S117. How to Go Home Again: California Dreaming and the Reality of the California Memoir

Room 409 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Saturday, April 2, 2016
9:00 am to 10:15 am


A promised land blessed by the Pacific or a cultural desert; the future in industries inspired by science fiction or our daydreams; and exotic living experiments—California represents all these possibilities and more. But how should writers whose birthright is thick with such lore approach documenting their own experiences? Join us for a discussion on escaping and capturing the tropes and mythos of the state, from the idealism of a new frontier to the reality of labor, economics, sexism, and racism.



Erin Aubry Kaplan is a journalist, columnist, and author who began writing for the Los Angeles Times in 1992. She was a staff writer for the LA Weekly for nine years before returning to the Times in 2006 as a weekly op-ed columnist, the first African American to hold the position.

Tara Ison is the author of the novels Rockaway, The List, and A Child out of Alcatraz, as well as Reeling Through Life, a collection of essays, and the forthcoming short story collection Ball. She is an associate professor in the creative writing rogram at ASU.

Kelly Daniels is the author of the memoir Cloudbreak, California. A former MacDowell fellow, his work has appeared in the Sun, Cimarron Review, Hotel Amerika, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere. A California expatriate, he teaches at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.

Cris Mazza's latest book is Something Wrong with Her, a memoir. She recently wrote and starred in Turnaround, a feature film sequel to the memoir. She has sixteen other published books of fiction and nonfiction. Mazza is director of the program for writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Jane Rosenberg LaForge worked as a journalist for more than a decade on both coasts, before enrolling in the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She now teaches college composition and writes poetry, fiction, criticism, and personal essays.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center