Nov 16 2023
November 16, 2023


  • 12:00 AM
  • Essay Contest Duration - Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 - Monday, January 15, 2024

Seeking to celebrate the vibrant community of thoughtful individuals who attend our events, the Pasadena Literary Alliance is delighted to announce an essay contest in conjunction with our November 2023 Open Book event featuring Ingrid Rojas Contreras, author of The Man Who Could Move Clouds and Fruit of the Drunken Tree and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Héctor  Tobar, author of Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meaning and Myths of “Latino” in conversation. 

We would love to hear your beautiful voices come alive on the page. Follow your inspiration and share with our community your reflections on the lives that have come before you that you still carry in your bones. We welcome stories of love, loss, bravery, defeat, redemption, beginnings, and endings, among others. We want to hear your stories and celebrate how they have brought you to where you are today.  


What calls to you from your own ancestral history to become legible on the page? Weave together an essay to share from the pieces and fragments of stories about people or events from your own familial past that you carry within.


While Praising The Man Who Could Move Clouds, the New York Times wrote, “Rojas Contreras has forced into the public record a collective identity of clairvoyants and spiritualists — beginning with Nono — that she has pieced together from the disintegrating fragments of her own familial past. In the process, she has written a spellbinding and genre-defying ancestral history.”

Celebrating Héctor Tobar’s newest work, the New York Times wrote, “the repetition of “you,” “we” and “our” in Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meaning and Myths of “Latino,” slowly breaks down the detachment and distance with which we often read as adults . . . . [a]and so, as we read, we begin to recognize that we still carry the same questions as these young people, the same desire to be seen on the page, to know we are a legible, integral part of the teeming world around us.”

The contest is open for entries from November 16, 2023, through January 15, 2024.