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The Literary Southwest
Fall 2021 Online

Readings and conversations with the finest writers from the West and beyond: distinctive voices, diverse backgrounds, and multiple genres. All events presented free via livestream.

Ivy PochodaAn Evening with Ivy Pochoda

Friday, November 12, 7:00 pm (AZ)

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These WomenIvy Pochoda is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Wonder Valley and Visitation Street. Her most recent novel, These Women has been acquired by MGM/UA Televison and is currently under development as a series. Wonder Valley won the 2018 Strand Critics Award for Best Novel and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and Le Grand Prix de Litterature Americaine, as well as being chosen as an NPR and Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. Visitation Street won the Prix Page America in France and was chosen as an Amazon Best Book of the Month, Amazon Best Book of 2013, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her first novel The Art of Disappearing, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2009. Under the name Ivy Claire, Ivy collaborated with the late L.A. Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant to create a middle grade book series, Epoca, that marries sports and adventure. The first in the series, Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof, was a number one New York Times Bestseller. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and The Los Angeles Review of Books; her books have been translated into five languages. She played squash professionally between 1998 and 2007. While at Harvard, she was the individual national champion in 1998 and led Harvard to national championships in all four of her years on the team. She recived her MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College in 2011 and now teaches creative writing at the Studio 526 Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.

Tara WestoverAn Evening with Tara Westover

Friday, September 24, 5:30* pm (AZ/CA)

*Please note the earlier start time

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Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, Tara Westover never attended school. An older brother taught her to read, and after that her education was erratic and haphazard, with most of her days spent working in her father's junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. After that first encounter with education she pursued learning for a decade, graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She received an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2014 was awarded a PhD in history. Currently, she is a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, working on projects related to media and political polarization.

Educated - Tara WestoverIn 2018, she published her memoir, Educated, which explores her struggle to reconcile her desire for education and autonomy with her desire to be loyal to her family. Educated made its debuti at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and remained on the list for more than two years. It was also a finalist for a number of national awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The New York Times named Educated one of the 10 Best Books of 2018, and the American Booksellers Association voted it the Nonfiction Book of the Year. TIME Magazine named Westover one of the 100 most influential people of 2018. Educated has sold more than 8 million copies and has been translated into 45 languages.


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The Hassayampa Institute presents The Literary Southwest is made possible by Yavapai College and the Yavapai College Foundation, with additional support provided by Peregrine Book Company.

Program Director Jim Natal

Jim Natal

Literary Southwest Program Director

Jim Natal helped found the Hassayampa Institute’s The Literary Southwest series at Yavapai College in 2008 and has served as series director since then. Prior to that he curated and co-hosted literary series and events in Los Angeles for more than 10 years.

Natal is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Spare Room: Haibun Variations and 52 Views, both written entirely in the centuries-old Japanese haibun form. His previous full-length collections include Memory and Rain; Talking Back to the Rocks; and In the Bee Trees.

He is a multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee whose poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. A former executive for the National Football League’s Creative Services Group in Los Angeles for 25 years, Natal received his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles in 2005.

With his wife, graphic designer and book artist Tania Baban, he founded indie publishing house Conflux Press in 2003.

The Literary Southwest: Featured Writers 2008-2021

  • Kim Addonizio
  • Ralph Angel
  • Jimmy Santiago Baca
  • Dorothy Barresi
  • Beau Beausoleil
  • Marvin Bell
  • Sherwin Bitsui
  • C.J. Box
  • Gayle Brandeis
  • Ron Carlson
  • Ana Castillo
  • K. L. Cook
  • Bernard Cooper
  • Ann Cummins
  • Marsha de la O
  • Alison Hawthorne Deming
  • Natalie Diaz
  • Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • Mark Doty
  • Camille T. Dungy
  • Geoff Dyer
  • B. H. Fairchild
  • Janet Fitch
  • Ben Fountain
  • Alan Dean Foster
  • Diana Gabaldon
  • Richard Garcia
  • Eloise Klein Healy
  • Steve Heller
  • Laraine Herring
  • Naomi Hirahara
  • Jane Hirshfield
  • Linda Hogan
  • T. R. Hummer
  • Sean Huze
  • Joe Ide
  • Tara Ison
  • Craig Johnson
  • Lisa Ko
  • Ron Koertge
  • Jim Krusoe
  • Ilyse Kusnetz
  • Laila Lalami
  • Susan Lang
  • Layli Long Soldier
  • Anthony Marra
  • Demetria Martinez
  • Domingo Martinez
  • Gerald McDermott
  • Christopher Merrill
  • Dunya Mikhail
  • Jane Miller
  • Manuel Muñoz
  • Sean Nevin
  • Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Tommy Orange
  • Susan Orlean
  • T. Jefferson Parker
  • Ivy Pochoda
  • Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • Alberto Rios
  • Sharman Apt Russell
  • Kay Ryan
  • Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • David St. John
  • James Sallis
  • Lisa See
  • Rebecca Seiferle
  • Rebecca Skloot
  • Arthur Sze
  • Susan Terris
  • Lynne Thompson
  • Laura Tohe
  • Peter Turchi
  • Brian Turner
  • Charles Harper Webb
  • Tara Westover
  • Al Young
  • Ofelia Zepeda