Monday, April 15, 2019

Grossmont College Literary Arts Festival stacked with authors, events

Christa Parravani closes Grossmont College's LAF on April 25.
An April 22 panel presentation by a trio of local writers on the modern era of agent-free self-publishing, and later in the evening, student readings and performances of original work kick off Grossmont College’s 23rd annual Literary Arts Festival.

The weeklong festival organized by the English Department’s Creative Writing program highlights poetry, memoirs, literature, student writings and more, and also is an opportunity to hear writers from across the country talk about their inspirations and struggles putting pen to paper.

The festival is free and open to the public and concludes April 25. All events will be held in Griffin Gate in Bldg. 60. 

“Our Literary Arts Festival offers the chance to engage living authors and literature in ways rarely made possible at a community college,” festival co-coordinator Karl Sherlock said.

  • Self-published Author Panel at 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Monday, April 22, features Ronald Preston Clark, a RISE San Diego Urban Leadership fellow. Clark is the author of the coming-of-age story, “Vinnie: A Love Letter.” Grossmont College alumna Vera Sanchez is author of the memoir, “Prison Letters: Walking with Honor.” Also a product of Grossmont College’s Creative Writing program is San Diego poet Felicia Williams, author of the poetry chapbook, “Autology,” and editor of the popular local indie magazine, “Madwoman.”
  • “New Voices” student reading at 7 - 8:15 p.m., Monday, April 22, that will feature exceptional creative writing students reading and performing their works.
  • Author Marilyn Chin reads from her newest collection from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Tuesday, April 23. A San Diego State University professor emerita, Chin is the author of five collections of poetry on themes of Asian-American feminism and bicultural identity.
  • Russian-born poet Ilya Kaminsky, who is deaf, reads from his new collection, “Deaf Republic,” with poems awarded the coveted Pushcart Prize, from 7-9 p.m., Tuesday, April 23.
  • Third Annual Student Poetry Slam Competition hosted by local writer, musician, DJ and performance poet Gill Sotu at 2 - 3:15 p.m., Wednesday, April 24. Grossmont College student poets will compete for the bragging rights of being crowned Grand Slam champions. 
  • Author and advocacy journalist John Gibler reads from his fourth creative non-fiction title, “Torn from the World: A Guerilla’s Escape from a Secret Prison in Mexico,” from 7-8:15 p.m., Wednesday, April 24. Writing and living in Mexico, Gibler’s works have been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and the New Yorker. Gibler’s narrative-based writing humanizes the Mexican struggle on many levels. This event is made possible by a grant from the World Arts and Cultures Committee of Grossmont College. 
  • “Why Literature Matters” student/faculty panel at 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., Thursday, April 25, where students and faculty will discuss the potential of literature to inspire change and cultivate humanity.
  • Authors Anthony Swofford and Christa Parravani and 2019 Student Writing Contest Awards at 7 - 9 p.m., Thursday, April 25, are the finale events for the 23rd Annual Literary Arts Festival. Swofford is the author of the 2004 bestseller, “Jarhead,” which was adapted to a hit film in 2005 by director Sam Mendes. He is joined at the reading by his wife, Christa Parravani, an internationally exhibited photographer whose title, “Her: A Memoir,” is a raw and captivating account of her identical twin’s rape and subsequent death from a drug overdose. Before the readings, the winning entries of the Student Writing Contest will be recognized and the first-place prize winner will read from the winning manuscript.

Since 1996, the Literary Arts Festival has brought a diverse range of established and respected writers to Grossmont College. In addition to providing the East County community with the experience of meeting and listening to nationally renowned authors, it also provides creative writing students an opportunity to showcase their work. More information is available online about the Literary Arts Festival.

Grossmont College is “Transforming Lives Through Education” and has served the diverse educational needs of San Diego’s East County since 1961. With more than 150 certificate and associate degree programs, Grossmont College provides workforce training, career development and transferable college-level coursework to its nearly 19,000 students. For more information, visit


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