This year the Pasadena Festival of Women Authors had reason to celebrate as they opened the Pasadena Hilton main ballroom doors to a gathering of over 500 attendees. With the works of all featured writers on display, available for purchase, and a book signing with each author, the room was buzzing. The event specifically aims to recognize the accomplishments of women authors. Seven notable authors distinguished the day this year. Earning multiple literary accolades and prestigious literary awards, these authors shared their personal journeys, influences, and insights as writers and women.
Four contemporary authors highlighted on the main stage to all attendees were Cynthia D’Aprix-Sweeney, Yaa Gyasi, Vendetta Vida, and Amy Stewart. D’Aprix-Sweeney’s debut novel, The Nest is a New York Times best seller and currently is being made into a movie. Gyasi’s Homegoing, also a debut novel, was shortlisted for The 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Gyasi is also one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” honorees for 2016. Vida spoke about her current book, The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty. Her first two books, And Now You Can Go and Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, both were named on The New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Stewart has written extensively about the natural world in six non-fiction books, but this year highlighted Lady Cop Makes Trouble, the second novel in a series based on a true story. Three additional authors highlighted were Jung Yun, Elizabeth McKenzie, and Rufi Thorpe. Yun celebrated her debut novel, Shelter, named BuzzFeed’s #1 Most Buzzed About Book of 2016 So Far. McKenzie featured The Portable Veblen, and whose work has also been featured in The New Yorker, The Atlantic monthly, and was recorded for NPR’s Selected Shorts. Finally, Thorpe delivered on her novel, Dear Fang, With Love, her work after The Girls from Corona del Mar.
The Pasadena Festival of Women Authors supports literary programs in the Pasadena community. Proceeds of the Festival support the Writer-in Residence program at Pasadena City College and the Master in Learning program at the Pasadena Senior Center. The PFWA committee has already begun work on the 2018 program, assuring that the literary community remains lively and continues to be engaged in Pasadena.