Ella deCastro Baron is a second generation Filipina American born in Oakland and raised in Vallejo, California. Ella earned a BA in English Literature from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. She is a full-time wife and mother of three children, a part-time English and Creative Writing instructor at San Diego City College and Brandman University, and an 'other'-times writer published in Fiction International, Sunshine Noir, Lavanderia, Mamas and Papas, CityWorks Literary Journal as well as co-editor of the anthology, Hunger and Thirst. Ella hopes to continue being a witness to her ethnic upbringing, her faith, her interracial family, and how it all may or may not fit together. Ella's first book, Itchy, Brown Girl Seeks Employment, published by CityWorks Press in 2009, was a finalist for the San Diego Book Awards.
Pelayo “Pete” García is a builder, public servant, artist, and author of the award-winning novel, From Amigos to Friends, which as selected as one of the top 100 books for high school students by the California Librarians Association for three consecutive years. He also co-wrote and co-produced the acclaimed movie, Bitter Sugar, while his paintings are widely collected by private and public collectors throughout the United States.
Born in Cuba, García arrived alone in the United States when he was 13 as part of the Peter Pan program which brought thousands of unaccompanied children to the United States after the Cuban Revolution and after the García family’s departure was denied by Castro. After graduating with high honors from the University of Florida in engineering, he began his career with Exxon.
In 1974, García moved to San Diego to design and build industrial, commercial, and residential projects throughout the United States. Today, the author is a Partner in I.D.E.A. Partners – a real estate development company reinventing several blocks in downtown San Diego, adjacent to San Diego City College, into a pedestrian mix-use project that brings together Innovation + Design + Education + Art. He has served as vice-chair of the State of California Commission for Economic Development; chairman of San Diego Economic Development Foundation; chairman of AVID; and serves on the San Diego State University Engineering Board and the Art Council. Books will be available for purchase at $6 a copy.
Dr. Zohreh Ghahremani is the author of three books, including Sky of Red Poppies, The Moon Daughter, and The Commiserator (in Persian). A voice of the Iranian-American diaspora, her work has been featured in a number of anthologies including Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian-American Writers, SDWI's anthology, A Year In Ink, and The Poetry of Iranian Women.
She has won several awards, including The California Stories, 2011 One Book, One San Diego for Sky of Red Poppies, and Best Fiction The Moon Daughter at the San Diego Book Awards this year.
She is one the ten proud winners this year who were honored as the San Diego Cool Women, selected by 30,000 Girl Scouts. Over a hundred of her articles have appeared in magazines in the U.S. The French translation of her first novel -- Un Ciel De Coquelicots -- has just been released and received great reviews in Paris. The Persian translation will be out in a couple of months. In the decades preceding her publishing career, Dr. Ghahremani was in private practice while teaching at Northwestern University Dental School in Chicago. She lives in California with her husband. She is currently working on her next novel, The Basement. More info: http://www.zoeghahremani.com/blog1/?tag=zohreh-ghahremani.
Born in Tampico, Mexico to a Mexican mother and a Chicano father who was filled with racial self-hatred, Dr. Leilani Grajeda-Higley has earned degrees in nursing science and psychology. She has also served as a nurse therapist in psychiatric facilities in San Diego.
In addition, Grajeda-Higley has an M.F.A in creative writing and teaches writing and literature in the Chicana/o Studies Department at San Diego State University. The author of a book, Understanding Pharmacology, she also edited Raíces y Más: An Anthology of Young Border Voices. It is a world-class collection of stories and poems by students at SDSU. A work in progress, The Power Dynamic: The Force That Drives Our Behavior is her memoir/essay on power and dominance in relationships.
Reyna Grande is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. She is the recipient of an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the Latino Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards. Her works have been published internationally in countries such as Norway and South Korea.
Her novels, Across a Hundred Mountains, (Atria, 2006) and Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009) were published to critical acclaim and have been read widely in schools across the country.
Her latest book, The Distance Between Us, was published in August 2012, by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In this memoir, Reyna writes about her life before and after illegally emigrating from Mexico to the United States. It has been chosen as the One Maryland One Book selection; the Books in Common Selection at Butte College and Chico State University; the One Book/One Community selection at San Juan College; the Common Reading Project at Grand Valley State University; and the First Year Experience Book at Cal State University Los Angeles.
Born in Mexico, Grande was two years old when her father left for the U.S. to find work. Her mother followed her father north two years later, leaving her and her siblings behind in Mexico. In 1985, when Grande was going on ten, she entered the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. She later went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.
After attending Pasadena City College for two years, the author earned a B.A. in creative writing and film and video from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She later received her MFA in creative writing from Antioch University. Now, in addition to being a published author, Grande is also an active promoter of Latino literature and is a sought-after speaker at high schools, colleges, and universities across the nation. Grande teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension and is at work on her next novel.
Sonia Gutiérrez is a poet professor, who promotes social justice and human dignity. She teaches English composition and critical thinking and writing at Palomar College. La Bloga is home to her Poets Responding SB 1070 poems, including “Best Poems 2011” and “Best Poems 2012.”
Her vignettes have appeared in AlternaCtive PublicaCtions, Mujeres de Maíz, City Works Literary Journal, Hinchas de Poesía, Storyacious and Huizache. Her bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña (Olmeca Press, 2013), is her debut publication. Kissing Dreams from a Distance, a novel, is under editorial review. To learn more about Sonia, visit SoniaGutierrez.com.
Tamara Johnson is the author of Not Far From Normal published by City Works Press.
She has been a hostess, waitress, cocktail server, college d.j., book seller, music seller, candy clerk, sales associate, merch girl, envelope stuffer, sandwich maker, temp worker, Sunday school teacher, adjunct instructor, instructional aide, pedi-cab driver, paralegal, ballet dancer, child-care provider, fast-food employee, grocery cashier, events coordinator, fashion insider, recording artist, artist-in-residence, performance artist, poet, writer, zine maker, homemaker, editor, roadie, story-teller, and incorrigible eavesdropper.
Manuel Paul López is the author of The Yearning Feed (University of Notre Dame Press) which won the 2013 Ernest Sandeen Prize. He has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His first book, Death of a Mexican and other Poems, was published by Bear Star Press in 2006 and was awarded the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize.
The author’s work has been published in Bilingual Review, Hanging Loose, Puerto del Sol, Rattle, and ZYZZYVA, among others. He has new work forthcoming in Denver Quarterly and Vlak Magazine: Contemporary Poetics and the Arts. The writer was born and raised in the U.S.-Mexican border region of El Centro, California, and received degrees from the University of California, San Diego and San Francisco State University.
Maceo Montoya grew up in Elmira, California. He graduated from Yale University in 2002 and received his Master of Fine Arts in painting from Columbia University in 2006. His paintings, drawings, and prints have been featured in exhibitions and publications throughout the country as well as internationally.
Montoya’s first novel, The Scoundrel and the Optimist (Bilingual Review, 2010), was awarded the 2011 International Latino Book Award for “Best First Book” and Latino Stories named him one of its "Top Ten New Latino Writers to Watch." In 2014, University of New Mexico Press published his second novel, The Deportation of Whopper Barraza, and Copilot Press published Letters to the Poet from His Brother, a hybrid book combining images, prose poems, and essays. Montoya is an assistant professor in the Chicana/o Studies Department at UC Davis where he teaches the Chicana/o Mural Workshop and courses in Chicano Literature. He is also affiliated with Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer (TANA), a community-based arts organization located in Woodland, CA.
Judy Patacsil, co-author of Filipinos in San Diego, is a counselor at Miramar College, where she chairs the Miramar College Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and where she founded the Filipino American Student Association.
Patacsil co-wrote the companion guide for Silent Sacrifices, a documentary which addresses the struggles of immigrant Filipinos and their American-raised children, and provides a forum for open dialogue to find solutions.
As a founding member, she is actively involved in the San Diego chapter of the Filipino-American National Historical Society, whose mission is to research, disseminate and celebrate Filipino-American history. Patacsil completed her master’s degree in counseling with an emphasis in multicultural competency from San Diego State. A licensed psychotherapist, she worked in mental health care and SDSU Psychological Services before joining Miramar College in 1992.
Angel Sandoval was born and raised in Brawley, California (colloquially referred to by La Raza as “Brole”). He received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University. Now he teaches at Imperial Valley College and San Diego City College.
His poetic manuscript—Shades of Brown: Thoughts of A YoungMexicanAmericanChicano—was published by alternaCtive publiCactions, a web-based press whose website is hosted and supported by the UC Merced Library.
Later this October, alternaCtive publiCations will publish his most recent work, a children’s story titled The Road to Quetzalcóatl. View and download Angel Sandoval’s work for free at www.http://alternativepublications.ucmerced.edu/.
Marivi Soliven has taught writing workshops at the University of the Philippines and the University of California at San Diego. Stories from her 16 books have appeared in anthologies and creative writing texts in Manila and the United States. She won Carlos Palanca Memorial awards for her children’s fiction in 1991 and 1992 and the Palanca Grand Prize for the novel, The Mango Bride in 2011. The Palanca awards are the counterpart of the Pulitzer Prize in the Philippines.
The Mango Bride was published by Penguin Books in the April, 2013. Grupo Planeta is publishing a Spanish translation of the novel. The Spanish edition's title is Hace una Eternidad en Manila (It’s an Eternity in Manila), while National Book Store is developing the Filipino edition. A film adaptation of the novel is being negotiated with Regal Films, a Philippine film company. In June, the San Diego Book Awards named The Mango Bride Best Contemporary Fiction of 2013.
Born in the Philipines, Lysley Tenorio is a San Diego native who lives in San Francisco, and is an associate professor at Saint Mary’s College of California.
Monstress is a luminous collection of heartbreakingly vivid and gloriously unique stories set amongst the Filipino-American communities of California and the Philippines.
The book heralds the arrival of a breathtaking new talent on the literary scene: Lysley Tenorio, who brilliantly explores the need to find connections, the melancholy of isolation, and the sometimes suffocating ties of family. Stories range from a California army base to a steamy movie house in Manila, to the dangerous false glitter of Hollywood. Tenorio’s stories have appeared in the Atlantic, Zoetrope: All-Story, Ploughshares, Manoa, and The Best New American Voices and Pushcart Prize anthologies. A Whiting Writer’s Award winner and a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Tenorio has received fellowships from the University of Wisconsin, Phillips Exeter Academy, Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Under the direction of Justin Hudnall, VAMP (Visual / Audio Monologue Performance) is a highly-produced multimedia reading series which presents an evening of several writers performing works with audio / visual accompaniment revolving around a changing theme. This year’s theme for the City College Book Fair VAMP which showcases the creative writing of City College students is “borderlines.”
The theme is open to interpretation, and “We’re looking at this from all angles: not only physical borders as with neighborhoods or countries, but also the metaphorical as with the boundaries of our bodies, consent, and comfort zones. What does it mean to cross or have your boundaries crossed? The theme is loose, the stories are solid, ” according to City College professors Nadia Mandilawi and Patricia McGhee who collaborate with Hudnall in organizing and coordinating the student VAMP.
Hudnall is the director of So Say We All, a non-profit organization that publishes books; holds writing workshops, and provides performance coaching to help writers improve their material and its delivery before they present their work to the public.
To quote Raymond M. Wong, “The true measure of success is the difference we make in the world.” The grateful husband, proud father of two, and counselor at San Diego City College is the author of I’m Not Chinese: The Journey from Resentment to Reverence.
Wong earned an Eloise Klein Healy scholarship and an MFA in creative writing at Antioch University Los Angeles. His writing has appeared in USA Today, U-T San Diego, Chicken Soup for the Soul, City Works 2006, Small Print Magazine, Segue, and other publications. His memoir, I’m Not Chinese: The Journey from Resentment to Reverence, will be released by Apprentice House this October. He may be reached at www.raymondmwong.com.
Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars, the eighth full-length feature documentary from Brave New Foundation and director Robert Greenwald, investigates the impact of U.S. drone strikes at home and abroad through more than 70 separate interviews, including a former American drone operator who shares what he has witnessed in his own words; Pakistani families mourning loved ones and seeking legal redress; investigative journalists pursuing the truth; and top military officials warning against blowback from the loss of innocent life.
To Representative Alan Grayson (D-Fla), the film is an excoriating meditation on the “implications of killing hundreds of people ordered by the president, or worse, unelected and unidentifiable bureaucrats within the Department of Defense without any declaration of war,” according to filmthreat.com.