twain, and is also the author of two collections of essays, most recently Married to the Icepick Killer: A Poet in Hollywood. She has been poetry columnist for the Los Angeles Times Book Review and The New York Times, and presently writes for The Huffington Post.

She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, the Dylan Thomas Award, the Castagnola Award and an award from the Library of Congress, among others. Her website is and her California poet laureate project is the Magic Poetry Bus Driver’s Guide.


The Brokeback Book: From Story to Cultural Phenomenon, with William Handley, Chris Freeman, Susan McCabe, James Morrison and Kenneth Turan


Brokeback BookWilliam R. Handley is an associate professor of English at USC whose research interests predominantly concern the literature, film, historiography and culture of the American West, past and present. He is the author of Marriage, Violence, and the Nation in the American Literary West. In addition to editing The Brokeback Book, he is co-editor of True West: Authenticity and the American West.

A lecturer who teaches English and gender studies at USC, Chris Freeman holds a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University. He is co-editor, with James Berg, of the Lambda Award-winning collection The Isherwood Century, Conversations with Christopher Isherwood, and the Lambda finalist Love, West Hollywood. He is currently working on a longer-term project concerning the life, work and times of the gay writer Paul Monette, and editing his journals for publication.

Susan McCabe is a professor in English at USC. She has published Elizabeth Bishop: Her Poetics of Loss (Penn State Press, 1994), Cinematic Modernism: Modern Poetry and Film (Cambridge University Press, 2005), Swirl (Red Hen Press, 2003) and the Agha Ali Shahid Prize-winning Descartes’ Nightmare (University of Utah Press, 2008). Currently working on a biography of Bryher, “The Female Husband of Modernism,” McCabe will be a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in fall 2011.

James Morrison is the author of a memoir, Broken Fever, and a novel, The Lost Girl, as well as several nonfiction books on film. His short story collection Said and Done was a 2010 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. He teaches film and literature at Claremont McKenna College.

Kenneth Turan is a film critic for the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, and director of the Times’ Book Prizes. He has served as the Times’ book review editor and a staff writer for The Washington Post and TV Guide. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, he currently is a lecturer in the USC Master of Professional Writing Program and sits on the board of directors of the National Yiddish Book Center. He is the coauthor of Call Me Anna: The Autobiography of Patty Duke, and his collections of reviews, Never Coming to a Theater Near You and Now in Theaters Everywhere, are published by PublicAffairs Press. His latest book is Free for All: Joe Papp, the Public, and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told (Doubleday, 2009).


From Henry Hudson to California Dreams: Explorations and Discovery in Regional U.S. History, with William Deverell, Peter Mancall and Kevin Starr


A professor of history at USC and director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, William Deverell is a historian with a focus on the nineteenth- and twentieth-century American West. He has written works on political, social, ethnic and environmental history and currently is at work on a book exploring the history of the post-Civil War American West (Bloomsbury, forthcoming). With David Igler of UC Irvine, he recently published A Companion to California History, and with Greg Hise of USC, he edited the recently published A Companion to Los Angeles (both part of the Blackwell Companions to American History series). He and Igler now are co-editing the Encyclopedia of California for UC Press. In 2009-10, Deverell was the Beinecke Senior Fellow in Western Americana at Yale University.

Peter C. Mancall, seen on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in July 2009, is director of the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute and the author of five books about early America, including Hakluyt’s Promise: An Elizabethan’s Obsession for an English America (Yale University Press, 2007) and Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson (Basic Books, 2009), just released in paperback.

A University Professor and associate dean of libraries at USC, Kevin Starr has served as Allston Burr Senior Tutor in Eliot House at Harvard, as City Librarian of San Francisco and as State Librarian for California. His many articles and books, including his Americans and the California Dream series, have won him a Guggenheim Fellowship, five honorary doctorates, the Gold and Silver Medals of the Commonwealth Club, membership in the Society of American Historians, the Presidential Medallion from USC, the Centennial Medal from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, and the Humanities Medal from the National Endowment of the Humanities. In 2009, Oxford University Press published Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963, and in 2010, Bloomsbury USA released Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Bridge.

Sunday, May 1


Teaching Kids Writing, with Krishna Narayanamurti, Amie Longmire, Michele Meyering, Melinda MacInnis and students from West Adams Preparatory High School; moderated by Brighde Mullins


Brighde MullinsBrighde Mullins directs the USC Master of Professional Writing Program. She is a playwright whose works include Monkey in the Middle, Rare Bird and 10 others. She has taught at Harvard and Brown Universities as well as in prisons and public schools. Her awards include a United States Artists Award, a Whiting Writers’ Award and a NEA fellowship.

Krishna NarayanamurtiKrishna Narayanamurti is a second-year graduate student focusing on nonfiction in USC’s multi-genre Master of Professional Writing Program. As an undergraduate, he studied film and theatre at UC Santa Barbara. Currently, he blogs at his website,, and contributes to the L.A. Weekly’s “Squid Ink.” As an artist in residency with PEN USA, Narayanamurti also teaches creative writing workshops at a Los Angeles high school.

Amie LongmireAmie Longmire is pursuing her master’s degree in professional writing at USC. Her work has appeared in RELEVANT magazine, DivineCaroline online magazine and the Fuller Arts Journal. She is also a writer in residence with PEN in the Classroom. When she is not writing, Amie is teaching others to knit and to incorporate creativity into their daily lives. She is originally from San Diego, and she earned her bachelor of science degree in Organizational leadership at Biola University.

Michelle MeyeringMichelle Meyering is director of programs and Events at PEN Center USA and editor of The Rattling Wall, a literary journal. She earned a B.A. in English from the University of Redlands in 2005 and an M.F.A. from American University in 2008. Meyering has worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Redlands and also has taught witness poetry in South Los Angeles. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States.

Melinda MacInnisMelinda MacInnis is curriculum coordinator for the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative, an outreach program that prepares students from South Los Angeles for success at four-year universities. MacInnis is also a founding member of Literature for Life, a new online forum that connects Los Angeles-based writers, students and teachers.

Domonic Flowers, Teresa Meza and Natalia Zepeda (students from West Adams Preparatory High School)


Reading and Writing in the Digital Age, with Erik Loyer and Mark Marino; moderated by Holly Willis

USC fosters diverse explorations of new modes of reading and writing in the digital age. This panel discussion will showcase several current projects developed by USC faculty and staff, including the recent launch of the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume II, and software applications designed to support writing with media.


Holly Willis is a research assistanth professor in the USC School of Cinematic Arts and director of academic programs at USC’s Institute for Multimedia Literacy, where she teaches, organizes workshops and oversees academic programs designed to introduce new-media literacy skills across the university’s campus and curriculum.

Erik Loyer is a media artist who uses tactile and performative interfaces to tell stories using interactive media. His work has been exhibited online as well as internationally at venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and IndieCade. His award-winning website The Lair of the Marrow Monkey was one of the first to be added to the permanent collection of a major art museum, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. As creative director for the experimental digital humanities journal Vectors, he has worked in collaboration with many other scholars to design over a dozen interactive essays, including the Webby-honored documentary Public Secrets. Loyer is the founder of the interactive design studio Song New Creative. He also creates story-driven interactive entertainment under the Opertoon label, including the bestselling iPad and iPhone application Strange Rain. The recipient of a Rockefeller Film/Video/Multimedia Fellowship, Loyer holds a B.A. in cinema/television production from USC.

A critic and author of electronic literature, Mark Marino is an assistant professor in the USC Writing Program and the director of communication for the Electronic Literature Organization. His work on Critical Code Studies has promoted the development of methodologies for interpreting computer source. His critical works have appeared in James Joyce Quarterly and Explorations. His latest interactive novella, a show of hands, is featured in the recently released Electronic Literature Collection, Volume II. His previous narrative works include “Stravinsky’s Muse” and “Marginalia in the Library of Babel”. He is also editor of Bunk Magazine, which has just launched its mash-up issue. His portfolio can be viewed at


The Magic of Museums, with K. C. Cole, Selma Holo, Michael Quick and Charmaine Jefferson


KC ColeA longtime science writer for the Los Angeles Times, K. C. Cole is a journalism professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. She is the author of eight nonfiction books, most recently Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Smithsonian, Newsweek, Esquire, Ms. and many other publications; her work was featured in The Best American Science Writing 2004 and 2005, and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2002. She was a science commentator for KPCC (Southern California Public Radio) and year-end commentator for NPR’s Science Friday; her recent radio commentaries can be heard on American Public Media’s Marketplace. Cole likes to explore the common ground of science, art, politics and whatnot, and hosts an irregular series of events at Santa Monica Art Studios known as Categorically Not!

Selma HoloSelma Holo, director of the USC Fisher Museum of Art and the International Museum Institute, is the author of books on museums and their special roles in the democratic transitions in Spain and Mexico. Her recent Beyond the Turnstile: Making the Case for Museums and Sustainable Values challenges museums to address some of society’s most pressing needs, from creativity to authenticity of experience.

Michael QuickA professor of biological sciences, Michael Quick is also executive vice provost at USC, the second-ranking administrator in the Office of the Provost. He is responsible for advancing excellence and innovation in the university’s undergraduate curriculum and also is working to bring greater distinction to the Ph.D., professional and postdoctoral programs. Among other responsibilities, he represents the provost in the university’s academic program review process and provides leadership with respect to the Provost’s Ph.D. Fellowship Program.

Charmaine Jefferson is executive director of the California African American Museum, a statewide agency dedicated to preserving, collecting, maintaining and presenting for public enrichment the art, history and culture of African Americans. Just this February, she was named KCET’s 2011 Local Hero for Black History Month; she was honored in January by the International Association of Blacks in Dance. Jefferson serves as college board trustee for the California Institute for the Arts, as board director for the countywide advocacy organization Arts for LA, as a gubernatorial appointee to the California Arts Council, and as co-mentor to the inaugural class of Los Angeles City Fellows under Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner’s Office of Economic and Business Policy.


Hollywood Icons, with Lois Banner, Leo Braudy and Karen Sternheimer; moderated by M. G. Lord


M. G. Lord is a lecturer at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Her most recent book, Astro Turf, is a family memoir about aerospace culture during the Cold War. She is also the author of Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll. Since 1995, Lord has been a frequent contributor to The New York Times’ Book Review and its Arts & Leisure section. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Discover, Travel + Leisure, Vogue, ARTNews, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Book Review and The New Yorker. She has been interviewed on The Today Show, NBC Dateline, CBS This Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation, and PRI’s Studio 360. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lord worked for 12 years as a syndicated political cartoonist based at Newsday.

Lois BannerA professor of history and gender studies at USC, Lois Banner is the author of many books on gender, including Intertwined Lives, a dual biography of Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict (Alfred Knopf). In her lavishly illustrated most recent book, MM – Personal: From the Private Archive of Marilyn Monroe (Abrams), she and photographer Mark Anderson reveal the contents of Monroe’s filing cabinets, the largest single archive of the star’s documents still in existence. Banner is a past president of the American Studies Association and the American Historical Association, Pacific Coast Branch. She won the American Studies Association’s Bode-Pearson Prize for lifetime achievement in 2005.

Leo BraudyLeo Braudy is a University Professor and holder of the Leo S. Bing Chair in English and American Literature at USC, where he teaches 17th- and 18th-century English literature, film history and criticism, and American culture. Braudy also has taught at Yale, Columbia and Johns Hopkins. He is the editor of anthologies dealing with Norman Mailer and with François Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player, and co-editor of the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh editions of Film Theory and Criticism. Among his books are The World in a Frame; Jean Renoir; The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History; Native Informant: Essays on Film, Fiction, and Popular Culture; From Chivalry to Terrorism: War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity; and Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront. His latest book, The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon was published in March 2011.

Karen SternheimerKaren Sternheimer is a sociologist at USC and the author of Celebrity Culture and the American Dream: Stardom and Social Mobility. Her other books include Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture: Why Media is not the Answer, Kids These Days: Facts and Fictions about Today’s Youth, and It’s Not the Media: The Truth About Pop Culture’s Influence on Children. She blogs regularly at


Publishing as a Writer of Color, with Dana Johnson, Oliver Mayer, Viet Nguyen and Jervey Tervalon


Dana JohnsonDana Johnson is an assistant professor of English at USC. Her short story collection, Break Any Woman Down (University of Georgia Press, 2001), was awarded the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her fiction has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including Callaloo, Missouri Review, Iowa Review, Slake and California Uncovered: Stories for the 21st Century. Her novel, Elsewhere, California, will be published by Counterpoint Press in 2012.

Oliver MayerAn associate professor of dramatic writing at the USC School of Theatre, Oliver Mayer is the author of over 20 plays, including The Wallowa Project, currently at Son of Semele Ensemble. He wrote the libretto for the opera America Tropical, composed by David Conte, and won an Alfred P. Sloan Initiative Science and Technology award for Dark Matters, an original play about particle physics. His works have been published in The Hurt Business: A Critical Portfolio of the Early Works of Oliver Mayer, Plus (Hyperbole Books) and Oliver Mayer: Collected Plays (NoPassport Press).

Viet NguyenViet Nguyen is an associate professor of English and American studies and ethnicity at USC. He is the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford University Press, 2002), and his short fiction has been published in Manoa, Best New American Voices 2007, A Stranger Among Us: Stories of Cross-Cultural Collision and Connection, the Chicago Tribune and Gulf Coast, where his story won the 2007 Fiction Prize. His writing has been translated into Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese and Spanish. Nguyen also edits diaCRITICS, a blog on Vietnamese and diasporic Vietnamese arts and culture.

Jervey TervalonA lecturer who teaches creative writing at USC, Jervey Tervalon is the author of five novels, including Understand This, for which he won the QPBC’s New Voices Award. He also received the Key to the City of New Orleans for his novel Dead Above Ground, which is set in New Orleans and spent two months on the Los Angeles Times bestsellers list.

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