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How Does L.A. Inspire First-Time Novelists?

How Does L.A. Inspire First-Time Novelists? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
A Zócalo/ALOUD Event
Moderated by Eryn Brown, Editorial Director, Zócalo Public Square

Everybody loves a debut novel. The thrill of discovering a new literary voice, the culmination of years of solitary work, and the possibility of so much more to come will always be catnip to publishers, reviewers, and of course, readers. First-time novelists often pour much of themselves and their family experiences into these works—lending a particular richness and depth. Emerging from a diverse, dynamic place like Los Angeles, debut novels invite us to step into unknown neighbors’ hearts, minds, and milieus, and offer us new ways to behold and understand our city and our world. What is the experience—creative, intellectual, emotional—of writing a first novel, and how is it different than working on a short story, poem, or screenplay? When first-time novelists explore the world in a place like L.A., can the city—its mood, its vastness, its populations—become a crucible for forging new visions and ideas? And how do these writers approach perhaps the most daunting question: What’s next?

Debut novelists Fatimah Asghar, Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi, and Ryan Lee Wong visit Zócalo and ALOUD to read from their books, and to discuss the excitement and challenges of putting out a first novel, what inspires their craft, and why Los Angeles had to be a part of it all.

Zócalo and ALOUD invite our in-person audience to continue the conversation with our speakers and each other at a post-event reception with a book signing, complimentary drinks from Gong Cha, and small bites from Paratta.

During events at ASU California Center, only clear bags (maximum size 12” x 6” x 12”) and small clutches (maximum size 8 ½” x 5 ½”) are permitted in the venue. All bags are subject to search. Questions? Ask us at events@zocalopublicsquare.org.

ASU California Center
1111 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015

The Takeaway

Los Angeles Sends Writers in Novel Directions | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Los Angeles Sends Writers in Novel Directions

Three Authors Share How the City Inspired and Influenced Their Stories

It is said that Los Angeles lacks a literary pulse—that the flash and glam of Tinseltown overpowers the cultural terrain. But writers here deftly channel this city’s rhythms, spinning fictions …